I’m turning 40 this weekend. The big four-oh.
Yep, it’s a big significant number. What makes it somewhat more significant is the fact that, since I was a kid, I’ve heard the phrase life begins at 40.
On the other hand, I’ve always thought that if life begins at 40, then you’ve wasted 40 years.
But as I get closer to 40, I think maybe both of those are true.
From the time we’re born, we’re told what to do, how to act, how to dress, where to go. Some of this is necessary – but some of it isn’t.
Generally, we’re not allowed to just be who we are. Our parents, our teachers, our whole society tells us we have to meet a certain set of criteria and live a certain way.
And it’s killing our individuality. It’s not surprising so many people have a mid-life crisis when they get to about 40 years old. We don’t know who we are anymore, because we’ve shoved ourselves down so far to make room for the person that the world wants to see!
We don’t even know who we really are till we get into our 30s.
Some of this, I’m sure, is because of time and experience. But I’m also equally sure that it doesn’t have to take as long as 40 years to work out what we really want from life.
Because when you’re told what to do all your life, you either get complacent about making any decisions at all, or you get rebellious and go totally against the flow. Most people fit in the former category, because it’s easier.
But if you’ve gotten complacent, you don’t have to live like that anymore.
Let’s make ‘Life begins at 40’ an outdated phrase!
Pursue what makes you happy, and not necessarily what feels ‘safe.’ If you want to be an artist, a writer, your own boss, whatever – don’t let the uncertainty stop you! Sure, having a 9-5 job is steady and reliable income, but is it worth it if you’re bored out of your mind?
If you can’t afford to quit your full time job, find another way to pursue your interests in your off time. Maybe you don’t want to make a business out of it, but life is meant to be lived, not just endured.
And, by all means, ease up on your kids a bit. They’ll only be kids for a little while. Let them enjoy it while they can.
Do you think life begins at 40? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Post a comment below. 🙂
I am 46 and am only discovering who I really am. I wish I had known in my 20’s. Or had the courage to pursue who I was back then. I am raising my son, who is nearly 19, to be brave and be who he wants to be, NOW. And not to wait. And he seems to be a really happy guy who knows himself. I’m a proud Mum 🙂