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Leah 43 | The 40 Over 40 Project

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Turning 40 was a celebration that I looked forward to, excited by the possibilities this stage of my life might bring. While some friends expressed feeling daunted by the prospect of approaching 40, I felt a lovely confidence in the woman I’d become.

It was also a very challenging time, raising a toddler & having just lost my second pregnancy. The transition into motherhood was not one I made easily. What I value most is the partner I get to do this with. I’m so grateful for the unconditional love my husband has taught me and our friendship, which makes everything work. 

The beauty of my 40’s also comes from the experience that brought me here. My life has always been centred on adventure, learning, people & discovery.

Reflecting on my journey brings me great pride. From a hard-working student, to travelling the world throughout my 20’s & 30’s, and finding my place back home in Perth, becoming a wife, mother and career woman.

My career journey itself was an incredible roller coaster. After graduating from UWA, I took off abroad, taking any & every job opportunity to survive. I found myself teaching English in Beijing, working with disabled children in London, and ultimately getting a residential position in Kensington Palace, working for the Royal family. Upon returning home, I entered the mining industry. Working on the mines would change the trajectory of my life.

While setting myself up financially, I was once again confronted with adapting to an extreme and new environment. Things were different back then, as a female in an almost entirely male dominated industry, it was survival of the fittest. The mad & marvellous characters aside, finding yourself in the W.A outback can be quite the shock after living in some of the most hectic cities in the world!

I’m happy to say I not only survived, I thrived! After buying my own home, my husband & I travelled the world together in style (as only “cashed up bogans” know how!) Our motto; work hard, play hard! I approached my 40’s with the same strength and resilience I’ve always adopted, coupled closely with a cheeky wild side that I’ve grown to love about myself. 

These days, it’s my family that gives me the greatest joy & sense of purpose. Parenting is relentless and completely altered how I identify with myself, presenting the most challenging and rewarding chapter in my life, thus far.  But for all the physical, mental & emotional upheaval, never could I have imagined I’d create such an incredible human being; our stunningly witty, confidently adventurous, sensitive, kind daughter is at the centre of our universe.

In my 40’s, I’ve found that cringe converts to joy very easily. Learning to not only accept but also laugh at myself keeps me young at heart! And while I may struggle with the gate between my brain and mouth, a new-found ‘bullsh*t’ filter allows me to better prioritise myself and family, real friendships that are at the core of my support community and my work life balance.

Getting older can be confronting in ways that continue to surprise me! Health anxiety is about as fun as putting your neck out sneezing! As for loving the image reflected back at me in the mirror, it’s all a matter of perspective. The laughter lines tell a story, about a girl who loves to laugh and the silver hairs are hard earned. I have a renewed compassion for the girl I am, all her ups and downs, as I raise my own girl with the same compassion. 

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