This is 40.
40 trips around the sun. If I’m being completely honest with you, I’ve had a lot of anxiety and mixed emotions leading up to this birthday.
40 always seemed so “old” growing up. I remember my Dad in particular turning 40. A big surprise party tons of family and friends, I was in high school! I mean I don’t feel 40. It’s odd to even hit the 4 and the 0 on the keyboard to describe my age. I barely feel old enough to take care of myself at times let alone two little kids. This birthday was far different than any other birthday – insert the obvious pandemic and it was a recipe for sadness. We should have been on our camping trip. I have loved every other milestone birthday. Turning 21 hello legal drinking, bye fake ID. 30 was hands down one of favorite years. Spent with my favorite people of all time. It also was the decade of “adulthood” we got married had two of the most beautiful babes. We moved back n forth between FL + GA until it was time to make a very adult decision to move across the country to further my husbands career.
My 30’s I shed a lot of skins so to speak. Doing the stay at home mom gig Monday through Thursday; alone. Due to his work schedule, made me more resilient than ever before. I have been through some shitty situations and have bounced back stronger and wiser. We lived the life. Pre kid world. We did so many things. Lived in different cities, trips, concerts, sporting events, more nights out than I can remember and honestly whatever we wanted when we wanted. Yes the selfish years. No real accountability. Just a hangover and the best memories.
Even after kids we still live the life of doing all the fun things just on a more kid friendly level.
A more fulfilling level, the one you’d have to experience to understand.
As a mom in her late 30’s yes I had the babes on what some consider late. I consider it right on time. That first decade the decade where you are doing all of the adult things: career, marriage, parenthood, is also the decade where you start to lose yourself a bit. Slowly you stop prioritizing yourself. You listen to societal expectations of who you are supposed to be. What you are supposed to do or not do. What things should look like, how life should be, it’s no wonder so many of us are searching, a bit depressed and lonely, because we actually are losing ourselves. And that’s ok. Because that’s how mothering goes; for a little while anyway.
At times we feel guilty that maybe being a mother isn’t fulfilling enough. Maybe we feel like we’re failing. Maybe that career we always worked so hard for isn’t making us happy. We feel stuck in a role we put on ourselves. We aren’t sure how to break out of it. We think that if we don’t break out of it we might lose our true selves forever. I don’t think I’m alone when I say these things and if we’re all being honest I think there are more women out there who may just feel these things too.
Good news though: “You will not be lost forever. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are”. – Emily McDowell
We just feel like we cant talk about those things. So I’ve made a list of things every women should do before the big 40. Or if you’re feeling lost in your 30’s –
- Buy something expensive for you: a handbag, jewelry, shoes, or home decor whatever you’ve been eyeing.
- Find your signature style… But do still take fashion risks.
- Travel alone (without kids)
- Find a regular method of self-care: baths, reading, knitting, writing etc
- Know what works for you during sex and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
- Get a massage.
- Find a form of exercise you actually like.
- Have a go-to adult beverage.
- Have a signature dish. (it can easy, just have one)
- Call you parents, tell them you love them as often as you can.
- Learn to stop apologizing
- Learn to gracefully accept a compliment.
- Learn to speak up for yourself.
- Learn to say NO; zero guilt.
- Update your Will
- Write a letter to yourself and read in 10 years.
- Once and for all, stop caring what other people think of you, and instead start caring what YOU think of THEM.
- Have your own money, even if you aren’t the breadwinner of your household know where the money goes and have access to it (at the very least in case of an emergency)
- Be passionate with everything you do.
- Don’t give up on your dreams, it’s never to too late!
Even though my physical appearance may be morphing into a middle aged women; my inner self is evolving into this person who doesn’t need validation. I don’t compromise my values as I may have done in my younger years. To fit in or fit a mold. I am not afraid to speak my truth, or say “this is me.” I am not ashamed of who I am. For sure I am far from perfect and have a lot of learning and growing still to do. I am now more accepting of my flaws. I know the meaning of giving yourself grace.
As we get older we develop a better radar, a stronger inner compass, and less pressure to conform. Like forcing myself into something that I already know I have 0 interest in. If I don’t want to go somewhere or do something, I say NO. If I want to eat a piece of cake and ice cream. I EAT THE CAKE AND ICE CREAM. If binge watching a crime drama til the wee hours of the night is of interest you know I’ll be on the couch doing just that.
Relationships. Having that circle of friends that accept you for you. No mold no label. Those are my people, they are my cheerleaders. Celebrating milestones together and being there in the darkest times. When you find these special people hold on to them tight. Make sure to tell them you love them; every chance you get. At 40 I have lost some of the most influential people in my life. I know the importance of these words.
Forty. Let’s do this.