Life begins at 40?
Updated: Apr 14, 2018
I have no idea where the saying comes from. I guess it was one person’s attempt to make themselves feel better about ageing and people just kept jumping on the bandwagon with it. But does it? Does life really begin in your forties?
In your twenties you’re still figuring out being an adult. You’re probably forming a long term relationship, establishing a career, friends around you start getting married, having babies, maybe you do too. You’re young, fun and generally moving forward.
In your thirties you’re making decent money, you'll get a nice home or make a grotty one nice, maybe get a dog. If marriage and kids haven't yet found you, they're probably on their way. Life is good but it’s probably crazy busy and hard work; there’s not a lot of time to appreciate what you’ve got.
In your forties the kids are older, you’re well established in your work and your finances and you’re starting to have the time to think about you again. Add on to that a certain confidence that comes with your level of life experience and sure, in an ideal life, your forties are great. This is where your real life begins.
But what if they're not great? What if, in fact, everything that’s gone before has either gone tits up or just doesn’t cut it in the ’ideal life’ stakes?
My forties started at a time when my life had gone exactly that way up. This ideal life, the one we're all sold as the dream to aspire to, didn't pan out for me so my 'real life' wasn't beginning; I was having to start out all over again, just twenty years too late and with two children to boot.
Life in my forties wasn't looking too rosy, I can tell you. In fact, I didn't even really celebrate my 'big 4-0'. No big party for me, after all what was there to celebrate?
Now, I'm very aware that I may start to get a bit tedious with this blog; it may all seem a bit too negative and depressing for any of you sticking with me and actually reading my writing. I know it is in fact because, well, I'm the one living this life and it's all a bit negative and depressing for me.
But Life goes on.
As surely and as mercilessly as only life can, it keeps going. It can feel like it's on pause for a while but, if you're not going to get off then you just have to keep going with it. So here I am.
The fact is, I can be negative about life. I'm trying to rebuild my hopes and dreams whilst lugging around a whole load of bitterness for what's gone before. And not only that, envy for what I can see is possible because it's right there in other people's lives.
But in some ways I think it's a good thing that I'm here having reached my forties. I don't honestly think that the me of my twenties would have been able to cope with all of this, whereas now I like to think I'm equipped with knowledge and experience that mean I'm hopefully making more informed decisions, ones that are taking into account what's gone before and moving me away from it (I'm still obviously making some shocking ones every now and again because, well, nobody's perfect y'know).
So maybe life begins at different ages for different people. My life didn't begin at 40, I wasn't ready - but 42 feels like it might be the start of it. Yours may have started a long time ago or maybe 50 is the age for you, who knows? The point is that you can make it happen at any time, you can be whoever you want to be and live whatever life you want to, at any age. No matter what has gone before, once you're ready to do the living, you can just bloody well get on and do it. Hoorah.
Thanks for reading.