At the end of May I turned 40. As I sit here writing this, I can’t quite make the link between that number and the fact that I am indeed, now 40.
I don’t feel 40, but then what exactly does being 40 feel like?
When I turned 30 I freaked out and had a mini complete melt down. I’d never been skiing in France, I hadn’t visited Australia, I didn’t have a degree, I hadn’t packed up my belongings and lived like a travelling hobo.
The fact that I was really unhappy at University, and I’d never particularly thought about skiing in France before, never even crossed my mind. But time was running out. My life was nearing the end and I wasn’t living the dream or my perfect life. Whatever the fuck that looked like.
I know, right?
40 is just a number
On the run up to my 40th birthday I kept calmly telling myself that it was just a number. It didn’t mean anything, and everything would be okay. I don’t normally broadcast my birthday, but at work I found myself telling people how old I was about to become.
I thought that saying it out loud would help make it real. I’m going to be 40. But no matter how many times I said it, it still didn’t feel real. I just couldn’t figure out how I’d become 40. Is this mid-life? How long do I have left? How many good years do I have left in me? Shit. I have 10 years until I’m 50.
Oh, hello anxiety.
People at work were shocked when I told them how old I was. Apparently, everyone assumed I was between 25-30. Ha! They instantly became my BFF’s and I felt a little smug, high-fiving everyone and giving out bear hugs. I then realised if they saw me first thing in the morning without make-up, they might change their minds.
But 10 years down the line, my worries as I approached 40 were a little different to when I turned 30.
I’m a 40-year old part-time Fitness Instructor with pigtails
Yes, it’s occurred to me that I’m still not in my perfect job, but I feel like I’m moving closer. I’m working in the fitness industry using my qualifications, and I’m much happier than when I was sitting at a desk, working as a CAD Technician.
I get to train some really amazing women, who I adore. And overall, I work with a good bunch of people. I’m left to my own devices and I don’t have anyone micromanaging me. There’s also an onsite Starbucks, where I get a staff discount. (You’ve got to get your priorities right!)
But, it’s still not enough.
The question is this it? Has been crossing my mind more and more recently. And although I feel like I’m getting closer to the career I want – I still don’t have a vivid picture in my mind of what it looks like.
Admittedly, the older I get the more my health concerns me. I look at how ill my dad is and has been for a while now, and I’d been lying if I said getting older didn’t worry me.
The older I get, the more conscious I become about staying fit and healthy. I have several health conditions that are under control and my lifestyle plays a big part in keeping them that way. I don’t drink or smoke, I work out 6 days a week, and I eat well. I don’t deny myself anything – I’m a firm believer of everything in moderation and I’m probably fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been.
But what could happen in the future is something that niggles at me.
Losing Loved ones
The older I get, the more conscious I become that my nearest and dearest aren’t going to be around forever.
The last 18-months have been really shitty, and some days I feel like my nerves can’t take anymore. I know there’s nothing I can do about it, but the thought of losing certain people in my life is a killer.
The amount of stuff we own
How much stuff we have and owning things in general. OH. MY. RARE. I could write a book on this.
The number of things we’ve managed to collect over the 18-years we’ve been together is something that really freaks me out. The pile of unwanted items I have waiting to give to the charity shop / throw away / put on Ebay is enough to send me over the edge.
It feels like the walls are closing in on me and when I think about where to start, I feel completely overwhelmed. I want rid, but don’t know where to begin.
Some days I feel like I’ll be spending the next 10 years of my life decluttering, instead of going out and doing the things I love – like hiking.
Oh, hello anxiety (again).
I need to finish things
Over the years, I’ve accumulated a number of books (both physical and on Kindle/Kobo), and online courses. I always seem to be reading, but for some reason I still manage to find myself with a pile of unread books (physical and digital).
And rather than working my way through my back catalogue, I always seem to find a reason to buy another one instead.
I also love learning new things, but I have so many different interests. I find myself buying courses and signing up to things that I think will help me find my perfect career, or quench my thirst for knowledge. In turn this causes overwhelm because everything piles up, and I never know what to do first.
So, I end up doing something else altogether and feeling pissed off with myself instead. I know I should just choose something. Anything. But what if I choose the wrong thing?
I think this is a deeper problem altogether. But that’s another post for another time! Just lately I feel like I really need to start completing some unfinished projects.
Seeing different places is still on my list of things to do, but not in the same way as when I was approaching 30. I don’t want to live out of a suitcase, but I do want to take multiple trips each year. This is something we’re currently working towards and slowly starting to put into motion.
So, what does being 40 feel like?
There’s no impending sense of doom like I thought there would be! But I do feel like I should have my shit together by now.
Some people have asked me if I’m going to slow down a bit. Slow down? Seriously? Like once you hit 40 it’s all downhill. I’m fitter, healthier and in better shape than ever before and I intend to stay this way. Slowing down would have the opposite effect.
I work with a Personal Trainer who didn’t start his career until he was 40 and 11 years later, he’s still training, teaching classes and taking part in triathlons. Another P.T. is 56. He’s also still training and teaching classes.
I don’t think aging is the same as it was 10 or 15 years ago. As a society, people are living longer than previous generations and understanding the importance of self-care, which means people are staying fitter and healthier.
So, why would anyone want to slow down just because they’ve hit a certain age?
Yes, my worries are a little different to when I was approaching 30, and I definitely feel more overwhelmed by things than I used to. But over the last decade, I’ve discovered that things have a way of working out. Maybe not always in the way you were hoping, but that’s okay too. Because sometimes things work out differently for a reason.
I may not have been skiing in France, and I still don’t have a degree, but I’ve visited Australia and New Zealand (bonus!) and I’m also a qualified Sports and Exercise Nutritionist.
And, yes, I thought by the time I was 40, I would have it all figured out.
But I haven’t, and that’s okay. Because, when you think about it, how many people actually have it all figured out anyway?