Let’s cut to the chase, 1 month till the big 4-0.
I’ve never minded getting older, quite liked it in many ways. I certainly felt that I was growing into myself. As a teenager and young woman, I was a bit old for my years. How many 25 years olds do you know that like gardening, for example, so getting older suited me. I have always got on better with older people and I married a slightly older man and we have quite a lot of older friends.
However, with a 5 year old son, just started school, I am suddenly very conscious of my age in a way I never have been before. I am one of the oldest mums with kids in foundation stage, and I am pretty sure I am the oldest without older siblings higher up in the school. The average age of my son’s friends mums is 10 years younger. Lots of parents are dropping their kids off with a younger child in a pram, or a blossoming bump. We tried to have another child, but after 2 miscarriages, we realised we had left it too late. Its painful, heart-breaking every day we see our son playing alone, and it was a choice we made and a conscious decision to stop trying. We were just too old and tired.
It was after this decision that I have started to really take stock of life. Thinking about what I want for myself and my family. Starting to weigh up what’s really important, and having to accept that we can’t always make things happen, choices have to be made, and sometimes outcomes are outside our control. This is a difficult lesson for me to learn. Brought up in a family where I was encouraged to go out and make things happen for myself, work hard, keep trying your best and the world is your oyster… be independent, keep your options open, you can have it all.
In all honesty, throughout my adult life I have put work at or near the top of my priority list, believing it was the key to independence, freedom and happiness. Work has propped up my self esteem and I have added to the ‘feel good factor’ by spending my hard-earned money. I am now 40 and I feel 80. My body is fat and tired, my muscles are weak, my prescriptions are increasing and my mental health is decreasing. My bank account is ok, but should be better, my work is making me ill and yet I constantly fear redundancy.
Nope, I don’t think I can have it all. Not now anyway. I need to make some changes to how I approach the second half of my life. These are the guiding principles I have set for myself.
- 1 – Consume less, work less, enjoy more. Work to live – I want to minimise the amount of time I have to spend working for other people. I don’t need as much ‘stuff’ as I thought I did, experiences are much more valuable.
- 2 – Invest wisely – make my money work for me, instead of me working for money – thank you Rich Dad Poor Dad.
- 3 – Time is precious, slow down – smell the coffee, be present, experience what’s there now, soak in every moment of my sons childhood, and every second with my family and friends.
- 4 – Care for myself – nurture my body and mind, so that I may enjoy the best quality time in my second half.
I want this writing to help to hold me to account, make me remember my guiding principles and prioritise the things that are really important. Turning 40 is a water-shed, a landmark and hopefully its true and life really does begin.
NB, this post was originally written before I had the blog set up.