Forty Thoughts on Turning Forty – Realisations and Reflections

I begrudgingly turned forty this Spring. It’s was something of an emotional rollercoaster to me. On one hand I was and still am seething that I have entered “middle age”, I don’t want to adult, I just want to be fresh faced, drink alcohol two nights in a row and be care-free. On the other hand, I have such profound gratitude to reach an age that is denied by many and to have my health and happiness.

Some days I still feel eighteen and want to be a mermaid when I grow up. Others, I feel physically and emotionally spent and struggle to process humanity.

But I reflect, I digest, I dream and instead of regrets, I have lessons learnt. Here they are, the things I would tell my younger self as I reach my milestone birthday.

And for all you young folk, take note!

  1. No matter how many umbrellas you buy, you will never find one when you need one.
  2. Don’t chase love interests and friends – relationships should be equal.
  3. Invest in a decent pair of slippers instead of £4 fast fashion pairs that last two months. Buy granny Velcro slippers with robust soles that keep your feet snug and happy – they will thank you for it in the future.
  4. Finishing a lip balm will give you ultimate satisfaction but you will never finish a jar of Vaseline.
  5. You can still be a good friend and not see you friends weekly or even monthly.
  6. Perhaps a few years before and certainly after 40 years old, you will forever make an “ooofffhh” noise when you get up from a chair or stand up from crouching or kneeling.
  7. Care less what people think of you in your teens, 20’s and 30’s. By the time you reach 40, hopefully you couldn’t really give a fuck!
  8. Start an anti-ageing skin regime in your 20’s – eye cream, day cream, night cream and face masks as a minimum.
  9. Try to worry less, it often changes very little.
  10. Kiss the frogs, as many as needed until you find your Prince or Princess.
  11. Keep old Birthday cards. Some day you won’t ever receive another off someone who never forgot your special day.
  12. Read, read and read some more. Loose yourself in the emotion and escapism of novels.
  13. Travel. Find places that make your soul feel free and your heart happy.
  14. Say no without guilt.
  15. Don’t waste your time giving yourself manicures and painting your nails. Even the most expensive nail varnish chips within 24 hours!
  16. Appreciate live art – theatre, dance, concerts and buskers.
  17. Pause. In moments, pause and absorb the feeling. Etch it on your memory.
  18. Learn to drive as soon as you can.
  19. Like what you like, not what you think you should like.
  20. Cuddle your family. Show them they are loved. Remember their smell and touch for when they are gone.
  21. Exercise till your heart races and you feel acid in your mouth. Pure adrenalin exercising (and always wear a sports bra if you are female).
  22. Take photos – the snapshots of your memories.
  23. Don’t tolerate shitty behaviour from people who are meant to love you. Love is equal and kind.
  24. Don’t deprive yourself of any foods. Just learn moderation.
  25. Listen well but talk also. Don’t feel silenced.
  26. Associate songs with memories, loves and friendship.
  27. Hot water bottles are underrated.
  28. Do a job you like, it absorbs such a large proportion of your week.
  29. Learn about your body. Don’t hate it or ignore it. None of us are ever going to be perfect and that’s what makes us us. Learn about your body so you can keep it well.
  30. Always send a birthday card. Effort and words can be the most welcome of gifts.
  31. Be kind to yourself.
  32. You don’t always need to drink alcohol until you vomit – it’s not big, it’s not clever!
  33. Slow down, life isn’t a race.
  34. Don’t feel pressurised by a person, people or society to get married or have children. We aren’t in 1942!
  35. Show gratitude, humility and ask how people are.
  36. Always try to save some money, even a little for a rainy day or a big stormy, life changing day.
  37. Learn how to sew, even the basics.
  38. Own a designer bag. It’s an investment and will last you decades rather than the cheap crap you buy for the chain stores that last six weeks and can hold nothing heavier than a mobile phone.
  39. Write letters to people. Keep some things old school, you will treasure them in the future.
  40. Don’t put yourself at the bottom of every priority list – you are important, crucial in fact.

19 thoughts on “Forty Thoughts on Turning Forty – Realisations and Reflections

  1. Well i wrote a letter yesterday to my bestie, friends since infant school, dont see each other often, but i know she’s there 🥰. I really enjoyed writing and posting it, hope she loves it too, wstch this space.. Thanks Helen xx

    Liked by 1 person

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