I was reading an interview with Dame Helen Mirren in the July 2017 issue of Fairlady magazine yesterday. I love her to bits. No matter how old she gets she never loses her spunk! Anyway… in it she was saying how things get better as you get older. She says she is more confident and less likely to give a hoot of what people think. It got me reflecting on my own life experience and I have to say that I agree.
I am almost halfway through my forties and in a lot of ways, my life is way better now than it was in my twenties. I might be back to being single (yes, cute tattoo artist didn’t work out so we live, we learn and we move on…swiftly) but I have come to realise that life is filled with possibilities and opportunities that I just hadn’t considered before. I have mentioned before that I have been a late starter in everything so no surprises here..lol. I feel more settled in my own skin and as a result, my confidence is growing. I feel more optimistic about my future than I ever have. Weird when I think about it because in the current economic climate, my job is not secure. I put this down to listening to the words of wisdom of those who have gone before me.
There is so much wisdom out there. There is always a lesson to be learnt from other people’s life experiences. I find people’s journeys through life fascinating as I believe that your past experiences and your reactions to them shape who and what you are today. I recently watched “Becoming Warren Buffet”. I found the man most fascinating. The thing that really blew me away was how decisive he is. He also struck me as introspective. As a young person in particular, he was very aware of his shortcomings and the impact that they would have on him acheiving his goals so he would actively go about correcting his self-perceived flaws. Reflection is a great tool that has clearly helped him grow in business and as a person. Confucius says, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”
A key difficulty that I have faced since turning 40 is the change that I see in the mirror. I have learned that tying your identity to your physical image makes ageing harder. I was always thin and, I didn’t realise it then but my perception of the level of my attractiveness was very intertwined with my weight. The reason for this is a subject for another day. Anyway…as I have gained weight over the years I have felt less and less attractive. Now I look in the mirror and my skin is not as smooth as it was and the tone is not as even and boy it has been hard to accept. The icing on the cake was when i gave up smoking and gained 20kg in 5 months. What a shock to my system physically and to my psych! (A word to the wise, when giving up smoking, replace your smoking habit with healthy habits to avoid such excessive weight gain.) I am now able to accept that I am still attractive despite my weight (I pause to thank Anthony for helping see this), I feel a lot more confident. I even feel sexy 😉 The weight definitely still has to go though. Moving around is just easier as a thin person 🙂
Feeling more confident, more settled, more curious and having a better understanding of people has, I believe, led me to be a better mother. I have been able to put more thought into the decisions I make with regards to my son and less afraid to go against the grain. I make lots of mistakes no doubt but I pray that he is on the right track to being able to make a meaningful contribution to this world one day. I suspect he would have been a complete mess if I had had him in my twenties so God decided to bless me with him a little later.
Lastly, it is only in the last 2 years that I have felt ready to tackle my fear of commitment. I bought a home for Alex and I and entered into a relationship that I believed had the potential to be long-term. Sadly that didn’t pan out but it taught me that I am capable of adjusting my lifestyle and making compromises in order to give a relationship a fair chance. I am a control freak and have always jealously guarded my independance so the fact that I could give up as much control as I did to make the relationship work completely blows my mind. Gees I was even cooking and baking! I never thought I would see the day…lol! Oh well, it was a great experience and it all just means that there is still someone out there for me 🙂
I feel like my life has really begun at 40. I like to believe that I am a little wiser now with a lot to look forward to and lots of goals to achieve. If you are on the cusp of 40 and a bit apprehensive about it, don’t be. It’s actually a wonderful place to be 🙂
Until next time.