Five Reasons Why I Love My 40s

Lulu Guinness lips purse, a fortieth birthday present. Silver purse. Everyone should have a good bag to take them in to their forties.

I have been in my 40s for 18 months now, and probably spent at least that much time beforehand fretting about it. After all, it is no-point-trying-to-deny-it, grown-up territory. Noone is asking you for ID anymore. I wondered how many ‘good’ years I had left. I constantly worried about how much I’d achieved and what direction I was travelling in. But now that they have arrived, I’ve discovered that for me, my 40s are a happy place to be. Here are some of the reasons why.

Perspective

Our sensible brains know that the big 4-0 is really no big deal, that age is just a number. But our emotions struggle to ignore the massive 40 sign on the road. I think that significant birthdays are a gift in that way. It’s really important to take stock and look around you every so often. We spend so much time plodding through life on a hamster wheel (that is definitely getting faster and faster). Although I’ve gone through some tough soul searching, I think it’s ok to feel a bit of pressure, a bit of ‘it’s now or never’. It encourages you to make changes that you’ve been putting off or to try something new. I started a blog, hurrah.

Lulu Guiness lips purse, bag, silver. A present for my 40th birthday.

This Lulu Guinness lips purse was a 40th birthday present from some friends (friends for life

Parties

Celebrating the celebrations might seem frivolous but I don’t think so and this is why. 40th birthday parties are like another round of weddings but without the pressure. There’s no need to ask everyone to fork out for a hen do or piss them off with an expensive gift list. You don’t feel the need to lose a load of weight or stress about a seating plan. What it is is a fabulous excuse to get everyone together.

If you are not 40 yet (or heading for any other Big Birthday) as my mate Sarah would say ‘rip the arse out of it’. I advocate many, many celebrations. Even if parties aren’t your thing, there are weekends away, spa days, afternoon teas or bucket list holidays to go on. Organise different things with different people.  Mine was not glamorous, I had a couple of meals and a pizza and champagne party. My husband had an all-out vodka luge soaked knees-up. Another mate hired out a ballroom. Do something that makes you happy.

A magnum of Laurent-Perrier pink champagne

The remains of a magnum of pink champagne from my 40th birthday pizza party

Forties family time

For me, reaching my 40s has coincided with my family getting a bit older. I must admit that the baby and toddler phase of parenting probably won’t go down as my favourite era. It made me grumpy for fairly long chunks of my 30s. Now I feel we are enjoying some golden years. The children are fun and happy to spend time with us, but not biting at my ankles. We can enjoy discovering the world through their eyes, while still being able to devote a reasonable amount of time to our own pursuits. Frankly, it is a wonder. If you’ve not arrived at this stage, hang in there. If it’s already passed, don’t make me cry.

Looks….alright?

I’m not without vanity, I care about my appearance a moderate amount. My weight especially if I’m being honest. But getting older changes the emphasis. I like the Eleanor Roosevelt quote* that today is the ‘youngest you’ll ever be again’. We all know how much time we wasted hating our appearance when we were in fact gorgeously full of youth and had smaller bottoms. I refuse to continue with that mindset into old age. What are we chasing? I don’t care if people look at me and see someone in their forties. It’s nice to look nice, but it’s best to be here and be healthy.

Everyone should have a place to put their make up on properly in their forties. Mirrored dressing table and vanity mirror.

This dressing table was a fortieth year gift to myself

AND think of the ways we continue to look better. See above. I even manage to find time to put eyeliner on sometimes these days. I (sort of) know which clothes suit me and which to avoid. You’re not so influenced by trends, but also sod it, trends are fun and life’s too short to worry about what is age-appropriate. Fashion mistakes are still funny in your forties.

Read about why I started Not About the Kids

Friends first

Female friendships can be complicated things. In my 20s I was so keen to make my mark on the world, so into myself, I suppose, that I wasn’t always a brilliant friend. But I find myself lucky now in two ways. I have held on to friendships from my childhood (it helps that I met my husband Matt at secondary school). You can’t make new old friends. But since settling in one place and having kids, I have made some brilliant new mates too. I want to prioritise friendships in my 40s and beyond. They can enrich our lives endlessly and will still be around once the babes have flown the nest.

How do you feel about your 40s, are you nearly there, in them or through them? I’d love to hear about your experiences and what it has meant to you.

*Eleanor Roosevelt was full of good quotes read some here

What's your View?

13 comments on “Five Reasons Why I Love My 40s

  1. Helen G on

    My favourite of your blogs to date by far, because I too have slid very comfortably into my forties. I agree with absolutely everything you have said – I am genuinely enjoying my children and feel that I have stepped off that hamster wheel of parenting somewhat! I am also comfortable in my own (slightly over weight) self. I vow to never diet again, but to take more care of myself and hope for the best!!
    I am privileged to be one of the said friends from school, and value our friendships so so much – we are all very lucky.

    Bring on the rest of our forties together. Love xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Hels, nice to see you 🙂 We’ve been on the same path in many ways since we were 11 years old. I’m glad that you enjoyed the read, and thanks for the champagne my friend xxxx

      Reply
  2. Jools on

    Wow. I agree with everything you have said too especially being a bit grumpy in your 30’s during the ankle biting years. Also about fashion trends. No pressure to follow them but also “sod it I am going to buy some leopard print loafers”. For years I never knew what to wear. During my 40s I realised what works and bought it in my colours so now I can mix, match and pack with ease. I am embracing bright lippy because of you and my friend was wearing Karen Murrell Scarlet Blaze last night because she borrowed mine on NY Eve, loved it and brought one. Being a sales and marketing person in my previous farmers wife life it’s good to know I can still influence people in some small way every now and then. I am turning 50 this year. I had no lines at all until 6 months after my 40th when my “sleeping on my tummy” face lines began with a vengeance. But to be honest I would rather look like me at nearly 50 than look like these young women who pump up their faces so much it distorts their personalities beyond recognition. I wonder what they will look like at 50. I know life is not all about how you look and what you wear and I have learnt that a genuine smile really is the best thing you can wear every day. Listen and be kind. Show that every day to your children too and when they become teens it with show in their own smiles. Embrace your forties because soon…..you’ll be 50.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      A genuine smile is the best this you can wear every day. What a great sentiment Jools. Thank you so much for reading, and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I’m loving the thought that red lipstick wearing is sweeping across New Zealand in some small way that’s to us, ha! I look forward to seeing what you get up to for you 50th. Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ah, Caroline, you make the most out of every day. Walking, going out with your kids, seeing cool places. I think age teaches us to appreciate the beauty in all of it. Much love, and thanks for stopping by. Hx

      Reply
  3. Bee on

    I love this blog and I have to say it gets better! I am in my 50s and life is good! It is so important to celebrate these milestones and to reflect a little. I love celebrating those nearest and dearest too! As an aside Age brings wisdom and certain confidence which I love! Friendships are key to my life after family.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Bee 🙂 I’m so glad you agree and pleased to hear that it’s only onwards and upward from now on. I’m excited to see what happens in years to come and look forward to lots more celebrations. Any excuse! Thank you so so much for reading, I really do appreciate it. Helen x

      Reply
  4. Scarlett Roitman on

    I love reading your stories, Helen. So yes, the big 40! It came and went rather quickly for me as I steadily approach the other big number with a 0 on the end (coming this year).
    Pizza and champagne – was there ever a better combination? And pink bubbles, no less. Eleanor Roosevelt was a wise lady. Hooray for today!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      More reason to celebrate Scarlett! May there be lots of pink champagne involved. Thanks for stopping by, always a treat to see one of your comments. Hxxx

      Reply
  5. Sarah on

    Great blog Helen, as per usual! When I turned 40 it was like switching on a lightbulb to be honest. I don’t really know what I did in my 30s other than go through most days in a foggy haze filled with young children and associated bits & bobs (!), and some how apply loads of pressure to myself to plan & prepare for when I was 40! Now I’m heading towards my mid-forties (there’s always some kind of signpost glaring you in the face!), I’ve actually stopped giving a damn. I know who I am, I know what I like, I know who my friends are and I love them dearly, and I know that my family is the most important thing in my life. So I try not to worry anymore, doesn’t always happen, but I’ve just relaxed in to accepting who I am and enjoying life. I do feel genuinely happy…most of the time! Sxxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Sarah, so good of you to stop by for a read. It’s funny isn’t it, I agree with you completely about a lightbulb moment. If not in the sense of total clarity, then definitely in terms of drive and get up and go. You’ve done great things, including running a half marathon!!! Inspirational. Hxxxx

      Reply

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