They say life begins at 40. Is that so? Or is it that we’ve just reached a stage in our lives that we’ve learnt enough to be able to take a deep breath and actually start living our lives?
In the few years since I hit 40, I’ve noticed a definite split within the people I know of a similar age. You’ve got the second time arounders. Those that remarry, perhaps have another child. Still doing the rounds of school runs and toddler tantrums. Then you’ve got the running club. Those that take up some form of mid-life sport and start posting on Facebook about how strong is the new skinny and their constant Strava updates. They start wearing floral patterns and sensible shoes and have very defined friendship groups. Usually the other PTA school gate mums. And are in bed by 9pm on a school night. In other words, they become kind of old.
Then you have the ones with older kids who don’t have to be hands-on parents anymore and get their second lease of life and refuse to grow old gracefully. They forget the past 10 years that have passed them by and become a carefree 29-year-old with the world at their feet. I think I’m in this category.
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One thing about hitting the 40’s is that you do suddenly start to notice that you are getting older. Nightclubs just aren’t appealing, and you’re secretly jealous of the Love Island crew. Maybe that’s just me. You notice the little aches and pains and the lowering stamina. And do we dare talk about the fine lines and wrinkles? We also find out who the Amanda from Motherland figure is in our friendship group. You either love or hate her. There is no in-between on this one.
Conversations turn to Slimming World or the godforsaken running club.
And then there’s the menopause. They may not arrive full throttle, but the subtle signs will be there. Hot sweats anyone?
Refusing To Age
Whatever path you choose after 40, you can still be absolutely fabulous (minus the 90’s sitcom puns). You can embrace the grey hair and wrinkles or spend the equivalent of a small country’s national debt on every anti-ageing product and hair dye there is.
I use a ton of anti-ageing products and will gladly go with bread and water for a week to ensure I’m stocked up on retinoids and glycolic acids. I’ve made sure to have a clearly constructed skincare routine (I will actually post about this someday as I get asked what I use quite a lot) and I’ll take whatever treatment is on offer. I don’t even care that in a few years I may want to go down the Botox route. I’m all for staying looking and feeling as young as possible for as long as possible. I most certainly will not be acting or feeling my age anytime soon!
Relationships after 40
Unfortunately, the older you get the more relationships you lose. Be those divorces, friends going their own way, or the inevitable, death. As we grow older, we get wiser (well most of us do), we develop new loves, new hobbies, new ways to live our lives, veganism, bloody running. We find we no longer have very much in common with people we may have known for years. Divorces also cause massive splits in friendship circles. This shouldn’t be so but unfortunately, it sadly is. People take sides. An empty nest can make you realise that your long-term partner is actually as dull as dishwater and only good for mowing the lawn and taking the bins out. You may get a new zest for sex whilst they have a bad back and are snoring before Corrie has even finished.
We often struggle with the end of any relationship, mourning what has gone, what could have been. I’d rather take a different stance. Celebrate what has gone, what you once had. It brought you to this new beginning. New opportunities. You once loved that person. But we can all change. It’s called life.
So, if like me you refuse to grow old gracefully, what can you do that doesn’t plonk you in a mid-life crisis wondering how on earth you are going to survive the next 40 years bored out of your brain?
Don’t think that certain things stop applying to you! Hair, makeup, clothes. Embrace the trends. Ok, so maybe don’t dress like your teenage daughter, but also, don’t dress like your mother! It’s still ok to shop at Topshop (now ASOS), wear bright red lipstick and know how to apply highlighter. It’s totally acceptable to spend your money on yourself. Splurge on the handbag, book a spa day, invest in yourself. Join the running club if you really want to, but if it’s your idea of hell on earth then find something else to keep you fit. Or just have loads of sex.