© 2014 jen

Turning 43

It seems like so many people, women in particular, dread getting older.  At some point, they even start to withhold their true age.

Yesterday I turned 43 and I’ve been trying to decide what it feels like to me.

The only thing I can come up with is that it feels like me.

43 feels like me.

When you are young you can get away with not taking great care of yourself. You can bounce back fast and easy in your 20s, in a way that is much harder when you turn 40.  At 40 there are no more free rides. You MUST work at maintaining health as you age, or you lose it. The good news is that if you’re willing to work for it, you can get it back.

I’ve been a broken down 40 year old and a healthy 42 year old. From what I can tell, how you’re livin’ in your 40s directly affects your quality of life and your future.

At 43 I know what “ME” feels like and this feels just right. I don’t want to be any other age right now. I’m not sad to be aging.

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People like to say 40 is the new 20, and there was a time when I thought this was true, but it’s not.  At 20 most of us are testing and trying things for the first time. You are really finding yourself at 20 and then finding your work, or settling into it at 30. At 40 you have a lot of successes and failures under your belt, all custom made to teach you more about you and the world around you. You really begin to know yourself on a totally new level. It’s less about how you’ll take the world by storm and more about knowing exactly what you like, so you can create a life that makes you happy, so you can share that happiness in your work, life, relationships, etc.

40 is less about impressing others and more about pleasing yourself and sharing your pleasure.

In your 40s, you develop the divine skill of really being able to meet your own needs in a totally different way than was possible when you were younger.  That’s because you didn’t have enough information about who you really are. When you hit 40, you’re pretty well acquainted with the blueprints of you.

At 40, you’ve patched up the holes inside of yourself more than a few times already. When you feel the chill of an emotional winter heading your way, you know where the insulation is located and how to seal the cracks in the foundation.

In your 20s and 30s at least some of the social interaction is about keeping up appearances. In your 40s you can let that go. You can talk about the truth of your life: your hopes, your fears, that time of the month, without embarrassment. When you do, you can see the other 40 year old women’s faces lighting up as if to say, “Me too!”

In your 20s, much of your desire for self-improvement comes from a place of discontent: wishing for a flatter stomach or a perkier butt or whatever. As you age, the self-improvement you do comes from self-love and self-preservation. You exercise not to be the fittest or thinnest, but to stay healthy, to maintain your independence and to remain strong as you get older. You eat to fuel your body with the best foods you can buy, not because of a diet plan, but because your feet and knees feel better when you have less weight on your frame.

In your 40s you finally say, “You know what? I’ve always wanted to do that, I’m going for it!” And for most of us it’s the first time we’ve had both the time and the money to be able to do these things. Like me and my ukulele lessons.

IMG_8593This is my brand new ukulele that I got for my bday. The sound is so great. I’ve been playing till my fingers hurt and I still won’t stop even then. I’m having way to much fun to focus on the pain.

There is a special kind of joy when you find a new skill or passion halfway through your life. It reminds me of Christmas morning when I was a kid – so exciting and full of wonder. I think that when you find a new passion halfway along your life journey, you appreciate it and really view it as the gift that it is.

When you give yourself what you want at 40 and you find brand new skills, it gives you new perspective – a reminder that life is so much bigger than what you already know and much broader than your early life experiences, which so often set the trajectory of our lives – but they don’t have to.

In your 40s you really decide your own life trajectory in an entirely new way. You give up on fitting molds. There’s less to prove and you wouldn’t care to prove it anyway, because you don’t need to prove anything at 40, damn it! You’ve been on the planet for 43 years and that’s all the “proof” you need.

So, I’m happy to be 43. I’m happy to be me. I’m glad to be getting older and wiser. I’m glad to have my 20s and 30s under my belt. I’m not a beginner anymore. I’m glad to be at this intermediate stage of life. I won’t be withholding my age. I can’t wait for 50. Full steam ahead!

Comments

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2 Comments

  1. Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm | #

    Great post, Jen. And exactly what I needed to read this week of my own birthday. Thank you!

    • Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:17 pm | #

      Thanks, Eva! Sorry for the late reply. I’m glad this post helped you. It helped me too to put it into words! xo