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!).

Dear 40 over the hill life begins at 40

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…

Dear 40… Musings About Life Over The Hill
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