I love being in my forties. As a matter of fact, I think that the longer I live, the happier I am with my life. Don’t get me wrong. I thought I was happy at 25. I had been married for four years by then and was really starting to realize what being a grown up was all about. At 28, I was happy because I became a mother. At 32, I was happy because I was learning to appreciate being in the driver’s seat of my life as a divorcee’ and now single mom. By the time I was 38 or so, I started getting a little nervous about my 40s.
I began wondering how people would see me. My daughter was already calling me old, so she didn’t count because kids always think their parents are old. I had to figure out what would be good about my 40s. It was just a given that I would enjoy the 20s and 30s. The 40s was unknown territory for me.
But I started paying attention to the women around me in their 40s. They were doing their thing professionally. Their kids were getting older and leaving home (if they weren’t already gone). They were traveling more and hanging out with their friends. And it was real fun- not the “I got so drunk on Saturday night I puked my guts out all day Sunday” kind of fun. (I’m just saying.) Most of all, the women I observed had a sense of calmness, and I wanted it.
Now calm may not seem like a big deal, but to me it sounded like heaven. Work wasn’t fun, even though I was moving up the ladder. With bigger paychecks comes bigger drama. Parenting wasn’t fun because my girl started middle school and had officially lost her mind (that should say it all). Dating was a pain in the ass- and really what’s so fun about having a pain in the ass? But I digress.
Women I saw in their forties had less external stuff going on. So being a 40something started looking real groovy.
My 40th was celebrated with a quiet dinner with friends and a new man. That was it. No big bangs or proclaimations. Just a great meal, some wine, and a few laughs. And I have to say, that seems to have set the stage for this particular decade.
I see lots of women “straddling” the age fence (Lynne from Real Housewives of OC, anyone?) trying to keep one foot in the days of their youth while pretending that they are not getting older by the minute. Get over it. It’s the circle of life and all that jazz. Didn’t we learn anything from the endless looping of The Lion King?
I’m loving my 40s (and not just because my kid has four years before she graduates high school). I found the calm that I was seeking on many levels. I’m working on balance, while changing the course of my professional life. It feels like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
I’m hoping my 50s will be about adventure, and my 60s will be a free for all. By the time I get ready to head to the retirement community, I plan to have some stories to tell. Don’t worry- I’ll change the names to protect the guilty.