ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Turning Forty - What Does it Feel Like to Reach Your Fortieth Birthday?

Updated on April 2, 2018

This is an article for anyone about to turn 40, who is wondering with trepidation just where all the time has gone. I wrote it from my own experience, as I share my own feelings of what it means to me, a woman about to hit the big '40'. Not many of us hits this point in our lives without any thoughts at all, whether positive or negative. Some of us dread it, some of us plan a big celebration and some of us look behind and wonder what happened to the careless freedom that was youth. Yet others might be more accepting, and truly feel that it is just a number, or that life may even be beginning. After all, we've all heard the saying, "Life Begins at 40"... And why not?

Help, I'm nearly 40!

Firstly, I would just like to point out that I am not actually forty. As of this moment I am, in fact, thirty-nine years and five months. However, the big '4 0' is certainly looming in the distance. A lot of people I know are turning forty this year. Turning thirty was fun - I didn't mind that at all. Thirty still has a ring of 'youth' about it - sort of. But forty....well, that doesn't sound young at all.

Maybe it does to some people. Those who have already sailed the seas of forty-something and moved on to pastures beyond. And don't get me wrong - I am not of the theory that forty is old at all. Not when I really think about it. In my family there are people who really are old - even one relative who is about to receive a telegram from the Queen. 100 is old. 90 is old. 80 is getting on a bit. 40, in comparison, is a spring chicken just hatched.

40 is a Mid-Way Point

Still, there is no getting away from it. 40 is one of those birthdays that, for many people, does not pass by quietly unnoticed. It sort of stops you in your tracks and nudges you, whispering in your ear 'Nearly 40, hey? Well, how's life going then? Is it all turning out the way you wanted?'


Whilst it is true that forty may not be old (except in the minds of your tactless and unmerciful children), to me it still feels like a mid-way point. When I was younger, it seemed as though my future stretched out ahead of me, so long that I couldn't even see the end of it. There was so much room for dreams; for plans; for anything to happen. There was no real sense of urgency, just a hopeful trust that everything would turn out just the way I wanted it. I would have a dream career - something special, not a run-of-the-mill job that everyone does. I always wanted to be a writer, from the age of eight or so, and I never doubted that it would happen. I saw a family - at least two children. A nice house. No money worries. Travel to every corner of the globe. I thought all of this was simple and easily attainable. Just the naïve optimism of youth. I suppose I thought that life happens easily. Now, though, I have learned that sometimes it doesn't.

Source
Source

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Heading towards my fortieth birthday, I feel relatively happy with my life. However, it is not terribly difficult to imagine why some people might choose this point to sink into a midlife crisis. At forty, the stretch ahead, whilst hopefully still long, is not as long as it once was. Rather than having one's whole life ahead, now there is only half of it. A sense of urgency prevails. Procrastination is less of an option. If you have a dream and you haven't done much about it yet, you had better get a move on or else erase it from your list. At forty, you can look back and wonder where the time went. At forty, you really do know that life doesn't last forever.

At almost forty, there are certain things in my life that I really want to achieve, yet so far haven't. Does it matter? It some ways, perhaps not. Deep in my heart, I think that perhaps the only thing that truly matters in life is how much you love; how much caring and kindness you show. Love is the very essence of human life. Yet we all have other dreams and passions as well - things that help us to feel fulfilled and whole. And I know that should I arrive at the end of my life without having achieved certain goals, I will feel a sense of disappointment at what might have been. When you live with a passion inside you, yet do nothing about it, it can feel as though something is missing.

Reflection

Forty can be a time of looking back, to those days of youthful optimism, and wondering where it all went - yet it can also be a time to look forward. Life can certainly begin at 40. Why not? Every day is a new beginning; a chance to set off on another path. Besides, no matter how hopeful and optimistic you might have been in your twenties, you are likely to have bucketfuls more confidence at forty. When you are forty, you are somewhere in the middle. You can relate more easily to both the young and the old alike. Nobody thinks you are too immature to know what's what. No one is too old to seem unapproachable. You have been places and done things, you have experiences behind you. You may have a family, that you can nuture with love and with pride. Hopefully, there is already much to look back on and celebrate, be it personal relationships, career success or vocational achievements. Not only that, but as one grows older it is often easier to be yourself. Confidence in yourself as a person allows you the freedom to break away from the 'sheep' mentality. You can ignore fashions and trends to your heart's desire, without feeling that you don't fit in with your peers. You can be proud to be the person that you are.

Of course, 40 is just a number. A number like any other. On its own, it is meaningless. However, as I approach my fifth decade of life, it is hard not to have any thoughts about it at all. For me, it is almost like a check point; a moment to reflect. It is also a bit like a kick up the backside, as I consider those things I always hoped I would do, but so far haven't. I don't know why I haven't, given the serious amount of time that has passed. All I can say is, sometimes life just plods by while you have your eyes half shut. In any case, it's never too late - and it is always better to try to fail than live with regret. Forty is a time to let go and live, to celebrate what you already have, to really be who you are and stay true to yourself. To head into the second half of the show with optimistic exuberance.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Carla M 

      4 years ago

      I hated turning 40 and it took a long while to get used to saying I was going to be in my forties. Once it happened, I put on a brave face and then found that to my surprise I actually I loved it and being 40 was great. A few years on I'm finding it slightly tough again. My advice love being 40. Enjoy every day of it. Next thing you know it's the mid-forties and now I'm finding that's a whole new ball game to get to grips with.

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi RichieGils, well 50 is another matter entirely, not sure how I'd feel about that - I will have to write another hub in ten years time!

      Yes, the big dreams nag away, don't they? I think the more time that passes the greater the sense of urgency. I, too, have a lot to be thankful for but don't want to give up on the things I feel passionate about. Anyway, I think it's always good to be inspired by a dream.

      Thank you for reading and for your comments:)

    • RichieGils profile image

      RichieGils 

      6 years ago

      Very insightful stuff Polly C, and an enjoyable read! I am fast approaching 50 (50!) and understand the feeling of urgency experienced by many at the mid-point of life.

      I have much to be thankful for, but still haven't attained the big dreams I have always had. I am, however, still working toward them.

      Funnily enough, turning 40 wasn't that big of a deal to me. 30 was the shocker! Don't even talk to me about 50!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)