Category Archives: life

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 😉

 

 

 

 

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Love thy neighbour

loveThe most disturbing event that has seemingly happened in the wake of last week’s referendum result is not the state of the stock market (which after an initial panic has now recovered and more), nor is it the pound’s exchange rate (which might be low, but it’s been worse), no it seems that the ugly face of racism and intolerance has resurfaced.

It’s not just the obvious type of racism either. There has been vitriol thrown by friends to other friends simply because of where they were born, or who they worship. There has been vile abuse thrown in the direction of people, simply because they voted a different way to their friends.  There has also been a whole torrent of abuse hurled at the older generation of this country for doing nothing more than exercising the same democratic right as everyone else!

And frankly, that makes me ashamed to be human!

As human beings we are all individuals. Everyone is a unique person with their own way of life, goals, dreams and ambitions.

No one, whatever (or however) they feel, has the right to pass judgment on another human being because of the colour of their skin, their nationality or because they have differing opinions to you. Those are precisely the qualities that make us unique individuals.

I was in church on the Sunday before the referendum (just after the murder of Jo Cox and the shootings in Orlando) and the sermon was related to one of the readings that day from Galatians:

But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Jesus Christ.”

The preacher went on to quote Zoughbi Zoughbi, the founder and director of the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre, who said simply that:

“God is not racist”

[Note, God can also refer to any other holy, religious ethereal being]

So if God can see past colour, creed, nationality, etc., why can’t we?

In the Bible there are at least 30 quotes about loving thy neighbour. It is also, I believe, a theme that runs through Islam, as well as many other religions.

The world is crazy enough at the moment without adding fuel to the fire, so why can’t everyone love their neighbours. After all, as it says in Leviticus “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

So, as Martin Luther King put it – stick with love.

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I’m just a girl …

… sitting at the top of the tree, waiting patiently for a boy who won’t give up climbing.

Of the 2 who I thought had reached the top (aka Mr Wrong #1 & #2) well #1 did, but then decided the view wasn’t for him and #2 didn’t bother, he just threw me a lifeline as if he was doing me a favour and like a fool I climbed down. I learned my lesson the hard way.

So, now I just sit waiting.

And you know what, it’s a beautiful view up here. It’s peaceful, beautiful, warm and I can see forever 😉

And one day the right boy will reach the top, even if I have to wait until my next lifetime.

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Forget those 3 little words – it’s 6 words that tell a story!

I’m a big fan of the writer Paul Coelho (The Alchemist, Veronika Decides to Die, 11 Minutes, etc). Haven’t got all his books, but have read quite a few. I’ve just finished re-reading “The Alchemist”, digging out Manual of the Warrior Light next to re-read. (Best pop some more on my birthday wish list)

Anyway, he wrote that it only takes 6 words to tell a story. So here are a couple of mine:

  • Waiting, always waiting. That’s my problem.
  • I have faith & hope, nothing else!
  • The past is in the past.
  • Nice girls lose out … always!
  • Sassy single mum. Proud of it!
  • Don’t give up climbing the tree.
  • Knock me down, I bounce back!
  • I love cuddles and my PJs.
  • Life’s a rollercoaster. Enjoy the ride!
  • I trust you. Don’t disappoint me.
  • I’m thankful and grateful every day.

Your turn 😉

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Do you believe in magic?

magic1

Not the stage hocus pocus, but real live magic?

Stuff that you can’t quite believe.

I believe in magic.

I believe that like destiny and fate there’s a little magic that goes on to place you exactly where you need to be at any given moment in time.

I believe the world is truly magical, we just have to open our eyes to find it.

 

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So, it’s easy being a single mother is it?

Apparently Mylene Klass has said she loves being a single mum, she wants to ‘own’ it (whatever the hecky thump that phrase means) or #someothershit

Well, and please excuse the sarcasm here but it probably helps if you have millions in the bank, nannies or au pairs and not much else to have to worry about.

But for those of us who live in the real world the answer is slightly different.

No, it isn’t easy.

It’s bloody hard work!

I certainly didn’t set out to be a single mother, but ended up one pretty much from day 1. (And no, before anyone jumps in, I have never, ever denied any contact – just like to make that clear)

You don’t just have to be 1 parent, you have to be 2 rolled into 1.

The job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with no break.

No one to say “you know what, you have a lie in and I’ll take the baby out for a couple of hours!” – and believe me after 18months of being woken every 1½hours I looked like the living dead, followed by not actually sleeping through the night until he was 4, it’s no wonder I have bags under my eyes the size of a 747 cargo-hold!

No one to help you when they’re sick with a fever of 104, or having night terrors and you have no clue what to do.

No one to help out if you’re sick.

No one to talk to.

Now, I will admit I am luckier than a lot of lone parents out there, my parents took us in, and yes I don’t have to worry about rent or food. But I don’t and never have just sat back and taken advantage of their good nature – and I will never ever be able to repay them.

I don’t go out every night of the week, sleeping with any Tom, Dick or Harry.  In fact, it is very rare I go out at all – I go ballroom dancing once a week and that pretty much sums up the extent of my social life.

And yes, my so-called friends thought I had the life of Riley because I lived back with my parents. Why my parents do all the work for me and I can just swan about doing jack-all.

Actually that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I actually hold down so many jobs it’s unbelievable.

I’m obviously a full-time “most-epic-awesomest” mummy ever.

But I’m also, full-time housemaid, chef, laundry woman and most lately elderly carer.

And a business owner – which as you can see is not very far up the list due to all the other stuff that has to be done.

Then there’s the fact that I am still living with my parents and trying to bring up my child – can you see where this one’s heading? Yup! I say something to SC, they yell at me, for getting cross with him, and then in the next breath say I’m letting him rule the roost!!

And yes, I am extremely lucky that I do have my parents there if I am unable to do the school run because I need to be at work early, or can’t get home in time, or if I am unwell they are to help.

So, it’s not a doddle.  It certainly wasn’t a career choice and I wouldn’t say I ‘own’ it!

And yes, there are times, quite a lot if truth be told, where I wish there was handsome prince, just someone to talk to – about anything, someone to share the load with, someone to put their arm around me and say “don’t worry, I’m here for you, I’ll protect you!”

So, it is hard, very hard indeed, but it does have an extremely brilliant plus side.

SC and I have the most amazing relationship. The bond is unbreakable. And yes, I know, he’s only mine for a short time, but right now he is my entire world.

We are a team!

And I wouldn’t swap what we have, or have had, for anything.

 

 

 

 

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