Admitting that one is turning forty is kind of like telling someone you have an incurable disease; there is a bit of hope (of finding a cure/wisdom) and fear (that I’m getting old) all wrapped up in it. But as a friend of mine says, “It is what it is.” Another? “Life itself is a fatal disease.” Flip it, and as many say, “Forty is the new thirty.”
But, my friends, fear not! It is not all doom and gloom.
Actually, four months into my own fourth decade of life has been as exciting as my teens, 20s and 30s, just in a different way. It, in many respects, has also been freakishly the same as my previous decades in a lot of ways as well. What follows are highlights since I turned 40.
Some things stay the same
For example, when I turned twenty, I was enrolled in and completing my pharmacy degree as an undergrad. When I turned thirty, I had just completed my MBA. Now that I’m forty, I’m still in school, this time finishing up my law degree. So while things may change, some things truly stay the same. I know that about myself as well: I love to learn. Which leads me to my next bit of wisdom…
Kiss toxicity bye-bye
“Knowing Thyself” becomes a reality. I am more comfortable now than ever being in my own skin. I know how to spot a bullshit artist now, and I’m better and stronger at pushing back upon others when I’m being bullied. I also now have a better grasp of what I love, and what I don’t love. For example, I choose to hang with people who have the entrepreneurial spirit, who love to challenge the system, and who truly want to make the world a better place. I used to struggle with the toxic people and work in my life and merely accepted that they were there for a reason. Now, I push back and let go of the toxicity. Having the correct energy in your life is important, and an important life lesson that I’m discovering in my fourth decade of life.
Flying solo is good
I’m good with flying solo: Being single and forty has also brought some interesting challenges in my life. In my twenties and thirties, I tended to be more concerned about finding a “significant other.” In my forties…? Not so much. While the universe loves to suggest otherwise—that I should be on the hunt for a man—I’m now better at ignoring that energy as well. I figure, if I find Mr. Wonderful while happily skipping through my life, great. But if not…? So what? I have a wonderful life regardless, and really don’t need a man who is mediocre just to say that I have someone in my life. Of course, if a woman who turns forty wants a child, that is probably another story. But for me? It is not a priority, and I’ll take flying solo as a blessing.
Say yes to saying “no”
Just saying NO is powerful: The best lesson of all for me turning forty is the power and ability to say no, which was something else I struggled with when younger. As one of my friends says, “There is a reason the letter N is next to the letter O in the alphabet.” I’ve learned that I don’t have to always say yes. I’ve learned to be pickier about who and what I say yes to, and I worry less about everyone in the world liking me. While some say we should knock the t off of the “can’t,” there is equal value and power in the ability to say no when something is offered to me that I don’t dig. If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one, including yourself. This comes pretty easily to me now that I’m in my forties.
Also, I’ve got plenty of opinions, and frankly, with the hot mess that the world is in, I have zero problems pushing back on authority when it comes to what should happen and expressing my thoughts. What has worked in the past isn’t necessarily going to work moving forward, (let’s face it, most of it isn’t working now) and I no longer accept the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality anymore, either.
It’s called living
These are the biggest lessons I’ve discovered after turning forty and really thinking through it for this writing. Of course, there are other lessons, but that is for each and every one of us to discover on our own. It’s called living—and no matter what decade we are heading into or out of, the good thing about it is that there is always another lesson just around the corner for each of us to learn about the biggest mystery of all—ourselves.