Our 20’s were awfully competitive and terribly confusing. Some of us were still entirely overwhelmed by furthering our studies while others decided to devote themselves to their careers. Most start raising a family while working tirelessly to balance home lives with their professions. We slept very little and fussed far too much over the little things. Our 20’s introduced us to beautiful homes with beautiful things and expensive cars. We were determined to wear the best branded clothes and shop for the latest “it” pair of shoes. Our hair and nails were habitually maintained, and friends were regularly entertained. We were dedicated to becoming the perfect hostesses, wives and mothers while we were determined to succeed at our jobs. What mattered the most to us, was what people thought of us. How we were perceived by the world made way for us to recklessly measure our victories by what we owned, where we were seen and who we were seen with.
We entered our 30’s far more stable and settled than a decade before. Our children were rapidly growing up; our houses have probably been updated and we’ve upgraded our cars at least once. We have begun climbing the corporate ladders and our finances were beginning to take shape. We continued to dress to the tee while our hair and nail appointments have probably become a normal part of our daily lives. Our 30’s introduced us to a sort-of in-between age where we were only just launching our places in the world, keen to establish exactly where it was that we belonged or fit in. We more-or-less have an idea of what our future goals should be, and we have begun to realize what it was that we wanted and what it was that we never wanted. We have not quite found our voices yet, and still feel trapped in a world that is somewhat intimidating.
Then our 40’s show up unexpectedly and out of nowhere! We don’t really see it coming but when it ultimately shows up, we realize for the very first time that we are no longer too bothered by updating our kitchens or bathrooms to include the newest and trendiest designs. The clothes in our closets are what we have become comfortable with while most of us have swapped out our heals for sneakers, slip-slops or just a pair of socks. We begin cancelling our hair and nail appointments more frequently and no longer aim to drive the newest car. Our jewelry remains tucked away in our jewelry boxes and our ambitions to succeed in our careers begin to dwindle. We simply no longer care to uphold and preserve an image of perfection in our lives simply because the little things no longer matter as much as they did before. We no longer seek to sustain friendships that were formed from status or self-importance and we begin to shrug off and ignore idle gossip. We begin sifting through friendships until only a handful remain. We no longer have much to prove anymore and we finally learn that we are completely comfortable in our own skins.
Along with our 40’s comes the realization that we no longer need any living person’s approval for anything directly related to our normal day-to-day lives. We have no desire to hide or explain why we have traded our cereal for a cupcake on any given morning. We can have an Irish coffee and call it an espresso, because we are 40’ish and don’t really care what anybody thinks. We effortlessly walk away from an argument simply because it no longer matters whether we are right or wrong, since it is no longer worth the effort. We no longer seek to be understood; we know what we know, and we don’t really care if anyone else does. We can skip the laundry for a day or two because we no longer feel a need to prove that we can do it all. We finally realize that an empty laundry basket is not as important as it might have been once. Some of us will walk barefoot or in our socks all day long at home, because that latest pair of shoes is just not as comfortable as wearing none. Women in their 40’s don’t care to impress anyone by driving the newest or flashiest car that comes with a crippling price tag. We are genuinely happy purely because we now know and have learnt that we cannot control anything or anyone, but more importantly, we don’t want to. A night in with a good book and a decent cup of coffee has probably become one of our favorite pastimes. We have peace in the knowing that those who matter, don’t really mind what we look like or what state our homes are in. Those that do mind, certainly don’t matter. It has taken us four decades to establish that which is important and that which is trivial. It has taken us to reach our forties to realize that happiness is found in being at peace with and accepting who we are. We no longer strive to be who we are not, and we are quite specific with who we invite into and keep in our lives. We can painlessly walk away from anything that no longer serves us, because we no longer aim to please everyone. We now know that if something is broken, it probably should stay broken. Not everything can or should be fixed, and that is okay. Our 40’s have taught us that we certainly won’t get out of this life alive and that we might as well filter out all the bad and keep all that is good. Inner peace and true happiness comes when we no longer sweat the little things. We know what we like, and we know what we don’t. We have been around long enough to know what it is that we are prepared to put up with and what we certainly won’t tolerate. We value that which is authentic and honest; there simply is no more space for superfluous drama around us. We have had solid careers. We have worked hard and have achieved much. We now want more time to turn back to that dream; that one thing we were forced to set aside while chasing all that we once thought were expected from us. We no longer care for fancy restaurants or extravagant trips. Our baggage has been minimized; our issues have been worked through and forgotten, we no longer have the energy for other people’s glitches or snags. Our children have grown into adults and have flown the coop. We have become protective of our time and we value space and distance. We have returned to the basics and we are almost back to where we once started out from. We are selfish when it comes to our freedom. We are straightforward just as we expect everyone else to be. We don’t talk in riddles and we have no patience for guessing games. We are more open-minded about everything. We have learnt that the world is not just black or white and that rules can and should be broken from time to time and once in a while.
So ladies! If you are in your twenties or thirties and think that you have the answers and have found the big secret to life, brace yourselves! You haven’t! If you feel that perhaps you will never get the “hang of this life” or if you suspect that you may never fit in, be patient … your 40’s will show up and you will finally understand! There is something remarkable about reaching your 40’s; something that cannot be bought … a dangerous kind of freedom. Your 40’s will finally reveal liberation, but if you’re brave enough to seek it early on … you will find that it’s always been there … from the very beginning!