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  • Nicola Lewis, London Mediation Works

The women who have it all..

A friend recently sent me an article published in the US about what the author called "the new midlife crisis'

The author Ada Calhoun writes: this summer, editor Mamie Healey called to ask if I'd investigate how Gen X women are doing in middle age. Dozens of interviews and mountains of research later, here's a 6,000-word answer: "The New Midlife Crisis." (In short: If you're exhausted, scared about money, underemployed, and/or overwhelmed, you're far from alone...

The article outlines the issues of the women who are 'Generation X, born roughly during the baby bust, from 1965 to 1984, who were the first women in their families to go to college. Or go away to college. Or to live on their own, launch a career, marry in their late 20s (or never) or choose to stay home with their children.

The finding will not come as a surprise to many. Women in the workplace and in the home are struggling with relationships, stress, sometimes their career choices and are stressed out with one in five women in America being on anti-depressants. Stressed about money, stressed about working. About.. not quite enjoying having it all..

As the author says:

"Maybe the reason Generation X is having such a particularly hard time is that we had such high hopes for ourselves. We were going to do better, be better than our parents and grandparents.

"The message Gen X women got was 'You can have it all.' … That came with better blueprints and also bigger expectations," says Deborah Luepnitz, PhD, a psychotherapist in Philadelphia, a boomer and author of Schopenhauer's Porcupines. "In midlife, what I see in my Gen X patients is total exhaustion. That's what brings them to treatment. They feel guilty for complaining because it's wonderful to have had choices that our mothers didn't have, but choices don't make life easier. Possibilities create pressure."

When people come to mediation there is often so much more going on in their lives than the one workplace or commercial or family conflict. It is the case that the issues which have caused a workplace dispute, or disruption at home arise out of exactly the kinds of things Ada writes about.

I am not suggesting there is one solution.But I am mindful of the fact that people's lives are multi-layered, complicated and it is always the case that they could do without one more point of stress, whatever the dispute in question is.

This is the article in full:

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