The cover model for the November issue of More magazine is a radiant looking Sarah Michelle Gellar. In a captivating piece by Margy Rochlin called “Growing Up & Growing Younger,” she talks about the shifts her life has taken in its second act. Once upon a time, Sarah was so over the top organized, a friend described her as “a 40-year-old in a 17-year-old’s body.”
Sarah now shares that she has gotten “goofier” with age. When she was younger, she felt the need to always have a plan; now she goes with the flow. There are probably two distinct reasons for this shift in attitude, and I am guessing their names are Charlotte and Rocky. Parenthood creates a shift and a brand new second act for many of us.
Joining a mother’s support group was one way Gellar was able to navigate the uncharted territory of parenthood. You might think her celebrity status would create a barrier for other members of the group, but Gellar says everyone was in the same boat. “This is the first group I could join where I felt like I was on the same playing field. When we talked about sleeping or feeding or any of those things, my situation was no different from theirs. It was very freeing for me.”
Having a foundation of support is what allowed Gellar to gracefully evolve from teen star to working and married mom. When it comes to evolutions, how many do we, as women, have in our life? I sometimes joke to friends when I talk about the different careers I have had, “Oh, that was two lifetimes ago.” I’m in my 30s and feel like I have reinvented myself four times.
In this same issue of More, there is an article called “A Career Comeback At Any Age.” Authors Laura Sinberg and Kate Ashford paint the rather grim reality for women in America when it comes to career gaps. So many of us decide to take some time off to have a child. Some women continue to stay home and never return to the workforce and some ease back in. Now think about the women who have been let go from positions or the women who have taken time off to help a sick family member. What happens is women, more often than men, are faced with having to explain gaps in resumes.
My mother was one of the women interviewed for this article. Five years ago, she unexpectedly lost her job and found herself unemployed for the first time in her life. She did not expect the process of looking for a job to be so overwhelming and challenging. She did not expect to send hundreds and hundreds of resumes and get nowhere. The longer the gap on employment on her resume became, the more anxious she was.
For two years, my mom was in a very specific panic that is only known by the unemployed. Thankfully she found a job, and not just any job, but a wonderful job. The new position was at significantly less pay than my mom was used to, but the hours were great and it allowed my mom to evolve into one of best roles of her life: my son’s grandmother.
Pushing through to get to the next act is a challenge for all of us. It has been for me, it certainly was for my mom, and it even was for Sarah Michelle Gellar. When asked what she appreciates more as she has aged, Gellar said, “How good my life is. I focus less on the bad.”
Image Credit: Peggy Sirota, used with permission from More Magazine
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