At a surprise birthday dinner for a friend the other night, someone suggested we offer encouraging input about turning 40. The other women at the table, even the one person who was not yet 40, chimed in with how much stronger they felt now that they were older:
- “I know what I want and can ask for it.”
- “I don’t care as much what other people think.”
- “I’m better at saying No.”
- “I can love the people I choose to love and not worry so much about the others.”
- “I’ve figured out who I am.”
All this sounds great, right? But I was having a more difficult time coming up with positives. I still love birthdays, but I feel as if this is the year where I stopped loving getting older.
The flip side of 40s
In the past I was the youngest of all my friends, so that helped. But that’s not true any longer. At this event, I was the deepest into the 40s of any of the women at the table. Later that night I asked the same question of my husband, a year older than me. He also didn’t have a lot great to say about being in our 40s. Our list looks more like:
- “My hair is really turning gray now — all over.”
- “The wrinkles on my face are deepening noticeably.”
- “It is nearly impossible to lose any weight no matter how much I exercise or how well I eat.”
- “More foods disagree with me now.”
- “My body takes so much longer to recover from exercise now.”
Now, the obvious answer is that we’re just more negative people (or a cake half eaten kind of people). But, I don’t know about that. I am otherwise in a good place in my life. I practice mindfulness. I am exercising regularly. I eat more intentionally than I have in the past. I am doing a job I love. I get to blog about birthdays…
Maybe I’m just more of a realist. The women at the table were being cheerleaders helping the woman turning 40 to feel good about her milestone birthday. They might agree with me about all of the items on the second list, but realized that wasn’t what our friend wanted to hear at that moment. So, let’s chalk it up to another advantage of being 40 — we know when to keep our mouths shut in favor of greater peace and happiness. for those around us!