Time to beat the mid-life crisis

TERESA O'CONNOR
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2011

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Teresa O'Connor

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Budget cuts? The implications of massive public service job losses? Horrifying rheumatic fever rates?

The widening chasm between the advantaged and the marginalised in this country? Children continuing to die at their caregivers' hands with alarming regularity? The importance of positive messages for young women?

The attitudes lying behind the ghastly triple murder-suicide on the Gold Coast? Climate change?

Israel's response to President Obama's message re Palestine's borders? What's happening in Libya and Syria?

The long-term fallout from Fukushima? Close to one billion people might come close to death through starvation this year?

The importance of community activism? How to challenge injustice? Performing arts centre in Nelson?

Who cares? Not me. I'm far more interested in a far more interesting topic – how I can become the woman I really want to be.

I must be enduring some sort of mid-life crisis. I've become restless, irritable and discontented with my roles of wife, mother, sister, friend, worker.

I'm not the right size, I've not got the right clothes, the clapped-out family sedan with a nasty dose of sunburn doesn't cut the mustard any more, my wardrobe is a ghastly assortment of colours and styles, my investment portfolio is nonexistent and my house and garden are complete disasters.

Feeling weighed down by how unempowered and uninspiring I am, a poster at Wellington Airport for the New Zealand Women's Conference on in Wellington this coming weekend caught my eye.

A lineup of speakers, including fashion designer Trelise Cooper, "weight loss guru" Damon Kristoff and others with attitude and investment savvy smiled their perfect smiles out at me.

This could be exactly what I'm looking for, I thought.

I went to the website where I was informed that this was not "a fluffy, deeply introspective conference" – an oxymoron, surely – but "about keeping it real and taking the time to think about who we really want to be".

Where does a New Zealand woman look to find inspiration?

Where can we go to share our experiences, motivate each other and be empowered?

These are exactly the questions that have been troubling me, so I wanted to find out more. And I wasn't disappointed.

Health, beauty, finance, fashion, life balance, goal and life management and "a goodie bag to die for" – a conference "designed to educate, inspire and empower" me to become the woman I really want to be.

So, next weekend is about changing my life. I'm starting off with the anti-ageing tips session given by one of the country's leading plastic surgeons, according to the speaker profiles.

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John Masters has a special interest in facial rejuvenation therapy, with both surgical and non-surgical options, so that seems like the ideal place to begin improving my life.

Then it's on to a weight loss plan that really works with Damon, who apparently has a visionary approach to health, nutrition and lifestyle.

Once I've got that sussed, I'm going to find out how to have the ultimate wardrobe.

The speaker profile for the image consultant, who may well have had some facial rejuvenation therapy herself, tells me she is "arguably the most experienced stylist in Wellington with a discerning and high-profile clientele".

Sounds like the perfect stylist for me – and Mary Coughlan, perhaps?

But just to assure you, dear readers, I am not simply a shallow creature, interested only in my outward appearance.

Oh no, there are the speakers and sessions for my inner well-being as well.

I'll also be listening to a speaker with attitude who has "studied and practised high performance human behaviour techniques, business structures and spirituality" – a very interesting combination indeed – and who has "developed highly leveraged businesses that allow her to use her talents and experience in the fields she loves – human performance, marketing, business and the internet".

Fabulous, she's the woman to empower and inspire me.

And there's another one who will help me discover my inner genius – I think that'll take more than a day, but given the high performance speakers lined up, it could well happen overnight.

This particular speaker is a hypnotherapist and can "listen on multiple levels" to identify my needs and facilitate my growth at a core level, all with deep respect and rapport.

I will also learn how to set and achieve big goals in small timeframes – what every mother working inside and outside the home is doing on a daily basis, I would have thought – but because this conference is about altering attitudes, I'll probably have discarded that negative thought by conference end.

There's yet another session I'm really looking forward to, entitled Love Yourself (in case your friends turn out to be bitches).

I tell you after that, I'll be looking sideways at the women I've counted as my friends for years. What nastiness might be lurking behind their smiles and their caring? Well, that's what I want to find out.

With my face rejuvenated, the weight falling off me, strutting my stuff in my ultimate wardrobe, loving myself and armed with my high performance attitudes and inner genius, I'll be in the perfect position to build my profitable investment portfolio.

So it's a big weekend coming up for me. But if it really helps me become the woman I really want to be, it will have been worth it – and all for a mere snip at $149.

- Nelson

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