5 Things That Happen When You Turn 40
Your mid-life awakening...
You're about to turn 40. This is new territory for you. The other decades seemed to have more bounce and excitement, whereas turning 40 seems scary and filled with all sorts of anxiety. You are not alone. I turned 40 only 2 years ago, and if I could go back to 39 knowing what I know now... I would happily give up a kidney to do so. Here are a few of the things that I experienced:
1. What is the meaning of life? - You've done what you were supposed to do, or what society said you were supposed to do. In whatever order - you met the person of your dreams, got married, found your niche in your career, had children, signed up to a mortgage and purchased your dream car. Now what? the kids are grown and can self-manage, you're 'settled' in life... what is your purpose? why are you here? what keeps you going? these are questions you will ask yourself constantly. The answer is - you don't know and you book yourself a one way ticket into 'Break down Town'. It's not the fact that you have turned 40 that has caused this, it is solely due to the fact you have achieved everything you could within that 20yr period and now you don't know what the next 20 years has in store because you haven't planned for it. The kids, your job, the extended family, paying bills and being young have always been your drive to get you through the first 20 years. Now you're heading into unknown territory. Kid-free, Senior position at your job, extended family has all moved on and you don't have as many stressful bills to pay. Seems like bliss right? Hmm... no. You won't feel bliss for a few years yet.
2. Disappearing social circles - Some of your friends may be living la vida loca, others may be in the same boat as you and the rest... will be in therapy. It's no mystery that people come and go from your life at some point, I found this to happen when I turned 40 - it was like I had disappeared. In saying that, I didn't want to be found until I had felt more of an achievement in my life and turning 40 seemed more like a sentence. The very few friends that stuck around, are the ones I least expected would.
3. Aches and pains - This is the time the knee pain and back pain start to kick in. These stayed dormant throughout your 30's and have only now decided to come out. For women, your menstrual cycle changes from bad to really bad or from light to really light. For men, your back, legs and feet start feeling all sorts of old pains from playing sport 10 years ago.
4. Health and wellbeing - You have physically, mentally and psychologically grown over the last 20 years. Your metabolism has slowed right down and your motivation to workout is almost at a stand still. Because of this, you're feeling very sluggish and out of control. You start questioning processed foods for the first time in your adult life, and become acutely more aware of sugar. What used to be an 'easy burn' of eating that chocolate cake smothered in ice cream, has now become a depressing thought.
5. What happens now? - Turning 40 isn't the end of the world, it is simply the 'intermission' part of your life movie. This is the time where you get to take a break for the next year or 2 and feel all the things you are feeling and work through them. This is your 'hall pass' to do whatever the heck it is you want to do to lead into the next 40+ years. For men, this is where they have their 'mid life crisis', for women I'd prefer to call it a 'mid life awakening'.
Everyone experiences aging differently. These are but a few things I have experienced when I turned 40. I'm still working through them! The key to heading into the 4-0 zone is to take each day as it comes. Thrive when you want to, sleep when you want to, change things up when you want to and most of all - remember to put yourself first. The next 40 are going to be in your hands, so make the absolute most of it!