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  • Now that women can enjoy a high-profile career alongside a successful home life and personal enjoyment, is contentment finally within our reach? Or does it remain to be an elusive concept to which we could only aspire? Four exemplary women answer the big question. 

    Lisa Macuja-Elizalde

    Prima ballerina

    Artistic Director, Ballet Manila

    Mom of three 

    Lisa Macuja-Elizalde

    Can women really have it all?

    “No, because you always want more time, and time is not something you can increase. As a mom, you always want more time to spend with your kids. As a career-motivated person, you always want more time to perfect your work. For me, as a performing artist—a dancer—I always want a perfect performance, and that never happens. You can be satisfied with the performance, but it is never perfect. 

    “If you delegate because you cannot do it all and the results are far from perfect, you may want to redo everything or just let it go and accept your limitations. You can be materially wealthy and secure; you can have children and a career at the same time; you can nurture your relationship with friends and family; you can travel and have the means to enjoy a holiday very well; but at the end of the day, you realize that lahat iyon ay may kapalit


    “I just came back from a holiday in London and Barcelona—yes, I was with my family 24/7 and we had a really great time, [pero] pagbalik ko, I was out of shape. It was hard to get back into form again. You really can’t have it all. 

    “You always try to do your best.  People expect nothing but your best effort, especially once you reach a certain stature as a professional. But it all comes with a price. Look (shows her scars on toes and feet)—I have my battle scars. It takes a toll on your health— I may look extremely fit but I abuse my body every day (laughs)! 

    “I’m turning 50 this year, and I do plan to retire. I have two more years on stage. Again, you can plan it, arrange everything, make this swan song series a grandiose thing. But after my last performance… will I be happy, saying good-bye to the stage? I really don’t know. “You deal with everything, including aging and losing your ability to give your best performance because your instrument is dying from wear and tear (laughs). In the end, you just want to be able to say ‘No regrets,’ and enjoy your retirement. When you have that inner peace—peace of mind—and you stop wanting perfection in your life or work, then that’s when you can have it all.”

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