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Chris Linnares, Published January 03 2013

Healthy body, hot life: Making a New Year’s recognition list

I never forgot the year 1987.

I was a teenage girl living in my home country, Brazil. My favorite thing to do was go over to my best friend’s house, sit on her bedroom floor around a vinyl record player, and listen to our favorite bands.

I still remember the moment she showed me this new band’s album she had just discovered: “Chris, listen to this song. You will love it…”

She was right. Every lyric, every melody spoke to my heart. I knew I was listening to what would become one of my favorite songs of all time: “I Still Haven’t Found What I Am Looking For” from the album “The Joshua Tree” by an Irish band called U2.

This song spoke to my soul more than any other song I had heard at the time. Bono was right, “I Still Haven’t Found What I Am Looking For.”

When I think about this time of the year, when a lot of people are writing their New Year’s resolutions, I think about the hope that comes from the expectation of finding what we are looking for in the year to come.

A long time ago, in one of my New Year’s resolutions, I wrote that one of my goals was to start my career as a writer. Many rejections later, and I was able to start my dream career back in Brazil. But as I continued my journey, I felt that I still hadn’t found what I was looking for.

Inspired by empowerment books with the message “You can have it all,” I decided that I didn’t want to be just a successful working woman, I wanted to have it all. So in one of my next New Year’s Resolution I wrote: “I want a ‘cool minivan’ – with everything that belongs in it: a husband, kids, a dog and Cheerio crumbs all over the floor.”

The year I made that decision, I met my North Dakota man and got even more than I asked for: a husband, a new country, a kid, step kids, a dog, Cheerio crumbs all over the car floor and a heated ice scraper that never works.

Do you think then I found everything I was looking for? Not really. Honestly, after years in my “cool minivan lifestyle,” sometimes what I desperately look for is a chance to get out of the “minivan” and enjoy some “me time.”

But behind my own expectations of trying to have it all and be the perfect mom, loving wife, successful career woman and outstanding organic-gluten-free chef, I am realizing that there is still that 13-year-old girl inside of me that is able to find contentment just by enjoying simple pleasures like sitting on the floor and listening to her favorite band.

So one of my goals for 2013 is to drop the illusion that “I can have it all” because I know that in the end, I will be in the same place I was before – feeling that I still haven’t found what I am looking for.

I personally believe the message “you can have it all” is one of the biggest myths of my generation. In this sense, I agree with the author Debora Spar, when she said: “The only way that women will ever fully solve the ‘women’s problem’ is by recognizing the quest for perfection for what it is: a myth. No woman can have it all, and by using all as the standard of success, we are only condemning ourselves and our daughters to failure.”

Accepting the fact that I can’t have it all doesn’t make me feel disappointed; actually, it helps free myself from the slavery of my own expectations.

Last week I was looking forward to having “me time” and take myself to the nail salon. My daughter woke up sick, and I needed to cancel my appointment in order to take care of her. That day I couldn’t have all that I had planned, but as I watched her sweet, peaceful face sleeping, I realized that I wouldn’t trade that moment for any fancy spa vacation in Costa Rica.

So, this week I planned on writing something different on my New Year’s resolution. I decided to trade the list of things that I want to find in 2013 for a gratitude list of everything that I’ve already found in my life. I sat on my bedroom floor and started writing what I called my “New Year’s Recognition List.”

As the songs were playing on my iPod, I started remembering the special moments I shared with my family and friends in 2012. When the song “I Still Haven’t Find What I Am Looking For” played, I could see that 13-year-old teenage girl inside of me smiling. She was happy for me; not because I have it all, but because I am choosing to love all that I have.


Chris Linnares is an international author, Brazilian psychotherapist and creator of Diva Dance. She is the founder of Naturally Diva and Diva Connection Foundation for women’s health and empowerment. Contact her at chris@naturallydiva.com.