How to Have it All – But Maybe Not at the Same Time
I am beyond excited that I got to reunite with my looong-time friend, Joan Ryan, on my live Little White Lie Show! Talk about a poster child for “how to have it all” (and earning it, for sure!) – Joan is winner of Broadway World’s Top Female Cabaret Artist of 2013, and has starred in Les Mis, Little Shop of Horrors, Footloose, the hit musical Ruthless, and her own critically-acclaimed one woman show, just to name a few. She is a recording artist, TV and movie actress, and gives back by appearing in star-studded fundraising shows (including a special project you’ll want to lean more about – watch the whole delicious show right here to find out more!)
Do I sound proud of her? Yes, I am!
But the real reason I’m sharing this is that it would seem that Joan “has it all,” right? And that celebs have it easy, right? Well, not exactly – no matter who we are, we women have our challenges with juggling career, health, family, home, kids, community – doing it all, having it all.
So, I asked Joan Ryan: Can you really have it all?
“I think one can absolutely have it all. I think we all have a pilot light inside of us, whether it’s to be a nurse, or a performer, [whatever it is that lights us up].” However, Joan did struggle during the years her children were growing up. She lived and worked in Los Angeles, and would audition for things in New York – but really didn’t want a show in New York because she wanted to be home with her family. So…her big career dreams, or being a mom? Did she have to choose?
“The truth was, I knew that this time [to go for the bigger career] would come. That my kids would be out of the house. I’d be able to do what I needed to do. I always knew that, but I think there was a part of me that was embarrassed to say that I loved my family. I loved being a mom, and I didn’t want to go too far.”
“I do think women can have it all, but not all at the same time. Our life comes in segments, and we have to understand that we can have it all if we’re not trying to do it all at once.” ~ Madeleine Albright
Joan: “Yes, you can have it all, but you have to do certain things. I never stopped training. I always kept myself together. I kept my chops up. I kept my voice in shape. I always worked and took care of myself, so that when the time came, I would be ready.”
She believes that age is not a factor: “I’m going to be the same age in 10 years whether or not I’d be doing this.” So why not go for it?
I love that! This is part of what The Little White Lie is all about: That age is an attitude. Age is not a limiting factor. It’s only a lie that we tell ourselves. Joan has some great advice for us when we’re thinking, I’ve got a family, I’ve got kids, and I have these dreams. What am I supposed to do?
Ask yourself, “What is most important to you?
That’s the first thing. I know when I wanted to have my kids, to me that was the most important, and I had a career at the time. But I was willing to put my career on hold. Certain things you can’t have at the same time. You can’t wait until you’re 50 years old to have a baby, so if that’s your priority, you have to do it knowing that the rest will follow. So, it’s all about priorities.”
It’s not as if it was never hard for Joan, like when she would do a show next to all Tony winners and she might have been one too if she’d made other career choices. But she knew her priorities – and somewhere inside was that voice that said her time would come.
And it has.
Final thoughts from Joan for us Little White Liars: “At the risk of sounding a little sappy, I think it has to do with gratitude for where you are in the moment. My mother always used to say, ‘Be where you are. Where you are is where you’re supposed to be.’ When you get the gratitude about being where you are, then you’re very specific about where you want to go.”
Such wisdom along with that amazing 4-octave voice! Thanks, Joan Ryan.
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