So one of the problems I have with turning 40 is that it feels a bit like you’re in no man’s land. The land of limbo… no longer do I want to stay up and drink until the sun rises or pole dance around a concrete pillar in a bar (OK if I’ve had three wines I still might). I add a caveat here that I do not speak for everyone when I speak about turning 40. I know some fabulous rock star women who are still partying hard well into their 40s , 50s and 60s…. I am more than willing to party hard as long as I can have some chips and be in bed by 12. Neither though do I want to wear beige or go on Saga holidays (although we did go to Madeira last year, and I’m worried that might still count…) Heading towards being ‘in your 40s’ feels a bit like being in between lives. You’re no longer an angst ridden 20 something desperate to meet ‘the one’. You’re starting to get a bit of heartburn but you don’t have to down the angina pills on a Saturday night for fun. So just what is being in your 40s all about? Somewhere in between the two? I’ve asked lots of people this question as I look to enter this exclusive club. What is good about being 40? Here’s some of what they said…
- You know yourself better style wise – no longer do you feel the need to ‘fit in’ with the crowd, or be totally ‘out there’. No longer for you the need to sport a pair of culottes, or a punky Mohican in the name of fashion. By 40 ,style wise you usually know what works and what doesn’t. I can throw out my 1920s style flapper dresses, pencil skirts and dropped waists knowing they are NEVER going to work on me.
- A sense of achievement – Whether you’ve hit the pinnacle of your career, got yourself a family (whether of children or small, furry things), travelled the world and the seven seas, or just hit the financial independence jackpot, usually by the time you’re in your 40s you’ve achieved something. This one left me stroking my chin. Well I’ve got a fantastic family – 6 children (two canine, four feline), nowhere near financial independence but debt reducing every day. I definitely know which way my career is headed (no comment) , and I have travelled but nowhere near enough. So some of that works for me, and some of that is still way off being achieved. I guess that can be what my 40s are for…goals already!
- You’ve worked out what you don’t want – even if you haven’t quite worked out what you do want. So by now you’ve probably experienced the dull ache of dissatisfaction in at least a few parts of your life. In mine over consumption in a range of areas; food, work, spending over the last two decades have led me to a life of minimalism, simpler living, mindfulness and recurrent healthy eating sessions. Even if you’re not quite at the pinnacle of your career, or you’re still robbing Peter to pay Paul on the bank account front, you have probably worked out where you want to move from – in order to move to –somewhere else
- You can make a big, wild statement and everyone will presume you’re having a mid life crisis and let you get on with it. This is a good one. You can blame the sheer fact you’re going into your 40s for that drunken binge, the new over expensive sports car, a round the world trip you’re never going to be able to afford, and therefore lose the deposit on, the five week hiatus where you up and live in a shepherd’s hut in Wales and don’t shave…simple. Come back, chalk it up to a mid life crisis and move on. This one I might keep in my back pocket as a useful tool if all else fails. Note to wife – I am joking. (really)
- Although things are starting to ache, you can still do something about it. This is the basis as to why I struggle through Pilates weekly. I will not be an old person with no muscles unable to get out of a chair in 40 years time. Although things are moving slightly slower than they used to, not repairing themselves as quickly as they once were, and wrinkles appear like a road map slowly across your face, there’s still a chance the special creams will work, you still have the energy to start an intensive gym routine, and can be bothered to start a vegan diet that will make you look 10 years younger. All’s to play for in this category.
So now I have to work out what being in my 40s means for me. I still don’t know, but I like the idea of still having everything to play for…