I sometimes find myself thinking it hard to believe that here I am aged 45 – I have reached my middle age (eek). How did that happen so quickly? I swear I was in my twenties only five minutes ago and yet here I am a ‘proper grown up’ with three kids, my own house, car and now a puppy. I have morphed into my Mum when I wasn’t even looking – and that’s no bad thing by the way because my Mum is pretty awesome!
Twenty years of real adulthood. Despite ‘officially’ being considered an adult at the age of 18, it is also a scientific fact that 25 is the age our brains fully develop from teen brain to adult brain and prior to that we as a ‘young adult’ are affectively experiencing extended adolescence. So from that point of view, I’ve really been a grown up for 20 years now. The last few decades have had some real highs and some inevitable lows but as I reach my mid forties, I can say with genuine candour, that this decade is shaping up to be my most transformative yet!
When I was younger I remember there was always so much negative ‘hilarity’ surrounding life after 40. ‘Over the hill’, ‘Out to pasture’, ‘You’ve gained a superpower – you’re now invisible’, the list went on. It made me want to stay young for as long as possible and I trembled at the thought of being over 40 because it was ‘like soooo old’. Oh how silly I was! If only I could go back in time to tell my younger self how wonderful being over 40 really is and how there has been such a positive social shift in attitudes towards women who have reached this age in their lives.
Women in their 40’s and beyond are kicking butt. I only have to look at all the amazing 40 something bloggers out there such as (to name just a few) Catherine from Not Dressed as Lamb, Michelle Tyler, Lizzy from What Lizzy Loves and the gorgeous Lisa from The Sequinist to know that women of this age are not only empowered but they are beautiful and damn sexy too! Intelligence, confidence and a strong sense of self are just some of the assets these women possess and it’s so refreshing that our attitudes towards women are changing positively in so many ways. Women are choosing to own it and not be defined by a number. They certainly aren’t letting age be a barrier to getting in the way of what they want in life. Which is exactly how it should be.
While I may not be skipping barefoot through meadows everyday and although life has it’s ups and downs no matter what you’re age, I guess what I love most about being in my forties is that I have pretty much worked out who I am. I am most definitely a wiser soul after so many years of life experience and that’s brought with it the ability to be more measured than I was in my younger years. I also appreciate life more than I did when I was younger. Having had kids and as I get older, I am sure I am not the only one who looks in the mirror sometimes and thinks ‘I really need to get to the gym more’ but I also have a different appreciation of my body. It’s not about it being perfect from an aesthetic point of view, (nice as that would be!) now I find myself appreciating that my body works and does what I need it to!
My Mum said to me the other day she was going to the gym not because she wanted to but because she could. With so many people of all ages unable to do the things many of us take for granted, it never hurts to really think about what our body can offer us. It’s only when that’s taken away due to ill health do we focus on the lost gratitude we wish we’d had when we were fully able.
I am not the only one who believes that women over 40 are a force for positive change. Actress and model Isabella Rosellini was recently rehired by Lancôme in her sixties having being dropped at the age of 42 for being ‘too old’. The new CEO (a woman), Françoise Lehmann, acknowledged a mistake had been made at the time and that she wanted the company to represent all women and be inclusive. Proof that no matter what decade of her life a woman is experiencing, she has a right to be seen, appreciated and be included. It’s refreshing to see companies such as JD Williams for example running a ‘Midster Model’ search to represent this age group of women who they see as ’embracing the most colourful and exciting phase of their lives’.
It is exciting! Our kids are growing up, we are able to take on new challenges and we are no longer embracing bubble perms and nylon dresses – Maggie Thatcher is NOT how we do it! We can look super feminine, young and funky without being labelled ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ because we as a generation have made it fully acceptable for our teenage daughters to be wanting to wear what’s in our wardrobe! Even for those of us who do dress a little ‘off the wall’, we do it because we have reached an age where we really don’t care what other people think so much, because we know what WE like and that’s what’s important.
I get sad when I hear women say ‘It’s too late for me’ or ‘I’m too old’, ‘Not at my age’. I truly believe there are only two things that are a barrier to achieving what you want in life and ‘age’ is not one of them. The two things that really hold women (and men) back are mental and physical health. Ok, we might not be doing cartwheels in our sixties (not that I was ever very good at those anyway!) but if we can look after our bodies and our minds and create a positive healthy environment in which to dwell then really what is stopping us from realising our dreams? Times are changing. People’s perceptions are changing. One day I hope, we will start to see people simply as ‘people’ and not ‘old people’. People who are simply at a different stage in their lives. The biggest advantage of growing older is that it simply has given you more time to do what you want to in life. More time to achieve, to gain wisdom and to collect experiences. Life is an adventure (if you want it to be). I know the everyday can include the humdrum too but we’re all telling our own stories. It’s simply up to you how you’re going to write yours. I plan to make mine an interesting read! 🙂
This post was brought to you as part of a collaboration with Woolovers. WoolOvers is now a world class knitwear retailer, supplying over 1 million customers with men’s and ladies classic and contemporary knitwear. I am completely in love with my pure cashmere cowl neck jumper and it’s so light it yet so cosy it can literally be worn all year round!