My life really did begin at 40 – I was three months pregnant with my first child on my 40th Birthday.
It’s not how I planned it – when I was young, naïve and thought I had this thing called life sorted I planned to be married at 23 and have my children when I was 25. Enter two Mr Not So Rights and a few turbulent years later I find myself single and sworn off marriage and partnerships for good. I spent two wonderful years on my own getting back to being me – the real me had got lost during those turbulent years, always trying to be what someone else wanted or needed me to be.
I am far from perfect but I am at peace with the person that looks back at me in the mirror each morning – imperfections and all. I am actually grateful for those turbulent years for teaching me a lot of lessons that really can not be learnt from books. As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Those two years and all the self reflection put me in a good place so when Mr Right (my husband and father of my two beautiful children) came into my life I was ready to give the whole marriage thing another go.
When I saw the 40 over 40 I thought I would get out of my comfort zone (I really do not like being front and centre) and go for it. Sadly I have lost some very important people in the prime of their lives – they will not get the chance to grow old, lament the increasing wrinkles or the negative effect gravity has on the body as we age. As I feel very privileged to be able to experience these things I thought this project was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the journey so far – wrinkles, sagging body parts and all.
I am blessed to have had two healthy (and amazing) children in my forties. They have taught me so much and give me another – younger – perspective on life, they help to keep me relevant and are so useful when I am struggling with technology. Their eye rolls and exasperated sighs make my day!
Advancing age is not something we should be afraid of, it is something that should be celebrated. It is a great place to be, life experience has taught me not to sweat the small stuff and to be comfortable in my own skin, no matter what others think. I am grateful every day for all the good things in my life (and for what the not so good things have taught me) and hope that my life experiences can help me to guide my children through their journey with empathy, compassion and maybe just a little bit of wisdom.