Girlfriends: life over 40 is great

Repeat after me, ladies: life over 40 is great. I wish I could convince all my younger girlfriends not to be afraid of turning 40.

After 40, you have pretty much gotten to know yourself, what your strengths are, what you do when you’re overwhelmed or freaking out. You know how to deal with yourself when things get rough.

You’ve probably pretty much made terms with how you look (or maybe you never will). You know what your beauty strengths are, what you perceive as unchangeable flaws. Fine. Got that over with. You still look pretty youthful, but you have an adult brain with experience now. You can call a spade a spade in your mind and be pretty sure you’re right. By now you’ve seen enough of them.

You know what your menstrual cycle is like – what hurts when, how much you bloat, what happens if you drink too much coffee that month. You are by now an old hand at managing it. For some of you, it won’t last much longer now…

If you stop to think about it, you know what you want in life. You may be full to the brim with children and job and spouse and neighbors and volunteering and and and…so it may be hard to stop for a few minutes to sort this out, but the knowledge is in you.

One thing I would add…somewhere around turning forty, fewer people question your decisions. In professional life, this can really take some pressure off.

One of the things our American culture does pretty badly is support the idea that life is full of phases, each one with its own wonders. Over forty is not exactly young, and heaven knows America sells to the young, but it comes with considerable compensations. Also, you are not getting hit on by older men seeking young women quite as often. That’s something of a relief.

In short, it’s a great time to be alive for women. You have enough experience to guide your thoughts and deeds, and you still have a relatively young physical self to work with. Take comfort in your own development, and enjoy your over-forty way of meeting the world.

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