Is this 40?
This year I turned 39, so I’m staring straight down the barrel of 40. Is it confronting I hear you ask? No not really. Not for me anyway.
I think for me it’s feeling happy within myself. I’m at ease with myself and my life. I know my place and I enjoy where I am.
I think the whole ‘40’ mid life crisis thing may be for some, however not for me. I understand it can feel confronting yet I believe that being happy from within and comfortable with yourself plays a big part.
I know a lot of people who have already turned 40 or are approaching 40 and are fearful and questioning themselves. Yes it’s believed to be your ‘half way point’ if you feel you will only live to 80? But I’m positive. I don’t think you gain much if you have a negative mindset.
What I have realised is that most people, my friends especially don’t talk to each other about their age and how they feel about themselves. If they talk about their birthdays, it’s mostly in a flippant or brushed off way. Some pass comments like “Enjoy your 30’s while they last,” But how is that type of comment helpful? It doesn’t tell you anything meaningful about what turning 40 is actually like. Whether it’s younger people not asking enough questions or middle-aged people being too vague with their answers, it seems like many of us reach an age milestone completely clueless about what to expect or how to feel.
Does 40 all of a sudden make you feel ‘old’? I believe not? My husband is 9 years my senior and he tells me age is a number and it’s mind over matter. Which I believe is true. I think that as a younger person, 40 appears to be ‘old’. Gosh I remember when my parents were turning 40. I must admit I thought ‘oh man they are old’. But in hindsight, 40 is not actually old.
I personally feel more confident within myself. I have learnt to stop beating myself up for what I am not or what I have not achieved. All that anxiety about whether I am thin enough, too thin, too fat or not muscular enough started to fade away when I reached about 35. I accept what I have and what my body does for me. I appreciate it more because I have 2 beautiful children that grew inside me.
What I have also accepted is that friends are only forever if you nurture those relationships. If you don’t make an effort to keep them in your life, they will disappear. And by the time you’re 40, you’ll realize that your once larger community of ‘friends’ has dwindled into a smaller and closer knit of people. Less acquaintances.
Time becomes more precious and you begin to value those who are important to you. Remember all those parties that you went to in your 20s and 30s? In your 40s, those social obligations start to get replaced by reunions and more important events like children’s birthdays or graduations.
If you wasted too much of your youth listening to the critical voices in your head, telling you that you are no good and to just give up already, you’ll be thrilled to learn that your mindset (well mind did) changes. It is much easier in your 40s to tune it out, Mays our own decisions and respect your own decisions. Be comfortable and confident in your own decisions. Maybe it’s just from years of experience or from discovering again and again that your inner critic doesn’t have any actual idea what it is talking about.
As I approach 40 I feel less I blinded to be stubborn. I let small things slide which I would have once held a grudge over and I find I’m not dwelling on making the right decision as such, but go with what feels right to me.
I have also found that I’m more included to ask for help. There’s no weakness in asking for help or letting your friends and family lend a hand when you need it. It’s humbling, really, to finally let go of your white-knuckled grip on independence and realise just how much other people care and want to help. I can be a bit of a control freak, just ask my husband, but allowing others to help you, is not admitting defeat yet accepting that most of us simply cannot do it all. We are not all superhuman.
I redirect now on how much time I wasted worrying about what others thought of me. I honestly can’t believe that I gave so much of my time and energy to jerks who were never worth the effort. I’ve let many ‘friendships’ fade and instead I focus my energy and give my time to those whom I believe are worthy and add value to my life. I once had so many ‘friecd’ but I have also come to realise those ‘friends’ have not attended any of my children’s birthday parties. They have never visited my house once, not do they contact me for a simple hello. I have found that my radar for detecting when you’re being taken advantage of, or when the respect is anything but mutual. I was once such a giver, now I’m more cautious which has been a hard lesson for me to learn.
Emotional manipulation is not something you’re likely to fall for any more, and being a martyr has lost all its appeal. There’s a time and place when saying yes to anything because you’re afraid of letting people down sounds like a good strategy, and being in your 40s isn’t it. Time is precious so I’m choosing to spend my time wisely.
Stress is never going to go completely away, even in your 40s, but now you start to finally put any stores into perspective. The vast majority of things that most people worry about people are actually not worth that mental energy at all. It may not seem like it now, but everything really is going to be okay.
Do you have FOMO? (Fear of missing out) as I have aged, I now laugh at such anxieties. Because, you know what? You’re not missing out on anything. I feel now that I have seen enough and experienced enough to earn the right to say “no” and stay in and do as I please. I still sometimes question my decisions, but I’m now more comfortable with them and knowing that I have made the right ones. I guess some could say maturity has kicked in? Along with grey hair and wrinkles. 😉💗