In three weeks I hit the big one – it’s my 40th birthday. 40! Four decades of being alive. I’m not sure how this is happening; in my head I’m still about 20 (although my body feels about 60 at the moment!). I still have vivid memories of being a young child, like it was just a few years ago, whereas the memories of my own children when they were tiny seem to fade so fast. I remember my Dad having a 40th birthday party at our house – I’d have been eleven. He seemed so old (sorry Dad!), with the ‘over the hill’ mug to prove it, and now that’s me (no mugs, please!).
40 seems such a responsible age. It’s almost middle aged (or is it middle aged?!) for goodness’ sake! I don’t feel responsible. Who made me an adult? Sometimes, I have to stop and think about the fact that I am a parent to actual smallpeople, that I have to keep them alive every day! I run a household, I used to have a responsible paid job, I go and advocate for my daughter so that her additional needs are met by healthcare and education professionals. I often feel like a fraud, that someone will see through me and ask, “who let this child in here to do this important thing?” And then I remember, I am an adult. I’m technically old enough to be a grandparent. How scary is that?! When did that happen?
I sometimes wonder to myself how I have reached this age and not really achieved anything. I haven’t had an amazingly successful career, I haven’t found fame or fortune. There must be lots of successful people who did great things before the age of 40. But, when you put that into Google (and I did), all it comes up with are pages of people who didn’t become successful until after 40. Several American presidents, actors Samuel L Jackson and Alan Rickman, Charles Darwin, and even Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until the age of 40! Maybe it’s not too late? Or, maybe I have found success? I am raising two children, in sometimes difficult circumstances; I have been (mostly) happily married for over a decade; I returned to studying for a degree in my 30s, with small children and a job as a nursery manager to contend with. I am pretty happy. I’d call that a success!
I think I’ve been in denial for a long time about my advancing age. I haven’t yet got around to making a will, I don’t have any life insurance, no forward planning. That sort of thing is for grown ups. Not for someone young, with her whole life ahead of her! Only I don’t, do I? Not now. I’m probably close to half-way through, if I get a decent innings. I have a family of my own now – I’d better start making provisions. I might as well add a funeral plan onto the list too!
Enough of the morbid stuff. Life begins at 40, or so they say! I’ll let you know…