When I was in my twenties, a wise, older colleague of mine told me that women are at their most beautiful after they turn 50. I’m turning 40 this weekend, so though I still have a decade to go, I’m starting to understand what he meant.
I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to see the crows feet and sagging skin starting to show up, and I swear the bones in my feet are changing? (not in a good way). I’m already starting to regret not enjoying my youth like I should have; clear skin, thick hair, pain-free knees. However, there are some things about turning 40 that I am completely delighted about.
- I’m alive. Being a two-time cancer survivor, I am immensely grateful for the privilege of getting older.
- I have finally embraced who I truly am. I don’t have to try to fit a mold or be someone who I think people will like better than the real me.
- I care about how I make others feel, but I don’t care about who likes me and who doesn’t.
- I never have to worry about crop-tops coming back into style because I’m too old to wear them, even if I did have the stomach for it.
- I’ve finally found my voice. I wish I had realized 30 years ago that I didn’t need to wait until I got older to ask for what I need/want.
- I’ve been waiting for this my whole life – My grandmother used to call everyone pet names and I LOVED it! I knew I’d have to wait until a certain age before that would be acceptable. I think 40 is old enough? (let me know if I’m way off base and need to wait a few more years) I feel like I can now safely start calling everyone babe, baby, honey, love, darling, etc. Even perfect strangers! Because no one is offended by an older woman calling you a pet name.
- I have let go of “what should I do with me life” and FINALLY (slow learner) realized that it’s all life! All we have is this moment, this day, whatever we’re doing right now. There is no “someday I’ll do or have or be this…” it’s just now. Savor everything about the life you have now. And what you don’t like, and need to change because you choose to, can be changed. Also…
- I’ve learned not to wait for someone else’s permission to make changes.
- Realizing that no one cares about what I’m doing, and no one really thinks about me that often, and that’s a good thing. Not that people don’t “care about me”, they do, but that they aren’t obsessing over the decisions I make, or the life I live. They’re too concerned about their own lives. We’re all thinking about ourselves most of the time, not whether or not we like our friend’s new hair cut.
- I’m not supposed to look 20. Because I’m 40.
- I’ve lived long enough to be able to look back at my life and see the places where I’ve made some poor or interesting choices, but have seen where they ultimately worked for the greater good.
- I’ve lived long enough to be able to look back at my life and see the places where I’ve done some really great, cool, exciting and important things that I can be proud of.
- I have enough life experience now to have learned that the things I don’t like in another person, are the reflection of what I don’t like, or where I’m struggling within myself. The same goes for those who don’t like me – I’m showing them something they don’t like about themselves. It’s so much easier to have compassion for everyone when we learn this.
- I have just enough money now to realize that I’m the same person regardless of the strength of my portfolio. Money does not change you. More of it just makes you more of who you already are.
- I have learned that taking good care of my body is just as important as we’ve always heard it is. There is no substitute for neglecting your physical care. I have a bit of regret for putting this into practice later than I should have (hence the cancer…), but lots of sleep, water, exercise, a great diet and less stress are really, really important.
- We are all worthy of healthy relationships. In fact, we should never compromise on this. Ever.
- Every once in a while you have to eat cake. And ice cream. And chocolate chip cookie dough. Guilt-free, just because you want to. Why are we beating ourselves up over this?
- I have finally realized that just because there are fashion trends, doesn’t mean we’re all going to look good in them. My body is different from everyone else’s body (I wasted so much money on low-rise jeans that do NOT belong on my body type) and I need to wear what looks good on ME, and what I feel good in.
- There are days when we do the best we can, and at times that might mean just getting out of bed, drinking coffee and keeping our families alive. I’m completely okay with this.
- I can stop keeping score. Thank God. I have finally learned that we’re not in some giant, cosmic, unspoken competition. We’re all on our own path, living our own lives, for separate but connected purposes. So I shouldn’t be keeping up with anyone else.
I’m a Valentine baby and I’ve always loved that I was born at this time of year. There is an entire holiday devoted to LOVE! It’s brilliant. The most important thing I know to be true as I reach 40, is that love is all there is.
I’m planning to celebrate 40 and Valentine’s Day with my family all weekend long. I hope you all enjoy special time with your sweeties as well!
If you are turning 40, or are over 40, please share your wisdom and advice with me. You can leave your comments here or on Facebook and Twitter.