Why Are We SO Unhappy? Generationvex; A Recent Survey Reveals That, despite 40 Years of Feminism, Women of All Ages and Incomes Are Less Happy with Their Lot Today Than Their 1960s Predecessors. We Asked Eight Experts to Tell Us Why - and What We Can Do about It Interviews SOPHIE RADICE
Byline: Interviews SOPHIE RADICE
We don't trust men enough to look after us I don't know any women who are happy. Our days seem packed with endless tasks, a never-ending to-do list that just seems to get longer. I don't remember my mum, who is now 89, ever rushing anywhere, despite the fact that she had seven children and no help. She laughed all the time. She had one handbag, not 12; one good dress, not 27. She was adored by her husband, not weirdly competed with or resented. We no longer trust men enough to look after us so we do it all ourselves, just in case. Today, our lives are plagued by guilt: that we haven't worked out in the gym, been 'pampered', had great sex, cleaned every square inch of our homes, baked organic cakes, reached the boardroom, hothoused our children.. HOW TO BE HAPPIER Men have never allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing that their lives have to be perfect. Who knows, if we started to think that way, the chances are we could find some sort of peace.
LIZ JONES, YOU columnist
We want to be good at everything Life for women is certainly more stressful than it was 40 years ago. Every day seems to take a great deal of energy and intelligence, and demands that we make smart decisions about so many different areas of our lives. We are anxious about fulfilling our work potential and fulfilling our countless other roles, too.. HOW TO BE HAPPIER My generation of women in their mid-40s should take stock and realise that even having these choices to worry about is a major victory. My children see me going off to work in a job I love and I am often there to meet them from school. It's important to realise that this kind of flexibility is a gift, because for many women work is not about fulfilling their lives but about escaping poverty. Their stress is less to do with the luxury of choice and more to do with survival.
JULIA HOBSBAWM, author of The See-Saw -- 100 Ideas for Work-Life Balance
We have too much choice
We now have so many choices that they overwhelm us. But the whole point of having a choice is actually selecting what you do. Women shouldn't be anxious about saying no to some things. Instead we should try to view life in the long term.. HOW TO BE HAPPIER Start to respect the things that give you 'flow' - that bring you so much joy you lose track of time. Think back to when you were nine or ten - the age when you are least affected by what other people think - and remember what used to make you happy. Every evening write down the best thing you did today - and you will work out what makes you happy.
OLIVER JAMES, psychologist and author of Affluenza -- How to be Successful and Stay Sane
Women are unrealistic about love In the 1950s two thirds of women said they would marry a man they didn't love, if he had other important qualities that would make him a good father and husband. In the 1990s women were asked the same question and 95 per cent said that they would only marry a man if they loved him. Women now have higher expectations of romantic love -- so high that they're prepared to spend an average of e20,000 on their wedding. The more grand and pretentious the wedding, the less likely the marriage is to survive because the woman's expectation of romantic fulfilment can never be met.
. HOW TO BE HAPPIER Ask yourself what you really want out of a committed relationship and whether it's realistic. If you are going to have a life that works, possibly with children, it is vital that you can function in a good, practical arrangement that doesn't depend on your heart soaring every time he walks into the room.
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WINIFRED ROBINSON, broadcaster and writer motherhood My son was born when I was 41. I would have liked more children, but was a late starter. I didn''t meet my husband until I was 36, having spent my early 30s with a man who refused to commit. I am also what the analysts call 'a postponer' and devoted my 20s to my career. …