Turning Forty

Recently I had to console an internet friend who was just turning forty. It doesn’t look very scary from the other side of sixty, but to her it was traumatic. As we chatted away, I took a stroll down memory lane Yes, turning forty was traumatic, but it wasn’t my fault.
You know how it goes. Everywhere you see the handmade posters, “Lordy, lordy, look who’s forty.” People constantly ask you, “So, how does it feel to be over the hill?” and shit like that. Sigh I got a ton of it that year.
When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see an old person, I didn’t see my mother’s face, what I saw was someone who was being bullied and demeaned. It pissed me off; I decided to fight back. As the big day arrived I was ready. Driving around the last bend in the road I saw the expected signs, pink flamingos, etc. They party was on and the mean teasing ramped up, right until I blew out the candles.
“So, what did you wish for?”
With a smile of pure delight I replied. “I wished that even one of you would have the courage to match what I plan to do this year. Any takers?”
The entire back yard fell silent. Finally a voice asked tentatively, “What are you planning to do?”
“First I plan to enter several athletic competitions, at least four; one for each decade. Second I plan to buy a mountain bike and train for a tough ride. I want to throw that bike in the truck and drive up to Hope then ride up the #5 highway to the summit.”
A soft voice was heard to whisper, “…just crazy enough to try it…”
So, was I bluffing? Hell no. Did I manage it? I did enter the competitions and did well. I bought the bike and trained hard, but couldn’t get anyone to drive the safety car. I offered to make it a charity ride, but still couldn’t make it fly and eventually gave that dream up. However, I didn’t hear any more about being over the hill either.
That piece of defiance gave me the confidence to take on more challenges over the years. In fact it was rather freeing. The point here is, turning forty is just mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
So tell me, have you crossed that mark and how did it go? Are you approaching that barrier and how do you plan to handle it?

28 thoughts on “Turning Forty

  1. Well, I turned 50 a week ago and lived to tell the tale. In fact, it was the most fun I've had on my birthday in a long time.

  2. Haha, love how you turned things around on the people giving you a hard time! I passed 40 a few years back, but didn't catch too much flak. Everyone who might otherwise give me crap either doesn't care, or they are right behind me, and know I'll throw it right back at them when it's their time!

  3. I'm going to be 40 in August. I'm not bothered by it one bit. My life has re started, might have the divorce by then fingers crossed. Started a new college course with a view in 5 yrs to graduate as a social worker. Started a gym 2 weeks ago. Everyone brilliantly supportive and an added bonus I have my mums skin so I don't look my age. Cheers to everyone who is approaching or passed 40, your all amazing

  4. For me 40 was a snap although, by the time I hit 43 I found I had to give up my technical rock climbing. Continued mountaineering into my 50's. The 60's were a time to cut back, and now that I am staring the 70's in the face in a few years, I have decided it is time to pick up the pace again.

  5. The point here is, turning forty is just mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

    Love that line!

    I don't mind growing older. It sure is better than the insecurity and angst of being a teenager/twentysomething.

  6. LOL!

    Good for you! And forty is only a number. Some of the most energetic, creative and dynamic women I know are in their sixties with no sign of slowing down. We all get to a tipping point where we've had enough of other people's crap and say 'enough' and the catalyst is different for each of us.

    Great post, Prudence.

  7. I had an elderly friend that had a stroke when he was 86. When he reached 90, he said wistfully, "I wish I could be 83 again." That was so wonderful! He didn't want to be 23 or 43 or even 53. He just wanted his pre-stroke motor functions back. He was the youngest person I knew of anyone any age, and he was 90. Age is a state of mind. 😀

  8. Not surprised in the least! Too bad I was too young for that party, woulda been a blast to see!
    I did nothing to celebrate the milestones like 16 and 21, had no fear of 30, and though it is several years off, I have no fear of 40. The only times my age bothers me is when I hold it up against the stuff that I had hoped to accomplish by now. Mostly the people I wish were in my life. This is bothersome, but nothing to cause me dread. Age is just numbers, mostly it says "I survived this long!"

  9. According to my birth certificate, I'm technically going to be 40 in August. However, I decided to stop when I turned 29, so I'm just going to be celebrating the 11th anniversary of my 29th birthday. 🙂
    To me age is relative. My mom taught me years ago that if you allow yourself to feel old, then you'll be old. She'll tell you today that she is only 5 – old enough to go outside and play by yourself, but still too cute to get in trouble when you get caught playing in the mud. 😉

  10. I was able to get some senior perks when I turned 55. When one of my friends was turning 50, she was kind of freaked out because that was the age her mother died, so there was a psychological block there. She was relieved that she lived through it and is thriving four years later. Turning 40 didn't bother me at all. I started writing when I turned 40. I just wish I'd started sooner! At 41 I started taking karate and earned my black belt 4 years later. I'm happy being in my 50s. They're some of the best years of my life, despite some major setbacks. It's all a matter of perspective, I guess. I hope I have your outlook when I reach my 60s!

  11. The perks are great, but it is gaining the wisdom and grace to let the obstacles and setbacks slip away while focusing on the good stuff and enjoying it.My fifties were great years, but the sixties are looking even better. I hope your's do to.

  12. Wow, good for you, Prudence.

    I had a hard time when I turned fifty. I think because my life was not where I wanted it to be. I've had more than the average (as my daughter pointed out) family members needing rescue and I lost myself. But now I see the fifties as a time for change and I'm giving my permission to look after me now. I feel like running!

  13. Glad to hear you're taking care of yourself, Sharon. At this time of life, we have to take care of ourselves before we can care for anyone else. If we're not strong then we can't hold up others.

  14. You know, I hated turning thirty more than forty. My twenties seemed to fly by way too fast. I felt better in my thirties. Don't ask me why. I try not to think too much about age. Time has ramped up its speed. Weeks go by like a day. Months go by like a week,and so on. I can't hardly keep up. What day is it anyway? LOL! I like to take it one day at a time. 🙂

  15. I was actually at my best shape from ages 38-43 from martial arts. At 41, I broke my foot in a stunt tumbling class and at 43, bungy-jumped off a bridge. A hysterectomy in my late 40s slowed me up, but I'm certainly not giving up! My 50s will be the best years yet.

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