Victor Hugo called 40 “the old age of youth”. Conventional wisdom tells you that you’re still reasonably young, just a bit more seasoned than you used to be. As you transition into your 40s, you’re moving into the second act—and there are no more dress rehearsals. To me, once you’ve reached your 40s, it means freedom!
During this decade, you realize you’ve actually managed to learn and grow a bit, often without knowing it. And even though some of the things I’ve learned will no doubt seem rather laughable when I hit my 50s, I’ll take what I can get.
I am at an age where I finally worry less (could care less) about what people think and feel. Not that I’m callous about other people’s feelings, just the opposite, actually—I feel more deeply. But I’m confident in my own convictions. I am clear about other people’s motives. I’m no longer afraid to try and fail, or let others try to strike me down (or worse, revel in kicking me while I’m down), I just get back up again. I am content, carefree, and in control.
And I don’t feel the need to be someone I’m not. This quote says it all: “More about you is universal than not universal. My unscientific assessment is that we are 95 percent cohort, 5 percent unique. Knowing this is a bit of a disappointment, and a bit of a relief.” (Writer, Pamela Drucker.)
By your 40s, you don’t want to be with the cool people; you want to be with your people. High school was so long ago. You learn who the important people are in your life. And for me, it’s family. They will always be the ones I want to hang out with. The ones who get me.
I’ve realized that no matter what happens, it’s not the end of the world. It’s taken me a very long time to embrace this notion, but it’s true. Life is messy. And I’m so over trying to make everything not so messy. I now want to take risks, let the chips fall where they may, jump before I look, and embrace every precious moment.
As they say, with age comes wisdom. Here's what I believe I've learned so far.
- Listen to your body. It’s wiser than you know. I’ve taken care of myself two times in my life: when I was pregnant and once the children were almost grown. I wished I had listened more closely in between those times.
- The time is now. Regret nothing. If you have a hidden talent, or you’ve purposely held back who you truly are, you must come clean. Say it out loud, write it down, own it. Being a Late Bloomer does not mean you have missed the boat.
- Learn from everything. And don’t rush the process of moving through obstacles. You’ll get where you need to, in time. Trust in this. I know it's hard.
- Breathe. Live in the moment as this is all we have. This is a lesson I still need help with from time to time, but I am more conscience of it.
- There is no free lunch. Be prepared to work your ass off to achieve any type of success. And remember, success is a relative term.
- I have thankfully always known that family comes first. I will never regret the time I’ve spent with my children, but I can tell you exactly what I’ve missed when I wasn’t with them.
- Give. Whatever and however you can. No judgements. No rules.
- I’ve never been a big fan of change, but change has pushed me through many doors I thought I’d never open.
- Haters gonna hate. Their words can hurt us, haunt us, and play with our insecurities. They make us question, doubt, and perhaps quit. That’s their intent. Do not let it stop you from trusting your instincts and following your heart.
And finally: Laugh more and complain less. Laugh lines never looked more beautiful.