I recently turned forty, and I found this to be a rather big deal.
It didn’t feel that much of an issue when I turned thirty. I quite liked the sound of being thirty – it sounded more mature and responsible than being twenty-something. But I still felt young with loads of energy and opportunities ahead of me.
Fast forward ten years, and things feel a lot different. Forty really sounds older. It’s confronting to know that you’re half-way to eighty (sorry, I probably shouldn’t have brought that up!).
But I’m not here to talk about the greying hair, the tiredness, the extra kilos, or the fine-lines. We’re all acutely aware of those.
I’ve found there are some killer advantages to reaching forty and I want to share them to encourage all the women out there who are approaching, or who have reached, this milestone.
FOMO has lost its hold
Attending events and gatherings that I’m not really interested in are even more tiring now. So if an event is nothing but an obligation, then I’m quite content to give it a miss. I’m not as affected by the fear-of-missing-out so it makes it easier to say no. This is incredibly freeing! Not only do I have more time for the things I like doing (and for the people I like being with), but I’m also happier and less frustrated overall.
I care less about what people think
This is one of the most freeing things about getting older. When I was younger a lot of what I did (or didn’t do) was dictated by what people think. The older I get, the more I don’t care. It’s so much easier to shrug off now. I’ve got the years of experience behind me to know that the people who matter will stick by you no matter what, and that you’ll never be able to please everyone. I’ve also learned how to like, and laugh at, myself.
Age and experience bring its own power
There is a respect and authority that a non-young person automatically commands. It cannot be manufactured. You look experienced, and the confidence that comes with years of experience is palpable. People are more likely to listen to you.
I heard a doctor once say she noticed that as she approached her fifties, she had a lot more power and influence to do good. She loved being in this stage of her life and career, and the authority that gave her when she spoke. I took that on board several years ago and planned to also make that my story.
I know who I am
In my twenties I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was. In my thirties I had a much better idea but had to work on accepting and getting used to who I am. Now in my forties I’m marching forward with my goals, confident in who I am and accepting myself as I am – strengths and weaknesses. All that time and energy spent figuring that out in my earlier years can now be channelled to other things.
Less future time = more focus
While I have recovered a lot of time by removing things off my plate like obligation-events and worrying what people think of me, I’m also aware that a good portion of my life is behind me.
But rather than view this as a negative, I see this as an advantage. This awareness of the decreasing amount of time I have left to achieve my goals gives me a laser-like focus. My priorities are my family and my business. I have limited time with my children before they grow up and leave home, and I have limited time to make my business into the business of my dreams. This means I don’t feel guilty saying no to a lot of other things that will take time and energy away from my priorities. It gives me a drive and determination like I’ve never had before (which is saying a lot, because I’ve always been driven and determined!).
Being a woman in her forties is a powerful place to be. Embrace the advantages and march forward with confidence. I’m excited to be in this stage of my life, and I hope you are too.