The idea popped into my head when a few years back, still in my thirties, I read this lovely post by Meryl Streep on turning forty. I decided I will write one too to mark my fortieth(warning, the post is not a copy, doesn’t claim to be as brilliant but is just an unedited page from my life). In my thirties, I may not have accepted it but as I turn forty, I give a damn. Yeah, age does that to you! You can finally stand up and speak your mind without trying to be politically right.
My body started showing signs of ageing when I turned thirty-five, and I don’t only mean greying of hair. I felt low on energy, got tired easily and lost my stamina. Was it time to hang the bucket, I wondered? And then I got pulled into running and fitness improved many folds. I ran a half marathon every year since then. At 39, I participated in OXFAM trailwalker which is one of the toughest 100kms trails that you have to complete under 48 hours. At 40, I trekked to Everest Base Camp and Kala Pathar. Guess, never say never was one of the biggest life lessons for me. When your body fails you, your mind can win!
Turning 40 means being unabashed about having a crush on Justin Trudeau. I guess he is the most loved and cutest political figure of our times :). Yes, yes I have major plans to visit Canada and bump into him. Hugh Jackman, you come second.
Turning 40 changes you. You transform from being a fashionista to a woman who has no patience for parties or facials. Not only is your skin showing the signs you also realise the wisdom of your grandma’s advice. She has been telling you since you were a kid but you have to go the full circle to realise it.
You become bold enough to announce your age to the world where you know you will hear either squeals of excitement, ” OMG she is forty and I didn’t realise!!” or of judgements ” OMG she is forty”!! A few days back I was 39 and you didn’t judge me because my work spoke for me and I didn’t tell you my age, but today you do!! Honestly, you need to look at your shallowness, I am evolving not ageing :)!
You become a Zen Buddha or start inching towards one. I have amazing patience for my kids, trust me I can’t exist without ignoring most chaos that goes around the house but on the same hand, I have zero tolerance for judgements. You may think I am a bad mom, maybe, so be it. You think I am too outspoken, sure. Most people find me too feminist or too bold and I have no time to explain to them how I run my life. I am happy Buddha in my zone.
We all have that little girl in us who gets lost with age, time, ambition, work, marriage and kids. I found this little girl in me again a few years back through my writings and on my journey, I have been urging other women to do the same as well. The gypsy in me has an urge to travel the world and I try and take time off for a few weeks every year to search for her. While I would have been too worried a few years back to leave my kids and head out, wondering how they will manage, how my family will cope up without me. I soon realised the fears are all my own and when I did start taking those tiny steps out of my home, all I gained was happiness, sense of freedom and a yearning to come back home after a few days. And you know the best part? My family opened up too, after their initial fears. The kids coped much better than I hoped for, they bonded with their dad or grandparents whoever they were around that time. They grew responsible and somewhere I am very proud of the fact that my little munchkins are growing up watching an independent woman and her needs. Understanding and respecting that.
The forties is an age when your hair ages and your body and mind doesn’t. While some self-respecting women have moved to not colouring their hair I am still stuck in vanity. Maybe I need to be fifty to start that :).
I am slowly losing the friends I had. I am no more a social butterfly much like my impression. While I look for depth in relationships, they look shallower. My friends see my social media updates and they think that my life is full or busy. But what kind of a friend you are if you don’t pick up the phone and check how I am? Well, as I get more cynic, I am letting go of such friends. You get emotional about everyone and everything. It’s a change in my carefree personality and I am trying hard to accept it.
It’s when you realise you are looking for deeper meanings in life and going to the mall for a movie or shopping binge doesn’t cut it anymore. I am finding mine through yoga, exercise, and travel. A few years back I tried yoga and hated it. I have always been a very restless person and sitting still was an issue. When I rediscovered yoga, it was more a natural process and it has brought around such calmness in me. The biggest change in me is that it has taught me to let go and forgive people.
You look back at life and wonder what a long way you have come from being a small town girl who was not even allowed to party with school friends beyond the LOC of your colony to the one who travels solo when required to new destinations.
Turning forty also means you learn to open more, be more self-assured, have an opinion but sometimes don’t feel the need to express it, you see through people’s masks and find the innocence behind, you don’t try hard to please others but be yourself, need your people around you to cocoon you, be liberated yet attached. It’s an interesting age and I am beginning to see why.
Pic credit: @ameyamapuskar
Makeup: Rituja Satdive
Venue partner: Westin Garden City, Mumbai
Clothing Partner: Vyuom