This Is 40.

So I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m turning the big 4-0 this year. {Soon, actually}. And while it all seemed like ages away, time, as it’s wont to do, has once again sped past me.

Being one of the youngest of our circle of friends and cousins has meant that I have been on hand to celebrate many a fortieth birthday. I have also been eagerly waiting for my own ever since the day after my thirtieth. Back then, had I stopped to imagine the next decade, there are a whole bunch of things I wouldn’t have, er… well, imagined. The past decade gave me the fourth child I hoped for, and I managed to shed the weight that had made my twenties not so much fun. I have to say that my thirties have been, above all, empowering and enlightening. I’ve learned so much about people, relationships, life, and myself. They have without question been the most challenging years at the same time, but, or maybe because of that, also the most rewarding.

So I wanted to write something to mark the occasion, and have had some version of this post kicking around my drafts folder for a while now. I’ve tried funny, serious, wise {ha!}, but they all just ended up sounding wanky. In short, I suppose what I wanted to touch on were the lessons learned. The things I didn’t know or get before, the things that come with time. And as I try to collect the scattered threads and thoughts, these are some of the things I do know:

by now you know exactly who you want in your life and who you can do without, and have the balls sometimes necessary to cut people out. Quality over quantity every time.

Treasure the beautiful people you want to spend time with; let them know that you love them. Life is short, tell them how much they mean to you.

Realising that those few pesky kilos really don’t matter, but working out is better for your mood than your waistline and THAT’S why you do it.

It’s okay to start thinking about your fortieth birthday playlist six months beforehand. After all, the music is everything.

It’s also okay to refuse your daughters pleas that you have a Gatsby themed party.

Red lipstick is always appropriate.

Learning that you can only change you. If you love someone then you love them, it’s as simple as that.

No more apologising.

Nobody is perfect, and there is a whole lot more good in most people than bad.

It’s never too late to rebel.

Every night is a good night for a bubble bath.

It might be a cliche, but it’s also very true: that which doesn’t break you does in fact make you stronger. Scarred, but strong.

You don’t have to stop having fun when you become a parent.

And while being a mother has been the single biggest and greatest thing I have ever done, it’s not all of who I am. And it’s really been in the last ten years that I have re-discovered who I actually am underneath the mummy cape. I’ve done a lot of things somewhat backwards, having three kids by twenty-four and spending my twenties fat, frumpy and surrounded by babies and toddlers, and then getting my party mojo back in my mid thirties. I used to think there was some proper order to life, that things were or should be ticked off by a certain time. Not any more.

What would be the must have’s on your ultimate party playlist?

What does 40 look like to you?

{And you know what else? It’s really hard to concentrate when there’s a kitten meowing at your feet because she thinks it’s dinner time already when it’s not, and clawing at your legs in the vain hope that you will get up and feed her. But I love her too much.}

Til next time, Ana.

8 Thoughts

  1. I’m facing 40 early next year. I think I may clutch your words to me like a life preserver!
    I’d also steal the playlists, except I’m not having a party. Instead I’ll be using big birthday as an excuse to do all the things I don’t get a chance to do normally: day at the races, must-see exhibitions (that I’d usually not get to see), spas and many many meals with different sets of friends. I think I’ll be more gutted at being 41 than I will be 40.
    I hope you have a good’un. Xx


    1. I’ve just basically been waiting for a legitimate reason to get pissed. Not that I need one most nights…

      True about the 41 thing. No fun at all, and the next biggie is 50. Urgh.


  2. Words of wisdom. Funny because I’ve either learned some of those lessons after entering my thirties or am going through some right now. In a way I relate too, because although you feel your did life “backwards” I feel like I am too or at least “late” compared to my friends or society’s expectations, but we can do what we do in any order or time frame we choose, sometimes we don’t choose and it just happens. The older I get I continually realize what I use to think of as “old” isn’t old either. Either the stereotype people mention is just that, a stereotype and nothing more, or age is a state of mind to some degree, I don’t feel old. You’re not old. I gotta stop I’m rambling. Happy 40! & GREAT playlist.


    1. I agree that it was also during the last ten years that I figured a lot of stuff out. Had my eyes and mind opened so to speak. And the goalposts as to what is old move the closer we get to them, for sure. Which is good, who wants to feel old! And I don’t consider myself old, I am really grateful and happy with how my life has panned out and where I am, though that’s not to say there aren’t things I wouldn’t change. But overall I believe we need to be kinder and gentler on ourselves.


      1. Exactly=) Couldn’t agree more with everything you said & I hope when I hit the next major birthday, I can’t decide if that’s 35 or 40, I have the sense that you have AND feel pretty good about how life has/is panning out.


  3. Your playlist is very similar to mine and yes yes yes to life not having to be boring once you become a parent. And every night IS a good one for a bubble bath. I hope you tell us when it’s your 40th… otherwise have a fabulous day lovely x


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