Forty. Forty! I’m now officially forty. And I know that this is just a number, no reflection on me or how I look, how I feel, blah blah blah… but it does matter. It matters to me. I am forty! It feels like a huge milestone, a destination in a place I wasn’t ready for yet. The end of my thirties being the end of a road trip I was really starting to enjoy. And who’s to say that forty won’t be just as ok? It’s just that it sounds… old. I don’t want to be 40. I really don’t. But here we are. And after much deliberating, much denial and much refusal, I am having a party! Over a week late, but a party none the less. I figured that seeing as I can’t do anything about turning 40 (we all get there in the end, don’t we?) then I will damn well celebrate it instead. And in doing that, I realised there are a lot of things I can celebrate right now too. Maybe forty isn’t all that bad, when you read the list of all I’ve achieved and all I have to look forward to?
Ok, so I’m advertising this as more of a gathering with drinks rather than a party. And, of course, it’s bring the kids too- so it won’t be wild. I’m 40, after all. But this is just how I like it. Centre of attention is not my thing, so the kids will gladly take my place I’m sure! BUT there is the dress to consider! It goes without saying that I must have a new dress, and so score one point to being 40. New dresses.
I love a new dress. I can spend hours trawling the shops with pleasure, trying on, deliberating, taking photos. I love the process and I love the end result even more. But these days my schedule is crazy. I visit the chiropractor three times a week in the city, leaving little time to work in between, not to mention school runs, the gym and everything else. So online shopping has become my thing in recent months. I’d never really been a huge fan, unless I’d already tried something on and knew it fitted. But I guess another advantage of getting to forty is finally getting grip on my body and knowing what will suit me and what definitely won’t. And so online shopping has become my saviour, especially now that most of my favourite high street shops also have online shops too. Hoorah! This means that I can browse to my heart’s content at home, then nip quickly in store to buy whatever I’ve spent hours lusting after. Perfect. At the moment I’m torn between this gorgeous gold metallic dress from Urban Outfitters, this stunning gold Jacquard tulip dress from Closet London, this amazing gold metallic dress from &Other Stories, or do I go for the Ted Baker sale and grab the beautiful strapless fold midi dress in gold? There’s a gold theme, as you can tell!
I am in control of my own mind
Finally, at 40 I think I get it. I really am a strong woman. I really can do this life stuff. It’s taken this long to realise but I think that’s because you have to go through 40 years worth of stuff to know that you’re capable of getting through 40 year’s worth of stuff. If that makes sense. If the past year has taught me anything, it’s that I’m resilient. I’m determined. And I’m here. I discovered a technique through CBT counselling that I’ve since used independently and it really works for me. Knowing my triggers for stress and anxiety helps so much, and when I feel that old burning feeling start to gather in my chest I now know what to do. I press the re-set button. I actually visualise one of those big red buttons from the cartoons, and I press it. That doesn’t suppress my feelings, or make them any less valid- it just puts a lid on them for a moment. It allows me to stop and assess the situation, and decide whether or not it really is worth me being upset about it. It gives me a moment to choose a different direction to take. And it has saved my busy school mornings SO. MANY. TIMES. I feel really proud that I can do this now.
I am in control of my body
I haven’t really written too much about this, and maybe one day I’ll change that. But being 40 I have realised- finally!- that this is it. This is my body, and I cannot make it do things it really cannot do. But I can train it. I can help it to achieve the best, and perhaps reach goals that once seemed impossible. Since the chiropractor showed me my x-rays and gave me the news that my spine was in such a way that required ‘intensive care’ for three months, my attitude towards my body has changed drastically. Before, I was going to the gym and pushing myself but not really taking all that much care of it outside of that routine. I ate well mostly, but I never really understood the proper way to fuel my body or help it along the way. Now I do.
Now I’m working more closely with my trainer and I’m seeing results. From being 12kg heavier down my left side, to now only 4kg heavier- an amazing result! I’m also seeing my body fat percentage dropping, my muscle mass increasing and my overall appreciation for my body going through the roof! For someone who has battled with food, eating, and general body dislike for such a long time, this is a huge break through. If my body can get to 40 and still do amazing things, then I’ll take that thank you very much.
So it’s just a short list, and yes- ok!- the first one is very superficial compared to the fact that I now know my own body and mind… but this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have a feeling that 40 isn’t going to be all that bad. AND by the end of the week I will have a beautiful golden dress to wear to my party, surrounded my family and friends- and what better way to celebrate than that?