Turn­ing40has­made­me­re­alise the‘some­days’are­al­ready­here

South Wales Echo - - YOUR VIEWS -

I NEEDN’T have feared turn­ing 40.

A birth­day I was once ter­ri­fied of came this week – on Tues­day, the most com­mon birth­day in the UK, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics – and I thor­oughly enjoyed my­self.

I’m also still en­joy­ing my­self as, while you’re read­ing this, I’ll be at a spa day with a friend.

The fact that my next birth­day would be the big 40 hit me like a ton of bricks ear­lier this year. It felt like the end of some­thing to me.

Prob­a­bly like many peo­ple I’d spent my twen­ties and then my thir­ties kick­ing the can down the road when it came to cer­tain things. I was go­ing to get fit one day, there was plenty of time. I was also go­ing to be more or­gan­ised – one day.

Not re­ally want­ing more chil­dren, the vague propo­si­tion that it could still hap­pen hung around me and pro­vided com­fort I didn’t know was there un­til it wasn’t any more.

My log­i­cal brain knows that lots of women have chil­dren in their 40s now but, prob­a­bly be­cause of the way women over 40 are talked about in wider so­ci­ety, my il­log­i­cal brain con­structed a bar­rier to this which would fall on Septem­ber 26 never to be lifted again.

In my life be­fore 40, or MLB40 for short, I was the world’s worst for putting off trips out and go­ing to events with friends be­cause maybe I had a slight cold or was tired and, hey, there was al­ways plenty of time.

And then when faced with the prospect of turn­ing 40 I felt like a large part of my life was over. Is THIS it? I won­dered.

Now my “THIS”, my fam­ily, my home, my job are pretty amaz­ing and I am grate­ful, but when the turn­ing­forty-fug de­scended I just couldn’t see that. Thank­fully, af­ter what felt like a pe­riod of mourn­ing for what could have been but now never would be, the scales fell from my eyes.

Either by luck or judge­ment my think­ing shifted. So in­stead of be­ing sad that all of my “some days” and “one of these days” were gone, I started think­ing that they’d fi­nally ar­rived. It’s af­fected my fam­ily too. When we had a heat­wave early this sum­mer, in­stead of sit­ting back and think­ing “if only we’d gone away but never mind we’ll do it some day”, we ac­tu­ally did it. We went to Tenby for the week­end and it was glo­ri­ous.

I’ve wasted ridicu­lous amounts of money on gyms, fit­ness equip­ment and fads over the years and noth­ing stuck, leav­ing me moan­ing about my lack of fit­ness and weight gain and trot­ting out the old “some day I’ll deal with it” line.

But as “some day” is now here I joined a run­ning club and haven’t re­ally looked back. I’m hardly Paula Rad­cliffe but that’s not the point. Turn­ing 40 ac­tu­ally made me re­alise I’d let my life go stale. I’d given in to fa­tigue and lazi­ness too much. So now, un­less there’s a very good rea­son not to, I do in­stead of dwelling. I used to think things weren’t for me but I’ve re­alised that un­less I make them for me, I’ll never have them. So now if friends ar­range a meal out I go, tired or not. If Pete’s home with us on a week­end, we do some­thing in­stead of just talk­ing about how tired we are.

If I see a show ad­ver­tised and want to go – in­stead of putting bar­ri­ers in the way like think­ing I can’t go out be­cause of Luke’s bed­time rou­tine – I’ll book it and go.

If we want some­thing for the house, now we have it.

There are al­ways tons of rea­sons for not do­ing things and it’s easy to find them: ex­pense, time, has­sle, too much ef­fort.

But none of us are get­ting any younger and no mat­ter how much money we have or how much we avoid the in­con­ve­nience and has­sle of ex­plor­ing life out­side our com­fort zone, we’ll all die.

Ex­cept that doesn’t mat­ter. We can’t do any­thing about it at all. So let’s turn our at­ten­tion to some­thing we can al­ter – our lives.

I know now that my “one days” and “some days” are to­day and I squan­der them at my peril.

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