Granted, it may sometimes be difficult to look on the bright side of life, but the picture is nowhere as grim as some people are painting it. This really is a wonderful time to be alive, and there is so much for women to be positive about. And I’m not talking about putting on a brave face or making the best of a tough situation.
The road to happiness may have a few potholes, but it is still there, and we can make the journey untroubled if we keep reminding ourselves of the things to feel great about. So here are my top ten reasons to be optimistic right now.
1. More women are making more money than ever before.
From kitchen table startups to multimillionaire mompreneurs, more women are taking control of their lives and shaping their own destinies. We are taking advantage of the abundance of financial opportunities that are out there, seizing the moment to create the wealth that we could only once dream of. A 2009 study by the Women’s Business Research Center highlighted the fact that women-owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of all businesses. We have taken note of the recession but have not been swamped by it. It’s been a time when women have shown their true entrepreneurial spirit by starting new businesses or revamping their existing ones.
2. We are living longer.
Life expectancy is at an all-time high. The rate and pace of scientific advances and improved diet and lifestyles mean that Americans are living much longer. Chronic conditions such as heart disease are in decline because of better diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. Our chances of beating breast cancer are better than at any other time in history. Not only are we living longer, but we are staying healthier, too, as we have learned to take much better care of ourselves. The health messages are getting through as cigarettes are being stubbed out in record numbers. We are drinking in moderation and reaping the benefits of keeping our bodies in tip-top shape.
3. The world is a safer place.
Although it may seem like a falsity, we are actually living through one of the most peaceful times in recent history. In The Post- American World, Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, cites research studies that show wars of all kinds have been declining since the mid-1980s. He contends that we are at the lowest levels of global violence since the 1950s. And Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker believes we are probably enjoying “the most peaceful time in our species’ existence.” The only reason it doesn’t feel that way is because of the growth of the information age and the intensity and immediacy of the images from the world’s troubled hotspots that are beamed to our television sets every day.
4. Age is no longer a barrier.
We can achieve whatever we want at any stage of our life. Women look great and accomplish more in their fifties, sixties, and beyond. The baby boomer generation is redefining what it is to be “old” and pushing that label to a much later age. Instead of retirement, it’s reinvention, as women realize they have so much time to do something with the rest of their lives. Whether embarking on a round-the-world adventure, planning a daredevil parachute jump or starting a whole new career, age puts no limits on what we can do.
5. We can have a work/ life balance.
Women can and do have it all. We are strong, determined, and driven, and despite the struggles faced by previous generations, we can balance rewarding careers with fulfilling personal lives. Keeping a house and career on track is not a cinch, but a recent survey by the global consulting management firm Accenture revealed that the majority of young professional women believe they can combine a satisfying and successful career with a full, active, and vibrant personal life.
6. We are leading more spiritual lives.
A renewed interest in spirituality is giving more meaning to our lives. No longer are we neglecting and starving our souls. The soul is the source of our inspiration, hope, and joy. And we are meditating, practicing yoga, and learning to take better care of our spiritual and emotional needs. Self-care is no longer a luxury but a vital life-enhancing practice for which we are making time.
7. We are the teachers.
Women cannot only nurture, shape, and influence their children, but the rest of the nation’s youth are also benefiting from our wisdom, as 90% of elementary school teachers are women. “Knowledge is love and life and vision,” said Helen Keller, and our greater capacity for compassion, unconditional love, and foresight guides and enriches the minds of the next generation. It is a powerful and privileged position to be in.
8. Women are wealth creators.
Today, women entrepreneurs are making an enormous impact on the economy, contributing almost $3 trillion to the nation’s coffers every year and creating or maintaining 23 million jobs (16% of all U.S. jobs). That’s according to a study carried out by the Center for Women’s Business Research. The report also stated that if U.S.-based women-owned businesses were their own country, they would have the fifth largest GDP in the world, putting them ahead of countries that include France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. We are a booming industry; the even better news is that we’re only just getting started!
9. The Internet makes shopping a snap.
Never before has it been so easy to indulge in a spot of retail therapy-and for the best price-as the world’s biggest shopping mall is right at our fingertips. We can browse through the latest collections in the hippest boutiques, have a virtual fitting of a gorgeous new outfit, and order just about anything we desire from the comfort of our laptop or PC. No more lines, ill-tempered shop assistants, or traffic jams, as the Internet brings us the unbridled joy of worldwide window shopping. The surge of pleasure that comes with a fabulous new purchase is just one simple mouse click away.
10. Candlelit bubble baths.
Turn the lights down low, put on some soothing sounds, light a few scented candles, and sink into the tub for a long luxurious soak. Candlelit bubble baths are still one of the best ways for any woman to unwind, and they’re tax-free! They never fail to relax me when I’m tense or rejuvenate me when I’m beaten. Treasure these moments of pure bliss that leave you feeling like a goddess.
Focus on what feels great.
No matter how dark the days may look, we can turn things around by focusing on the things that make us feel optimistic. Draw up your own top ten list, keep it within eyesight, and keep your eyes and mind fixed on what is good about the world. Storm clouds may gather, but concentrating on all the things that inspire us will make it easier to achieve our goals. – Ali Brown
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ALI BROWN
Self-made entrepreneur and Inc. 500-ranked CEO Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE weekly articles and advice at www.AliBrown.com