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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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Top 5 Lessons I’ve Learned in Life

You may be seated, class is about to begin 😉life

As I’ve meandered through this thing called life, this is what I have learned, so far:

5.  Don’t get on the negative horses – such as anger, bitterness, self-pity, self-doubt, etc. If someone or something has happened to you then yes, your first reaction may be something negative. But if you stay with that negative frame of mind then that is your choice, not the person, or thing, that hurt you. And then the only person you are hurting is yourself. This is a phrase I have only recently discovered and yes, at times it is very difficult to stay off those damn horses, especially if SC is faffing about when it comes to getting homework done (I swear pulling hen’s teeth would be easier!). But I am getting better at letting those negative horses stay grazing in the field, whilst I stay with the positive team 😉

4.  Treat everyone with kindness – yes, they may not treat you the same in return, but surely that says more about them than you. And by treating everyone with kindness, even if it is just a smile, or offering your seat to someone, then you could make a difference to that person’s day. So my act of kindness today is to send everyone a big smile. 🙂

3.  Keep Learning – learning doesn’t stop when you finish school. The more we learn, the more we grow as people. And we learn and grow from life experiences, and if we don’t then life will keep throwing the same stuff at you until you do learn it. It’s a bit like continuous assessment rather than actually ever having to sit down and take an exam. I think one of the toughest lessons I’ve learned is when it comes to relationships to just let it flow. When I first went out with Boomerang Boy we saw each other continuously for 3 weeks, then it was a case of adios senorita. When I next went out with someone and he dumped me I was accused of being too clingy. Then I went to the other extreme and got accused of being too cold and distant! (And yes, I did tut and think “MEN! ARGH!”) But now, if I ever got the chance I would take it slowly and let them do most of the chasing – after all isn’t that what men really want, it’s the whole hunter/gatherer thing – and if they say they’re busy I wouldn’t freak out, like I would have done way back when, I would give them their space and wait for them to come back from the man cave. And if they don’t, then clearly their chapter in my life is over, and I would give thanks for the memories and let go – after all “I’m not a stop along the way, I’m a destination!”

2. Grab life by the Balls (‘scuse my language!) – you’ve got to. You only get one life and as they say “it’s not a dress rehearsal darling!”. Why just exist, when you can live? You have to grab each and every opportunity and curve ball life throws at you. Embrace them, live them. They may be good or not so good. If they are good then your life will be enriched and if they are not so good then you learn and grow from them. There are 86,400 seconds in each day, and I have started pretending after reading it somewhere (think it was one of the quote things I found on Pinterest) that if we think of them as £86,400 that we have to spend each and every day, where no money gets rolled over, you have to spend it all, and wisely, why on earth would you waste a single second? After all, we never know when there won’t be a tomorrow!

1.  Be You, wholeheartedly  – as the saying goes “why fit in when you were born to stand out!” I remind SC of this fairly regularly, and explain that it has taken me most of my life to actually work it out. I am, at last, happy and contented in my own skin. I know who I am, what I am and, equally important what I am not. And I most certainly am not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. I have many faults but I take each one and try to improve them. I am quirky, some may even call me strange and weird, but does that bother me? Nope. Not any more. No one can be anything other than themselves really. We can try to fit into some kind of mould that society wants us to, but that doesn’t make us happy. It makes us miserable, as we try desperately to please everyone and make others like us for what we are not. We can only be truly happy by being true to ourselves. And the most important thing I have learned about being me, is that the only person I need ever aim to please is me.

So, there you go, they are my Top 5 lessons I have learned.

What have you learned on your journey through life?

 

 

 

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