Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Big Three Words of Advice

On another blog that I read the question was asked—many weeks ago— “What woman can do when they’re young to be happy later in life?”

I bring it up now because responses just keep pouring in. It’s definitely a real hot button. The question comes from the study that women start out (in their 20s) happier than men, but when women hit their 40s (and onward) they are not as happy as their male counterparts.

The advice given to women to ensure their happiness in their 40s and beyond were these (real hot buttons) words of advice:

--Don’t have kids (if you want to be happier later on)

--Keep your career (if you want to be happier)

--If you are divorced, get plastic surgery (will make you happier)

It is assumed that women are placed with the most responsibility in taking care of the kids, and by deciding to give up their job or work less, therefore, making less money and not being in good financial shape when (if) they do get divorced. And when you do reach that age (40 something—I just turned 42 myself) then you better start up with the Botox and the boob jobs in order to compete with the younger versions of YOU.

I agree with keeping your job or at least one foot in the door at all times. I had always “planned” on keeping my job—I was a business and technical writer for a large investment firm—but having had two autistic children one year apart, I became so overwhelmed with two Irish twins and a demanding job, that the only thing I could do was quit. I know in hindsight that it would have been too difficult to work (even part time) and deal with autism, but I do wish that I kept a door open, in some way, to make starting over a bit easier since my kids are older.

And I think if women want plastic surgery, then fine, but not because they “have to” in order to compete. I guess the theory is that if you look better then you get more opportunities and better men.

And as far as having kids, I think that women would lose out of a great experience. It’s a personal choice, but choosing a career over having a child(ren) is sad to me. These are the experiences in life that make you smarter, wiser, stronger and selfless—especially if you have special needs children.

So for someone in her 40s, I am perfectly happy. I do make less money than I did when I was in my 20s, and I look older, but I can't say that I'm not happy. Actually I think that I'm happier because I know myself so much better and am so much more confident and willing to take more risks and try new things...

What do you think of these “The Big Three” words of advice?

Here is the link for more..


babs m said...

Wow. That was kind of earth-shaking for me. After seven kids, I find my life is immeasurably enriched....tho certainly I'd have different priorities otherwise. I might have traveled to all those countries I now visit by pictures on the Internet. My career is starting to wear thin. I'm not sure it sustains me at all like it used to. And after I was divorced, I was just happy to lose that ugly 225 pounds of fat that used to share my life; forget the surgery. So I've done it all wrong, apparently. But I'm not sure I'd do any of it differently.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

I think that what you wrote in the last part of your post would cause a woman to be much happier than any of the "Big Three." I find that I also value exactly what you mentioned - knowing myself so much better than I did. That's what makes me happier. And I certainly don't think I'd be happier if I hadn't had kids! Who suggested that?! Definitely sad!

Nicole Florence said...

I agree with you! (Just came across your blog :) I guess happier in what sense, is what I would question about this article. If a person bases their happiness on material gains, external factors, that sort of thing, then okay then. I'm a young mother to autistic twins as well as an older son, and just starting out on this experience of parenthood which I can see is really changing me into a different person. I'd like to say a better person! I couldn't imagine ever wanting anything different. Thanks for writing this blog!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the don't have kids. The people that I know who do not have kids are just as happy (maybe even happier)than most. It doesn't make someone a bad person for not wanting kids so I don't agree with Tanya taking the attitude that someone who would suggest that is "sad."