A year or so ago, I saw an old interview of Dick Cavett with Katherine Hepburn. In the interview she said something like, “No one can do it all. You have to make a choice about what you want to do, and leave the rest behind.” I loved her for saying that, because years ago my husband and I made the decision not to have children so we could pursue our artwork.
Don’t get me wrong, I love children. I worked with them in one way or another from the age of 14 or 15 until I quit teaching high school six years ago. For many years, I planned to be a mother, but I never felt that click in my head that said it was time to have children of my own.
When I let go of the idea of becoming a mother, lots of creative avenues opened up for me. For the longest time, I thought I wanted to become a theatre artist. When that didn’t seem the right path, I became a drama teacher. Both are highly creative. Those led me to writing.
Being an artist of any kind takes lots of focus. I know and admire women who are both mothers and artists. Maybe it’s my personality, but I’m single-minded. Somewhere deep inside, I knew if I was going to be a mother, I’d have to focus all my energy on that, and there would be nothing left for me to do the personal work necessary to be an artist. Life is only so long. I knew instinctively that I had to let go of being a mother. I’m glad I did, because it took me a long time to grow into my true calling.
Since listening to Ms. Huffington talk about the wake-up call she got about managing her own success, I’m extremely glad that I took care of myself enough not to force myself to become a mother just because other people were telling me too. There’ve been other things I’ve had to give up too. In my mind it’s all been worth it.
Life is a matter of picking and choosing. We can’t have it all or be it all in one lifetime. It’s good to discover who you are, what you have to offer the world, be that, and let the rest go. When we do, the world benefits from our talents.