Remember the TV show? About couples in their thirties trying to find where they fit in their marriage, where they fit in their ideals, conflicted about being a stay at home ‘mom’ (as it was an American series!) and the feminism movement that took them through college? Michael and Hope? Aired at the end of the 1980s?
Even though the show was created twentysomething years ago, most of the thirtysomething concerns are still there. Many people in their thirties are stuck. Stuck raising a family, stuck in a job they’ve been in for a decade or more and unsure how to get out, stuck in a rut with their marriage, stuck in a life that is against their twentysomething dreams, and they wonder how they got there….
At some point in our thirties we ‘choose’ to have a midlife crisis, or not. We either love the life we are living and wouldn’t change the dirty diapers, the constant nagging at the kids or the husband, the rigid routine, the Nissan X-Trail in the garage, the mortgage or the mounting credit card debt for anything. It’s part of the dream of having a family, having a home to call your own, having a loving relationship with another and watching the little people you bring into the world grow up. But when did having a family, having ‘the dream’, make us compromised who we are?
We’ve compromised our wardrobe from up to date fashion to loose and comfortable, we’ve lost the romance in our relationships, we’ve stopped creating gourmet meals and settled for foods that the kids will only eat, we’ve run out of time to exercise or catch up with friends, and we’ve forgotten how to reeeeeealllly sleep.
So how do we get back our identity while still keeping the family cogs moving? What is really important to us as a person? Not a mum, wife, partner, daughter, sister, niece? Us? You as an individual?
It’s easy, just listen to your heart and find the one thing in it that’s special to you. It maybe having ‘Friday night date night’ with your significant other where if you can’t afford to go out, you spend time cooking a special dinner for each other. It maybe finding a picture in a magazine of an outfit you’d like to wear and you create a goal for yourself to lose the ‘mummy’ weight and buy it. It may be starting a home based business. It may be the dream you had when you were a little girl and you’re thinking it’s about time you’d start to realise it.
You need to dedicate time to yourself and stop throwing down chocolate, wine and painkillers to drown the real you into somebody you’re not even sure ‘is’ anymore. Give yourself a real dream (not an over-achieving dream) to live for and ‘make it happen.’ It might be doing a cooking class in Tuscany, it maybe seeing your favourite rockstar play to a home crowd, it maybe learning to paint, doing lead-lighting, renovating a house, anything. If you stopped eating $20 worth of chocolate a week, you’d save $1000 a year. If you stopped drinking a bottle of wine every two days, you’d save $50 a week – that’s $2500 a year. Put post-it notes on your fridge, on the cupboards, at your desk, on the bathroom mirror, wherever you can, telling you to stop doing the ‘damaging act’ and put that energy and money into the ‘inspiring act.’ Live for the life changing events not the fleeting whims. Find your passion, plant the seeds and make it grow.
One thing I’ve learned from all of my woes is, only YOU can make it happen. No one else leads your life, except you. Be true to yourself and you will always shine…. So, let’s go make some hay!