Life begins at 40?


February 22, 2013 by talkaboutyork

In exactly one week’s time, I will no longer be in my thirties. I will have lived four full decades. I’m not sure why four decades is any more remarkable than any other number. But for some reason, turning 40 is a big deal.

Is it because it officially marks the end of your youth? Is it the halfway point in life? Is it when you’re really and truly a grown up? Does it mean that I have to put my converse trainers out to pasture and stop thinking I look cool when I dance? (I do by the way…)

If the late 30s are anything to go by, it means that gravity takes no prisoners. The pull of the earth seems to drag everything downwards – breasts, arse, bags under eyes, chin(s). Perhaps it’s the earth’s way of introducing you gradually to where you will (sooner rather than later) be spending eternity – the ground.

But that is a melancholic thought. So let’s be more cheerful.

They say that life begins at forty.

Perhaps it’s because I’m not yet forty that I don’t understand this statement. Perhaps all will be revealed when I wake up next Friday and go, ‘Oh, so this is where life really begins. All that other stuff has just been a trial run.’

I know from reading enough shite women’s magazines that once you turn 40, you’re supposed to finally accept who you are, find peace with yourself, enjoy what you have and not what you don’t, feel confident and happy and obviously become sensationally hot in that ‘effortlessly elegant older women’ kind of way (that requires absolutely no botox or magic potions obviously).

Forty is the new thirty. Apparently it rocks. If it doesn’t, please let me remain misinformed.

If this post seems as though I’m feeling down about turning 40, I’m not.  Really. No seriously. It’s just that I’ve always been a bit of a sentimentalist and a dreamer. I’m the kind of person who every New Year’s Eve needs to think back on the past year and weigh it up. So a big birthday like this makes me introspective and wistful and nostalgic and self-critical and overly analytical. Gosh I am a barrel of laughs.

I’ve decided that over the next few days I will write a blog post for each decade that I have lived as a way to remind myself of what has made me what I am today. A birthday present to myself. So that perhaps next week, when my birthday rolls around, I will have a clear sense of where I’ve come from and a solid foundation to kick off my next forty years. Or perhaps I’ll just go with the flow. Because I think that’s what you’re meant to do when you’re forty.


8 thoughts on “Life begins at 40?

  1. I LOVE your interpretation of gravity! It’s like the worst birthday card caption ever. I hate all that introspection at the end of a year, but I do tend to succumb to it at milestone birthdays. I spent my 29th year in a state of acute depression thinking about turning 30, and actually the birthday itself was huge fun and by then I was pregnant (finally) and life seemed good. Looking back, 30 seems an age ago…
    Have a wonderful 40th and ignore all the bollocks about ‘life beginning’. If that’s true, it doesn’t say much for the last 40 years, does it?

  2. I’ll be interested to read, as I’m also turning 40 quite soon. Just at the moment I am dreading it, because I am feeling so crap anyway that it just seems even more depressing. I hope to hear some inspiration from you.

  3. Alison says:

    I turn 40 this year too. I’m thinking (hoping) that it’s not going to be a big deal as my husband and most of my friends are already over that milestone and I’m the baby of the bunch. I’m actually quietly optimistic that this is going to be the best decade yet. I found a good bloke and I have a lovely little family, and I know so much more about what it takes to make me happy and fulfilled that I don’t agonize over what I’m ‘not’ anymore.

    God I sound like I’m 50 already!

    I love your blog btw. I grew up in Harrogate and I go shopping in York every time I go home for a visit, for me it’s a truly special place. My American husband proposed outside the Minster on a snowy Dec evening, except he said ‘Minstrel’ and I laughed. Not a good start!!

    • Alison, I like your optimism. Here’s hoping it’s my best decade. So far. I then hope my 50s are even better. etc. And yay that you are a Yorkshire lass. I can see the Minster (not Minstrel) from my bathroom window. Love it.

  4. You’re only turning 40 in base 10 remember. In base 11 you’re actually 36 and in base 12 you’re only 34. Which is really to say that for me 40 is just a number. It’s nice to make a big deal about it but it means absolutely nothing. You can feel better, or worse, and I’m not sure it’s really gravity that has the impact – it’s more diet and exercise isn’t it? Less sugar means more collagen so plumper everything means more gravity resistant! It’s just a thought….Enjoy, whatever you’re doing.

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