My friends keep telling me that "life begins at 40". To be brutally honest, I am not so sure. How can someone think that is the case, when in your 20's you made all your mistakes but had the time of your life. In your 30's, you made some more, but they were far more manageable and life was pretty good. You had more money than in your 20's, more experience and had fewer issues. You felt as though you were more comfortable in your own skin and you came to terms with your flaws.
Then you started approaching 40. Somehow everything went back a few steps. Firstly, just when you thought you were comfortable in your own skin, you realized that there were a few things you wanted to change. For instance, your appearance. Do those wrinkles really belong to you? Have your eyebrows really drooped that much? Are your boobs really that saggy?
Ask any cosmetic surgeon and the first thing they will say is that women approaching their 40's and 50's are their biggest clientel. They wake up one day and all of a sudden think that everything is not as it should be.
"You are living the dream," my friends chant whenever I seem to feel down in the dumps about turning 40. Really? What is living the dream? Looks isn't something that I am too focused on. Instead I prefer to bank on my brain and I really do think that the lines on your face show character and someone who is living life. While I am an avid purchaser of good creams, I am not a fan of any cosmetic or facial changing alternative. Everyone these days seems to want to look the same. The truth for me anyway is that "what makes us different makes us beautiful".
I know that women and men go loopy when they hit milestones; men find themselves buying sports cars and finding something on the side, and women have cosmetic surgery, feel beautiful again and find themselves a hot personal trainer with added benefits. At least that is the famed tale we all talk about. Divorce is big in people's 40's because people come to terms with getting older and start to think twice about how they would like to live out their lives.
For me it is a different story.
40 is in exactly one month's time. For the past year I have thought of little else. How did I get here? Have I done everything that I set out to do in life? Is this really what 40 looks like?
A good friend said to me, "I feel in my 20's, blinked and I'm in my 50's! What the... Can only enjoy the ride."
My mother was married with five children when she was 31 years old. I am almost 40, haven't been married and am not looking too good on the kids stakes either. "My eggs are walking with a cane," according to Maikayla #24yrold in the office who constantly reminds me to get a move on.
They say you can have it all, but not at the same time. I get that. One part of my life is celebrated by my friends and quietly by myself; the international travel, laying on the beach in the South of France, going out when I want to and if I want to, dating interesting and diverse men from all walks of life, buying the latest in design wear, running an international business and in general, doing whatever I feel like. Who wouldn't think this is a charmed life?
Some of the cards I have been dealt have led to a lucky run. Business has been phenomenal and international expansion means that I am challenged every single day.
I wake up every morning, and rush to get dressed, so I can get into the office. I love what I do and am passionate about marketing and the people that I surround myself with.
My family is sensational. Always supportive when I have a hangover or feel like I need a pick me up. My friends, well, they provide the hangover and often remind me that either my life is not normal or that I should make a few tweaks in my life and think about settling down with anyone who comes along. Clearly, I take certain friends in different doses depending on my state of mind.
But there is something that is missing, or at least that is what I keep telling myself. Is there any right or wrong answer to whether or not you should share your life with one person or many people, or have children for that matter?
Perhaps I will. Maybe I won't. But happiness cannot be about whether or not we fulfil the goals of our predecessors or society for that matter. Happiness is about living. Waking up each day and experiencing things that take us to a new level or remind us what we are here for. Everyone is on their own journey and if we focus on others, then our journey won't be as good.
While it is plain bull**** that 40's is the new 30's, focusing on the negative rather than the positive won't do you any good. So rather than sit down with a glass of vodka and pour your heart out to the nearest person, realizing that your 40's is an opportunity to experience all the things you have ever dreamt about and tick a few more boxes, will only lead to one thing: happiness.
Here is my tips for 40:
1. Stop driving the same way to work each day
2. Don't wait for someone else to do something for you - do it yourself
3. Look in the mirror and be happy with what you see
4. Climb that mountain that you want to, but haven't because you have every excuse in the book
5. Kiss a stranger, travel to Africa or just find a way to be free
6. Kick some goals and then some more
7. Stay healthy and fit without going overboard
8. Keep in touch with people that you love being around
9. "Normal is for the birds," Pitbull. Remember this and make it your mantra
10. Be happy and make this your priority.
Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.
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