I shall soon be turning 40. The realisation has been creeping up on me insidiously. What does it mean? How do I feel? Is this where I thought I would be? Am I now a “grown up”?
It’s time I stopped to smell the roses – or at least a spray of Joy on my next visit to the fragrance counter in David Jones!
I am afraid I am not one for taking stock and appreciating what I have. Sadly it is one of my worst traits and yet I suppose it is partly what spurs me on to achieve more success.
As a freelance communications specialist, I have the amazing opportunity to work with other start up entrepreneurs, mix with luxury brands and attend unique events. It is not unusual for me to frock up a few times a week for functions and client facing meetings, then spend days in front of the laptop, developing content, creating guest lists for events and liaising with high profile stylists and caterers. All of this is done around having a six year old and an extremely busy executive husband.
While I should pinch myself at the way my business has organically developed to enable me to enjoy the flexibility of being self-employed, I face many internal demons that serve to undermine my confidence. The nag of anxiety over any typo made; of maximising each networking opportunity; of waiting for proposals to be accepted and invoices paid. The journey from employee to freelance is not an easy one for someone who is not steely determined to succeed. I realise that each decision and networking interraction has led me to this current state and this is something I regard with wonder – I built this! People believe in me enough to pay for my services and advice!
There are more charismatic, younger, prettier and more talented people in any industry you play in, PR and Marketing are notoriously youth focused a “get out if you can’t take the pressure” approach to professionals who struggle to balance client needs with family life. The fact that I have carved out a niche as a slashie (writer/blogger/marketer/event planner/personal stylist) is due to the quality of my relationships. Happily I can boast that nice girls can get ahead without compromising personal ethics!
If I have managed to instill in my daughter a strong work ethic, a great sense of self belief, a drive to pursue your passions and make a living from them, with a focus on continued learning and stylish personal appearance, then I guess turning 40 isn’t something I should be dreading.