40 – It’s Not The New 30, It’s Just Awesome As It Is.
Today I turned 40.
I remember when I was 8 thinking 40 was OLD. Not middle aged, but proper OLD. To my 8 year old self, 40 looked like a mid life crisis, or faded dreams, or perhaps a kiwi fruit that’s about 2 days over. But I don’t feel like that at all. I don’t feel sad, or as though I’m ‘past it’, or that I can no longer dream.
I feel grateful for all my experiences – both the shitty ones and the good ones because without them my 40 year old self wouldn’t be nearly as wise or as curious. I’m grateful for choosing the path that I have (even though sometimes it felt a very long way from where I wanted to be) because all of it adds up to a wonderful, amazing adventure that’s enabled me to grow and learn and stumble and grow again.
I remember when I was in my late 20 meeting a cute guy on a train outside of London. He was clearly younger than me but there was definitely a spark. He added me on Facebook and even though I was in a relationship at the time and completely unavailable, I removed my age from Facebook so he didn’t know how ‘old’ I was. I look back at that version of myself and I want to give her a big hug and let her know that you don’t need to be anything other than who you are to be loved. This, I guess, is just something that we learn as we get older.
At 40 I have a good sprinkling of grey hair, I can no longer drink like I could in my 20s, and I like it when my fringe is longer because if hides my frown line that sits in between my eyebrows reminding me that I stress way too much about most things. I have a caesarean scar, the skin on the back of my hands is starting to look a little bit too much like my Grandma’s hands, and I’ve caught myself doing that thing old people do to be able to read labels – moving it to almost an arm’s length away and squinting to be able to make out the text. I sometimes think it would be nice to have the wisdom of a 40 year old but the energy and youth of someone in their 20s. But even if a little leprechaun appeared right now and offered to grant me this wish, I don’t think I would take it. I want the battle scars, I want the wrinkles and reminders that I’ve lived. I want the memories and lessons and fuck ups and relationships and grandma hands to remind me that I’m 40. Because 40 can be beautiful and strong and ambitious. It can be anything you want it to be.
So here’s to me, and you. Happy birthday, even if it’s not yours today. You can share mine, if you’d like. The thing is, we are never going to get younger, but we are always going to look back on ourself in 5 or 10 or 15 years time and think I wish I knew how amazing, or special or sexy I was then. So why not start thinking that about yourself right now.