Top 5 Tips About Turning 40

40When I turned 40, I wasn’t vaguely bothered by the fact I was turning 40. After all, it’s just a number.

But, a lot of people I knew were significantly bothered about leaving their 30s behind. They got depressed, went into denial, all kinds of things.

Why?

It’s not a death knell to having fun and experiencing life. After all doesn’t the saying go “life begins at 40”, and nowadays 40 is the new 30.

In the 16th century average life expectancy fluctuated between 30 and 40 and didn’t actually rise above 40 until mid-19th century

Even in 1905 the average life expectancy was just over 49 years.

So you could say that back then reaching 40 was an achievement and considered pretty old.

Today though, average life expectancy is a lot higher, so why is there still this stigma attached to turning 40?

That aside, here are the top 5 tips I learned as I climbed over the hurdle:

Tip 5 – Watch your weight (aka Middle Age Spread)

You know when you were younger, you could polish off pretty much anything you fancied food-wise and have room for more with no fear that your jeans wouldn’t fit the next day?

Middle-age spread is not a myth.

I’ve always been fairly obsessive of my weight as you know, but when I hit 40 those few pounds I put on were not quite so easy to shift.

In fact, 2 years ago I was probably the heaviest I have been for over 20 years. I mean a lot of people probably wouldn’t even have noticed, but I did. My jeans started to feel a little too tight – and this is coming from the girl who always buys a pair of jeans 2 sizes to big to start with – and I just felt uncomfortable.

Nothing I did seemed to shift the weight.

In the end I radically adjusted my diet. I gave up sugar, completely, for about 3 months and the weight fell of. Then I gradually started introducing the sugar again, and when I felt a bit heavy, cut it out.

And I started exercising more. Nothing ridiculous like 5 hours at a gym every day. No. I found some fab workout DVDs which I could do at home – and yes I know you need the willpower to make yourself do it – but they were 10 minute workouts. If I had enough time to take out to make a cup of tea, I had enough time whilst the kettle was boiling to do a 10 minute workout.

2 years down the line I feel healthier than ever. It is now part of my daily routine to exercise and if I want a piece of cake I will have it, but just cut down on the sugar for the next couple of days.

So, don’t forget to watch your weight.

Tip 4.  Mid-Life Crisis

I guess, turning 40 does make you ponder about your life; what you’ve done, what you regret doing, what you regret not doing, what you feel you should have done, what you feel life is all about.

Of course, the answer to that one is 42!

Hitting 40 does whack you with a reality check that life is passing you by.

Some people go out and buy a sports car, others just inwardly panic.

After all you’ve had 40 years on the planet and what have you done?

I haven’t really done much with my life, to be honest. For sure, I went to  university and got a degree. I didn’t use it. I sort of fell into the IT world (and was part of the gig economy before it was the ‘in’ thing to do), went to drama school because I’d always wanted to give it a shot, had a baby (not exactly how it was supposed to be) and kind of floundered.

I don’t regret a thing. After all I would be in the same place I am now even if things had been different. It’s all down to the choices you make, and I’ve been too scared to do anything most of my life.

But when I hit 40, that was when I started rediscovering me and rebuilding myself.

So rather than a mid-life crisis, I had a mid-life re-birth.

Tip 3. Bloody Hormones

Yup, when you reach 40 those old hormones start wreaking havoc.

For us women we have “the change” to look forward too.

Although the average age for the menopause is about 51, it’s actually more about the ‘peri’. This is the transitional phase between the regular, normal monthly gubbins we’ve been used to for oh so many years and them stopping. Perimenopause can last between 4 and 8 years and normally starts in your mid-40s, but can start earlier!!

To be honest, the symptoms of the ‘peri’ are pretty much the same as the real thing, so once you start the ‘peri’ the end is in sight, so to speak.

But don’t think men have it easy. Yes, our estrogen levels may experience a sudden drop in our 40s, but for men their testosterone is on the decline by 1% a year from the age of 30.

So we may get night sweats, hot flushes and soreness in various areas, but men get to join us in the depression, mood swings, decreased libido and weight gain.

So do we all need to go onto HRT?

No!

The simple things, apparently are to make sure you get enough sleep, watch your weight (see Tip 5), exercise and try not to get too stressed.

Tip 2. Go With The Flow

Let’s face it, we can’t stop time. If we could we would all stop the clock at the most amazing points in our life, wouldn’t we?

Yes, we’re going to get wrinkles, begin to go grey or bald (if we haven’t started already), our joints will start creaking and bits of us might stop working properly.

BUT that’s just life.

Just embrace it.

I’m not saying let yourself go, of course not, we’re turning only turning 40. We still want to feel good and more importantly feel alive.

So take the vitamins, buy the anti-ageing stuff (although personally egg-white face masks and olive oil are a wonder), colour your hair, buy a toupee, anything o ensure you still feel good about yourself.

BUT.

We can’t, and shouldn’t want to compete with the 20-somethings.

We have something they don’t possess yet, experience and maybe, just maybe a little bit of wisdom.

Tip 1. Don’t Panic, Just Jump In

Turning 40 does not mean it’s time for the twinset and pearls or pipe and slippers. Definitely not!

It’s time for adventure.

After all, in your 20s you couldn’t afford it, in your 70s you might be too old to enjoy it, so isn’t your 40s the perfect time to start something new and enjoy an adventure or 2?

When I turned 40 I wrote of list of 40 things to do in my 40s – and yes, there are a couple of gaps at the bottom to which I am still open to suggestions. Some of the them are stupid, silly and inconsequential. But they are just things I’ve always wanted to be able to do.

It’s fun trying to think of what to put on there, and even more fun when you do them. I know I haven’t done many of them, but I am confident that I can, and will, get another 10 done this year, at least.

 

The most important thing I have learned is that life is mostly about experiences not things. Things are just stuff, whereas experiences stay in the memory for ever and are priceless.

So, don’t panic about turning 40. It’s easy. Just take a breath, jump right in and enjoy it 😉

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under life, Top 10

Lessons I’ve Learned in 2016

snoopyDo I start off with a reflective, thoughtfully written paragraph?

No, let’s dive straight in – so here are the 10 lessons I have learned over the last year:

10.  NEVER put a mixture of grapeseed and jojoba oil on your hair – it’s a b***er to get out.

Why did I do this crazy thing? Vanity, pure vanity. I have never been blessed with thick, voluminous, lustrous locks. My hair is baby fine and there has never been much of it. I have it trimmed regularly, but still, sometimes looks like 9 strands of hair…literally.

So I did what any other vain person would do and searched Doctor Google for some advice on how to naturally thicken one’s hair. And this seemed liked a reasonable suggestion. Just gently massage the mixture onto your scalp for 5 minutes and then wash off using a mild shampoo.

Well, the first bit worked, the massage was very therapeutic and mildly relaxing. But, did the darn oil wash off? No sir, it did not. I washed my hair twice and it still felt like an oil slick. Gross! Once it had dried, it did feel silky smooth, that did not last. By the end of the day it looked like I hadn’t washed my hair for a month. Solution, wash hair with baking soda and then wash hair with shampoo – that seemed to do the trick.

Lesson learned – don’t be so b***dy vain, and just use hairpieces like everyone else! (I’ve got a fab blonde long, curly wig I’m dying to try out. Will my IQ go down though once I put it on?)

9.  EGGS are great as a beauty treatment, just don’t eat them.

I’ve posted previously about the wonders of an egg-white face mask – and yes, I’m still slopping the egg-white on my face on a regular basis.

However, this was the year that eggs decided to give me up!

You know as you get older that your tastes change and things you used to like, no longer do it for you? Sometimes, as in my case, the food in question decided it did not like me any more. Without going into too much detail, I found that I now cannot eat eggs – or rather I can but then regret it!

Lesson learned – just stick to having egg on my face and don’t buy any chickens in the near future!

8.  FLYING SOLO IS FUN

This year, I grabbed the bull by the horns and decided to strike out on my own. S*d the fact that I had no one to go with, I bravely bit the bullet and went to places I never thought I would ever go to. And yes, I went on my own – or rather I was accompanied by a good book – and had the most splendid of times.

I knocked 2 items off the bucket list – I had afternoon tea at The Ritz and lunch at The Ivy and went to numerous plays/musicals in the West End all by myself.

Yes, you get stared at – I just buried my head a little deeper into the book and ignored, and yes I was shoved away in a corner )Ritz) and not really afforded the same attention (Ivy) as someone who had companionship at the table – but I had the most wonderful time.

I met some lovely people at the theatre and saw some fabulous productions.

Next year a spa day beckons – need another crystal healing session – and I might check out a few art galleries.

Lesson learned – don’t be afraid of doing things on your own.

7.  TRAMPOLINING is fun and very good exercise.

There are trampoline parks springing up all over the place. Forget Zumba, Ballet Fitness or Yoga, it appears “bouncing to get fit” is the new exercise fad.

I took SC to one of these trampoline parks and it was super fun. After an hour you certainly feel the burn, even if you do nothing more than bounce. You also leave with a tremendous grin on your face.

It’s also extremely good for your pelvic floor muscles. After having SC, my pelvic floor is not what it used to be. Let’s just say, trampolining certainly gives them a good work-out!!!

Lesson learned – having fun keeps you young.

6. I CAN or I’ll give it a darned good try at the very least.

I have started a couple of projects this year, that I have been um-ing and ah-ing about for a good few years. Finally, I decided that I should just do it – to coin a phrase. After all, what’s the very worst that could happen? Yes, I know, I could fall flat on my face, but at least I would have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried.

The 1st project is going well and the 2nd project after a bit of a shaky start is beginning to gather momentum, so hopefully, cross fingers, it will be onwards and upwards for both of them.

Lesson learned – don’t dither, just do it!

5.  CARROT CAKE and catch-ups are the best thing ever.

My best friend moved back overseas in September, and the one thing I really miss is our regular carrot cake and catch-up sessions.

Lesson learned – don’t underestimate the power of carrot cake!

4.  I AM WORTHY!

I worked out a long time ago that clearly, I am just not the right girl for anyone. And I’m happy with that. Me, myself and I (after a rough start) get on very well now and I don’t need anyone to make me feel happy or complete (if that makes sense?).

I’ve had my share of being treated badly, shall we say – an option, a replacement, a stand-by, a joke, etc.

I finally know my value. I may be quirky, weird, geeky, lanky, but I am deserving of something real, something true and something better.

I am strong enough now to realise that I am worth the effort of climbing to the top of the tree.

Lesson learned – I believe in actions not words.

3.  SMILE everyday.

No matter what, just smile. Like the song goes, “smile, though your heart is aching!”

Life is better when you smile.

Smiles, like laughter, are infectious, and your smile may make someone else’s day.

Lesson learned – smiling makes you feel better.

2.  GRAB OPPORTUNITIES by the proverbials.

Life sends us opportunities every day. We just need to open our eyes to find them.

When you are sent an opportunity, embrace it and make the most of it. It may lead to bigger and better things.

Lesson learned – be grateful for everything life throws your way.

1. LIFE IS AMAZING!

Every day is a blessing, no matter what the day holds for you.

Don’t worry about what other people think, do what makes you happy. What is the point of doing stuff that makes you miserable?

Life may not always work out the way we want, it will always hold surprises – good, bad or otherwise – and those little blips will either lead us onto better things, teach us what we need to know or just be something to brush off.

There will always be some upset, but at the end of the day that’s life, it’s never going to be plain sailing.

We have 86,400 seconds every day to live life to the fullest, so don’t waste them.

Lesson learned – to wake up every morning and feel grateful and blessed for another chance.

 

What have you learned this year?

Happy New Year everyone

Leave a comment

Filed under General

Friday Poem – I Believe

i-believeBrowsing through the Top 500 poems list, looking for a suitable poem for today, I stumbled across this truly wonderful poem by Sienna Harlequinn.

Her name is all I could find out. But the poem speaks volumes and pretty much sums up my philosophy on life.

So, enjoy it:

I BELIEVE

I believe that the sun shines after the rain
I believe if you don’t get hurt you’ll never gain
I believe in not doing things the easy way
I believe that being selfish doesn’t pay

I believe in a second chance
I believe in a life long romance
I believe there is life after death
And standing up to a life of mess

I believe in love at first sight
I believe that revenge isn’t right
I believe that first impressions last
And there is nothing better then a good laugh

I believe that dreams do come true
I believe there’s destiny for me and you
I believe that good things come to those who wait
I believe love never arrives too late

I believe something good comes from something bad
I believe that for tears of happiness there are tears of sad
I believe everyone has a guardian angel
And the good you do will be rewarded well

I believe sometimes there is no explanation
I believe money can’t buy people’s affection
I believe you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone
I believe a new day arrives with every dawn

I believe a smile can be contagious
I believe in being very outrageous
I believe in living with no regrets
I believe that life is as good as it gets

I believe that God watches over us
I believe the little things are worth the fuss
I believe you have each friend for a reason
I believe you will get punished for treason

I believe that what comes first is family
I believe we should all live in harmony
I believe in making the most of a beautiful day
And it’s not the end until everything’s okay

I believe absence makes the heart grow fonder
I believe you will lose if you sit and wonder
I believe every experience teaches you a lesson
And nothing cures better then a drinking session

I believe everyone has one true love
I believe sometimes we need a little shove
I believe the whole world is a stage
I believe we only get better with age

I believe that to learn you have to live
I believe that to love someone you have to give
I believe one moment can change your life
And there’s still help when you’re in strife

I believe everyone has one true friend
I believe love helps a broken heart mend
I believe in the power of a song
And things will change before too long

I believe living is the best experience
I believe in not laughing at other people’s expense
I believe it’s hard to watch a lover leave
And when they’re gone all you can do is breath

I believe to always look on the bright side
I believe that life is just one big ride
I believe when I die people will grieve
But it’s ok because I believe

Leave a comment

Filed under General

A-Z of Life – Insecurities

insecuritiesThose little niggles that we all get that we are not good enough, or we’ve done something wrong but we don’t know what (or is that just me?).

Those little worries that just sit there quietly eating away at all the other thoughts in your head.

Until they grow so large they are all you can think of and not only that but they are completely true and you aren’t good enough, and it’s always your fault.

Annoying, aren’t they?

But how do you conquer those little niggling doubts inside your head?

Is it possible?

More importantly though, do you want to?

Personally, I think that if you want to get rid of them, it’s most definitely possible. After all, as Buddha said:

What you think, you become.

What you feel, you attract.

What you imagine, you create.

So, if all you can think and dwell on are insecurities, the wrongs people have done you, etc, etc, etc, then all you attract is more of the bad stuff and none of the good stuff.

But how do you change?

Well, it’s not easy, but it does all start with that very question.

If you know you want things to change, and you know you have to change in order to make that happen, then believe me, you are on the road there.

I have come full circle.

When I was little no one was ever going to beat me – at anything.

And then life happened and I let life beat me. I let everything else control me, but me. I clammed up and hid. I was totally afraid to show any feelings, I was never good enough for anyone, I was never good at anything and even if I showed any hint there was always someone only too willing to slap me back down into my place again.

I spent the best part of my life being afraid.

But then, a couple of years ago I had an epiphany.

It wasn’t one of those Damascene (?) epiphanies, more a case of a culmination of a whole heap of crap (for want of a better word) and me saying “STOP! I’ve had it!”

I knew I couldn’t change other people, but I sure as hell could change myself and how I reacted to certain situations.

Since reading is what I do best, I read and read anything I could get my hands on regarding personal development and changing perspectives. I’ve read about chimps, psychopaths, the universe, gratitude, psychic vibrations, etc. Some brilliant, some good and some not so good.

Little by little I managed to chip away at those in-built insecurities that had been a permanent fixture in my head for more years than I care to remember.

And you know what?

I’ve come to like myself again. I may not be to everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m mine.

I’ve realised that I have a right to be here, just as much as anyone else, and I don’t need to excuse my presence to anyone, especially not me.

What ever happened in the past is exactly where it needs to stay. Firmly in the past. I have learned from everything that has happened to try to make myself a better human being. By forgiving others and equally forgiving myself has lifted that feeling of eternal guilt that I am always in the wrong.

I am responsible for my own happiness, no one else is.

I have learned that I cannot control anything else apart from my actions – and if truth be told, that’s quite a scary one to learn, especially as I don’t like the feeling of uncertainty – but I take a deep breath and enjoy those opportunities and curve balls. After all the fun is in the journey.

I have learned that worrying doesn’t solve anything. It actually makes things worse. By worrying we create problems out of nothing. And going back to Buddha if we are feeling worried, insecure and not in a good place nothing good will come into our lives.

They’ll never completely go away, the fear and insecurities, but by flipping my thinking I have now learned that they are merely opportunities in disguise. A further chance for me grow by casting the ghosts of insecurities past aside and simply trusting.

Never mind Peter Pan saying “to die will be an awfully big adventure”, living is the biggest adventure of all.

Life is amazing.

Life can be wonderful, if we just stop worrying, start trusting, start believing and more importantly love.

Leave a comment

Filed under A-Z of Life

A-Z of Life – Honesty

self-honesty-freedomLet’s be honest – it’s always easier to blame other people/other circumstances for our misfortunes in life, isn’t it?

But where does that get us?

Nowhere, that’s where.

Or continually walking down a path always looking for something or someone to blame and never once looking closer to home.

But maybe we should.

Every day we always have a choice.

And those choices determine what happens in our lives. Some of it will be good and some of it will be not so good.

But, and here’s the crux of the matter, if the choice you made turns out to be not so good, then instead of looking for someone or something to blame we need to look at our actions. After all, weren’t we the one who made that particular choice?

We’ve all done it. It’s human nature. If something goes wrong it’s easier to blame circumstances or fate or luck, isn’t it?

I’ve spent a good part of my life blaming others for my ‘lot in life’ – unlucky, ugly, useless, worthless, etc. You name it, the list is pretty long.

But, over the last couple years, having been on this voyage of self-discovery I realised the ‘others’ involved may have caused an initial blip in my life (for want of a better expression), but I was then ultimately responsible for how I felt. After all, I was the one that chose to let their actions affect my life, I chose to believe I was worthless, I chose to believe that I deserved everything that was thrown at me, I chose to believe that I should be treated without respect.

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it!”

I looked closely at my own actions and worked hard to improve and better myself in all areas of life and these days I wake up and choose to be positive.

Because I believe in myself now.

For sure, I may still get a few wobbles and panics occasionally but I stop, tell myself to stop being so silly and as a certain song goes, always look on the bright side.

I am alive.

I am allowed to have dreams.

I deserve to be here.

I deserve to have a life.

I am worthy of life.

I am worthy of respect.

I value and know my worth.

I choose life.

Leave a comment

Filed under General

CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW: “The Imagination Box” by Martyn Ford

  • imagination boxStars: 5
  • Would I recommend it: Definitely
  • Age range: 9+

” “There is a box. Anything you imagine will appear inside. You have one go, one chance to create anything you want. What would you pick?”

That’s exactly the question ten-year-old Timothy Hart gets to answer after discovering The Imagination Box. The greatest toy on earth.

The top-secret contraption transforms his life but when the box’s inventor, Professor Eisenstone, goes missing, Tim knows he has to investigate.

With the help of a talking finger monkey called Phil, he sets out to find the professor. In order to rescue his friend, he must face his darkest fears and discover the true potential of his own mind.”

 

I picked this book up in the library last summer for SC and I to read as part of the summer reading challenge.

Now, the official guideline says it’s for 9+, well SC was 8 when we read it last year and to be honest I think even a 7-year-old would enjoy it – it makes for a great bedtime read, if you are strong enough to stop despite cries of “Don’t stop reading mummy!”

I thought the back of the book blurb sounded like it could be a fun book, and I was not wrong.

This book is brilliant. It is very cleverly crafted and will appeal to children and adults alike.

There is laughter, lots of it, and without giving any spoilers away let’s just say there are jet-packs to add to the amusement.

There is sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next.

But at its heart is a story about friendship.

When we finished it last year, we definitely gave it a 5 star rating – it would have got more.

Well, imagine our surprise when looking through the books at the library this summer for suitable reads for the reading challenge when lo and behold we spied “The Imagination Box: Beyond Infinity” on the shelves.

A sequel?

Oh yes indeed.

Is it as good as the first book?

Yes, yes and a thousand times yes.

All the characters are back for some more fun with the imagination box, including Phil the talking finger monkey (mine and SC’s particular favourite – he’s very posh don’t you know?)

This time Tim needs to rescue his imagination box after it has been stolen from him. But who can he trust? Can he trust anyone?

Let’s just say I guessed the baddie much to SC’s annoyance. But I didn’t see the ending coming!

Another fabulous read and there is another book coming out – the third in the series – Spring 2017, hopefully.

That will be another one on the list.

If you can lay your hands on a copy of these books, do so. You, and your children, will love them.

So …

There is a box. Anything you imagine will appear inside. You have one go, one chance to create anything you want.

What would you pick?

Let me know in the comments section – happy imagining.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Children

Friday Poem – Wasted Tears

tearsA truly beautiful poem by a poet called Tiger Lily Love.

When I read it, it struck so many chords. I have shed these tears in the poem and only now can I see that they were wasted.

I shed tears over things that weren’t my fault, yet I was made to feel as if they were.

I shed tears over what I thought was a lost love, only to realise looking back that it was never that in the first place.

All those tears and all that blaming myself and beating myself up was just a waste of time.

It has taken time but I have finally let go of all the misery just as the poem says.

I (like everyone else on this planet) deserve to be here, deserve to be loved for who I am (a bookish geek with a kind heart), deserve to be treated properly and not like an option (I am a destination not a stop along the way).

I create my own happiness and I enjoy life and whatever it throws at me.

So, here is the poem…

Wasted Tears

At the height of my hysteria
While I was yet again choking on my tears

I realized just how many tears
I’ve shed for all of you
Over the years

Wasted is how I view them
Because wasted is what they are

And each tear plummeted down my face
It left behind a never fading scar

My precious tears none of you deserved
And the satisfaction of knowing I’ve shed then
Is what you’ve gained

But none of you care in the least
That shedding those tears
cruelly caused me so much pain

So I dry my eyes for the last time
And I hope you enjoyed that last show

Because I’m done wasting my tears on you
And am letting you-
And all of the misery
Go

Leave a comment

Filed under Friday Poem