Turning 40 for me, was a strange time. I wasnt looking forward to reaching that number, but also, I felt a certain expectation on how I behaved was being placed on me. Not really by anyone else, but by me.
In the last couple of years of my 30’s, I started to feel that my personality somehow had to be “toned down”. Iv always been a free spirited, head strong person, and spent my late teens and early 20’s travelling the world, sleeping wherever we could afford, and partying the years away. We had a ball!
In my working life once I settled back into UK life, I was ambitious and determined, and achieved what I felt I wanted to, but in a chaotic- messy-office-drove-my-bosses-mad kind of way. Marriage and kids obviously settles you into some sort of routine, but my long suffering husband has always said he just never knows what my brain is going to think up next, and life is certainly never dull!
Approaching 40 felt weird. People started to think of you differently. I work with mostly young, 20 something’s now, and they would look at me like I was a loon when I would say that Im off on a bar crawl in London at the weekend, or flying off to Benidorm with my girlfriends for the week. It was almost like they thought “whoaaaa, slow down there Grandma”. Some of my friends even also looked at me in a wayward child, behave yourself kind of way!
The strange thing is, and anyone that is approaching or turning 40 will know, you just don’t feel any differant! Yes of course, I look in the mirror and see a few lines round my eyes, a thickening to my figure, a frown line you could park a bike in, but I dont feel like Im ready to hang up my party shoes yet! No, Im not likely to wear the same clothes that an 18 year old wears, but neither am I going to wear a twinset and pearls. So why was I feeling like I wasn’t sure what was age appropriate??
I spent the last year or two of my 30’s, and the first year of my 40’s trying a few different versions of myself on for size. I tried the sensible, only-having-one-small-glass-of-wine-at-the-weekend version, I tried the lets-be-really-cultural-and-go-to-museums-at-the-weekend version, I even tried the doing-yoga-everyday-and-being-mindfull-and-zen-at-every-minute-of-every-day version. Then late last year it hit me! All of these versions were me. They were just different sides of me, and each and every one of them was ok. Including the dance-like-no-one-is-watching-dont-take-yourself-too-seriously version. Im still just me, but older in years. So bring on the neon parties and the girls weeks of mayhem aswell as the daily meditation, the beautiful restaurants and the cosy, family nights in. All are ok.
It was a lovely feeling to realise that its ok to still be yourself, whatever version you fancy. Yep, I have to view the world as a grown up, I have two teenage sons to guide and parent. Yes, I also have to go to work everyday and work hard, I have bills to pay, shoes and bags to buy (and adventures to fund). I also do have to accept that my face is changing, so my makeup and skincare will change with it, but its all ok. Life is for the living, whatever your age, and if anyone wants to sit in judgement, just pass them a glow stick and invite them to the party!