As part of this blog I had a grand idea that I'd interview women of note - ones I admire, ones who are famoooous, about how it feels to turn 40.
But then I realised, one by one, that the women I wanted to talk to were not, on the whole, 40. oops.
They were all younger - and yet these were the women I was often identifying with on social media, on TV, in their books. And it made me realise that I just don't 'feel 40'.I've written about being a fake millennial before (in Metro and Grazia), the idea being that I am behaving and living a life of someone 5-10 years younger than me. I am not settled with kids, and while I have a mortgage, I am not financially on top of things.
When I was younger, I remember my parents and their friends turning 40 and there was a big emphasis on 'OVER THE HILL' in a very 80s/90s type 'on the road to the end' type way. The cards reflected it, and their lives, perhaps, too. They had older children than 40 year olds these days, and probably bigger houses with smaller mortgages. 40 was not the new 30, it was the signpost to 'next stop 50'.
These days, in 2017, I think we all see 40 as a beginning, not a hill. I feel like we're all happier with who we are and where we're at - and if we're not, we know where we'd like to make changes.
An experience yesterday taught me that while self-comparing is inevitable, we need to remember that while we can have ambition, we’re also TOTALLY doing ok. My book has been translated into Czech, and the copies arrived, and they're HARDBACK! This was such a huge dream, to have a book published in hardback, and I compared myself to every hardback book that came in this office, not knowing that in my hall at home was my very own hardback. So, you know, less time comparing, more time focusing on your own lane, as we said last week.
Anyway, I digress. Rather than writing a big long piece this week I thought I'd ask my friends how 40 feels. Thanks to social media (yeah, it makes you over-compare but it means you can get quality feedback from people in an instant) here is a list of fun stuff my mates said about 'feeling 40'.
Jenny Wood: I'm turning 40 on Sunday and am totally in denial. I don't feel 40 at all!
Jenny Sandford (she’s the person whose house I used to go to when I needed to henna my hair red in the sixth form): I'm 40 at the end of the month and still waiting to feel like a grown up. I still feel like I did when I was in my 20's, just slightly less skint 😂
Rowena Edwards: Don't feel 40 at all, still feel the same as 20, except more tired (and that's the sprog not age) . I like it. You know who you are more, you know what you want and what you like. And you don't care so much about what other people think
Rosie A Macaroon (if you can’t have a fun facebook fake name at 40, when can you?): Amen to not caring about what other people think! A pair of 'washed knickers' fell out of my coat the other day at a doctors’ surgery. They must have got stuck whilst in the machine. My 13 year old son was sat next to me and had that 'OMG!' look on his face. I, on the other hand found it all very funny and was even more glad that they were quite a stylish pair. I turned 40 last September & feel great, especially for all that I have achieved so far (hope that doesn't sound overly confident). However, I have noticed that my body needs more love & care. I find myself spending a lot of time in the anti - ageing cream department and I really love my sleep, but that's nothing new.
Paul Sexton: Feels good to me. Still not behaving :)
Tanya Russell: I don't feel remotely different, but it's definitely weird saying I'm 40. Also, I remember my mum's surprise 40th. To think they had a teenage daughter then and I'm still single is odd. However, thanks to being older and wiser, I don't care, and I'm happy! I think I accept myself more #cheesybuttrue
Anna Hargreaves: I'm 40 and feel fine with it - I didn't have a problem turning 40 and actually, as another of your friends has already said, I really enjoy feeling more confident and sure of myself. We tend to spend our younger years riddled with self-doubt and worrying about what other people think but I love the increased sense of 'pah, whatevs' that increased age brings. Some days I feel 17, and some days I feel 71 (but in my head I am still about 24...the glory days!). One thing I deffo take slightly more seriously these days is my health (maybe because I have kids now?) and I spend more time and money on this (and crap to put on my face to try and recover that 'youthful bloom' that I appear to have pissed away some years back now...)
Catherine Derr: I am back down to earth now after a truly indulgent month of parties and presents. So I guess I am ok to assume my age if I can continue to have the same amounts of fun! Personally I am good but I would say turning 40 professionally speaking is making me think about whether I am satisfied with my career...
Nicola Lowe (Nicola runs Luminate Coaching): I'm a few months away from the big birthday. I have no idea how old I feel. When I was in my teens and twenties I always felt older than my years. So not sure if I've now grown into myself! Age doesn't bother me in the slightest - I enjoyed my thirties more than my twenties and think that I might just enjoy my forties more than my thirties! As my mum died when she was in her 50's I just think it's a real privilege to get older as some don't get that gift. I'm determined to be fitter and more content the older I get so hopefully I can fulfil that goal as time passes
Paula Greenspan: I'm always genuinely surprised when I remember my age. I think having a baby at 40 has made me feel younger - or more forgetful?
Tishylou @tishylou: I turn 40 in 5 months and I don't think it will change anything. I still get asked for id anf no one believes my age anyway.
Alison May @MsAlisonMay: I'm 39 but approaching 40 feels good. Feels like I've hit the age where I don't give a stuff about age anymore
Hugh Wright @HRWright:
I do feel 40, very positively! I feel assured, centred, successful. I also have much lower tolerance for nonsense/bullshit!
And the final word goes to my mate Jo, again, because this made me grin:
Joanne McGahon: My wobbly bits tell me I'm 40, my brain tells me I'm about 25 😃
Happy not feeling 40 weekend, 40 year olds, wobbly bits and all!