When stuff happens around you and life takes some twists and turns, no doubt you seek advice from someone older and wiser…

My Mum and I were chatting the other day about ‘stuff’. I usually whinge and she throws out some sensible conversation. Lately I have been complaining about “what will I really do with myself…” kinda thing. Actually, I’ve been doing this a lot since being on The Block. Being on reality tv doesn’t give you a job, so I’m trying to work out exactly what I would be good at… (I gave you a look back on my 20′s here).

My Mum said something that I cannot stop thinking about. She said “I know this sounds strange, but it’s true: when you hit your 40′s you become invisible.” I was like, really? How? She believes that if you haven’t got yourself sorted by the time you’re 40, then it’s too hard to get a job/career and compete with 20 year old’s. Our population is over-run by Gen-Y, and they are taking over the world.

I thought about it for days. Maybe it’s true. I mean, I can’t say if it’s true or not because I am not yet in my 40′s, but what if I got to 40 and realised I could no longer compete?

So, Mum asked me to sort myself out and get a job. Even retrain, or do a course. You see, I’d be happy to watch tv, and blog forever, but that doesn’t pay the bills ;)¬†She told me my kids were only “on loan” and they will leave me, then I will have a good 20 years left to work and be my own person. She said if I don’t sort that out now, it won’t be easy to compete with those 20 year old’s. I did the maths and I know my boys will all have their own lives by the time I am in my early 40′s. She reminded me of a time in her life when they moved to Albury and I was at boarding school. She was only 38. I couldn’t believe how the time had flown by. I couldn’t believe she was 38! So Mum asked me to think about things and make a plan…

But I’m still not sure…


  1. Nerida says

    Totally hearing you! I’m about to turn 38 and was recently made redundant. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and I need to work it out soon. But in saying that, we have recently made the decision to get out of our comfort zone and move to the other side of the country. Who knows what that will bring for me? Good luck!

  2. says

    I am months away from being invisible !!!! Arhhhh

    I am totally ready for a change in career..
    My kids are pretty doing nothing with us anymore other than asking to be driven somewhere.
    Time for me to think about me!!!!

    Pen x

  3. Jenny says

    Your mum is so wise! I am starting a course next week and I am sure I will be the oldest there (yes I am in my 40′s just!!!), but who really cares. I am doing this for me so that I don’t have any regrets when I am old and looking back on my life. Good luck! ;-)

  4. says

    Your mum is kind of right. At 47 I totally changed careers – went from a HR/Office Manager to a radio producer. Some might say I was lucky, I sometimes think I was, but … I did work hard and put myself out there. My advice … just go for it. If you think you want to try something … just do it. Obviously you can’t be a brain surgeon without training but there are lots of other things you can do. I will be 50 this year and I most certainly haven’t become invisible. I believe the best for me is yet to come. xxx

  5. Kellie says

    Katrina I am already invisible. At 42 I am trying to figure out what to do with my life. I am in retail and the money is terrible. I also can’t take holidays during Xmas, so I miss out on the family holiday with my kids. My problem is also trying to think of something I can do with my life which is hard without a qualification!

  6. says

    I gave up a short-lived (but long studied for) career in law to re-train and become a teacher, but that was before kids. I’m 40 next year (yikes) and my boys are still young…still don’t know whether I’ll get back to teaching. At the moment I just want to do something mind-numbingly simple that earns me money so I can use my free time to blog – because I love blogging! So I’m helping hubby out with his business…
    Don’t know what the answer for you is but I would say don’t stress. I don’t think we are like older generations where people stick to the same career for 20-40 years. You have a multitude of skills – you will be fine :)

  7. says

    My sister Lisa was a primary school teacher but a few years ago decided to become a dietition ( – she now runs a successful clinic in Canberra as well as working for Michelle Bridges and Joanna McMillian – I thought she was so courageous doing this – I know that in my mid 30′s I would not have the balls to do it. I often sit here in the post office and ask myself if I am happy just to do this. I even started writing a novel this week – I need to do something creative and I’m worried that on my 40th birthday (5 years away) that I will be still sitting here asking myself “what am I doing?” On the plus side – I firmly believe you are never to old to learn something new!! If you dont try, you will never know. Annie xo

    • charmaine says

      Good on your sister Lisa. I have done a module of nutrition and really loved it, but i must say i’m scared :) Scared that i will be too far behind the 8 ball in terms of what others know, and as i said in a post below i wont compete with anyone, so i guess i just hold myself back….
      Thanks Annie…good luck with your novel.
      We recently went to a friends 50th and we were so stunned that 10 years had passed by in a flash, as we had also been to his 40th!
      Yes we had raised our family but i kinda felt like i has missed out on 10 years of *doing something* ….weird huh? :)

  8. Shelley says

    Such an interesting topic! I have spent the best part of two decades in two completely different fields, media and childcare. This year I have started studying medical transcription as I am trying to plan ahead for when my daughter starts school ( currently I nanny and she is with me full time). It was so scary to try something new, but it has been so refreshing to get my brain ticking again. There are so many courses our there, I think study is one of the best things you can do to grow and challenge yourself as a person.

  9. says

    I think we are only as “Invisible” as we allow ourselves to be…I’m turning 42, in the past 10 years I have had a few different ‘careers’ to even establishing and running my own business which I have subsequently sold…all being to fit in with being a Mum…I now am thinking about a new path to take and am doing my ground work, I’m not at all fussed by the ‘younger generation’ that potentially could be my competition…I don’t look at it that way…do whatever sits right for you – give whatever it is you dream of doing a crack..our situations can change so quickly, what we are doing today we may not be doing in 5 years and we often look back and would never have imagined us being where we are today…I’m sure that 7 years ago if you were pondering your future you would never have imagined you would have done the things you have in the few past years! I believe you will only ever be as ‘employable’ as you allow yourself to be ;)

  10. Leanne says

    This is exactly how I have been feeling the last couple of weeks – invisible. I am 47 and am employed and love the people I work with, but don’t really love the job. My kids are grown, I still have one that lives at home part time, and some weekends I think what can I do with myself. Then I went on holidays, spent 3 weeks in Hawaii, then came back and had 3 weeks at home, when I went back to work I was filled with such dread – I started thinking what can I do with myself if I don’t want to work here for the rest of my life. This year my husband and I are tackling renovating again, something that we haven’t done for 15 or so year, and after a few restless nights, I decided that I was going to do an interior design course, so I have been busy making plans in my hear, and enrolled in an online course. I don’t know if that will lead to anything, but I guess at least I will be doing something that I have always loved. Who knows what the future will hold, only time will tell.
    On another note to anyone who thinks they are too old to study – I work in a university, and I can tell you all your never too old to study – we have a student here in his 80′s and doing Law – and from what I have seen, the younger students really appreciate the older students input.

  11. says

    Unfortunately I think your mum is right, I’m over 40 and often feel invisible. I am going through a stage in my life where I can’t seem to find a direction. I enjoy blogging, but as you say it doesn’t pay the bills!

  12. samantha says

    My step dad is 58 and has worked the same job since he was 16 (in construction) in the last 3 years though due to the financial crisis he has been in and out of jobs due to companys folding. He is now in a totally different job, an office job for the government that has nothing to do with construction at all and he loves it i think he was hired as he was knowledgeable, willing to work and reliable. So i think there is hope for the over 40′s but it definitely is harder especially if you where to decided to go into fashion or the entertainment industry as they are so often based on looks and superficial.

  13. charmaine says

    Katrina, your mum is so right!

    I’m 44 and feel invisible.

    My kids are now both driving themselves about and so are hardly ever here.They don’t need me much any more, and im really finding that its a huge adjustment!

    I work part time and we also run a business, its a fruit property, so that kind of ties me up at times through the year which doesn’t really allow for a lot of flexibility.

    I studied a module of Nutrition which i really enjoyed but unfortunately when i get overwhelmed my anxiety kicks in and makes life kinda suck :(

    I’m hoping this year will be the year i can get my fitness and health under control, contribute more to running the business and then maybe later look at returning to study.

    I still don’t know what i want to be when i grow up.

    I’m not good at anything really and i refuse to compete with anyone so i am still trying to find *MY* little niche in life.

    Ahhh hindsight is a wonderful thing, listen to your mum:)

  14. ParisgirlAlison says

    I have so much to say on this subject I could probably write a thesis on it! I am just shy of 60 and there have been several times in my life I have felt invisible but none more so than as a mother of young children. I went from a full time career in management to being treated as if I was stupid and never worked a day in my life. Sign of the 80s perhaps? I think that the times we live in leave us all with our insecurities, our expectations are so high and we are so competitive. Not necessarily a bad thing but unsettling all the same. Fifty years ago we each had our place in the world, we left school got a job and stayed there until we had a family or retired. Now, we are expected to have several brilliant careers and be a super wife and mother whilst trying to find money to pay the bills and self fulfillment so we don’t go mad. Katrina, you are nobody’s fool the right inspiration will come to you soon most likely right out of the blue. Look at what you have accomplished in your life already.

    • says

      Thank you. I appreciate your comment, I really do. We are far too hard on ourselves, I know I am my own worst enemy. I need to chill out and go with the flow. Have a great weekend. X

  15. says

    Katrina, my youngest finished school this year. I am 46. It’s going to be a big year for me. Two of my girls are leaving soon to go overseas for how long….who knows. My son is ready to move out anytime now and my eldest daughter has already moved out. The time has flown that’s for sure but I don’t feel fearful at all. In fact I am excited because I can finally do whatever the hell I want!! I no longer feel like i did in my thirties that I have to be someone or something. I have done an amazing job with my kids and now I’m going to do an amazing job with me………

  16. says

    I turned 40 last year and am invisible. I’ve been feeling even more invisible since then and can totally understand what your Mum is saying, especially when I still feel in my 20′s inside. I hope you can find a direction and remain visible as you head towards your 40′s.

  17. RosieRose says

    I believe age has only a small part in this but it is about how confident and comfortable you are in your skin. There seem to be those timeless creatures who radiate confidence and more importantly career wise they exude “competance”. Ultimately that is what a career is about… being good at something that you will earn money from…. or at least convincing the one who writes the pay cheques that you are..ha ha..
    You rock Katrina and will do so for years to come

  18. says

    well lovely Katrina today is the day I turn 46 and I do not feel invisible :) you need victoria rose – over 50 and fabulous you can google her:) I think you might have the notion wrong – it’s not about ‘compete’ in your 40s esp not with gen y :) if that is where you are driving yourself from it will all end in tears. If anything your 20s was compete and maybe your 30s was grow and define and then your forties can be thrive and consolidate …. and then the fifties … that should be FUN ! you have a lot going on at present with the house build and all … maybe it’s focus you want … on less and do more with the less … just suggesting stuff here not preaching … best le xox

  19. says

    I don’t think the questions you’re facing are age bound, I think they can come up at any age. You’re a great communicator and have a great sense of style – I actually thought you were an interior designer of some sort before realising you run Media Maid.

    I’m just finding my path too – it’s a long road but it’s worth it. Find your passion :)

  20. says

    im 42 now and still feel ‘young’ in that Im still very interested in learning, observing, being in touch. I can see what your mum is trying to say but the great thing about getting older is having the freedom to be who you want to be! There are a lot of expectations and yes, everything is marketed and geared for the younger generation but it doesnt mean we cant participate!!!

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