lessen your stress





You’re in your 30’s and single, your career is everything.

You’ve been building your skills and reputation for years now, your work may feel easy, but the passion is no longer there.

Or perhaps you feel stifled.  Your ideas feel tired, you are not excited about the new project and you are no longer interested in learning about new trends in your chosen profession.

Does that sound like you?

If it does, maybe you are asking yourself, “Am I in the right job?”, “Am I working for the right company?”, or “Am I working with the right people?”

Being dissatisfied with your career could simply mean that you need a new challenge with a new company, where you can learn new ways for doing things and meet new people.  Or perhaps you would like more responsibility and are ready for a big promotion.

On the other hand if:

  • you’re constantly bored, or
  • frequently sick, and
  • groan at the thought of yet another day at the office,

then perhaps it’s time to re-examine your life goals and aspirations.

This doesn’t mean you have to quit your job immediately and look for an alternative career.  Especially if you’re not sure that that career might be.

Some things you can do include:

  • taking a short course at your local community centre of TAFE college in a subject you are interested in,
  • looking for a similar job in a different industry, or a different job in the same industry, which uses all your transferable skills, as well as giving you the opportunity to learn something new,
  • make an appointment with a professional career counsellor, who can help you explore some options,
  • if you have a hobby you are really passionate about, explore the possibility of making it into a full time career and a sustainable source of income.

The possibilities are endless…

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For many career women, particularly single women, the big 30 kind of sneaks up on them. You are busy building your career, or exploring the world, or perhaps building your social networks (otherwise known as partying).

Before you know it, you enter your thirtieth year and something starts to happen in your mind.  Your biological clock may start ticking louder and louder, or your childhood and adolescent dreams may resurface as you ask yourself,

  • “Am I really where I wanted to be?”
  • “Is this how I imagined myself at 30?”
  • “Have I done what I thought I would do by now?”
  • “What happened to my dreams?”

It is no surprise that the book “Eat, Pray, Love” proved to be such a resounding success around the world.  Women in their late twenties and early thirties closely identified with the author as she put her life on hold and began exploring her goals and dreams.

Apparently a lot of women tend to enter some form of therapy or self-development as they reach their thirties.  They may feel a vague sense of dissatisfaction with their lives and want to explore ways of improving their lives.  Perhaps they come to a fork in the road and really need to question who they are and what they want to achieve.

So what can you?

Talk to friends about their life goals.  Try to remember your aspirations as a child or young adult.  You may want to decide on some milestones you’d like to achieve before you turn 30.

  • Perhaps take that trip you’ve always dreamed of.
  • Learn a new skill you’ve always wished to have.
  • Start saving for a deposit for your dream home.
  • Consider whether children figure in your future and how you might change your life to accommodate that commitment.

Perhaps now is the time to follow your dreams….

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Thelma & Louise is an all-time classic movie that every woman needs to watch at some point in her life.

It’s the perfect movie for a girl’s night in, watching with a bestie or sitting on the couch with a bottle of red, a box of chocolate truffles and a handful of tissues.

(It also has a very young Brad Pitt in one of his very first major acting roles ….sigh…)

One of the main themes and inspirations throughout the movie is Thelma and Louise’s growing appreciation of who they are as women, and realisation of the strength they have within themselves.

Along with some serious mishaps and terrible judgements along the way, it’s a journey of discovery.  They develop recognition of their own self-worth and the ability to overcome the things in life they thought they have no control over.  They learn that they most certainly can overcome whatever they choose.

What it can – and does – teach women is that they have an intrinsic strength that enables them to defeat anything that life throws at them. Yes, even the most horrible and heinous of actions against them.

It shows that friendship is an incredible resource and important thing to have in your life.

It demonstrates that life can throw anything at you at any time, and you will probably always make mistakes – and some really dumb ones at that – but nothing is insurmountable.

Mostly, however, it shows that we can get so caught up in our own heads that sometimes we think we can’t ask for the help we need … and asking for that help could be our ticket out of the hole we’re digging for ourselves in that moment.

Lastly, and don’t underestimate the importance of this point, it can teach that wearing headscarves in open-topped cars is not a terribly brilliant idea.  Make a note of that.

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It could be something subtle: your married friends constantly telling you “the news” of everyone they know who is about to get married or have a baby. Or it could be blatantly obvious (and embarrassing) like your mother trying to set you up with her hairdresser’s son.

So what do you do when everyone but you thinks you should have a man?

Well there are a few tactics:

  • Find yourself a really good friend who will be a ‘stand in’ man at certain family functions and events to keep your mother momentarily happy. (Bribery involving alcohol might be needed here.)
  • Become a self-professed man-hater, suddenly declaring yourself sworn off men forever.
  • An obvious one, but possibly hard to pull off – is to declare that you now gay (however, your friends probably won’t be fooled for too long especially if they see one sneaking out of the house via your back door.)
  • Tell everyone that you are considering religious life (again, this will probably not fool anyone for too long).
  • Throw some statistics around: that over a third of marriages end in divorce and you don’t want to be a statistic so you are waiting for that absolutely perfect man.
  • Another good statistic – the average age of marriage in Australia is 31.5 years, so there is plenty of time!
  • Honestly is the best policy with family: make your Mum a cup of tea, open a pack of Tim Tams and carefully and honestly explain to her your reasons for not “having a man” at this point in time.
  • Use the psychological approach: tell her you don’t want to find a relationship in order to escape from personal problems and unhappiness – that you are concerned for your emotional safety and want to find someone with whom you share common life goals and priorities.
  • As for your friends, tell them you’re playing the field while you still can and invite them to live life vicariously through you.

Can you think of any other ways to fend off unwelcome pressure from your mother and married friends to ‘find a man’? We’d love to hear it!

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Your Mum drops in with a little something she picked up for you.  You are filled with a familiar dread as you realise she has done it again: bought you an item of clothing. “Oh it was on sale. I saw it and thought of you.”

Now, in your head you are thinking: Mother – what is it about this frilly swirly multi-coloured top with a halter neck and beaded bodice makes you remotely think of me? And then you begin to question your own fashion choices.

So why should you never let your mother choose your clothes?

Well, the store {insert name here, we don’t want to offend anyone} where your mother likes to shop is basically aimed at a certain age-demographic. We aren’t going to say that your Mum chooses boring old-people clothes because your Mum might be funky in her own right. But your clothing says a statement about YOU; you have to feel confident and comfortable, not frumpy and 25 years older than you are.

Now onto the second point: why you would never let your mother choose your man. Well, if it were up to my Mum she would choose the first man she met who a) ironed his clothes and b) knew what Gumption was. But bless her heart, there is more to a man than that. You want someone who connects to you on many levels, someone who you could imagine sharing your life with and someone who is going to fall for you – not your Mum. But of course, if your chosen man is polite and courteous to your Mum it is going to make your life a whole lot easier!

This quote from Bridget Jones’s Diary says it all (said by the character of Mark Darcy): “Mother, I do not need a blind date. Particularly not with some verbally incontinent spinster who drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney, and dresses like her mother.”

Mothers are a blessing until they flex their tastes on your behalf. You know you can’t stop them doing it but you don’t have to use either the clothes or the man.

But good on her for trying.

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