When I launched Women at Forty I was very honest about my own “struggles” with turning 40. I wasn’t anywhere near where I’d hoped to be in my career, my relationships or with my health. But, I was determined to use my 40th year as a building block for the future I’d always dreamed about. So far, so…myeh. Creatively, my mind is firing on all pistons. The rest of me, not so much. This comment I received over the weekend confirms I’m not the only one:
I just don’t feel it. This great feeling of being 40. 🙁 I turned 40 last July and ran a great marathon one day after my birthday. I am going back to school to finish my degree, and I always hear stories from women how wonderful they felt when they were 40. Why do I just feel old and depressed and think my life is practically over? What’s wrong with me?
There are many women out there just loving 40. They’re advancing in their careers, having babies, and running conglomerates from within the confines of their suburban homes. There are many women who feel like the one above – they’re just not feeling it. And then they’re the women, like myself, who fall somewhere in the middle. There are days that my vision is clear and I embrace 40 as a gift. And then there are days when I’m looking for the receipt to return the “gift” for a full refund.
Here’s a reminder about what Women at Forty is about – If you forget it, just take a look at the logo and tag line in the header – Life. Love. Reality. In our fortieth year. That means that here, it’s ok to talk about not feeling fabulous at 40. There are no hard and fast rules for how we’re supposed to feel, think, look at 40. Maybe 40 isn’t the magic age for you. Maybe it’s 42 or 43. Maybe it will be 50. The last thing I want the WAF community to feel is like we can only contribute to the site or to improving our lives and the lives of those around us if we’re all gung-ho about 40. A big part of this journey is simply being honest with ourselves, and that starts by admitting that for some of us, this aint what it’s cracked up to be.
As for the comment above – I think that if you’re going back to school and running marathons then somewhere in there you know your life is nowhere near over. As for feeling old and depressed, been there, done that…last week. And something tells me before this 40th year month week is over I’ll be there again. But on a serious note, if you feel as though your depression could be more than just the “I’m getting older blues”, I’d suggest seeing a therapist. Been there done that too.
While for some of us the reality of 40 can be a hard pill to swallow, on the other end of the spectrum, 40 can represent so much more than just getting older. On the days I’m tempted to focus on the “feeling old” part, I choose to get up and do the things I’m discovering I love to do. Having the choice and freedom to do that is one of the great things I’m learning to appreciate about 40.
I know from the emails I receive that we aren’t the only ones who get the 40-blues. Share how you’re feeling about 40 – the good, bad and the ugly – in the comment section or on the Facebook fan page. Let’s really talk about reality in our 40th year.