The Things I’ve Learnt Since Turning Forty

I’ve been forty for seven months now, so I’m basically an actual expert on life as a grown-up. Or not.

You would think, at my age, I’d have most life stuff pretty figured out by now, wouldn’t you, but in fact, my purchases of self-help books and podcast downloads are on the up. Signalling that I am still trying to find my way in life. For example, I’m currently searching to find out important answers to complicated parenting matters.

But, there are some things I’ve learnt from middle age so far that I’m even impressing myself with.

I give zero fucks about most things. Actually, make that everything. You know when your grandparents got super old and then became *really* fucking honest; aka saying out loud whatever they thought, to whoever was in the room? I’m on my way there. I feel less inclined to people-please ALL THE TIME and instead I make choices that make me happier. That doesn’t mean I am bitch or selfish – not at all – (I don’t make anyone unhappy for my own gain), but being honest and transparent is the new black, and I’m here for it.

A few great people around me are enough. I have spent most of my life trying to be liked and loved by the masses and I’ve realised recently that all that matters to me are my husband, twins, close family, a few amazing friends and colleagues at work. Quality not quantity.

I’m better at work. Because I am wiser, more experienced and happier in my own skin I am no longer a career-driven moron. I still work hard and put a lot of effort into my career (it still matters a great deal to me) but it doesn’t define me like it used to. I feel better able to form relationships at work, and, equally, not get upset by those who don’t get along with me. I have gained more empathy from becoming a Mother, which has helped me to be more understanding of frustrations and issues in the workplace.

I just get shit done. For most of my twenties I would analyse, over-analyse and re-analyse practically everything. Boys, clothes, bosses, friendships, what to eat, my weight, what I said wrong, who didn’t like me, blah blah blah. Now I barely even think twice about making decisions. I do still like to get together with my friends and chew over life over many cocktails, but because my time is so precious these days I just simply get on with doing things. Procrastination is so last year.

I’m obsessed with women my age. I’m looking around comparing notes with successful, happy, intelligent and inspiring women my own age and I’m loving their stories, insights and lives. I think that 2019 has seen the dawn of the older woman and I’m totally on board with it…*punches fist in the air*.

I like social media but I’m wary of it. I have spent the last few years making a career out of the online world as a blogger and social media manager but lately I have enjoyed a career change, as well as stepping back and restricting how much of it I let into my life. There’s a lot of content out there/many folk with much to say but I know now that it’s not all for me, (nor will I ‘miss out’ if I don’t consume it all). I remember the old days when people used to look other people in the eyes and talk and there’s a bit of me that misses that human contact. I’m also really worried for my kids growing up in this Instagram and YouTube age and the pressures they may face from it all.

I’m always learning. I’ve learnt that reaching big milestones such as twenty, thirty, forty, still doesn’t mean that I am ‘done’. Perfection from reaching the end of a life-decade doesn’t exist. Nor does it mean you’ve finally figured out the secret to your true self or happiness. What does matter is learning from any experiences (good and bad), realising it’s still okay to fuck up (we’re only human), and using that newly found knowledge to improve and grow further.

Hangovers take three weeks to recover from. Ugh. They absolutely suck. Is it worth the four glasses of wine, two jager bombs and three G&T’s? Yeah, do you know what, it probably still is.

Jess Soothill
Jess Soothill

Jess is a Mum of boy & girl twins and a Head of HR in Telecoms.
Jess likes coffee, sunshine and a good quote.

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