60 is the new 30

December 15, 2008

My mom, an incredibly talented sculptor and painter who has always worked part-time at used bookstores in order to bring in some money, recently quit her job in order to focus exclusively on her art.  At almost sixty years of age.

This can be interpreted in two ways.

is-it-hafe-full-or-hafe-empy

Dirty-Diaper Interpretation: I may be doomed to another 30 years of career angst and only they will I be able to focus on my professional priorities.

Full Night Sleep Interpretation: I don’t have to have it all decided yet.  Life is much more flexible than I have seen it as being.

I have been reading a lot about the dangers of slowing down on my career in order to give time to building a family.  I have read how it will decrease my earning potential, hurt my ability to save for my retirement, and decrease my potential to move up the promotional ladder.  All of these assertions have left me feeling like a failure and terrified of the decisions I have already made.  If I believe these books than it is possible that I have already committed myself to a life of mediocrity. 

I am not willing to accept that.

So, I, for one, am going to go with the positive interpretation.  I strongly believe in encouraging women to work and to move their way up through the ranks.  I still plan on having a full and productive career.  But I am unwilling to say that just because I slow down for a while in order to focus on other aspects of life I am not going to make it as an ED of a nonprofit or a dean of students.  I still have lots of time to do all I want to do. 

Life does not end at 30 or at 60.

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