By now, we are supposed to have the secret recipe to life. We have survived the fun, outrageous, live-on-the-edge exploration of our twenties, pushed ourselves into new discoveries in our thirties, completed our soul-searching travel and now feel that we have a firm grip on who we are. We are carefree and for most, not even contemplating life in your 40’s.
During the previous couple of decades, we have consumed copious amounts of alcohol and partied until sunrise. We convinced ourselves that by the time we settle down with our partner, have the fairy-tale wedding and bump out some bambinos, the party lifestyle would not be missed. After all, we now have the ideal life—the husband and kids, the mortgage we will be paying off for life. But really, who gives a shit? We have it all. Right?
Or is your reality something a little more like this?
You had a solid vision of how the future would look, you were bubbling with untapped potential and unrealised dreams. You just knew that some of these were destined to come to fruition. Or maybe you have been waiting for your soul mate to arrive, someone who apparently took a detour and—not through lack of trying—can’t be found.
Then, your forties crept up on you. The career that was once the driving force behind your life—70 hours the norm—is no longer a source of satisfaction. The partner who you adored and solemnly swore to love, death do you part now not as shiny or fun due to the harsh reality of child-induced sleepless nights. The wine bottles that were traded for baby bottles have you filled with visions of your past escapades. Or, your search for your soul mate and countless dates has left you doubtful about the possibility of every finding the one. Friendships are where solace is sought yet at times they can’t seem to fulfil the emptiness that now fills our inner spaces.
For some of us it’s a gradual transition, others wake up one day and think, What the fuck is my life? Considering the amount of soul searching, self-development and investment we have applied to ourselves it adds a realm of guilt that we should feel this way.
You had a solid vision of how the future would look, you were bubbling with untapped potential and unrealised dreams.
Shouldn’t we be grateful and content with our allotment in life and what we already have? As Jack Nicholson’s character once said ‘What if this is as good as it gets’? Should we embrace where we are, what we have achieved or should we forever strive for more/bigger/better/happier?
We are bombarded with countless articles, feeds, shows, posts telling us to write down our goals, find our fucking purpose, pray, ask the universe, read books A, B and C, get a mentor, maybe it’s time to seek counselling. Yet I am surrounded by people still questioning their choice of partner, their career choice, their parenting ability, their very purpose in life. Those going through divorce because it was easier or they needed to walk away, singletons that are still searching for the one, yet questioning if soul mates even exist.
Here we are in our forties, and let’s be honest, how many of us are just going through the motions?
At this point in the story, I’m supposed to provide some mind-blowing insights, some inspiring quotations that will help you take stock and continue to strive to find your purpose and what makes you happy.
I don’t have any of that. Nope! Nada! What I do have is the reassurance that it’s ok to feel some dissatisfaction, some confusion, and an assurance that you’re not alone. There are women waking up all around the world to ‘What the fuck is this forties business?’ and going through the very same thought process.
There seems to be an urgency to sort it all out, find the answer and the reason for the lack of satisfaction in our lives. Maybe we are ungrateful assholes that can’t appreciate what we have, maybe we are selfish and so self-consumed we can’t smell the gratitude for the realisation that this could be it.
Or it just could be our eyes are being opened to the fact we’re at the half-way mark and its time to get present to what matters in life. Conduct a check-in to see if this is the way we want the rest of our lives to pan out.
I am certain that we all have untapped potential, undiscovered dreams, and that if we remove the layers of others’ opinions and our own self-limiting beliefs there is still an abundance of experiences waiting to be explored.
For some of us it might be time to start a new venture or career. We might be ready to take time out for ourselves or shift the focus from the search for a soul-mate and appreciate love in all its forms.
We don’t need to have all the answers, after all, who really does?
We don’t need to have the future all mapped out. Perhaps we just need to embrace the, Fuck, I’m in my forties and I don’t know what the hell I want anymore, revel in the uncertainty of it, create some new dreams or see if the unrealised ones still fit. Maybe a bit of uncertainty, getting present to our untapped potential, is just what we need to shift us into the next stage of this glorious, unpredictable life.
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