“It’s a waste of time to care so much about what other people think. I was much more aware of and I cared much more about how people were judging me in my 20s. Now I don’t have any time to care. And I can see I would have benefited from not caring then.” – 40-something, working mom, artist, wife, Cleveland, OH
I hear this sentiment from a lot of 40-something women. It’s interesting. Maybe it really does happen for some because we just don’t have time…and maybe for others, it’s a little therapy, self-awareness or life experience…but the end result is the same. We put ourselves first. It’s a completely freeing thing to worry about what you think instead of what other people think. I hear this over and over again from 40-something women. Their wish… that 20-somethings today can get a little head start on thinking about what is right just for them.
These women share there thoughts on putting on blinders to the judgement of others:
“There is a tendency to think the grass is greener. I have to have the right couch, the right clothes, live in the right neighborhood, the right Instagram profile. But that’s just keeping up the appearances. Today, I like where I live. I know that we did the best that we could. Most of the time the most perfect appearances end up being the worst on the inside. Behind the pretty picture can often be the most dysfunctional, and the most troubling stories.”
If you care less about what other people think when you are young, and what other people are doing, you could focus on so many other things. You could travel. You could see different perspectives and cultures. You could volunteer at different places. If I had channelled some of that time and energy that went into shopping or going to the right places or going to the right schools into helping others and learning how other people live, I would have become more comfortable in my skin sooner. For me, I wish I had done the peace core. Anything that makes you look through a different lens, I think it would’ve been amazing. You won’t ever do it again. That’s the only time you can do it. Not when you’re married, not when you have kids.” – 40-something, business owner/non-profit, Cleveland, OH
“Don’t worry about what other women are doing and you have to look a certain part. I was confident but not with men. I interviewed at a major women’s magazine after having worked for a few years in a totally different industry. Everyone was like there is no way you can get that job without experience first but I went for it. And got it. I didn’t listen to what other people said or thought. But not with men. Then I felt it was so much more of a meat market and I didn’t feel like I stacked up. I was like, “look at me I’m the funny one.” But with the job I wasn’t thinking about fitting the part I was just being me. That’s when you are at your best.” — 40-something, wife, mom, freelance consultant, Stamford, CT
“Don’t care about what other people think. To be young and not care what people thought of you. . . everyone would want to be your friend. It would be a pure experience. Every experience would be fresh. And it can be. You can realize it any time. There is this wall that is preventing you from being your best self. Adjusting how you look, or what you say or being self-conscious, trying to be something your are not. When that wall is gone…you really do shine through.” — 40-something, working women, Single (divorced) woman, Los Angeles