This is what I know for sure: the decade of the forties, of which I am quite almost half-way through, are enlightening, entertaining, joyful but also heart-breaking in so many ways. My husband and I were discussing the other day how the calls and conversations we have with friends and family is no longer about weddings and babies (although we do have a few weddings to attend this year!), but more about other things – disease, death, caregiving, divorce. What are these mid-40’s really about?
It might be:
not being where you thought you would be
about some marriages crumbling and some staying through storms
about elderly parents needing care and love and still having small children at home
about teenagers and young adults and the things that happen along the way to growing up
about learning to love yourself and the relationships in your life in a deeper way
about giving yourself the gift of supportive people and letting go of people and relationships that no longer serve you and not feeling guilty about that – it just is.
about learning to give yourself space and time
about understanding you are more than a parent or a spouse
about finding time for you and you alone and finally understanding the importance of that
about finding joy and sheer fun in the ordinary moments and being more willing to spend your time to create those moments
It might also be about learning boundaries. It is about what you can and cannot solve for someone else. It is about what you can and cannot solve for yourself, and learning what people and ideas and things fuel you in you life and making that the priority and being okay with saying no to other things – you finally learn it is okay to not scatter your energy every which way but to focus on the truly important. I think it can also be about hanging on to what matters most, even if it isn’t as perfect as you thought it was going to be when you were younger – whether that is your career, your relationships, your marriage, your values, your homeschooling – and finding the joy that exists in the imperfect, and the fun and joy that can be there if you choose to put it there and be open to that.
It can also be NOT hanging on to what you thought it was all about and letting it all go and starting anew. Different people I know have chosen different paths. Some have had different paths forced upon them. This is a time where some of my friends have already lost their spouses through death, for example. Not where we thought we would be in our forties! What the mid-forties has forged for them is new strength, new courage, bravery, flexibility and hopefully new happiness to eventually be found.
I have heard it said that the 40s can be about healing your demons. Perhaps, but I think it can also be about realizing those demons are part of you and who you are and your journey and they are okay where they are, because you are okay. It is not black and white, but grey. So perhaps that is healing in and of itself to be able to see the grey more clearly than ever before and still be able to move forward and not be mired or tethered to the negative.
I would love to hear your perspective!
Oh Carrie! This is so spot on for me… So very true. Learning that time for myself is a priority, finding joy and fun in the little things, letting go of what I cannot change (and what will not change!) and learning to truly differentiate myself from my spouse and kids… What a journey still ahead! We never stop growing…
Thank you Carrie!
This is so profound and so very timely. Even though I’m not yet 40 (next Feb) I am feeling such a shift in my life right now and I feel it has a lot to do with me becoming 40. I think the biggest thing for me is to accept where I am at the moment and not thinking about “where I thought I would be” – wherever that might of been – I am still not sure 🙂 Having my first and only child at a later age puts a little spin on things too – instead of dealing with teenagers I am still getting to grips with being a fairly new parent. What Catherine said is so very true – we never stop learning and I think I am learning so much more than I ever did in my 20’s or early 30’s – it’s mind-boggling.
This is really beautiful …really. And I see it being true as well as I just move into that decade. I like getting these personal glimpses into your life here on the blog, thanks!
Thank you for this wonderful post. And thanks to the commenters, also…this blog always makes me feel connected and less alone. I’m 38 and definitely feel this is a “taking stock” period of my life, looking especially at the fact that I’m a single mom, and pondering the future- what’s next, what to plan, what to let go of and try to surrender.