Our lives are not set in stone. We are not the person we were 10 years ago, five years ago, or even a month ago. Our passions change, our goals change, and our priorities change. And this is a good thing!
As human beings, we are dynamic, and innate to that is the ability and the need to evolve to adapt to changes in our environment and within ourselves. Each day is a journey of self-determination where we try to figure out who we are and what we want to do with our lives.
Oftentimes, though, we get guilty when we find ourselves changed – when one day, we wake up and realize that this job is not working out for us. Or that the relationship we are in so no longer what we need or want.
If there is any takeaway that you can get from reading this piece is that you are allowed to change. Change means learning, a shift to something new that could mean an opportunity for growth if you let it. This doesn’t mean that what you are doing right now is wrong, or that all your previous decisions were mistakes, or that you took a wrong turn. It just means you need to take a step back, take a good long look at where you are and where you want to be going, and see how your priorities have shifted.
According to Campaign, a UK-based global business magazine covering advertising, media, marketing and commercial creativity, women have been redefining their place in society and rewriting rules and expectations in terms of careers, relationships, and families. In particular, studies have shown that women are making the world work for them instead of making themselves fit in pre-conceived societal norms.
There is no longer a single trajectory by which we are expected to track and measure our lives against. Traditions, norms, and expectations for women will always be there but we are free to choose how we want to go about life. We create our own milestones and guideposts. You don’t have to do things just because you’ve been told that ‘that’s how it’s always been done’.
It is hard to imagine it now, how once upon a time the idea of a woman being a part of the workplace was such an alien concept, an unimaginable upfront to societal norms and expectations.
Now, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, women are not only a part of the global workforce, but are also more confident and ambitious, and eager to advance and excel in their chosen careers. Women also want to make their careers work for them, and are determined to not have it the other way around with the goal of a meaningful work-life balance.
So, don’t be afraid to go for that dream or for that job promotion. Do not be afraid to let the world know what you want and what you deserve, or to put in the long hours that you need to build up that career. For far too long we’ve been told that ambition and drive are the domain of men and are unattractive in women. Ask – if need be, demand - and work for what you want.
Allow yourself to dream, and to dream big, knowing that while there are still plenty of challenges that women have to face in the workplace, there is a place for you.
Don’t let the world tell you otherwise – you deserve a career that brings you satisfaction, one that maximizes your potential and challenges you to continually improve yourself. If your job doesn’t do it for you, cut your losses and find another path. Remember, it is never too late start over.
Invest in yourself by equipping yourself with knowledge, skills, and competencies that you will need to make your mark. Make the most out of your opportunities, put in your hard work, but also, in the end, be kind to yourself.
The state of our relationships are often conversation and gossip fodders, unfortunately. Us women, in particular, have it hard and come under intense scrutiny no matter what our relationship status may be. We’ve all been there, we’ve all heard it. Why are you still single? Why aren’t you dating? Why did you marry so young? Why did you marry so late? Don’t you want to have children?
You are always going to face these kinds of questions and conversations, but don’t let yourself be affected by it. Studies have shown that women and their relationships are changing with more opting to settle down late. Their social circles also see a mix in relationships, which according to Campaign, range from wide age gaps to young divorcees.
In the end, your relationships are no one’s business but yours. Only you can decide if you are ready for a relationship, if you want to take it to the next level, or if you want to take things slow and be alone for a while. Knowing yourself, cliché as it may seem, is important, and ultimately, the most important relationship you will have is the one with yourself.
Don’t let the pressure to fit into society’s or your family’s expectation of relationships, marriage, having children define who you are. Yes, relationships are important and finding people who will be your network of support, your companion, and your lifelong partner is something that we will have a desire for. But it is not the end-all or be-all of life.
Go on your own pace. Learn what you want, and put yourself first.
Women today want to be more engaged and to be part of something worthwhile to change the world. While many of us crave stability and the security and comfort of the old and the familiar, from time to time, give yourself permission to take risks and try something new.
The only regret that we can have are the opportunities that we did not take. But even then, everything that happens, good or bad, is a learning opportunity. Don’t be afraid of risks, or challenges, or a future of uncertainties. Change is always a risk, and it’s normal to be scared. Do it anyway.
So, go out there and change the world. Pursue that passion project that you’ve always wanted to do. Carve out time for yourself to explore, create, and try new things. It is absolutely possible to balance stability and spontaneity. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into a corner.
Putting yourself in the open is always a risk as you are making yourself vulnerable but the truth is, the simple act of sharing yourself, your story and your experience, can change lives and encourage others to do the same.
Take the risk. Listen to others, take their counsel, but above all else, trust your voice and trust yourself.
Wherever you are, whatever you may be going through, know that you are not alone. The world is changing and so are we. Our priorities have changed – and will most likely continue to change – over the years. The way we do things, the way we perceive experiences, that way we perform our roles and responsibilities. We want to reassure you that it is OK for us to change our minds, to find new passions, and to pursue new avenues in life.
So if you feel dejected because your life is not going the way everybody says it should, take heart. There is nothing wrong with you. Change is a part of life and a part of what makes you human. Accepting it and its significance in our lives will only serve to help us grow and be better. To quote Maya Angelou – ‘We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty’.
So be kind to yourself, and don’t be afraid of that great big change.