To be honest, the year leading into this decade I did have my tizzy moments. Those times when thoughts crept in about how my “youth” was now gone, how I’m not as far along in certain areas as I’d like to be, and well… despite all my spiritual work, episodes where I just couldn’t seem to shake focusing on all the negatives around me. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t wishing for any “do-overs,” but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I kept imagining how much better my life would be if I could go back, and share some of my current wisdom with the younger me.
By Morgan McKean
The French poet, Victor Hugo once said that “Forty is the old age of youth.” and W.B. Pitkin, the American philosopher said that “Life begins at forty.” And, as someone who now finds herself just on the other side of thirty-nine, I am of the opinion that both these points are valid, depending on your perspective. Yep, just a few short months ago I made my transition into the fabulous forties, and with it I’ve had some rather amazing epiphanies and revelations.
For instance, if I could go back-in-time, I would tell the 15-year old Morgan, who didn’t feel like she fit in because she was taller than all of the girls, and most of the boys, that in a few short years she would find-her-tribe, and that men, not boys, would soon be knocking down the door to date her. I would tell the 22-year old me NOT to date anyone she was working with, especially the owner of the company (which I’ve done more than once), because when the relationship ends, so does your job or business partnership. I would tell the 26-year old me to leave the guy at the first sign of abuse, no matter how many times he apologizes or what he promises you, as the amount of emotional damage it does to you and your self-esteem, if you survive, will take years upon years to heal. I would tell the 30-year old me that I will be a really good mommy, and that the key to success is just showing up consistently, and doing your best. And, I would tell the 33-year old Morgan to follow her dreams… because when you try to do what you believe is the “responsible thing,” or something you think will be “quick-n-easy,” you will just end up miserable, quit whatever it is, and have to start over on building your dream anyway.
All of that said, regardless of the lefts or rights I made, and the directions that they took me in, the fact is I’m here. I’ve made it 40 cycles around the sun, I’m healthy, have an amazing child, a thriving business/career doing what I love, fabulous friends, I live in a beautiful area walking distance from the beach, and in many ways, am living the life of my dreams.
So all and all, I’ve now lived long enough to recognize that being 40 is FABULOUS, and here are 10 very powerful reasons as to why ::
You’ve been on this earth long enough to know who you are, what you like, and what you don’t. You don’t have to question what you’re going to pick out at the buffet table, what fashion, beauty and hairstyle trends look good on you, and what activities are going to bring you the most satisfaction. This isn’t to say that you’re done exploring the world around you, it’s just that you’re better at picking what you want the first time around.
You’ve now had enough ups-n-downs, back-n-forths, and umpteen other experiences to show you that getting worked up about something, or engaging in petty fights and arguments, just isn’t worth it. The fact is, no one, no matter how much they love you, is going to agree with you all of the time. And, business deals are going to go wrong, escrows won’t always close, and money comes and goes. So with this knowledge, you walk a little more sure-footed through your days, and realize that stressing over the laundry you didn’t get folded or the dishes that didn’t get washed is a waste of your time.
While once upon a time you may have wanted to be in with the “in-crowd,” by the time you hit forty, you just want to be with your crowd. You’re not so interested in working hard to be accepted by a social circle, as you desire to be with the people who get your fashion sense, and your sense of humor. And you’re totally secure in the fact that you rather spend New Year’s Eve with a close friend drinking wine, watching a movie, and talking gossip and world philosophies, then trying to get on the guest list to the most exclusive party.
This is a funny one, as many of us are really good at this as young children, but then something happens along the way, and we begin to feel guilty when we turn someone or thing down. But, at forty we realize that saying “No.” is an act of self-love and of self-care. If we really don’t want to go on the date, take the job, or go to the party, we now know that saying no is perfectly acceptable, and we don’t have to make a long list of reasons or excuses to back it up.
You’ve heard that voice a thousand times, the one that says you’re not pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough, or wealthy enough to live the life you dream of. By 40, you’ve demonstrated enough successes in your life that you can now tell it to shut the BLEEP up. You also know that you’ve never once accomplished your goals by listening to it. So at this stage of life, when that voice starts to chant self-criticism and doubt rhetoric in your head, you know how to say “No thanks!” and go about your merry way.
While at a younger age you may have taken the snarky comment from a family member or friend, or let your boss berate you in front of your co-workers, by 40, you’ve learned that this is unacceptable. At this point in the game, you have enough self-worth to not retaliate or cause a scene either, but more specifically, you don’t put yourself in those situations to begin with. And, if you do find yourself in a sticky situation, you’re quick enough on your feet to come with an escape plan, and fast.
Remember the roommate that partied all hours of the night, while you were trying to sleep or study? Or the guy who would only text you at a 11pm once a week, for what one can only assume was a “Booty Call?” By 40, these type of people are long gone, because you won’t stand for that silliness any more. And the friends you do have, the ones that have been worth keeping, are the kind you can trust to have your back.
Whether it’s asking the mechanic about the repairs on your car, your partner/spouse about what they really want out of life, or your boss for a raise, at 40 you’ve come to know that you, and the quality of your life, are worth asking the tough questions for. And, rather than feeling embarrassed, guilty, or too insecure to hear the answers, you realize that if you don’t ask, the answer is already “No.” so there’s really nothing to loose in asking for what you want.
When you’re in your teens and twenties, fast-food and binge drinking can be a fun indulgence. By 40, you realize that your body is the only place you have to live in, and that if you don’t take care of it, life is going to be a lot more uncomfortable to go through. So, while you may still have a sweet-tooth or want to polish off a bottle of wine a few nights a week, you resist, and begin treating your body with a lot more love and tenderness, by feeding it right.
No more paralysis-of-analysis, playing the same old records over and again in your head, of chances missed and past regrets. You have now learned to listen to that voice with in that says “Go this way, not that.” saving you the stress of sleepless nights, and the misery of indecision.