With Carmen Pavlovic
As the joint founder and CEO of Global Creatures, an international live entertainment production company headquartered in Sydney with offices in New York and London—it's fair to say Carmen is kept on her toes!
But despite her impressive career accomplishments, Carmen is also immensely proud of the family, friends and community she has built around her. Here, we spoke with Carmen about how she manages her emotional wellbeing and what she's learned since turning 50...
What do you celebrate about getting older?
Ever-increasing autonomy and choices; and clearer priorities. But mostly, I celebrate the feeling of contentment. I've been fortunate enough to study, travel extensively, have kids who I marvel at, enjoy a community of family and friends who are anchoring and grow a company I feel proud of. Those accomplishments provide an inner sense of calm that I never knew before my 50s. But I'm also not going to pretend getting older is all about satisfaction, wisdom and joy—there's a lot of challenge and grief that comes with ageing, too; the shock of realising that time really does happen to us all, menopause, ailing parents, navigating teenagers and a changing body. I certainly celebrate having developed enough insight to far more easily meet these times and see them as enriching as opposed to earlier times in my life when I could view a challenge or set back as the end of the world!
What is something you would tell your 20-year-old self?
To calm down! That each passing year is another building block forming the story of you; that good stories are full of suspense and have surprising endings. A weak story is one where you are ahead of the plot the whole time. I would tell her that the thing she feared the most would prove unfounded. But maybe if I knew that back then I wouldn't have been driven the way I was. Adversity and uncertainty are great motivators so actually, on reflection, I would say nothing to my 20-year-old self because the feeling of cliff hanging suspense and fear would prove to be her greatest teachers. That kind of perspective can only come with time and experience, not from what somebody tells you.
What is something that you do that makes you feel gutsy and empowered?
Recently, going from a red carpet opening in LA to a cafe in Sydney days later in my Qantas pyjama pants and slippers—and not caring what people thought on either occasion! Also, smiling down at my teenage kids when they tell me I am old and uncool and don't know anything. I started out being surprised and defensive about it—but now I love owning it and saying to them, "I AM old and it is SO great not to give a sh*t about being cool!"
What is one hobby or activity that is bringing you joy right now?
Buying flowers! I just love staring at a bunch of gorgeous flowers for perspective. It's something I got into doing much more frequently during the pandemic because flowers make me feel calm and hopeful and full of wonder.
Also, brushing my daughter's hair. At 13, she's slipping through my fingers, but I love that she still wants me to brush and braid her hair each night because I know that it won't be long before she doesn't ask me anymore. I now treasure every golden strand, no matter how tired I am at the end of the day.
And on the work front, I like having the chance to support younger women who are journeying through motherhood or trying to piece their careers together or juggle both. I had many generous women guide me along the way, so I like to invest in the next generation by providing opportunities in our company.
How has your emotional wellbeing evolved as you've gotten older?
I'm better at riding out stressful periods because I've learned that ultimately, all situations get resolved in some way and the answers always come in time. I've been through enough ups and downs, failure and success, love and loss, that I've gained perspective and more of a handle of navigating emotionality on both the work and home fronts.
Are there any challenges—physical/emotional/spiritual—that have surprised you?
I was really shocked and grief stricken by menopause—I just didn't expect the years it took to play out or the whole body experience involved. Nobody told me I would be awake all night, leaving work with constant migraines, that my eyebrows would start to fall out and that I would just feel so stiff and cranky ALL. THE. TIME. I had an identity shock absorbing that I was no longer physically capable of having another baby because feeling drawn to babies was something that had defined me. And for those reasons I would love to change the name because I think the word is reductive and misleading as to what is at stake—the word sounds like it's just about bleeding which makes a lot of people not want to talk about it. I confess to having a terrible attitude towards ageing in my 40s, so I have been on more of a spiritual and existential journey to adjust my perspective. Also, arriving in my 50s and seeing that it's not the horror I feared has been a nice surprise.
I suppose having adolescent kids has proven another unexpected surprise. I took to motherhood in a seamless way and nothing much threw me—but nothing prepared me for teenagers! Mine are SUCH a handful but I love them for it and everything they continue to teach me about myself and about letting go; what it means to stare someone down with love even when they are at their worst and what it means to believe in the core of who your kids are as they go on their own journeys.