House of Gabi is a visual journal created for all women (focusing on women over 40) by Dr Gabi Anderson Courtney.
Next to beauty, fashion, travel and lifestyle stories, you will find inspiration and advice from women from all walks of life, products, experiences and adventures; all designed to inspire you.
Gabi has a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resource Management and a PhD in Metaphysical Science. She has published a number of articles on lifestyle, events and women's issues and is passionate about supporting women from all walks of life.
on why it's awesome to be a middle aged boss woman and how to age
as told to Rebecca Mason
Why did you start talking about women over 40?
Women between 40 and 60 seem to be the invisible generation. Everyone talks about children, teenagers, young mothers, the elderly, but if you are a middle aged woman, you seem to have slipped through the radar. Being in this age gap myself, I know what this generation is capable of. I just want to show to everyone that aging disgracefully can be a lot of fun and that there are no rules on who you should be and how to have fun. It is all up to you.
Why is it great to be in this age bracket?
You have experience. You don’t stress the small stuff anymore. You know what you want. You pick fake stuff from miles away. You’re over drama. You’re not interested in competing anymore. And most of all, it’s time to look after you. I’m having a lot more fun now than I used to have in my 20s, simply because I don’t have to worry about all the things that I was always thinking about when I was younger. I’ve done what I had to do and now it’s time to live the life I want.
What made you the way you are?
Experience. A good sense of humour. Seeing the light side of things. Embracing new experiences. And doing whatever I like. I was never really one to follow the rules. I moved out of home when I was just over 18 and after living in Italy and in the UK, I settled in Australia. But between moving out of home and landing in Perth, I did a lot of travelling, gained a lot of knowledge, met a lot of people, learned a lot, and experienced things that a lot of people don’t experience through their lifetime. This shapes you in a way that whatever life throws at you, you will be able to deal with. I’m simply trying to pass on this knowledge.
If you could do one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Travel. At this stage I have been in around 50 countries and counting. Growing up in Hungary in the 70s and 80s, I have always dreamed about travelling the world. I did a lot of travelling with my family growing up, and I moved to Italy when I was 19, then to London when I turned 22. I settled in Australia when I was 27 but travelling has never stopped. My husband has learnt to deal with that I’m always asking where we are going next. We generally plan a year ahead and try to visit places we have never been before.
How do you structure your days?
With a lot of precision. While I’m happy to take the day as it shapes up, I also love structure. The last thing I do every single day is setting up a schedule for the next day. It never goes exactly to plan, but it is a great base that I can build on. My work takes up the majority of my day; working on the website, photos, photo editing, emails, meeting with clients, planning new projects, but I always make sure that I fit in some time for walking / exercise, spending time with family and some “me” time; the most important of all!
What tools do you find indispensable for accomplishing your tasks?
There are many, but the most important ones are definitely are my iPhone, iPad, laptop, camera (I use a Nikon SLR) and various softwares and scheduling tools I use. Some of my best ideas happen at the most inappropriate times and I need to be able to make some notes, no matter where I am and what time it is. I always have my iPhone next to the bed and you wouldn’t believe how many times I made notes on it in the middle of the night.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Stop caring about what people think of you. Actually, the exact phrase was “What you think of me is none of my business.” The only way you will never receive criticism if you never interact with anyone. Ever. And to be happy, you have to be who you want to be and not who other people want you to be. So stop paying attention to negative people and walk your own path. There will always be someone who will hate you and you need to deal with that. What you don’t have to deal with is being pulled in to their world. You have your own universe to look after and have fun with.
Who are your biggest influences?
My mum and grandma, for sure. Two of the funniest ladies I have ever met. They saw the funny side of every story and they taught me to be able to laugh at myself. My husband still says that he never met anyone as funny (and sometimes as sarcastic) and me.
My daughter, who without a doubt, got her sarcasm and love for independence from me. She will do great things in life, and she will do them while having fun.
I also get inspired by women over 40 who are owning it and doing their own thing. Women who don’t rely on anyone and run their own universe. Women who don’t hate on each other, but are supportive of all sisters. Women who work hard but also know how to have fun.
What is still your biggest challenge?
Finding time for everything! I have so many things lined up at the moment, I get really excited about new projects and generally don’t think when I’m going to do them when I say yes to things. Don’t misunderstand me, I do say no when something in not in line with what I do, but when I say yes, I commit 100%. So, some days end up being really long days for me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What’s your best advice for handling criticism?
You need to look at where it is coming from and what the criticism is about. Sometimes people do mean well and trying to help; criticism can be a valid opinion. Not everyone who criticizes you is a hater. I would always take advice from someone who knows more than me on a particular subject, but I never care when getting criticized for my personal beliefs or how I’m handling life, and neither should you. So, simply ignore. Choose your own life and don’t let other people make choices for you.
What do you find are your audience’s biggest stumbling blocks and what are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
I find that a lot of women over 40 just kind of give up, especially if the kids have grown up. They suddenly don’t know what to do with themselves and how to live life. They don’t realize that the best is yet to come. It’s never too late to change your life, to start something new, to grow. If you are not going to do it now, then when? Life is too short not to follow your dream and having fun on the way. Be inappropriate, be real, be whoever you want to be. There are no limitations. You will learn to fly once you stopped caring what people think of you.
How do you balance work and family demands?
I like to get my family and friends involved as much as I can. And I’m lucky because they are free spirits and couldn’t be more supportive. Being honest, I’m a bit of a workaholic and always have been, so they are kind of used to it. I’m good with scheduling, so if it’s important, I will find the time. And there is nothing more important than family and friends.
What’s next for you?
I have a list that could go from here to the Moon. Some will happen sooner and some later, but I will keep you up to date. I don’t really want to give anything away just yet.