I entered my 40th year last month and I have to admit I am still trying to get my head around my new age. When I’m asked how old I am, I find myself imitating Rainman and pronouncing the number as if I’ve never heard it before “Four-T, Forre-T, Forrre-T”.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t lied about my age since turning 40 and in fact I did some major celebrating for my birthday, which pretty much lasted 3 weeks and all kicked off with an amazing weekend in Palma with 9 of my closest girlfriends along with my 2 gay husbands. However, since the celebrations have ceased I am now left with the uneasy feeling of being stuck with this age!
I have been trying to rack my brain as to why I feel this way. A lot of my friends are already into their 40s, they look fabulous on it, have embraced it and have said its their favourite decade yet. We are told that ‘Life begins at 40’ but how can that be true when its the start of our middle age?! So, not one to be negative and in a bid to learn how to suppress a sob whenever filling out an application form and realising I’m in the next age bracket tick box, I have decided to compile a For and Against list to see if that helps.
- I do feel more of a grown up now. I don’t tend to sweat the small stuff as much as I did in my 30s and definitely not as much as I did in my 20s when everything was analysed over and stressed about.
- I feel more inclined to be healthier and look after myself now. Unfortunately, it is through necessity as I consume endless information on superfoods and healthy living blogs whilst trying not to obsess about my weight/skin/hair. I am still holding on to my skinny jeans (which are probably best donated to a 20 year old) because you never know, those sandbags I developed on my hips from my twin pregnancy might disappear one day?
- I achieved a great deal in my 20s and 30s. I climbed the career ladder in the profession I wanted to work in, went to fabulous places/parties/concerts, met an amazing man, married him and we had three gorgeous kids. My goals can now be adjusted to what I want rather than what I need, although glossy thick hair as if I’m in a Pantene advert and a bank balance similar to Victoria Beckham’s might be slightly out of my reach.
- I am happy with the simple things in life. I’m no longer desperate to wear the latest fashion, be ahead of every trend or to always have plans for a Friday and Saturday night. Instead I love a night in front of the TV with the hubster and a nice bottle of wine, a good book, a meal in a good restaurant or a night at the theatre/cinema. I don’t need to be the last one standing in the club anymore (although me and the girls did stay out till 4am in Palma) and now happily opt for a bar with ‘somewhere nice to sit and chat’ instead.
- My friends are my family and my family are my friends. Gone are my fly by night friends of my 20s and those that are still with me from that decade are like extended members of my family. We have been through it all together and will be in it for the long run now. Any new friends I have made are keepers too as I can only surround myself with people I have a connection with. My beloved parents I now regard as my friends as we holiday together, socialise together, appreciate (lots of) wine together. They have always been my on-hand therapists but now I feel I am old enough to return the therapy when my advice is needed.
- I have a lot more ailments at 40 then I did at 20. I am basically a pin cushion for my doctor now with regular thyroid tests, we discuss pre-menopause and I am also now eligible for breast screening. No longer are my visits to the doctor for an occasional water infection from burning the candle at both ends but instead are due to irritable bowel syndrome with my metabolism giving up the ghost. If you have period problems in your 20s the doctors are on hand to discuss options – period problems in your 40s I am told its my age and it is to be expected and perhaps I could whip it all out if I’m fed up with it!
- Dealing with the ageing process. Gone is the tinted moisturiser for youthful skin and now instead I need foundation that drag queens endorse to cover those
rosescia and age spotsfreckles and blushes. Plus the constant control of my grey hairnatural highlights without looking like Paul McCartney (a la aubergine) and what is with the chin hair?
- I can’t do hangovers anymore. I do love a tipple or two but literally more than two or three drinks and I’m contending with insomnia most of the night, a day spent feeling like my organs have been removed and the type of alcohol blues that make me want to start writing morose poetry.
It seems that the good things do outweigh the bad things. I think the best way to sum it up is in the words of Lucille Ball:
“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”
So if anyone asks – I’m 39! Which means I can celebrate my 40th again this year!!