Life After 40

Certain birthdays have special significance; reaching double figures, becoming a teenager, coming of age, all are markers of our journey through life; being able to vote, marry, en route to becoming an adult and then latterly giving us opportunities to reflect on our progression through life.

Decade birthdays often have a particular resonance. Upon reaching 10 or 20 we may feel excited at growing up, moving nearer to adulthood as we eagerly anticipate the adventures that await us. But those markers soon become a statement of how quickly time is passing us by. It’s often easy to get swept along as we cope with the time-consuming demands of life. We may be in education, building our reputation and career, absorbed with our relationships, settled down and nest-building with children.

Committing to each area and cramming every moment with chores and appointments can mean that when we reach 40 there’s a sudden realisation that we may well have reached the halfway point in life. Time then to question what have we achieved so far and ask is there life after 40?

The desire for a fulfilling life after 40 can prompt us to reassess the direction in which we have been heading. How are we spending our time? Have we travelled, achieved success, are we enjoying our work and relationships? What really interests us?

– Life after 40 can provide a wake-up call where we start to address how we feel about ourselves. For some, there may be a reduction in demands at home as children start to move away. Being a good parent is nearly always a happy life choice, but now it’s our time. Older children may still need financial support but require less hands-on attention. The desire for fulfilling ways to spend our time can provide the opportunity to introduce new hobbies and interests or might it be time to revisit those old interests that had to be sidelined as other obligations took priority?

– For some over 40’s having responsibility for older relatives can become a factor. Their need to be supported and cared for may have started to escalate. Doing the ‘right thing’ can be a consideration that impacts on our own choices, even though there are increasingly valid options of quality out-sourced care provision. Choosing the best way forward can require tact and sensitivity.

– Getting fit can become a focus at 40 as we start to appreciate the importance of investing in a healthier body to support our future quality of life. Also, consider when was the last time you updated your wardrobe, hairstyle or look? Refreshing your appearance can give a real boost to your self-confidence and help you to feel sexier and more attractive, especially if you’re on your own or are looking to reignite your existing relationship.

– Freeing yourself from the mental and physical burden of old unwanted possessions, draining friendships and tiresome commitments can prompt a major spring-clean at 40. Assess the clutter that you’ve amassed over the years. It can accumulate when left unchecked. Sort out your life and let go of those things that have been draining your time, space and energy.

 A high percentage of marriages end in divorce and with couples sometimes choosing to wait until their children are a little older 40 can be the time when you’re coping with the upheaval of a new start. Becoming newly single after perhaps many years of coupledom can require major readjustment, even if it was your decision. There may be a new home to set up, new friends and interests to cultivate, all at a time when you’re feeling vulnerable and financially constrained.

– 40 can be the age when we feel prompted to look at personal development. Maybe a training course appeals something that could lead to a new career, or committing to a qualification you couldn’t do when you were younger. Some people like to start working as a consultant, sole trader or turn an interest into a business venture. If you have friends whose interests and skills complement yours could there be an opportunity to combine forces and set up an enterprise together?

– What about finances? Are you settled in your home or is it starting to feel too big? It could be time to sell up, release some capital and down-size. A larger family home may be an unnecessary drain on your resources once children have moved on with their own living arrangements.

– Travel can feature large after 40, as there’s often more disposable money and less need to take trips that are child-focused. Enjoy travelling further afield and exploring new places and cultures whilst you and your partner are still healthy, adventurous and excited at the prospect of exploring away from the beaten track.

By the age of 40, you’ve made many of your scarier mistakes and have discovered that you can survive. Becoming better acquainted with yourself can allow you to feel more mature and settled, less eager to do what others want or in need of following the crowd.

It’s a time to value your existing circle of friends and groups but not be bound or defined by them. Enjoy opportunities to explore new relationships and challenge yourself a little. Spend time and money on yourself and your special someone and enjoy your life after 40!


Home | Hypnotherapist, Counsellor, Writer & Media Contributor – Lifestyle Therapy

Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester based Susan Leigh delivers a sensitive, professional and confidential approach to stress management, counselling and hypnotherapy.

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