Having It All
Beverly Sills, Chairman
of the Board, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., and opera singer
Women are told today that they can have it all.
I would like to tell you that if the word “all” means career,
marriage, and children, then you can have it, but someone is going to pay for
it. This “all” can bring you
every kind of fulfillment, excitement, fun, rewards, but you really have to make
a total commitment to making it work. You will need lots of give, lots of compromise, lots of
humor. You will have to be
competitive, but only enough to be exciting and not, for
God’s sake, enough to be bored. You
will need to be proud of your femininity, but you will have to substitute the
words “our thing” for “my think.” And you will cry a lot, that is the career part.
And then you will have to take a close look at the child.
In my house her name was Muffy. She
didn’t want me to be glamorous, she didn’t want me to be humorous, she
didn’t want me to be supportive, she just wanted me around.
She wanted me to lover, to be there when she needed me, and she needed
somebody to depend on. Her mind was
made up, so I couldn’t confuse her with the facts of my life.
She had to pay the price for my wanting it all.
To delay in having a baby until you are “ready” can be dangerous to
your health and the baby. Not to
have a baby at all could be a great loss to you, and to have a baby without a
real commitment on your part could be a great tragedy.
So you can have it all, but there are two keys to this kingdom.
The first is that you have to believe in yourself and you have to know
that you can make it work. And the
second is love. You’re going to
have to ooze it from every pore. You’re
going to have to love your work passionately-love it enough to feel it’s worth
the nightmare of days that are twenty-nine hours long.
You’re going to have to love your husband so that when he complains
about your twenty-nine-hour day you will have the patience to soothe him, the
desire to comfort him, and the ability to turn your twenty-nine-hour day into a
thirty-hour day – the last hour for him alone.
And you are going to have to love your child and not just hear its needs,
but feel its needs, touch and hold and never let that child feel that anything
is more important to you in the whole world. So what if the day is now thirty-one hours long.
You can sleep in your old age if you live long enough to enjoy it.
But I have to tell you that you owe it to yourself to try for it. You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if
you don’t give it a try.
A lot of us were meant to be spectators in life and that is okay, too, because
an audience is just as important as a performing artist.
But some of you who have the guts and desire to get into the middle of
the arena and fight the bull in every sense of the word, I will tell you that I
recommend it highly and I wish you the best of luck.
from Smith College Commencement Address
Provided by : Helene Lerner, TV
host, Author, and Seminar Leader and reprinted with permission.
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