Updated: Nov 23, 2018
Do you any of you have teenagers? They are the best. And sometimes the worst. Hahaha! You know what I mean. I was thinking about when I was teenager and how I truly thought I knew everything. Even though I was a defiant child by nature, I sincerely thought I knew it all and that my opinion was the one that mattered the most. That’s the wonderful thing about being in my 40’s. I KNOW my opinion matters to very few, and I’m good with that. The one thing I DO know, is that I’m just not the expert I thought I was in my teens, my twenties, and my thirties even. 40’s are the years of enlightenment.
I love being in my 40’s. Absolutely love it. That’s a statement that is light years away from the time I broke out in hives the day I turned 30. I regret that I spent much of my 30’s dreading the big four-oh. I fretted about my worry frown that just kept getting deeper and deeper. I stressed about the weight that wouldn’t melt away as easily as it did when I was younger. I was just sure my life would be over when I entered the dreaded decade of the people who were obviously lame. Boy was I ever WRONG!
There is a wonderful freedom about being in your 40’s. I may have put on a bit of “matronly weight,” but let me tell you, I’ve lightened up, and that is one of the sweetest juxtapositions out there. Laughter comes bubbling up from my soul more often than not, many times at my own expense. I find humor in things that before I had been unable to see any reason to smile about. In short, I’ve relaxed.
I’m seeing beauty in the things that before I had not even noticed. A woman in her 40’s is a gorgeous thing. The little things they do that I am now taking the time to appreciate just bring a smile to my face. I was running errands the other day and I took the time to observe my surroundings. This one woman in particular was captivating, the way she was handling an item, unsure if she was going to put it in her cart. I noticed her hands, no longer smooth with youth, but manicured non-the-less, an understated shade of nude to make her fingertips shine. The brilliant diamond on her ring finger, the size of which told me she had a successful career, a generous significant other, or maybe had done time in a marriage that would have warranted a diamond that size. Her hair was cut in a smooth shoulder length bob, and in the darkness of her locks, I could see that there were long strands of gray - she was refusing to color it. No apologies. That is the charming confidence that comes with being an older woman. No ladies, I’m not saying that if you color your hair, you’re not confident. Heck, I usually color mine and I’m usually pretty confident. However, this is another version of that confidence that I find just stunning.
When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I tended to compare myself to other women way too much. If you’ve known me that long, you probably wouldn’t argue if I said I was extremely vain. Looking back, that vanity was really insecurity. I was not comfortable with who I was and the way I looked, so if I could look awesome, then I felt worthy. That is another blog in of itself, but right now, I can say that I no longer worry about not being the most attractive woman in the room. I’m just glad I’m loved for who I am, by myself and by my partner. I can now appreciate another woman’s loveliness, her beauty and not feel threatened by it.
As a woman in her mid 40’s, I smile when I see young women in their late teens and early 20’s, because they go about life with the world in front of them. They have that innocence and that joy that’s infectious. Many are on the brink of being on their own, holding down their first “real” jobs, or maybe entering the career of their choice. They seem to take their youthfulness with a grain of salt – not realizing that one day that will all fade into the background and they will enter another realm of beauty they cannot fathom at the age they are at. It’s nice being older and consciously taking the time to pause and admire my surroundings in this way.
Women in their 40’s now more than ever are taking the time to care for themselves in a way that says, “World, I’m living my best life!” I have friends who are in better shape now than they were in previous years. We are learning better ways to eat, better ways to live, better ways to take ourselves and our health seriously. We are learning to accept our maturity yet keep our youthful attitude by immersing ourselves in the things we love to do. Whatever your call to personal enjoyment is, don’t ever stop feeding your soul with these things.
During our first summer in the cities area, my daughter Brianna (who was 9 at the time) and I went down to the pool one sunny day. We grabbed a couple of lawn chairs and I spread out my towel and flopped down on my stomach facing the pool to get some color and watch Brianna swim. Soon, a girl in her 20’s came down and took the lawn chair not far from me. She removed her tee shirt, kicked off her flip flops and laid down also on her stomach to soak up the sun. She was beautiful and had her hair up in a perfect messy bun. (Of course.) She was simply stunning and if you told me she had just come back from a Sport Illustrated swimsuit shoot, I wouldn’t have been shocked at all. Brianna came and sat on my lawn chair and looked over at the girl and I saw her notice her perfection, then she looked at me and my less than perfect legs. I caught my daughter’s eye and she gave me a small smile. I smiled right back at Bri with all the confidence I could muster on my face. When my Victoria’s Secret model friend got up and took a dip in the pool, I took the opportunity to let Brianna know that beauty comes in all forms, all shapes and all sizes. We took the time to talk about the traits or physical attributes that we loved about our own selves. The point of this story, aside from loving who we are, is that had I been in my 30’s, I may not have found this situation as endearing as I do now. The confidence and hindsight that comes with being in my 40’s is something I’m so thankful for.
My wish for each of you who have not yet hit this “milestone” in life, is that you truly enjoy each moment of the age you currently are. There is never going to be another 26. Or 34. Or 38. And don’t be afraid of the number 40. The ONLY hill it’s over, is the rough one of learning by our many mistakes, wading through the dating pool, figuring out how to manage career and family, and accepting ourselves and others for who they are. The rest is a wonderful time of coasting a gentle slope of just “being.”
In 5 years, 50 will be knocking at my door, and I smile thinking of what that decade will bring. Ciao, Cinquanta, Ciao!