41 Is NOT The New 21
5 reason’s why I’d rather be 41 than 21!
Today I turned 41. Kinda hard to believe actually. I’m not exactly sure where the time has gone. Sometimes I feel like I woke up one day and my twenties and thirties where over, without any warning. I remember being in my twenties thinking that women in their forties where soooooooo old. Like end of life old! I thought they looked ancient and acted even older.
On most days I don’t feel “old.” Or not as old as I thought those women seemed anyway. So it got me thinking; is our perception of age really changing? People say that your forties are the new twenties and I’d have to disagree. Maybe they are the new thirties, but my God! Am I happy I’m not still in my twenties!
So I thought I’d share five major lessons that my twenties, thirties and forties have taught me.
I no longer care what other people think of me. I mean I REALLY DON’T CARE. Part of me wishes I could find it in me to give a crap, but its like one day I turned that switch off and there’s no finding it to turn it back on. In my twenties I was obsessed with what other people thought of me. In my thirties I tried to tell myself I didn’t really care, but of course I still did.
But last year when I turned forty, it just stopped over night. And it’s soooo liberating!
I found an opinion. In my twenties I was too worried about being “normal” and fitting in to speak my mind. I’m not sure I even knew what my opinions were on things back then. In my thirties I found my opinions, but didn’t know how to express them without wielding a sward, and the feeling that I had to fight for them at all times, and at all costs.
Now I can express them when I need or want to, and be fairly articulate at it. I am now more open to other’s opinions and able to actually listen. I don’t feel like I have to convince any one of anything now, but I also feel that I don’t need to sacrifice my ideas either.
I don’t need to prove myself to anyone but me. In my twenties I wanted what everyone else craved, it was like a sprint into marriage, kids and “success.” I needed to have it all to prove to everyone that I was capable of it, the race to follow or lead the pack was intense. In my thirties I had sooooo much to prove, to everyone who questioned if I could survive as a single mom. To my ex-husband that I could do it on my own. To my family that I could do it on my own. To my bosses that I could do it and be a mom. To men, that I didn’t need them. To myself that I could survive and prove my haters wrong.
But now… now I have nothing to prove to anyone BUT myself. My goals are ones that matter to me, and it’s me that holds myself accountable. I can breathe and enjoy the fruit of all that labor, and pause to realize what really matters in life. And I’ve realized that even though I can do it all alone, it’s more rewarding, more fun and just better to be surrounded by people that you love.
I appreciate and even love my body. I’ve had a pretty hate based relationship with my body all my life, especially in my twenties. I spent that decade on extreme diets and extreme workouts and had the fittest body of my life, but was not the least bit appreciative of it. I loathed myself. I was obsessed with self-loathing. Then in my thirties I began my love/hate combo. Part of that decade saw me at my heaviest weight ever, and part saw me with a pretty banging’ body and finally having the confidence to totally rock it.
And now… now I’m happy that I’m healthy. I’m truly happy that my body responds when I workout, that it still looks and feels pretty young on most days, and on the days it doesn’t I take a nap. I honestly can now appreciate what I have, even though my weight still yo-yo’s and I still flux between feeling great and not so great, I at least don’t destroy myself about it.
I learn my lessons. In my twenties I knew it all, yet knew very little. I was stubborn and bull-headed. My thirties thought me to be more self-aware, and aware of others. They thought me that if I recognized a character trait that I wasn’t proud of, that I could change it. And I worked very hard to do just that. I tried to not repeat mistakes and to learn from each one, even when I kept making many.
Now I think I’ve become wise in some ways. Though to say that sounds narcissistic, and it’s not meant to at all. But that is how I feel. Life has shown me so many sides, has put me in almost every imaginable circumstance. For the most part I’ve tried to be aware, corrective and ever growing… and that has left me with the ability to connect to just about anyone, and give advice that works. Life has been my greatest teacher, and I’m proud to say I’ve paid attention.
But I’d be lying if I said there are some things I don’t miss about the past two decades.
I miss not having to take an afternoon nap just to function.
I miss being able to wake up, roll out of bed and have an intelligent conversation off the bat! Now it takes an hour or two, and a lot of coffee before I’m capable of that.
I miss waking up when my face would look the way it did when I went to sleep, instead of all puffy and swollen.
I miss when my eyes didn’t droop. And when my tit’s didn’t either, come to think of it.
I miss being able to remember every detail of everything… now I have selective memory to say the least!
All in all though, I will happily take my forties over any decade that’s come before. I love the confidence and calm that this decade has given me. I love the wisdom and grace it’s giving me. I’m excited to see what the future holds and what this decade will teach me when stacked against my fifties and beyond.