I still vividly remember being 10 years old and desperately looking forward to being in my 40s. In my imagination, I was a highly successful lawyer, helping the less fortunate in society, with impossibly long, straight hair (I had short frizzy hair as a young girl!).
So turning 40 has always been a big deal. And whilst my childhood dreams have not exactly come into fruition, what I am beginning to realize is that turning 40 is more about recognizing how far I have come and how much more I have to go.
I’ve had many careers since my 10 year old daydreams, including a brief stint as a pop star, a checkout chick at Target, a law clerk at a criminal law firm, a family lawyer, and a recruitment consultant for an international agency.
My most challenging role, however, began in 2007 with the birth of my first child, followed 20 months later by my next little one, and then the arrival of identical twins 22 months after that.
For a person who thought I would never have children, I suddenly found myself with 2 toddlers and 2 newborns. What followed was 4 years of utter chaos – enough to rival even the most hardcore ‘Survivor’ contestant. There were days when I physically was so exhausted I didn’t know how I could keep going, and even with the support of a brilliant husband, amazing parents, supportive extended family, and the best friends a girl could ask for, there were days when I didn’t think I could keep going!
And then before I knew it, I had 2 children at primary school and 2 children at 4 year old kindergarten, and life all of sudden became simpler. I had moments in my week where I could breathe again, clean the house without 4 children around my ankles, and start to think about what I wanted to do beyond housework and children.
So one night sitting before my computer pondering the thought of re-entering the adult world, I found a job advertisement posted on JustMums Recruitment’s website. It was a consultant role at a new business called ‘Legally Yours’ and the founder, Mira, was searching for someone to join her in disrupting and changing the way legal services were delivered and paid for in Australia.
I honestly could not believe what I was reading – this advertisement was everything and more that I have ever wanted. A job where I could use my legal knowledge, but have flexible hours so I could still maintain my home life, all the while bringing about long overdue change to an archaic legal system.
So I sent an email with the opening line ‘you probably won’t be interested in meeting with me, however….’ and hoped for the best. Within the hour, Mira had emailed me back and within a few days we met for coffee and I was hired.
Fast forward 2 years later and I am now a full equity partner in Legally Yours and operate fully virtually out of my home office. I have all 4 children at primary school and I have recently hired a cleaner! What a lot of difference 24 months makes!
So I am now a couple of weeks away from turning 40 and am feeling reflective but also very excited about the future. My week is not always smooth sailing – it is challenging working and living in the same space, although it provides maximum ability to be on a phone conference and load the washing machine at the same time.
School holidays are particularly challenging, but I have now learnt to ask my husband, family and friends for help during this time, and also learnt how to accept that sometimes I just won’t achieve all my goals during one day.
Finding acceptance of my situation and changing my perception on my circumstances has really been the key to my successes, both personally and professionally so far. By acceptance I don’t mean settling for your situation – rather when I find situations overwhelming I take the time to acknowledge the situation, accept the circumstances, and then turn my energies towards thinking about alternate ways to achieve the desired end result. It might not always be perfect, but I can honestly say that my life is imperfectly perfect and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Written by Karen Finch from Legally Yours