It happened to me a little over a year ago, the moment I had been dreading from from my 30th birthday. I woke up one cold morning in June, and I was suddenly a 40 year old. I spent a good amount of time researching my face in the mirror, looking for signs of this momentous transformation. Turns out my face looked the same as it did the day before, when I was 39. As did everything else that day.
There were changes though. Ones I hadn’t really noticed, until I did.
YOU REALISE NOBODY HAS THE perfect life
I always felt like I was surrounded by people who had it all figured out, you know? Around 40 you figure out that NOBODY is as “together” as they seem. Which serves as a comfort, because you just turned 40 and you feel like you should have had things figured out by now. You don’t though, and for the first time in your life you let yourself off the hook.
YOU no longer care WHAT OTHERS THINK
I cannot pinpoint the exact moment that it happened, but I woke up one morning and no longer cared what others thought about me. That, as it turns out, is a completely liberating state of mind to inhabit. It literally changes the way you live your life. (I think motherhood may have also helped this one along).
YOU finally KICKED TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS TO THE KERB
I personally do not believe that people are toxic. I do however believe that two people who don’t “fit” with each other, can create a toxic relationship. I have had more than my share of these through the years, and I finally booted the last ones out the door a couple of years ago. My life has been quite peaceful ever since. I know who my real friends are now, they are the ones who have been cheering from the sidelines for most of my life. I know they love me, and I know they have my back, and that’s all I need.
YOU BECOME AWARE OF YOUR mortality
By the time you hit 40, you have lost some people. For me, I have lost some friends to car accidents, my friends have lost their parents, and I have lost my own father and my grandparents.
I don’t know if this one was because my dad died from cancer close to when I hit the big 4-0, or my “coming of age” realisation. Either way, I am very aware that one day, hopefully later rather than sooner, I will cease to exist. It’s a fact that we are all aware of on some level, but we try our best not to think about it. Around 40 though, you start trying to wrap your head around that concept.
YOU FIGURE OUT who you are
Or rather, I have given myself permission to finally just relax and just be myself. No more trying to “fit in”, because you realise that everyone is trying to find that place where they fit in. I’ve realised I actually really like my life, and I am a pretty okay person just the way that I am. I also have figured out the things that make me happy, the stuff I’m passionate about, and what makes me tick. It’s only taken me 40 years to figure that out though.
YOU ARE A stronger HUMAN
I had always been a pretty shy person, and while I’m still not a fan of crowds or large groups, I have learned to stand up for myself. I’ve been through some crap. I’ve lived through moments I imagined I never could. I survived break-ups, and the loss of my first pregnancy. I’ve come out of it a much stronger person, and I now know, that bad times are just like seasons, they come and they go.