The early thirties, professionally, anyway, for some women

My sophomore year college roommate, J., visited last weekend to celebrate our shared April birthdays.  It’s the seventh year in a row we’ve been able to celebrate together despite living in different cities, and now it’s a tradition so firmly rooted I can’t imagine it not ushering in each year with her. We don’t do much when we visit one another – I think she took me shopping once in Chicago and last year I took her to the Warhol museum, but the whole entire point of the weekend is to laze around in pajamas and drink absurd amounts of coffee until one  can reasonably look at the clock and segue into cocktail hour. The best part of my frienship with J. is how little upkeep it takes. We don’t call often, maybe three times a year – sometimes one of us sends an email or the other drops a card in the mail, but we don’t communicate often. Yet, when we do, it’s like we last spoke yesterday, and there is no guilt involved in not calling, not keeping up, because we know, every year in the spring, we will spend two full days doing nothing but talking, trying to figure out our lives over one last top-off of the coffee cup.

Some years, our conversations take on themes – other years they wander around.  In years past I know we’ve talked relentlessly about our marriages, about school, about dreams achieved and dreams deferred, but this year we talked almost entirely about our careers, and what to do about them. And even though talking with J., as it always does, helped center me in my world for a bit, helped me feel like less of a lost soul, this isn’t so much a post about our conversations as it is a post about conversations I’ve had with at least eight other women, most of them co-workers, who are around our same age and made similar choices about life and now find themselves overwhelmed, confused and feeling unsure of what to do next. This post is about women somewhere around my age (nearly 32), women who have put school, or work, or both, before having a child, women who are beginning to see some success in their fields but aren’t yet breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling, women who are wondering if all of this, well, work, is worth “it” – whatever “it” is. Here is what I can tell you about those of us in this particular stage of life:

(a.) We have a desire to cook beautiful meals. We have the proper kitchen equipment, the wherewithall to purchase whatever ingredients we may need, and a pile of cookbooks and cooking magazines which we have diligently thumbed through and put sticky notes on all the recipes we hope to make. And yet, with the rare exception, we eat cereal for dinner. Or eggs. Or beer. Or sometimes, we just have a couple glasses of wine. Because cooking the beautiful meals, which always require items like freshly made bouquet garnis or creme fraiche or duck livers, are simply too much work.

(b.) We are too tired to cook because our jobs are, frankly, exhausting, and we take our work and our co-workers so much more personally than our partners do. We exhaust ourselves not only with the work itself but with the personal and political we have to pour into the work because all of us, at some point, have been in trouble at work, (my personal lecture came when I expressed an opinion at work and an older colleague called my boss and said I was too vocal for being so young, and I needed to wait five years before speaking in a meeting) – and we worry about all of this in a way we don’t believe men do. Or, if they do, they don’t tell us.

(c.) We owe taxes instead of receiving refunds – a blessing in one way because we obviously earn enough to sustain ourselves but sometimes, it feels like a punishment because we didn’t make the choice to buy homes when we couldn’t afford them or have children when we weren’t ready. We can never afford the amount of taxes we owe (although I will say I’ve been exempt from this, this year, since we bought a house).

(d.) We want to have children, conceptually, but we can’t imagine how they fit into the lives we’ve created. We’ve all been told by people above us that having children will, in some way or other, harm our careers. And we’ve had enough friends who have given birth that we are no longer able to idealize the experience. Those conversations about episiotemies, breast feeding woes and sleepless nights? Girlfriends, let me share something with you – if you so desperately want us (ie, your childless friends) to join you in motherhood you should really keep those horror stories to yourself and confirm only our belief that motherhood will be exactly like it looks in J.Crew catalogues, all grass fields and matching sweater sets. Because, dude. Pregnancy-induced heartburn does.not.sound.good.

(e.) We want to practice yoga regularly. And garden. Grow our own vegetables, can them, and then make amazing stews come autumn. We know these things are important because, damnit, BALANCE is important. We are supposed to be balanced – everybody tells us so – but it’s really damn hard to find room for balance when we are so busy not making dinners and not going to yoga and wallowing in guilt about all of this not-doing (not to mention being annoyingly aware of our aging ovaries) because, if we did even a quarter of what we think we *should* in order to obtain balance, we probably wouldn’t sleep.

All of this isn’t meant to sound whiny, it’s meant to share what I believe a certain subset of women my age are struggling with, and it makes me wonder if this idea of balance is, in fact, the new American dream. What if, for the sake of argument, we FORGOT about balance? Recognized it is probably never going to happen? What if we said, let’s face it, we are never, ever going to tie some herbs together for a roast chicken, or master shoulder stand, or grow peppers from seeds we began nurturing in March on paper towels? What if we recognized that, yes, having a baby is an overwhelming prospect but one that can be figured out when it actually happens instead of the constant concern about how it would actually work?

Is this giving up on things we deserve, or would this be incredibly freeing?

I wonder why we want all of these things – why isn’t going to work enough for some of us? Why do we torture ourselves with cooking magazines and yoga class schedules and the possibility we are missing out on balance? Sometimes I think I worry about these things because I am afraid of seeming unfeminine – as though, if I don’t seek more in my life than my work, I will be perceived as, well, not a good woman.

As I write this, my available time to do so is running out. I need to respond to work emails, finish a draft of several pieces of writing, get dressed and mentally prepared for an important meeting at work. There is so much to address here, in my mind – like, how come I actually stress about the fact that sometimes I feel stressful? Because everyone knows stress is bad for the body and sometimes, I SWEAR, I can actually feel the stress churning itself into cortosol, which contributes to belly fat, which will contribute to an eventual heart attack by squeezing my internal organs. I wonder…are we the victims of too much information, concerned with the fact the very lives we lead are somehow bad for us when really, it is that very concern that is worse for us than the occasional ingestion of some high fructose corn syrup? Is the quest for balance an impossibility forced on us by the media, or is it, actually, important to our overall sense of well-being? And how come our partners never worry about exercise or whether they eat pizza for dinner five nights in a row? And, I’ll admit it, all of the women I have had these conversation with are engaged in heterosexual relationships, so when I say our partners, really I mean the men in our lives…how come they don’t have the same quest for balance? My husband loves his job. Loves it. And does not mind if he is working well into what should be the dinner hour, because being good in his job is the thing – the important thing – the thing that makes him feel happy and whole and like a contributing member of society. Shouldn’t our work feel the same way, that simply by putting in fifty or sixty or seventy hours a week, balance could be achieved? And yet, I always have the sneaking suspicion I am missing out on beauty, on some intangible satisfaction one achieves from being more than what she does for a paycheck….

Hmmm. This post sort of sucks. I haven’t come to any conclusions, and all I’ve managed to do is whine. But, for an hour (yes, it took an hour. I know!), I did something that makes me happy, that won’t pay me back in terms of dollars, but already, my day is off to the right foot. I need to think more about this…

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25 Responses to The early thirties, professionally, anyway, for some women

  1. Dorothy W. says:

    I’m constantly in quest of balance too, and I’ll admit that while my job does have its hard moments, it never requires more than 40 hours a week (although the hours I do work are very intense). Given that fact, I wonder why I have such trouble finding the time to do the things I want to do. I wonder if, for me at least, there’s a level of dissatisfaction and longing that just isn’t going to go away, no matter how I set up my life. And yet it’s hard to give up the quest for balance — I’m not sure I can. I have been trying to enjoy the good things I do experience as much as possible — to squeeze as much out of those things as I can, and by focusing on those things to cut down on the longing for more. I think this has helped, at least a little.

  2. laura says:

    What a great friendship! I love the no-guilt part, lol.

    “What if we recognized that, yes, having a baby is an overwhelming prospect but one that can be figured out when it actually happens instead of the constant concern about how it would actually work?”

    Aww, honey, this is exactly true! You can’t plan for a baby, silly girl! :) Even if you tried, you would have to re-plan once it came, because you would have it all wrong. I’m just winging it ;)

    But I don’t cook though, so I can’t help you there.

    I loved this post! It’s interesting to see the flip-side of the coin from the path my life has taken, and that no matter what we do, I think we’ll always have doubts and curiosities about the path we didn’t take, or the things we didn’t do more of.

    Men really don’t fret much about all of this, do they? I think in general, men are better at doing what makes them happy, rather than doing what they’re “supposed” to be doing.

  3. Meriah says:

    I just love you. Note to self: Am not crazy. Or if crazy- at least not crazy alone.

  4. Meriah says:

    P.S. I am usually secretly a little overwhelmed with the books that you are “currently reading” and find delight in “…back issues of the New Yorker and Rolling Stone…”

  5. auntjone says:

    OMG Courtney- get out of my head!!

    I have been feeling overwhelmed for WEEKS- my house is a mess, I’m trying to start a garden (see?!?), the baby started crawling and is into everything, my job bores me to tears and I feel like something is missing- like I’m not doing something I should be doing. I don’t mean an errand or project, but that I’m missing out on life. Reading blogs of women who love their jobs and travel frequently and have style (like Maggie Mason, I love and hate her) hasn’t helped my feelings of inadequacy. I feel like Bruce Banner: there is something in me that needs to come out. I don’t necessarily think it is a huge, green thing hellbent on destroying everything. Well, maybe it is. Some days I’m pretty angry and stressed and I just want to throw things and swear at the STUPID people I sometimes have to deal with at work. But I suppress my inner-Hulk and trudge through life.

    I don’t think balance exists for ANYONE. I think it is impossible and intangible. I think you can be damn close, but something will always be out of whack. And once you get that thing back IN whack, the pendulum will swing the other direction and WHACK, there goes something else.

    WHEW. I’ll give you back your blog now. Thanks for expressing what I couldn’t!

  6. Make Tea Not War says:

    I constantly feel overwhelmed, confused and & unsure of what to do next. There’s so much I want to do; a lot of which is not simultaneously compatible- career progression AND experiencing every single possible moment of meaning and enjoyment out of motherhood AND cooking extraordinary meals AND being a free spirited bohemian seeing the world and going to lots of live music etc, etc. I’m constantly struggling with restlessness and dissatisfaction especially when it is stopping me from enjoying the precious moments and the highpoints as they go by which I’m all too aware I do from time to time. But I don’t think it’s actually bad to be a passionate, enthusiastic person with a zest for life. I don’t think there’s a single decision in my 20s and 30s I didn’t overthink and worry about but I don’t really remember all the hours I spent on that. It’s the experiences and fun and the moments of connection that have stayed with me. I think it all works out in the end.

    BTW whoever told you you shouldn’t speak out in meetings till you are 5 years older is a self important, insecure fuckwit. I never heard anything so stupid in my life.

    • Mer says:

      Make Tea Not War (MTNW), you hit the nail on the head right here: ‘But I don’t think it’s actually bad to be a passionate, enthusiastic person with a zest for life. I don’t think there’s a single decision in my 20s and 30s I didn’t overthink and worry about but I don’t really remember all the hours I spent on that. It’s the experiences and fun and the moments of connection that have stayed with me. I think it all works out in the end…’

      I love this post, so THANK YOU. It’s so thought provoking and accessible. I relate to the post and to the majority of comments. Right now I’m in my early thirties, and I am job searching, having finished my graduate degree, while also planning a wedding. And many of my friends are buying homes and having babies! If I look at my life path in that way, or compare, I feel behind and confused. What’s next? I’m still working on my ‘career success’ but also getting to the point where I’m getting married in a year and will want kids soon too. So how will this all work together?

      That’s what brings me back to MTNW’s comment, is that along the way, we WILL look back on our attempts to make a garden, or a meal that came out great that we enjoyed with our husbands, or a time when we planned a weekend or day trip with friends. They are small moments, but when it boils down, and we can look back, that, along with a superior blog post where we got our thoughts out, are the pieces of our lives that we thread together that make us realize we really are living…It’s not so simple, but it’s what I try and remember when thinking about these big ticket items, so to speak, that I want in life and feeling overwhelmed.

      Thanks for your candor everyone!

  7. litlove says:

    When I was in my thirties (sigh) I was working full time at the university and had a young child. I could not agree more that some of that decade contained the most exhausting years of my life. But you know what? Having a child obliged me to have balance. Worrying about work can be ridiculously all-consuming (step back and watch a man do it). But there always came a point when I had to give it up, do something mindless and simple and real with my son. I honestly think he kept me sane through that period. And he reminded me that what really counts is not what you achieve, but who you are.

    I was a hopeless mother to begin with, really, I didn’t have a clue, but as I got a bit better, so it gave me the strength to realise that playing, reflecting, engaging with the simple experiences, gives more pleasure than a good performance in a meeting. Now, I’m by no means advocating motherhood above work, just saying they have something to teach each other. Children keep you real. Work helps you to stay yourself. It was – eventually! – letting the two communicate with each other that helped me find a better relationship to what I wanted my life to be.

  8. J says:

    Thanks for again putting down my thoughts in to words. I deeply enjoyed our weekend and I am already planning for next year (bikini-ready of course!). While there is no conclusion or resolve or easy answer, I will be sharing this post with my other 30-something friends who are struggling with careers, drying ovaries, and desires bigger than the time allows. I talked to an older co-worker I really admire, who let me know that most people start seeing a therapist during these years (28-33) to “figure it all out” and while there is a bit of comfort in knowing that other people are feeling this same pressure, and of course, I will never figure it all out, I just want to stop over analyzing, worrying, feeling guilty, feeling depressed, living for tomorrow, etc. I just want to “be” present in my life, enjoy what I am doing now (without thinking about what I should or could be doing), and give my my friends and family more love and appreciation. BTW: birthday week continues–A has been treating me and spoiling me all week. What should I have to worry about: Aren’t I a lucky girl!??

  9. smithereens says:

    I didn’t quite catch when was your birthday, but happy (probably belated) birthday nonetheless!
    Planning for a child- ah! Just kidding… The 2 words simply don’t go together, but it doesn’t mean there’s no fun.
    It’s like the big slide at the aquacenter, when you’re in it’s no use trying to plan you’re just going with the flow…
    As for balance and being overwhelmed, I completely understand you. But who said people used to have balance before? Perhaps women in the Middle Ages had no more balance and felt just as overwhelmed as we do… and they were starving on top of it.

  10. auntjone says:

    “Perhaps women in the Middle Ages had no more balance and felt just as overwhelmed as we do… and they were starving on top of it.”

    You’ve given me hope, Smithereens! At least I’m not starving.

  11. appellationmountain says:

    Happy (probably belated) birthday!

    Every word you’ve written is true. And yet, here’s my silver lining: the very word balance has been corrupted. The way we toss it around, it no longer means stability and equilibrium – it means perfection.

    So you can’t ever achieve balance. You can just, well, *try* to balance. Some days we do turn out the perfect gourmet meal and our kids behave and instead of carping, some colleague calls up our boss and says, “My, isn’t she a smart one! We’re lucky to have her on our team.”

    Other days, not so much.

    My new motto is borrowed from that British WWII-era poster design: Keep Calm and Carry On.

    Because really? That’s the best we can do.

  12. bluebluesoup says:

    Happy belated birthday!

    Courtney, I loved this post. Like everyone else said, get out of my head! There is so much I want to do – so much yoga, so much writing, so much reading, so much volunteering. But whenever I’m doing one of those things I’m thinking about everything on my to-do list and wondering if I maybe shouldn’t be doing one of *those* things instead. I feel like I am living my life on fast-forward (as you said in a previous post) instead of enjoying each thing as it happens.

    And my husband doesn’t seem to have this problem either. He has no need for balance. :)

  13. Cam says:

    Oh Courtney, I love this post, even the fact that you wondered if it didn’t kinda suck. I felt this way when I was 32, although I was dealing instead of drying ovaries with being a single parent of a 4 year old — and I felt the SAME way. A friend confided with me this morning that as she went for her annual mammogram last week she wondered if it wouldn’t be a blessing if her tests were positive — if that would make her rethink life and do those things that she has always wanted to do. Why, she asked, does she feel that something catestrophic need to happen to get her to take those steps to her dreams? Like me, this woman is an empty-nester and likes her job. Yet. Still. The what-ifs remain.

    I don’t have any advice to give on the whole motherhood/career debate. It all happened by the seat of the pants for me and I think that BOTH suffered at times. One of my staff and I were having a discussion the other day about the men we work with (nearly 90% company is male — we’re in IT; that’s just the way it is) and how they all seem to have plenty of time outside of work for ‘BALANCE’ — because their wives don’t work. I bet many of those wives stress that they are not, despite outward appearances. Men don’t stress about it becuase they don’t have nearly the pressures to do it all that women do. If you are not sure about this, listen carefully to the next time you hear one of your male colleagues say that he has to ‘babysit’ for his kids some evening. Women never ‘babysit’ their own kids. They would likely be vilified if they said so.

    This issue, to me, is the main issue of feminism today. How do we celebrate our choices, whatever they are, without feeling quilty about those things that we have healthfully decided to not focus on? That may mean career over family, or it may be letting go of striving for someone else’s idea of perfection and just going by the seat of your pants. Specific work issues today won’t matter in several years, but neither will not making all those gourmet meals, or having the perfect matching sweater set, or for heaven’s sake, being the mom who does everything for the kindergarten class right down to the politically correct decorated holiday cookies.

    Keep asking the questions, Courtney dear, to figure out what works for you. Fearlessly be yourself and pursue that which you want to.

  14. Cam says:

    BTW, I agree with Ms Make Tea: COMPLETE FUCKWIT! This person is insecure and intimidated by your success. If you didn’t speak for 5 years, you shouldn’t have a job, no matter what the profession. I don’t believe that your employers pay you to look pretty and mute in meetings. What on earth did your boss say? If it was anything other than (in a completely professional, sanitized version) that this person was a complete FUCKWIT, you need to carefully consider your boss.

    Ms Make Tea: I love the word fuckwit. Americans need to embrace this word. It is so perfect! :)

  15. Karen says:

    I can relate to so much of what you are saying and reflecting on – I didn’t find the post whiny at all – I was disappointed when it ended, I wanted it to keep going! These are issues that I think about on a daily – sometimes hourly basis and it drives me insane!!! It is a little comforting to know that others are feeling similar – not that I want others to be stressed – but it is nice to have company sometimes!

  16. kelly c. says:

    hi– this is my first visit. LOVED this post. so wonderfully written. just what i needed to read as i have a big decision facing me right now.
    all good things,
    kelly

  17. bloglily says:

    The quest for a happy life is hugely difficult because it’s always in motion, always changing. Fifteen years ago, when I was where you are, I worked a lot, didn’t like my work, and didn’t know if I wanted to have children. Fifteen years later — I work less, like my work more, and well, let’s just say that I think it is really, really important for women to know and believe that children are a choice and that not everyone should feel that this is an occupation they need to take up.

    The key thing for me in putting together a life that really does make me pretty happy was finding work that did not consume me, but about which I felt good and decently paid. Every other satisfying thing in my life followed from that — the writing I have time to do now, the child rearing that I can do without feeling overwhelmed, in particular.

    So I’d say you are on to something in thinking hard about your work. As for the yoga and the cooking and the gardening? If you LOVE those things, if you wake up thinking about them, then do them and don’t ever stop. Otherwise — don’t even for a second feel bad about owning a yoga mat that still looks brand new even though you bought it two years ago. It’s just not that important.

  18. Steph says:

    “I always have the sneaking suspicion I am missing out on beauty”:

    I can totally relate to that statement, and this whole post. I am 27, haven’t yet found a career or a life I feel comfortable in, and constantly worry about planning for “tomorrow.” You know, it helps just to read this post and all of the comments that follow it. I like BlogLily’s suggestion that everything falls into place once you find a career that doesn’t consume you. That gives me hope.

    I often feel trapped in the smallness of my life, and I want it to be bigger, more beautiful, more daring and true. Like everything, I am working on it.

  19. joanna says:

    I love this post. I am in my mid-30s and I feel my life is so unbalanced… meaning, (like a previous commenter said) I’m not managing to do everything – work, my writing, being a mother, wife, housewife – *perfectly.* I feel so out of control just trying to get through the day. let alone serving the family gourmet organic meals with fresh flowers on the table. I question my choices everyday. Why am I working when my dream is to write? Why am I trying to establish a career as a freelance writer and workshop instructor when my children need my full attention? Why can’t I manage it all? Am I failing at this thing called life?

    Women need to talk about these things more often – we put so much pressure on ourselves thinking we will be judged by others, when really we are ALL going through the same things, as all these comments attest.

    p.s. Thanks for reading my blog, btw!

  20. I think you hit the nail when you said letting go of the worry would be incredibly freeing. I worry that I don’t garden and that I should be growing beautiful flowers and healthful vegetables, but then I remember that I am busy growing healthful and beautiful HUMANS, and one day in a couple of decades’ time I will have the time and inclination to focus on plants. We have decades and decades of time ahead of us to perfect yoga, make stews, grow plants and read and write books. Not everything has to happen NOW.

    I think the American dream, and also the Western dream, is about having it all NOW. Ask any woman juggling career, children, interests and relationships and she will tell you that that is a false dream. It does not work. I strongly believe that we can all have it all, but we have to accept that it will be staggered over a lifetime of eight or nine decades.

    Enjoy this fabulous phase of being career-focused and driven. It’s wonderful and fun and life-giving, and you work out who you are and what makes you happy. Also, I can live vicariously through you, and imagine what it will be like when I am once more in the work world.

    As for the shut up for five years guy, I am with Ms Make Tea. Fuckwit of note. The absolute best thing you can do as a woman in the workplace is have and voice opinions. Have them all over the place and let the dudes learn to live with it.

  21. Wow, y’all – just – wow. What a warm, compassionate responses. I am a bit at a loss of how to respond to all of them, but I’m going to try…
    Dorothy – yes, I really need to focus on doing the things I *want* to do and concentrate on them while doing so. I distract myself so easily but I need to make room in my life for the things I love.
    Laura – I know you are right – that any plan I make to incorporate a baby would just be laughable once the baby absolutely showed up, but really, it’s not about the sweater sets???
    Meriah – I love you, too! And no, you aren’t crazy! Take those classes if you want to!
    Aunt Jone – Hi! You know what? Maybe the whole problem comes back to gardening…maybe if we just say, fuck gardening, we’ll feel better? I mean, you have a baby for goodness sake – you don’t have time to garden!
    Ms. Make Tea – there are often times I can embrace the idea that it all works out in the end, but then I so easily forget that attitude when any sort of obstacle crops up, and I start obsessing all over again…
    Litlove – it’s so good to hear you say what you have to say about how children give you balance. I’ve been worried about how my life will or won’t expand for them, but it sounds like it just DOES, and beautifully so.
    J – we are both lucky girls! I am really hoping that this time next year finds us on that elusive beach in our bikinis with drinks requiring umbrellas.
    Smithereens – you have such a lovely way of putting things in perspective, and you do remind me of one thing I’ve always believed…I am very, very lucky to be born into the time I was. I don’t think I could survive well in any other!
    A – my birthday is actually this coming Sunday. J and I just celebrate sometime during the month of April. And if you can keep calm and carry on with your new job, your husband’s job and those two gorgeous babies, well, then I can too!
    Bluesoup – the distraction is my biggest problem too…always feeling like I should be doing something else instead of what I happen to be doing in the time. I am really working on my sense of balance and concentration.
    Cam – even though my job drives me batty, my boss rocks. She completely disagreed with the other woman, and gave me some excellent advice on how to handle it.
    Karen, well, let me tell you – I could probably write a book about this! Hmm, maybe I will…wait, no! Must finish first book, first…
    Kelly, welcome! And I hope you are comfortable with whatever decision you needed to make…
    Bloglily – I think your thoughts about consuming work are so, so important. It’s very hard to not feel consumed by my job but every time I try and disengage a little I seem to get punished for it…
    Steph, it’s so hard for me to imagine you feeling you have a small life – you are one of the brightest, most beautiful and talented people I know. It just goes to show none of us live in a vacuum…
    Joanna – I love love love your blog! I don’t know if I’ve commented yet but it’s just a matter of time if I haven’t. Welcome here!
    Charlotte – I am taking your advice. I am having opinions all over the place. I love the line “the dudes learn to live with it!”

    I hope I didn’t miss anyone…something tells me we’ll be revisiting this subject many times over the next few years!

  22. Oh and PS Happy Birthday. Forgot to say that.

  23. musingsfromthesofa says:

    I am in agreement with just about everyone else, and definitely re fuckwit woman. I’m also in search of balance, and what I’m finding out slowly is that I haven’t even articulated what it means to myself.
    Every now and again I have a flash of insight that I hold onto, and the pieces of the puzzle are slowly starting to come together.
    It helps me to remember that this current situation isn’t forever. Who knows what the fates have hidden round the corner to surprise you with? Or who knows what decisions you will make in your life that will shake up the status quo. The hard thing for me is that it feels as though my life is out of my control, so I’m trying to get that back. And a big realisation was that, hey, I can always just quit my job if I want to and do something else. There may be a thousand other factors in play that I currently allow to prevent me, but the central fact remains.
    Good luck finding your way through the maze, but remember to enjoy it too. And a very belated Happy Birthday!

  24. JK says:

    I loved your post!

    Typically men define themselves by their job, being good at it is male street-cred. It proves they’re a valued part of the world machine as well as providing them the ability to provide. Women however define themselves by their relationships with others. At the same time society has changed so that women also want the power to shape the world around them. This is why office politics and relationships often leave women feeling more drained than men once they leave the office. Often this causes internal conflict because women are also natural caretakers, we want to have that garden and make that soup in the winter because those products are outward signs of caring and loving (yay estrogen!). They’re also productive and signs of the desire to create and keep a home.

    Just my somewhat educated thoughts.

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