I’m safely in what you would call my “middle” 40’s, experiencing all of the things that we grew up hearing about when it comes to mid-life chronicles. I am one step away from needing readers when reading small-ish print, and I find myself saying the things that I said I would never say, sounding like my mom. I don’t have as much grey hair as my other forty-ish friends (or younger friends in that matter), and the back pain and arthritis hasn’t clicked in just yet, but alas. I came up thinking that your forties was the start of being old, overlooked, and judged as being beyond one’s prime, but my experience hasn’t been anything like what I expected.
I think our society gets its panties in a bunch trying to define (or mis-define) middle aged women in a grandiose fashion. Growing old in this country means that you become a non-factor, an entity that doesn’t deserve attention. You can no longer be beautiful or sexy or worthy–it’s pretty sad when you think about it.
As a woman in her forties, let them tell it, I’m not desirable and I am past my prime. It’s a good thing that I tend to not let other’s definitions become my reality.
Being in my mid-40’s isn’t anything like what I expected, and it’s been a rather enlightening and inspiring time in my life. I want to share what I wish I knew about being 40+, because I can’t be the only 45 and older woman who feels these same things. Can you relate?
Grown woman ish
First things first, I finally feel like I’m grown grown. A real, true adult with all the bells and whistles that come with it. In my life, it seemed like my 20’s and 30’s were a dress rehearsal for real adulthood, and I’ve never felt as empowered as I feel now. My age and life experiences say that I’ve earned my stripes and I make no apologies for living my life out loud.
I didn’t know that my 40’s would give me the power to be myself, unabashedly free. The ties that bind fell off when I grew older and wiser. I’m very thankful for that.
When I say that I don’t care about something, I really mean it. In my 20’s and most of my 30’s, I didn’t have a filtration system when it came to being able to decipher what I should and should not care about. Everything used to get me upset, angry, frustrated, etc. Once I was in my late 30’s and 40’s, I started to realize that not everything or everyone required my attention. It was up to me to curate my life and the people in it. Not everything deserves a response. So I don’t care as much as I used to about a lot of things because at this point, it isn’t worth the stress.
No validation needed
Not everyone is going to like me, and that is okay. Not everyone is going to think I am a dope individual, and that is okay. I have the freedom to be me and take it or leave it how it comes. People pleasing is no longer an issue I struggle with, and I am not concerned with most people’s perception of me or the work that I do or what I bring to the table.
I don’t require validation from anyone. It isn’t necessary or needed, and I am honest when I say that I’ve never been happier because of it.
As a single mom beginning at the age of 18, I struggled a lot. I’ve slept in my car, I’ve had my utilities cut off a time or two in my 20’s. I went through so much, and finally, I don’t have to live paycheck-to-paycheck like I used to. I wish someone would’ve told me that in my 40’s, I would be living the good life and that I would have the ability to pay all of my bills, take trips when I wanted, and pretty much have some sort of financial security. I’ve earned it, and I am doing my best to live my best life now.
Loving the skin I’m in
When I look in the mirror, I love me. Every new wrinkle, every grey hair. I’m not perfection, but who is? I no longer compare myself to others, and it took all of these years to appreciate the woman I am. I love her.
My other-half likes to say I have that Kanye confidence, and he’s right–I do. I’m confident knowing that each day, I am working on being the best person I can be for my kids, my family, and for the world. I spent a lot of my younger years not being as self-assured or as courageous as I could’ve been, and that was such wasted time. When I walk in a room, my head is held high and I let it be known that I am not trying to shrink myself to fit any space. I’ve earned the right not to.
When you get to your 40’s, you learn that what you thought mattered before no longer does. Sweating the small stuff and getting emotional and upset over things you can’t control tends to be a waste of time, and does nothing to solve problems. You also know how to realize patterns that are destructive or counterproductive to your goals. This all comes with maturity and growth and knowing who you are. I can honestly say that I didn’t know who I really was until I hit my 40’s.
I may be approaching the other side of the hill, but I am so blessed to have evolved and to continue to grow and evolve. Real adulthood happens in your 40’s and that should be celebrated.
What do you wish you knew about being 40+?