Just had a birthday recently. Double 4, to be exact.
44 used to be old. If you watch old black-and-white movies, you’ll see parents that look more like grandparents, with powder white hair, boring long dresses with shaky, old people voices.
That can’t be right. Right?
Because I could be that parent!
Fortunately, I don’t feel old. In fact, I don’t feel any different from when I was in high school (at least on the inside). I may know (and weigh, ha!) more, but other than that, I don’t feel I’ve added on years, at all.
There should be changes in your life, though, I think, when you come to this phase in your life. There should be some sort of bar you should be able to measure up to, as you progress in years. Unless, of course, the contrary is what you actually are trying for. From my own experience, and with what I see from friends, here is a nice format for the 40-somethings to pattern their lives after.
1. You have less stressors. Things shouldn’t faze you as much as it did when you were in your 20’s. You’ve seen those before. Been there, done that. Learned from it, too, hopefully. Yawn, anything else more exciting?
2. You should have better relationships. With your parents, your children, your siblings, your spouse. Your ex-spouse. You should have a better understanding of what makes them tick, by now. And who has time for drama, anyway?
3. You should have less financial troubles. You would have worked half your life away, by now, and hopefully, had gained some financial freedom along the way. The days where you are short of cash, 2 days away from payday, should be a thing of the past. At least try to make it last all the way through, right?
4. You should have the freedom to choose. What’s best for you, for your family. What you want to do on the weekends. Where you want to go. Who you want to meet up with. There is no person, thing or circumstance that forces you to do things that you do not want to do.
5. Try something new. Add a dash of spice to your routine, and see how that can refresh not only your old soul, but also those around you.
6. You should know yourself and are comfortable with who you turned out to be. Are you straight, gay, or bi? Are you a conformist or a leader? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? A nerd or a non-nerd? Whatever you are, own it, own it, own it!
7. Live healthy. Others may say it could be too late to start living healthy at this phase in your life. Maybe. Maybe not. Of course, the ideal is to live healthy all your life, but let’s not kid ourselves. Who has time to be healthy when you’re busy doing stupid things? As they say, “youth is wasted on the young”. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve walked all day instead of just lounge around, because I didn’t have creaky knees; or read all day, because I had perfect 20/20 vision. That sort of stuff. But, alas, ’twas not meant to be. So, best to preserve what can still be preserved, and aim to live longer than your ancestors.
But I am starting to ramble…
Anyway, to all those entering their mid-lives and celebrating their 40s, the key word here is… CELEBRATE! You have license to be yourself now, relish what could be the best times of your life.