12:51 AM 4th December 2021
4 Things I’ve Learnt In My Forties
After turning 46 this week, 40+ blogger Claire Marie
has been reflecting on what her forties have taught her so far.
I find it astounding that on a planet of 7.8 billion people, we’re expected to fit neatly into a pretty narrow set of standard societal norms. Although attitudes to difference are hopefully changing for the better, many of us are still conditioned to be and feel a certain way that isn’t always aligned to our true selves. That means it can take a really long time to feel brave enough to put your own sense of rightness before the opinions of others. Sometimes, things only really slot into place in our forties, and that’s ok.
Here are the four things that have stood out for me:
1.Things don’t always work out as you expect them to: Envisaging my forties years ago, I probably assumed I’d have everything figured out and be in some worry-free, part time working utopia. In reality, it’s been the decade where I’ve worked the hardest in every sense. I’ve thrown myself into my career, started my blog and single-handedly built a life that I love as a single parent, including buying my own home
2.I feel more confident than ever before: I used to heavily base my decisions on external guidance, almost seeking permission from someone - or something - separate from me, but I've finally learned that I have everything I need to navigate life’s ups and downs if I just listen to and trust myself. I’ve also found it wonderfully liberating to finally stop worrying so much about what other people think
3.I realised that happiness comes from within: I think that at some point, I started looking outside of myself for happiness rather than 'just being' happy. During lockdown, when all the usual distractions were stripped away, I realised that it was up to me to create my own happiness. That meant finding out what brought me fulfilment in my work and my personal life and doing it as much as possible. You tend to know when you find what you love, and it’s often surprisingly simple. For me it includes writing, exercising with others and time spent with my teenager, family or friends
4.I live life now: In my forties, I stopped ‘postponing’ my happiness. I noticed that I could be far too quick to say “I’ll be happy when…” as though when one element of my life wasn’t perfect, it invalidated the rest. I was terrible for doing this just because I wasn’t part of a couple. But I wouldn’t throw a bunch of roses away if only one had wilted, so why would I do that with my life? I’ve grown to accept that things are never perfect, and that happiness is more plentiful – and less grandiose - than I ever realised.
If the journey towards becoming who we truly are is lifelong - and I believe it is – there probably shouldn’t be quite so much pressure to figure ourselves out so early on. I’m now in a better place than ever before to create a solid sense of my own happiness, not a generic image of it presented to me in the mainstream media.
And that’s exactly what I’m spending my forty plus life doing.
Claire can be found on Instagram and Facebook as @my40pluslife.me