That was the chorus playing in my head after a luncheon session.
Context – I was complimenting a colleague on her ability to handle people and stay unruffled despite frayed tempers while getting her point across. You could have been a professor the way you explain with such patience and wit, I said. No, you need to have a higher degree, she said. Why don’t you study now and get that degree, I said in a ra-ra mood. And before I could continue with the ra-ra-ing I heard another voice chip in and say, “No, it’s too late now.”
I turned around to see my colleague nod vigorously in agreement to the statement that had chimed in (from another female colleague).
Now, all of us were middle aged, middle class women with responsibilities; some with kids and some otherwise.
I turned around to address the larger group (women mostly) on whether they would pursue studies, given a chance. And the resounding chorus.
Yes, you guessed right.
“It’s too late now.”
Got me thinking, is it really?!
Without getting into gender stereotypes male colleagues pursue studies (most often an MBA) while their family and work life continue in joyous abandon. Got me thinking again, huh, why?
Yes, yes we know. Women take the brunt of marital/familial responsibilities and often have to play an award-worthy role of balancing priorities of husbands, kids, parents, in-laws, families at large, pets, friends, etc, etc… so their ambition & aspirations gets buried somewhere or lost in the long journey of playing life.
But there are women out there who actually manage to win that award and pursue studies as well. It may not be an extended MBA, it might be something simple as a foreign language course or a baking program or a web designing course or what-have-you. What gives?
We forget to ‘listen’ to what we want and need.
We forget that we are individuals (too).
We forget we are ‘gifted’ individuals and not mere responsibility-driven women.
We have bought the dumbing down, stereotyped cliches that society (for the most part) feeds us.
We have bought into ‘pre-defined’ roles assigned to us.
Good for everyone, but what about you? Where do you go once all those entities exist from your zone and you are alone?
Continuing Adult Education is important. For women, perhaps, more than men. Equip yourself with skills that will support you and keep you agile.