What is it that defines women nowadays?
Is it marriage? Kids? A career? Success? Beauty? Being fit? Age?
Since I can remember myself, women should get an education, become successful, be fit, have a relationship, get married, have kids and all this by a certain age. And if women didn’t manage to achieve any of the above but managed to get married and have kids, they still had fulfilled their purpose. They had become moms and wives. And why is this a woman’s purpose? Because that is what we have been told and taught since we were kids. A woman’s purpose is to be great at everything as long as she creates a family. And if it doesn’t work, she can always get a divorce. Still, she has fulfilled her purpose.
As years pass by women are trying to catch up with being successful, fit, smart, sexy, find a husband and have kids. And when all that is said and done, what happens next? They need to stay like that and juggle it all with a smile to preserve their happily ever after.
If by now you are not wondering what the hell am I talking about, it’s high time you did! Yes! Fire away and ask me; ” What the hell are you talking about?”. I have absolutely no idea because none of the above makes any sense.
We, women, are the only ones who can define who we are and what completes us. Ask ourselves, what is it that actually makes us happy and what are the things we don’t want. Leave behind us the “shoulds” we grew up with. Stop and breathe and think of what WE want for a change. When was the last time WE did that? The minute we realize our wants and needs or at least the things that we definitely don’t want; we will immediately feel lighter. Let’s not think of what others expect from us and start thinking of what we would want to do if we had to make a list. Be proud of the things we have achieved and let go of the goals we didn’t manage to reach by a certain age.
The pressure on us women is huge. The reason it is huge, is because we let it. Don’t allow anybody and anything define YOUR life. If we won’t stand up for ourselves, no one will. No guy, no family, no wedding, no kids, no beauty, no success will ever feel that void that we never had the guts to explore because we thought we didn’t have to. We thought we had the answers but we never bothered to ask ourselves the most simple questions. So, we kept going on blindfolded thinking we got it all figured out. Well, girls NEWSFLASH! we didn’t. Or maybe you did.. but for a long time I didn’t and I know a lot of women who felt the same way that I do.
And now let’s get down to time. How about treating time as our friend and not our enemy. Growing older is something we look forward to in our early 20s and then start dreading it as years pass by…
I personally, cherish it at last. Why do I say “at last”? Simply because after wasting years of thinking of where I imagined myself to be by a certain age, I started cherishing of where I am at this very moment. For instance, when I turned 30, I sat down and thought -“Where did I think I would be by now when I was younger?”. The answer was -“Married, with a successful career and ready to have kids.”. Then I asked myself : ‘What do you want right now?”. Shockingly enough for me, because I definitely didn’t expect it, I wanted to be exactly where I was. I was working in fashion at a company as a sales manager for American brands that we distributed exclusively in Greece and Cyprus. I traveled abroad a lot, and worked non stop almost 7 days a week but I loved it. I gained so much experience from dealing with suppliers, store owners, designers, stylists, celebrities and magazines. I was going to fashion trade shows abroad, choosing sample lines, getting a real sense of what the market needs and of how to built professional relationships that lasted through time. All that experience was priceless. Even when the crisis hit Greece and everything was turned upside down. A lot of people took advantage of the crisis to take advantage of talented people to work for a lot less money without even being recognized for their work results. Even then, when everyone was so scared, myself included, I managed to stand tall, take the blow and do it my way… as Sinatra said. I refused to leave my country to try my luck abroad. I refused to stay at a job that drained me. A job that I was working non stop and gave the best of me and on top of it all, I wasn’t getting paid what I was worth for the results I was bringing. I simply chose to reinvent myself. So, after almost 10 years in fashion (in wholesale and retail), I decided to leave it all behind and start all over again. I was scared but I was excited more. I looked forward to opening a new chapter in my life. Even though everyone said that you can’t take chances when things are so tough in the market, I shut down the voices and listened only to my own voice telling me that I can do this. That’s how I went back to teaching English, something that I loved and did before getting into fashion. It was then, that I found myself and my smile again. It is tough and it is scary and I am still trying to reach my goals. The difference now is that I won’t stop till I will. I feel more optimistic than ever and even when I am down, I pick myself up and I keep walking forward with a smile by being thankful for all the things that I have. It’s so much more liberating trying for something that makes you happy than being stuck in a job out of fear.
At that time that I was making changes in my professional life, I made some changes in my personal life as well. – I will cut right to the chase.- In my early 30s, I found the courage to end a serious long-term relationship that I had put my heart and soul into. That relationship didn’t have the foundation to evolve. I really wanted to believe that it did but it didn’t. As I was not in my late 20s anymore, I owed it to myself to be mature, open my eyes and face the truth. That’s why I didn’t marry him and I ended it. When you are trying for a relationship, it always takes two. Otherwise… after a while it becomes too painful and exhausting to keep trying. Letting go of someone you are not meant to be with is liberating in the end. Girls, no matter how scared we might be to be alone sometimes, it is much better to be alone and smile than being in a relationship or a marriage and feel lonely.
You might be wondering why I shared this information with you and what is the relation to “What defines women nowadays?”. This information is exactly what defines women. We all have our stories. Through my stories, through your stories, you and I know what defines us. What it is that we want, what makes us smile, what are our weaknesses and what are our strengths. What defines me and all women is how we see life and how we choose to live our lives.
Is it by learning from our past mistakes? Is it by learning from our experiences? Is it by choosing to be true to ourselves? Is it by standing by our beliefs? Is it by tuning out other people’s voices and listening to our inner voice? Is it by being thankful of what we do have versus of what we don’t have? Is it by choosing to keep walking in this path called life with a smile towards our hopes and dreams instead of settling for what everyone else around us might think is “proper” for us to do? Is it how old we are or how old we feel? Is it by staying positive in a world that everyone tends to be negative?
Are these questions the answer?
You tell me.-
Lots of love,