I recently turned 40, and honestly I couldn’t be happier about it.
I remember turning 30 was a big and scary thing. Actually, it was turning 29 that made me really freak out.
In my teens and twenties I had this idea in my head that there are certain things you are supposed to do at certain times. Like meet the man of your dreams, get married and have children, or have a career. 30 just seems so OLD and MATURE when you are in your twenties!
Turning 29, I was in the middle of changing careers and starting from the bottom all over again, so I didn’t have much to show for myself on the career front, and I didn’t have a boyfriend or any sign of getting married or having kids, so I had a real panic that I only had a year left to get all these things done.
Of course by the time I ACTUALLY turned thirty, I had come to terms with not having any children or being married, and I had finally landed a sensible job in my new career path, so was busy focusing on that instead.
This time, I was really excited about turning 40.
39 is SUCH a boring age, it feels like your thirties have dragged on forever and it’s all a bit meh. 40 feels more like a fresh start, a new beginning, and a whole decade of new things to come. It’s impossible not to feel optimistic about it.
At 40, I have come to terms with my singleness (I actively enjoy it most of the time) and I figured out how to have kids on my own without needing Prince Charming, and have started my little family, which I am thrilled with.
I’m 10 years into my humanitarian career, and I am very happy with my job. I have reached a level of competence where I know what I’m doing and I have actual expertise in my particular subject which is a nice feeling. I have a great team and super flexible working hours which fits my lifestyle nicely.
I finally have the proper, grown-up “career” you’re supposed to have, even if it took me 10 years longer than most people to get here.
I have spent 10 years in my lovely little house, doing it up bit by bit until it is as good as it’s going to get, and now it’s time to move on and start over in our new, slightly bigger house! I can’t wait to get stuck in to painting and decorating it and putting my stamp on it, making it feel like mine, or more accurately, ours.
And I am getting ready to turn our little family of two into a family of three, and make space for a new person in our lives, and I just can’t wait.
40 is an exciting time – I have a lot of exciting things going on, and lots of exciting plans for this year, but I have also reached an age where I am comfortable and happy with myself.
I have stopped caring entirely what other people think of me (actually that’s not at all true, I’ll get to that in a minute). I haven’t really worn any make-up for years, and I don’t really mind. I work from home now and rarely bother to wear anything smart or nice. I wear what I like, and it’s comfy, and I just don’t care. I am trying once again to get a bit fitter and healthier, as I sporadically do, but I don’t feel too bothered by my weight or my body anymore. It’s so LIBERATING not to care at all about these things anymore.
I do of course still care what people think of me, and I have recently had an incident on social media where I spoke out against something that I believed was wrong, and I received some pretty hurtful messages, and it’s very hard to not take everything personally and feel hurt by it. I have tried my best to learn and grow as a person, and learn more about how to be a better ally to the black community, and how to be more actively anti-racist, yet clearly I’m still getting it horribly wrong sometimes and it’s a huge learning curve.
These things sting, but all I can do is try harder to do better next time, and hope that I manage to do so.
To me, 40 means shaking off expectations from anyone else, AND from myself, and realising that it’s ok to be exactly where I am, because that is where I am meant to be.
I look back on my life so far and I am so happy I was able to explore and travel as much as I did, and have so many wonderful adventures, and I can’t wait until I can do more of that with my own family, and share it with them. I’ve had a fantastic 40 years so far, and I can’t wait to see how the next 40 pan out!