So I turned 45 this week! EEEEEK. I’m half way through Club Forty! All the predictable marvelling and pondering around how that is actually possible has crossed my mind so many times. I find it hard to comprehend that I have arrived at the mid-life crossroad in my life. Whether I live to be 90 or not, I am now undeniably on the descent as opposed to the ascent!!! And that is SCARY.
But rather than focus on the negative aspect of getting another year older… I want to focus on the positives. Club Forty is all about celebrating this pivotal decade.
We’ve lived fulfilling lives to this point; had many experiences – good and bad. We’ve matured, developed wisdom and gained confidence. So there’s lots to congratulate ourselves on. And I think that it’s important to remind ourselves of just how far we’ve come and what we’ve learnt in this big scheme of life.
So here’s a list of 10 reasons that I personally think its fab to be this age:
- Understanding yourself better.
I still don’t totally get ‘me’. I still feel that a good few sessions with a therapist wouldn’t go amiss… but I know myself much better than ever before. It’s an ongoing learning process. Taking time out to consider my actions or my responses in certain situations is something I do more and more, plus talking (or writing) about it helps incredibly. It also brings with it self-acceptance which is an important element to building confidence. I might not necessarily love myself entirely, but I recognise now what I am good at and I give myself a pat on the back for it. The things I don’t like about myself, I can choose to work on or just accept them – I am what I am.
- Having the confidence to dress for YOU.
Long gone are the days when my outfit choices were put together to ‘fit in’. The same with dressing to attract the boys. Of course I may want to wear something that Mr Club Forty will appreciate and find seductive (if he’s lucky!!) But the way I dress now is a lot more about what I feel good in. I’ve honed my personal style and dressing, for me, is about feeling comfortable and confident. These days I take more risks with my outfit choices so there will undoubtably be some ‘faux pas’, but at least I’m having fun!
- Developing a great relationships with your kids & partner.
My children are now entering their teens so there is a shift in how we communicate – not always positive, but thankfully not too many grunts at this stage!! They are becoming their own, independent beings and so our relationship is changing. It’s bloody challenging, but I am enjoying getting to know them as young adults and our interactions evolving. As the kids grow up, Mr Club Forty and I are starting to have more time to ourselves, and so I am looking forward to the next chapter in our relationship too.
- Enjoying time on your own.
I’ve always liked alone time, but now I love it even more! I am quite happy in my own space doing whatever I’m doing in solitary. Don’t get me wrong – I love being sociable when I want to. I’ve come to learn that spending time on my own is important to my well-being, but I can also use it to hide away from the world when I’m not feeling 100% (which I have to be mindful about). I read a quote recently by Dawn French that totally resonates with me: “Quiet time is the most valuable and when my brain works properly”. What’s great is, I suffer much less from FOMO, which leads nicely on to my next couple of points…
- Doing more of what makes you happy.
As I already pointed out, rather dramatically, we are now on our descent through life, rather than the ascent. We’ve probably lived more years than we have ahead of us… sad but true. So now more than ever we should do more of what makes us happy. Whether it’s in our professional or personal life, it’s important to do something personally fulfilling, surrounded by people who make you happy. I am firmly focused on spending the next chunk of my active life doing more of what I enjoy and less of what I don’t. When you make that agreement with yourself, it’s much easier to say ‘no’…
- Learning to say NO.
I am a natural people pleaser, so I’ve always been a ‘yes’ person. But now, in my forties, because I understand myself better and know what makes me happy, I am less likely to agree to do something that I don’t really want to do. I also realise (finally!) that I don’t need to accept every invitation just to keep ‘in’ with everyone. It’s very empowering to be able to say no. Whenever I’ve done it (always in a kind way, so as not to offend), I’ve given a silent ‘whoop whoop’! It means that your time is freer to focus on the things that really rock your boat.
- Knowing your tribe.
Many of these points are interlinked. They all start with understanding yourself better. When you know ‘you’, you’ll naturally gain a better understanding of what and who makes you happy. By knowing you, you’ll recognise who your tribe are. And you may have many tribes… there will be old school friends, newer school-gate-mum friends, work friends, friends you’ve met through activities etc, etc. What you hopefully won’t have in your forties, is those friends who suck the life from you, who don’t have a positive impact in your life or who don’t get ‘you’. If you do, then maybe it’s time for a cull! Knowing your tribe also helps you easily identify and welcome newcomers to your circle.
- Caring less about what others think of you.
Maturity and better self-awareness brings confidence and confidence brings a certain sense of freedom in that we just don’t give such a toss about what others think of us. I must admit, I’m not totally there yet but I am much better at caring less than I used to. Obviously I don’t want to upset anyone – I not talking about a total disregard for other’s feelings. What I am referring to is doing things for me without spending too much time worrying about how it will be received by others. Club Forty would never have got off the ground otherwise!!!
- Finding a fitness/healthy eating routine that works.
Yoga was a game-changer for me. I started practising Vinyasa yoga at 40 and it has helped me both physically and mentally. Along with running and eating healthily (not dieting!) and more recently exercising with the 404040 Plan, I am fortunate to have found a routine that works for me (and that I also enjoy) to keep my body in reasonable shape. I say reasonable, because I no longer feel the need to be super slim and one of the things I love and refuse to deny myself is good food! Everyone is different and I do feel it’s about finding what works for you and sticking with it – plus not being so hard on yourself about attaining the body beautiful!
- The opportunity to grow and develop further still.
The great thing is, that despite all these insightful things we’ve learnt about ourselves and the skills and knowledge we’ve aquired along the way… there’s still more growing and learnng to do!!! The opportunities for women in their forties are improving all the time; whether it’s a lifestyle change or career development; setting up a new buisness or going back to study. We are on a journey. Bring on the next 45 years!
Obviously it’s not all a bed of roses in your 40s. A lot of things are sent to challenge us from hormonal kids, menopausal symptoms, ageing parents, crisis in confidence or identity, family or work struggles. Sometimes it can really suck. But by appreciating what we have, focusing on what we are good at, and ultimately practising some self-care; should put us in a better position to deal with some of the crap.
I’ve enjoyed writing this post… it’s been super helpful to celebrate what’s great about turning 45 and list my top 10 things about being this age. It’s a great exercise to undertake, especially if you are experiencing any element of midlife crisis – it happens to us all!
Thanks for reading and please do tell me what you find great about being in your forties! X