The big 4-0. Twenty years ago this number would make any thirty-something woman retreat to the fetal position. But before you head out to stock up on self-help books and age defying beauty supplies, read on – there is hope!

According to Prevention Magazine’s editor Jacqueline Mooney, women in their forties are the happiest they’ve ever been. They have ‘life experience and confidence’ and are more likely to ’embrace themselves and their bodies for who they really are’.

At 37, although not yet 40, I can echo these sentiments. Whereas five years ago, the thought of turning 40 scared me to death, I now find myself approaching my forties not with trepidation but rather a sense of calm contentment.

So what life lessons have we learned during our thirties to take into our forties?

Confidence

During our twenties and into our 30’s we are often consumed with body image issues. As we age it gets harder to achieve what is portrayed in the media as beautiful. But there comes a point when we realise we are beautiful, no matter our shape, size or hair colour and it is so much easier to make the most of what we’ve  got rather than try and live up to something  portrayed in the media. We need to tell ourselves each day, no we are not perfect, sure we might want smaller thighs/bottom/ tummies/noses but rather focus on the positives. Look in the mirror and instead of focusing on your floors focus on the good things. It really does make life easier.

Empowerment

Our 30s are full of change; babies, career changes, financial and emotional highs and lows all seem like a constant battle. However, as you approach 40 things finally begin to come together for most of us. You should feel proud at making it through your 30’s! Life experience and knowledge leaves you with an empowered feeling. You really can take on anything the universe throws at you. Of course, it’s got going to be all smooth sailing from here on in. Life will deal you some more hands to play, but you are now better equipped to handle these challenges when they come along. Be proud!

Letting go of regrets

All of us have regrets, as much as we try to deny it. But by 40, you should have made your peace with most of them. If you are still in the process of dealing with your regrets, now is the time to face them head on. If you can act on them, do it. If not, make your peace and let them go. You have so much more life to live and regrets are not to be a part of it.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Later in our 30’s we come to the realization that life isn’t perfect. Who would have thought?  We learn not to stress about the little things. Is the house spotlessly clean? No. But the fridge is full. Is that vegemite on your daughter’s collar as she heads out the door?  Yes. But she is happy, healthy and loves learning. Are those Mums judging you in my tracksuit as you pick up the kids? Probably, but your warm, comfortable and happy in your own skin.  Make an effort to find the positives and don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not always easy, but is always important.

Embrace Change

Change as we know, is a big factor in our thirties and it can be daunting. Starting a family, a new career, relationships, marriage all form part of what can be a tumultuous time. Now rather than seeing change as a bad thing embrace what it brings; possibility, new adventures and life experience otherwise known now has another name: wisdom.

Taking chances

So many younger people worrying about the “What if?’’ but instead why not concern yourself with the “What if I don’t?’’ There is more to lose in not trying, than trying and failing. If I take a chance and I fail, I haven’t lost, I just haven’t succeeded. I can pick myself up and try again; I have gained wisdom, knowledge and power. The opportunity to take a chance doesn’t often present itself, so grab it when it does.

Don’t let the big 4-0 scare you. Embrace the thought of being fabulous and forty and joining the millions of women who feel the same.

Does the thought of turning 40 scare you?

What have you learned during your 30s that you will carry into your 40s?

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