I recently turned 40, and for years I assumed I’d arrive at this milestone feeling rather ‘middle aged’, but instead I was surprised to find that I feel 40 and Fabulous! On the big day, I celebrated with friends both old and new, and it was a great chance to reflect. I’m heading into this new decade focusing on what I’ve learned along the way, rather than focusing on the gray hairs and wrinkles:
- Speaking of those gray hairs and wrinkles, I’m embracing them! My free time and expendable income are precious resources at this age (thanks to my kids’ bazillion extracurricular activities), and I’d rather spend my time and dollars on traveling, catching up with friends, and date nights instead of hours and $$$ at a salon or medspa.
- Compared to my younger self, at 40 I care less about what people think about me and more about what my people think about themselves. Life is too short to be preoccupied with the superficial and the opinions of those who aren’t important to me – my family (and those friends who have become like family) is my world, and my energy and attention are better spent focusing on them.
- At 40, I’m leaning less into trends (I’ll keep my skinny jeans and side part, thank you very much) and more into learning. I was always a good student and dare-I-say liked school, so it’s no surprise that I find joy in reading (thanks to both my book clubs!), geek out over an interesting podcast, try new recipes and cooking techniques, and lots of my conversations start with “I heard this really cool story on [NPR/The Daily/Nightly News]…”
- I’m 40 years old, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and that’s okay! Sometimes I worry that my lack of a traditional, linear “career path” sets a confusing example for my kids, but I’m starting to embrace the idea that I’m setting an example of how to be adaptable, practical, and find fulfillment outside of a traditional career.
- Compared to my younger self, my 40-year-old self is more comfortable saying “no”, setting boundaries, and not sweating the small stuff.
- I’m still making friends at age 40! While I still have those long-term friends who knew me in my earlier decades, I’ve been surprised at all the new friendships formed simply because we share proximity and/or a common experience (looking at you fellow soccer moms!).
- Although my 40-year-old body doesn’t act like it used to (when did two glasses of wine = hangover?!), and I have to work so.much.harder to take care of it, I appreciate it more. This body has grown 3 human beings, ran 3 half-marathons, and taken me on some memorable adventures, so aside from the achy joints and the slower metabolism, I can’t really complain!
- At 40 years old, I’ve officially shared half of my life with my husband, and I’m happy to report that our relationship has only grown stronger with each decade. Sure there have been seasons that were harder than others, but staying on the same page, maintaining a healthy perspective on things, and keeping our sense of humor has served us well.
I can only hope that I’ll be heading into the next decade feeling 50 and Freaking Fabulous, but until then, I’ll just be over here Googling “what is perimenopause” and wondering what my slightly older friends keep warning me about …