“Life begins at 40!” “40 is the new 20!”
I always thought these phrases were just something that people – especially women—would say to make themselves feel better about getting older. Then something magical happened to me last year. I turned 40! And that’s when I realized that in so many ways my life was much better than it had been in my 20s and 30s. It wasn’t just a gimmick; I actually felt at peace in a way that I never had before.
After reflecting, I realized that there are at least 10 reasons why everything about 40 feels like a big bowl of ice cream and cake instead of the midlife meltdown that I was expecting:
- I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. I’m totally in love with my hair, my skin and my body. This has only come after years of obsessing about all of those things.
- I’m more health conscious. When I was in my 20s and my early 30s, I didn’t care what I ate or if I exercised. Now, I realize that my health is the key to a vibrant life for years to come. Exercise and veggies are my new best friends.
- I’m a better parent. At this age, I’ve already been able to focus on me and what I want. Life has been fulfilling enough that I’m now able to shift my focus onto my daughter and her needs. And I’ve seen enough bad parenting to have a clue how to do it right.
- I’m more tolerant and less judgmental. Let’s face it. Life is short. At 40+, I just don’t have the time to worry about others and their behavior. I find myself loving more, and judging less.
- I have more resources. I’m no longer the 25 year old worrying whether I’ll be able to pay my bills. By working hard for so many years, I now have the money and resources for a better lifestyle.
- I don’t sweat the small stuff. At this age, I’ve already seen close friends and family members die prematurely, go through nasty divorces and deal with major illnesses. I’ve seen some “grown people” stuff. So the small day to day worries don’t even make me blink.
- I don’t care if you like me. Like so many women, I was a people pleaser. My people pleasing ways went out the window at age 40. I’ve come to realize that the only person that I can ever really make happy is me. So that’s what I focus on.
- I just know stuff! I’m not a senior citizen, but I’m definitely not a teenager either. I have enough experience that people can’t get over on me. I’ve got the wisdom to battle the car mechanic that wants to get over on me and the pushy salesperson who insists that I must buy something I don’t want.
- I’m still young. By today’s standards I am still young. There are so many amazing role models that I can turn to who are making 40+ look great. Just take a look at Erykah Badu, Nia Long, Gabrielle Union and Halle Berry. Most of my friends are in their 40s and over and still falling in love, getting married, having babies and launching new businesses just like the “young” people.
- I know what I want. Now, I have the mind of a woman not a little girl. I know exactly what I want and I’m not willing to settle for anything less whether that’s in a relationship, friendship or my career.
At age 41, I definitely don’t think 40 is the new 20. I’m think its better.
What about you? Are you loving life at 40 and beyond?
Yolanda Darville is a wife, mom and freelance writer focusing on issues that make a difference. To read more of her writings connect with her on Twitter.