I grew up in the ’60s when women were told they could do anything, BE anything. For some that was good news. For me, it was mostly a burden.
Basically we were trained early to be superwomen, as in royal blue cape, big S insignia, shiny black patten leather boots, you get the picture. Think Lynda Carter with a law degree.
Whether you chose to become a lawyer, doctor or business tycoon, your options could be no less than that. Women had already achieved the titles of nurses, teachers and artists. This was a time to break the glass ceilings and go towards careers that were typically filled by men.
I chose the business path, going to NYC to work in Publishing and then Advertising. My goal was the corner office, no matter how long it took and no matter what I had to do to get there.
Fifteen years later, career mission accomplished as not only did I get the corner office, but it had a window and came with a parking spot. The husband and kids goal would have to take a back seat. It was impossible to achieve everything all at once, and besides I was a late bloomer in the “ready to marry” department.
My sister-in-law asked me the other day what part of my life I’d like to return to, even just for a few days. I quickly said, “not college.” But it wouldn’t be anytime in my 20’s either. Those were mostly difficult years, full of competition with myself, and worry over whether I’d achieve the full package, as in a fabulous husband and several kids too.
Eventually, to quote Cosmo Girl Helen Gurley Brown, I did “have it all”.
And I’d happily return to any day forward of meeting my wonderful husband, save for one month of hell when our young child became gravely sick, to fully recover a month later.
Today, I’m no longer trying to be Superwoman. I’ve done all that. I’m just trying to be a super happy woman. I reach for joy apart from the pressure of being a Superwoman, for the things that bring me happiness are capeless. They are quite simply family and friends and the things that nourish my mind, body and soul.
published in Better After 50