I never thought I’d have a mid-life crisis…. at the age of 30….

January 20, 2014

Mid Life Crisis Turning 30
Last year was one of the best and worst years of my life.   I turned 30.  For many this is an amazing celebration and for me it was as well, as I was blessed to share this moment surrounded by many incredible and inspirational people in my life.
 
However, this wasn’t the only emotion that I felt.
 
Despite the obvious fact I knew it was coming, it only hit me on my actual birthday and reaching that age were thoughts of holy crap, what happened to my 20s?  Why hadn’t I achieved all that I set out to achieve by the time I reached 30?  Where were the years of living abroad, the house, husband, dog and kids…?
 
I spent months beating myself up that I failed in all of these areas of my life and what did I have to show for it? Nothing… or so I thought.
 
I’ve had some tough years, but this was certainly up there.
 
So what does a person going through a mid-life crisis do?  They buy a motorbike right?!?  Hmmm… definitely not, for those of you who know don’t know me personally I actually don’t drive much, so a motorbike was definitely out of the question!
 
But here’s what happened next. I started to look at all that I had to be grateful for.  I was healthy, well educated, have amazing people in my life, I live in a beautiful city, I’ve done some traveling and have been running a business for 5 years focused on what I enjoy and my passion.  I forced myself (with major difficulty on some days) kicking and screaming to stop looking at what was missing and start looking at the areas of life that I was happy with. The interesting thing and probably not a big surprise I got from this, was the areas that I had focused the most attention with clear goals and action towards, were also the areas that I was most happy with.  In particular, this was my business and career.  I started to really think about why, and I put it down to two key reasons.

The first reason was related to my values. Having done values exercises a number of times over the years, my career has always appeared in my top 3 values. What we value we spend our time and money on, so it was no surprise that this showed up in reality for me. The second key reason was related to a decision I made when I was at school. I remember making a very conscious decision that life was too short to be stuck in a job that I hated. I promised myself that I would always do work that I enjoyed. This would mean that I could get a lot of satisfaction from what I do and it meant that I wouldn’t really feel that it was work. Yes, I have those days, just like everybody does, however overall I gain a lot of fulfillment for the work that I do, hence why I choose to spend long hours working every week.

Now I share this a lot more simply than the months of internal turmoil that was going on in my head that I was a failure. I am incredibly grateful for the slap in the face of turning 30, as it meant that I could review and reset the focus of my life.

You may be wondering why I have shared this with you? 

I wanted to give you some background what came out of this experience.  Perhaps you have also been through a tough time.  Sometimes you may not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but trust me it is worth pushing through and getting to the other side. The other side for me was clarity. It was evident, that despite my focus on what I love doing, I had let some other areas in my life pass me by.  After great self reflection, I realized I was juggling too many things in my business – from consulting, promotion, websites and different markets – and the constant feeling of guilt, shame and resentment that I was never doing anything as well as I would have liked. I love what I do, but I had taken on way too much.
 
It was this realization that led me to make a very hard decision.
 
After 5 years, I have needed to STOP doing so much and FOCUS.
 
As a result, you will start seeing changes to the Balancing Australia website.  We will shift the focus from promoting work life balance employers, back to you, the individual looking for support and continue to offer some support to employers looking to implement better practices.
 
I feel incredibly grateful for the amazing support of many employers who we have partnered with to promote as an Employer of Choice.  They are an inspiration.  I have spoken to hundreds of employers over the years and these companies truly care about how they can help their staff achieve better work life balance.  Special mentions go to Main Roads Western Australia, Royal Flying Doctors Service, Mercy Health, Ramsay Health Care and Wavelength International.  If you are looking for a supportive employer, I highly recommend you check out these companies.
 
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and understanding as I also focus on my very own work life balance. I’ve shared my experience with a number of people who also opened up about feeling the same way when they turned a certain age. If you happen to be reflecting on your life, I encourage you to look at all you are grateful for. If you struggle, trust me, push through, they are there and they are worth celebrating, whether you are turning 30, 40 or any age. Then begin the fun journey of taking action to make the next chapter of your life even more magical.

Wishing you all a balanced 2014.

P.S. If you need help, I encourage you to reach out to your family or friends, or contact Life Line on 13 11 44.

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