Coming of age… questioning substance

I consider myself to be a person of real substance.  People who are insecure will probably immediately jump to the conclusion that I have a huge ego for stating this or that I am “up” myself.  Well, that’s their problem. I can’t control their thoughts. It’s just I have become more confident about myself lately and I have identified exactly the person I am. This is nothing to be ashamed about. There is a big difference between ego and confidence and I consider myself to be a very humble and modest person, which in some ways over the years, has probably been more of a hindrance to me than a benefit. But I am getting off track here. As a female in my early 30’s, I have spent a considerable amount of energy and time in the past analysing and comparing myself to other females and peers. It is a very normal human activity to do, of course, but we females do love to over-analyse anything and everything and in this particular instance, I am no different.

When I have been in my analytical state, I’ve observed that I am quite different to most of my peers in a variety of ways.  I don’t mean to say that I am special or unique; I mean that I am a little weird at times and well, just different. I do believe I was born before my time – probably by 50 years. I generally don’t follow the masses. For example, I can’t stand any sort of reality television, Australian Idol, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Andrew G, Rove, Neighbours and today’s top 40 and I consider U2 to be just ok. I have never been interested in nightclubs or dance raves and I rarely watch  television. I read loads of books and I am into the likes of older singers such as Belinda Carlisle, Elton John, 80’s music, some old punk, Andrea Bocelli, some classical music, traditional rock and roll, movies that are deep and make you think such as Balibo (how many of you have heard of it? I had to see it on my own) and the Stoning of Soraya M, suspense movies and ABC documentaries. I am not into many chic flicks; never seen a Harry Potter movie and never will and I won’t waste my time bothering to see Avatar. What the hell is New Moon all about and the craze with these vampire movies? I just don’t get it.

I love having deep conversations with people about current affairs, world issues and some politics. Not about last night’s episode of The Amazing Race, Dancing with the Stars or the latest Apple product.

I hate clothes shopping and I much prefer to go hiking, camping or ride my bike on weekends. Even visit a museum or gallery.  Having said that, I do love Melbourne’s cosmopolitan cafe culture and I can quite happily sit in an inner suburban café for hours drinking hot chocolate or wine.

My favourite actresses and actors are the likes of Susan Sarandon, Cate Blanchett, Helen Mirren, Michael Douglas and Gene Hackman. Not Adam Sandler, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson or Kiera Knightley.

I hate the arrogant Australian cricket team and I usually barrack for the opposition unless they are playing England.

I get disillusioned about the lack of manners, common sense and values, which seemed to exist in people a generation ago.

I probably get along better with people that are older than me than those my age or younger.

Two of my favourite songs are John Denver’s classic Take Me Home Country Roads and Kenny Roger’s The Gambler.

I am very interested in my family history and tree, and in particular my maternal grandfather, whereas a lot of my cousins couldn’t care less.

And I would love to have a New Years Eve where we could actually sing Auld Lang Syne.

Seriously, no wonder my last relationship didn’t work out.

That is not to say I hate everything about modern society and that I consider those that do or don’t enjoy any of the above to be less worthy. Far from it. I said I generally don’t follow the masses but I am the first to admit I do enjoy some chic flicks; Notting Hill, Ghost, Love Actually and Bridget Jones are some of my all time favourite movies. I have seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy and loved every one, and I don’t mind the odd song that I hear on today’s top 40 radio.

But I do believe I am grouped in the minority for my age group and therefore I struggle to find people who are interested in the types of activities I enjoy. When Belinda Carlisle comes to tour Australia this year, I will be going with my mum.

It’s also no surprise to me to see groups created on Facebook such as I don’t care how many affairs Tiger Woods had. He’s still a legend, or Tiger Woods can cheat on whoever he wants and so on. And it’s certainly no surprise that the majority of people who join these groups are men. Imagine if Tiger Woods was female; I am confident there would be no legend status attached to it.

Which brings me to my next point.  Finding a man who has depth and real substance and who doesn’t belong to such groups as the ones above on Facebook. Do men want a woman with any substance or do they want only a shallow princess and handbag? If that is the case then I am probably going to be single forever. Do they want ‘ever after’ or do they want to go through life having only periodic relationships? Do they want to be stimulated by deep, insightful conversation or only in the bedroom?

I don’t know the answers; I am still finding out. If anyone has them, then please let me know.

One thing I do know, in the words of Vanessa Amorossi’s top 40 single, This is Who I Am!

~ by Shae on January 14, 2010.

22 Responses to “Coming of age… questioning substance”

  1. You think people get on you for having an ego… go look at what people have attempted to say to me

    • I checked out your site and I know what you mean. LOL. I guess for me, my new found outlook on life and confidence has taken some people by surprise. But they can suck it up. Not me!

  2. I do know men of substance but and they are trained to earn a womans heart to court her the old fashioned way. They are trained about courtship and not to just want a woman to get her in bed. Its must be based on respect and listening.
    They are coached on the steps of a man and how to treat a woman, yes ladies they do exist. I have met them they are really genuine guys and pretty cute too.
    And yes you guessed it they love going to church. Single, gorgeous and treasures. I didn’t believe it until I saw it,these guys could be models.
    Don’t loose hope their out their.

  3. I love this post. It’s like coming out of the closet about who you really are. In today’s over sensative culture, it is a bold move to come out and say what you really think and I am so happy to see someone do it! It’s ludicrous that kids can’t even sing baa baa black sheep at school any more because they may offend someone. For goodness sake, black is a colour not a swear word!!!! My coming out is this:
    I can’t stand footy (my ex made that a certainty)
    I find cricket the most BORING sport on earth!
    I also rarely like a song in the top 40
    I LOOOOVVVEEE classical and theatrical music
    I LOOOOOVVVEE reading REAL books not about vampires
    and I love nothing more than a stimulating conversation.
    There, I said it!

    Congratulations Shae! I love this post and I encourage everyone to come out and be who they REALLY are!

  4. I Love Harry Potter as your sister will remember – but I also wish that people talked more about real things, current affairs, what is heppenining in the world not how many women Tiger Woods has had, like you I can’t stand reality TV – and why does a mobile phone need to be a PC as well, whats wrong with your Laptop at home? but I also agree with Bronie there are men of substance out there and you will find that their fathers have impecable manners and totally respect women – mind I have to find a keeper yet!! But I am rambling now – really enjoy the blog Shae – keep it up

    • Thanks for your comment about my blog. I am glad you are enjoying it. I have just never been interested in Harry Potter but I do know that my sister loves them all. That’s where we are different.
      You give me faith when you say there are men of substance out there. I will remain hopeful!

  5. Shae,

    Thank you.

    I honor you for being YOU!



  6. Hi Shae, Haved loved reading you blog, particular your latest. I have to admit I did have a bit of a chuckle in a nice way, as you like a lot of the things that I like!! We appear to have the same tates in music-my neighbours get to hear Andrea Bocelli on a regular basis. A lot of the music that you like ws what I like to listen to and sing (yes, believe it or not I sing!) I agree with the movies-I hate vampire movies and I am not interested in seeing Avatar, however I may have to go and keep Johnnie company! I hate reality TV, but do watch UK TV and some of the crime shows I think I should have been a detective. Had we lived in Melbourne I am certain I would have applied for either Customs or the Federal Police. Not to worry though as I have always been very happy with my lot in life, especially my hubby and children, we are very close knit. I have to admit though, I did like the Harry Potter movies. I love doing family research and have spent quite a bit of time doing this for John’s Dad (his Mum was a Lawler/Lalor). It is a shame you never met Grandad, I have some lovely memories of him particularly whe I was little-I was 18 when he passed away-seems like a lifetime ago. It’s funny the things you remember from childhood. Grandad used to watch Coronation Street in the 60’s and also Homicide and Division 4 and I was not allowed to watch them as he didn’t think they were appropriate for me to watch-such “tame” programs when you compare them with todays crime shows. Quite often Mum will tell me stories of when she was little and different things that happened, and I have often asked her to write them down-to no avail-. It would be nice if she and all her brothers and sisters would write something about their childhood and growing up in Carrajung Lower so that it could be compiled insome sort of book form for future generations, all these stories get lost as time passes. Are you interested in doing something along that line with me?? The other thing I should tell you is that I enjoy any time I spend with you as you are a very INTERESTING person, definately not weird!! and yes, there are some good men out there-Imarried one 36 years ago-so son’t give up hope that you will fine one. Would love to catch up with when I am in Melbourne for a coffee some time. Cheers Sheryl

  7. Great read Shae. It’s great that you have different tastes, the world would be a very boring place if everyone was the same, well done for writing this post. I agree it seems that substance seems to be missing these days. I hate the fact that our society is so obsessed with celebrities. I too am not interested in much reality TV. I think a big thing that is missing these days is Respect.

    On a less serious note. I hate shopping too, agree with you on the Aussie Cricket team. I used to love watching the cricket with my Dad when I was younger when Alan Border, Merv Hughes and Dean Jones played. Now I have no interest because of their arrogance lack of sportmanship. I don’t like Australian rules football. In fact I’ve never been to a game. I’m not into the twilight series but must admit to a love of the amazing race guess it’s the travelling and going to different places.

    In my opinion men want a handbag/princess to have “fun” with but they do want to settle down with someone with who has more to offer. Come on men make some comments. Am I right?

    • You are right Heidi. Why aren’t any men making comments? Am I correct in what I wrote? Very interested in their opinions and thoughts if they be so bold to make any!! Come on guys!

  8. Love your blog, Shae. It’s among my most clicked-on bookmarks!

    Although I’ve read every post since you started it, I’m yet to comment on anything… until now. No real reason for this, other than sometimes I’d rather take a passive role – happy to watch the world go by, instead of actively helping it spin.

    Having read your latest post several times over the past few days I thought I’d add a male’s perspective, considering no others have – perhaps it’s because the majority of men do actually lack substance?

    While I love the outdoors, drinking beer and girls in bikinis as much as the next bloke, I am a man of depth and real substance.

    As lame as it may sound, it’s these abovementioned ‘traits’ (for want of a better word) that enable males to instantly bond with each other. The problem of ‘finding a man of depth and real substance’ arises when he allows these common male attributes to form the only level of his personality. Unfortunately, for most girls today, this is the case.

    I don’t agree with cheating – no matter how hot the supermodel might be – and I definitely wouldn’t attend a so-called inspirational seminar with Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods as guest speakers! I’m over periodic relationships and I don’t want a ‘handbag’.

    While I’m not into ‘princesses’, physical attraction has always played big part in the relationships I’ve been in. Equally important, however, has been the ability to hold decent conversations with my girlfriends – on anything and everything.

    I’ve always considered at the time: will I be happy in this relationship when we’re old? Too old for wild sex, too old for travel or the other things we enjoy. Could I truly live ‘happily ever after’ with this person? Even if we live to a ripe old age, have to spend our days in rocking chairs and conversation is all we have left, will I be content?

    Obviously, only time will tell. I believe, however, these are important questions people should ask themselves in the early stages of a relationship. While it’s unlikely we’ll ever find someone exactly like ourselves (and why would we want that, anyway?), there must be a strong enough emotional/mental connection to keep both people interested… forever.

    Getting back to a lack of personal substance, from my perspective it seems there are almost as many one-dimensional-personality girls out there these days.

    As an example, following a 10-day holiday on the Gold Coast earlier this month, I’m almost of the opinion there isn’t a girl who lives there that’s interested/capable of talking about anything other than breast implants and hair extensions! Arguably, this an exaggeration – but you know what I mean.

    Similarly, it seems most girls in Melbourne are so focused on being an ‘independent woman’ that many decent men are too scared to open a door for them. Seriously.

    What’s wrong with a bit of chivalry these days? What’s wrong with a girl depending on her man every now and then? To an extent, ‘doing things’ and ‘being there’ for our girls defines us as men. Men of depth and substance.

    Some of us do want ‘ever after’. Some of us are interested in watching true-life movies. Some of us do want to be stimulated by insightful conversation – and, yes, most of us also want it in the bedroom.

    There’s no doubt we are so very different when it comes to relationships and, in particular, communicating within them. I’ve read some amazing books on this topic in recent years – and experienced a lot during my 32 years, too.

    Perhaps the reason there are so few men of substance is that we’re all still learning and developing into the men you’d all like us to be? I know there are people who’d disagree I’m the man of depth and real substance I believe myself to be.

    Anyway, this has become pretty long-winded and a little off track!

    I really admire what you’re doing here, Shae! A girl of your depth and substance won’t have any trouble attracting a man of the same.

    That, I believe, is the answer to you finding him… he’ll discover you.

    • Hi Ben

      Thank you for your comments. It is great to finally have a male perspective about this post. Firstly, let me make it clear that this post was not intended to be an attack on men in general. I do know that there are men of substance out there. My father and my brother are great examples of this. So are my uncles and many of my friend’s partners. But after 33 years and having been in and out of a few relationships, particularly the end of my last relationship which left me completely crushed, while I certainly remain hopeful and positive, sometimes I can’t help but feel a little disillusioned about finding a ‘decent bloke’.

      In regards to your specific comments Ben, I do agree with you that physical attraction is very important. Of course, I could not be with anyone if I wasn’t attracted to them. The ability to hold a decent conversation and to have passion and intimacy with someone is essential to any key relationship. One should not knock back the desire to have passion in the bedroom.

      But I do question whether SOME men want ‘ever after’ anymore. In fact I also question females want it too as I am aware of some who DO NOT believe in the concept of The One or whether marriage is a commitment that should last forever. This is true! One female I know has informed me that she believes that The One is only right for you at the right time in your life, not necessarily forever. I was asked recently, after the dissolution of my previous relationship, whether I still believe in the concept of The One. I said absolutely I do and my past experiences has not changed my values or views on that.

      I question anyone who is engaged or getting married if they hold the view that lifelong commitment is not important in marriage or of they believe it may not last forever or if they think it may only last 5, 10, 20 or 50 years? To me, that is abusing the sanction of marriage because one should only enter marriage with the view that you WILL be with that person the rest of your life. If you don’t envisage that happening, then do not get married! Just my opinion.

      In fact, I read recently that Angelina Jolie believes that fidelity is not a key ingredient in relationships. In fact, she said this to Das Neue magazine: “I doubt that fidelity is absolutely essential for a relationship. It’s worse to leave your partner and talk badly about him afterwards.

      “Neither Brad nor I have ever claimed that living together means to be chained together. We make sure that we never restrict each other.”

      Her and I clearly hold different values.

      Ben, I also agree on your view that there are females who lack substance too – like you say they only want to talk about their breast implants and hair extensions And yes, I totally agree with your views on the independent Melbourne women – they are very career driven and I actually see myself heading down this path. It is sad if men are afraid to open the door for a girl these days and chivalry is great. In fact, my last boyfriend was very good at this. I remember he sent me flowers to my work two weeks after we met before we had even started going out and spoiled me rotten on Valentines Day not long after we started dating. I would like to have a man to depend on and to be looked after and feel protected by while at the same time remaining an independent person. To allow each other to be independent as human beings but also to depend, want and need each other as a couple.

      I am also finding that some men do not want to settle down until much later in life – well into their 30’s. In fact I know some men who have started travelling after they turned 30. Perhaps as you say, men are still learning and developing at this stage of their lives. In general I think females are ready to settle down earlier on than this though. I general I find many males are not wanting to take on any responsibility until much later on in life. This was clearly evident in the breakdown of my last relationship. For example, I was ready to buy something to start planting seeds for the future, he wasn’t. He was prepared to keep going with the flow and he will probably be a renter forever. To summarise, I was a much proactive person than he was. But perhaps that simply comes down to the fact we were mismatched and not compatible. But many of his mates were also the same.

      Finally, in regards to your comments about been happy in the same relationship when we are old. I would much rather grow old with someone than grow old alone. Whether we remain single or get married, we will get old anyway and personally for me, I would much rather share life with someone than not, even if that means rocking away in a chair or whatever.

      I realise I am probably very old fashioned with my views and values and very sentimental but these are just my thoughts.

  9. Fantastic, male input.
    Something us girls love (most anyway) is when a man treats you like a lady (that is when the lady acts like one and not a fishers wife)
    When a man give you his seat on the train etc, opens the door for you or lets you enter first these little things fill up my heart so much, it feels like it’s going to burst. It’s such a small things but totally lovely at the same time.
    Protection from a man is lovely, to be admired for who you are and treated with respect (which works both ways)is admirable.
    I learnt something yesterday that when you are married you must respect each others private space, if you need time out or time alone. Then you have the right, what I got was if we respect one another as individuals and not try to make us all the same.
    I think that is the key, not to want every minute of everyday with someone. Give each other respect in a relationship. People push and push until they kill it. When I hear people say,why do they want time away from me if they looked they would be answering their own question.
    You choose to be with someone till death do us part, if we jsut realize, that’s it, their are no more fish in the sea. Eyes off and front and centre.
    Who ever started the saying the grass is greener on the otherside should have been hit on the head. Anyway my thing is guys are different and so are we and no one is a mind reader.
    Give people a little credit male or female. This may help someone in the future.
    Not sure where this wisdon came from, I will shut up now.

  10. Hi Shae. Well I follow you on Twitter and I read your blog, so I thought, I’m a man, why not make a comment!
    I for one really appreciate the ‘weirdness’ that you possess. I think that every person gets to a point in their lives where they almost overnight, stop caring what TV, magazines and now the internet tells them they should care about, dress like, cut their hair like. Some people reach that age in their teens, some in their thirties, and some never, it’s what makes this over populated world we live in different.
    I don’t like reality TV, don’t like the chart music, and most of the music I grew up listening to and attending ‘gigs’I was the only pink person there. To quote Catherine Tate “Am I bov’ved”??
    So what if you don’t support Australian cricket, it’s a pointless sport.
    Shae, be proud of who you are and what you are, if you find someone, then good for you, if not, enjoy the time you have with yourself.

    Oh, and no one likes Belinda Carlisle 🙂

  11. Ben you know me well, you know that I love my man to tht moon and back and I love my children just as much.
    Just please rmember that not everyone is painted by the same brush there are a few of us out there that wants the special treatment, the family life, and the partner that will be there till the end. I am fortunate I have that and you to will one day find the right woman for you she may not be perfect but hey who is, but she will be perfect for you.

  12. Hi Shae, I found your blog while searching “coming of age” themes, as it is a topic that I am highly interested in. I’m from Philadelphia, so I’m no stranger to the mass culture you speak of – after all, a lot of it has originated from American Culture.

    I think part of the problem regarding people who lack substance is that they are far behind in their coming of age. They are less independent of mind/spirit and depend highly on the instant gratification and guidance of their culture via mindless forms of media. These individuals typically lack confidence, are generally unable to form their own identity (borrowing socially normal identities instead), and are ultra-defensive and close-minded.

    I think a necessary component of entering adulthood is developing a conscious identity for oneself. You have to actively consider your place in society and whom you hope to or fear to become. This is the process of self-discovery or soul-searching as some call it. Those who do not enter or complete this process will doubt themselves and face great insecurity in years to come. Mass culture offers a temporary comfort, an escape from ones growing pains, yet all it does is stunt their development. This is partially why you feel out of sync with your age group. While you are well on your way towards a path of self-discovery, many people have yet to start or complete that developmental transformation. The confidence that you mentioned having is clear evidence that you respect yourself. This self-respect is absent from most people in your age group and younger because it hasn’t developed for the majority of that population. It is hard to accept or respect these people, especially when it is clear that they are avoiding “growing up”. Maybe they need help and encouragement from people who have gone through that difficult coming of age phase.

    As far as your question regarding whether men want “ever after” or women of substance – I think you know the answer. Of course there are men who want that. Men who don’t desire that certainly don’t respect the women they are with, or themselves. You will find a companion that respects you as much as you respect yourself.

    It was nice reading your thoughts and others’ comments on your coming of age!

    • Hi there. It’s great to see you have found my blog. Organic traffic is always good. I am pleased to see my blog is getting out there.
      What you say is interesting and relevant, particularly your comment about feeling out of sync with my age group. I think you are correct -sometimes I do feel this way, but not always either. With certain individuals, yes.

      There just comes a time in your life where you suddenly just get it and you grow more spiritually and positive. This has been my experience anyway – of course some people are quick to assume you must have joined a cult or something. When one does a 360 (or what appears like that to the outside world) it must appear that way. I don’t know. But it is becoming more self-confident and being comfortable with the person you are without the need to justify yourself to anyone anymore.

  13. You’re soooo not alone in the Belinda Carlisle thing. I went back home when I was 22 and spent the summer learning to dive. My dad’s car had a cassette player, and I had to drive about 40 minutes to get to the South of the island to my dive spots. I found a few of the tapes I used to have and then played that one ‘greatest hits’ tape all summer, singing my head off and driving. I think I’d originally recorded it off my friend’s dad!

    Anyway – I hope to read a bit more of the blog – my days are crazy busy at the moment, and I’m definitely working on obtaining a better work-life balance. We met in Charleston btw – about 5/6 years ago. You told me you’d lived in Edinburgh – that’s where I’m living now. Love it. So – Edinburgh says hi!!

    • Hi Katie. Of course I remember you. I did live in Edinburgh for a while but I have been back in Aus for five years now. Say hi back to Edinburgh LOL.

      Glad you liked the blog and that is great you also like Belinda Carlisle. I don’t feel so weird now. Ha!

  14. […] you all judge me for thinking I am the biggest nerd on the planet (although if you have read my Coming of age post, you already have), I love going out. I love nothing better than to sit in a beer garden having a […]

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