Real life: My forties are my best decade yet!
Actress Billie Piper claims her 30s have been a ‘massive life crisis’. Writer Sam Brick, 47, says hers weren’t much better – but she has some advice…
On my 36th birthday in 2007, I found myself in tears in front of my GP. He handed me some tissues to wipe my eyes and then everything came tumbling out. ‘I can’t sleep, I can’t be bothered to wash my hair and I hate going out!’ I sobbed.
The diagnosis was, unsurprisingly, that I was suffering from depression. I was single – well, strictly speaking a divorcee. My TV production company had gone belly-up.
I’d taken a risk using my home as collateral to support the business. That meant I had no choice but to put my gorgeous cottage on the market.
I’d exhausted every option to make a go of things, even selling my car the previous month to pay my staff’s wages.
I was 36 and thought, ‘I’ve worked so hard to get here and yet everything has gone wrong. I can’t start my life all over again, I don’t have the energy.’
But somehow I did manage it and here I am a decade later. And I can honestly say that life in my 40s is better than ever.
My heart went out to Billie Piper recently when I read that she reckons her 30s are the ‘crisis’ decade. At 35, the twice divorced actress said, ‘I think your 30s are a time when you start reflecting on everything you have or haven’t achieved.’
It’s the time in a woman’s life when, as Billie put it, ‘sh*t is getting real’.
The reason why my 30s were so disastrous is down to me putting too much pressure on myself to tick off my life goals ‘To Do’ list.
That’s why I’m not surprised that I failed massively. I married and then divorced. I tried and failed to have kids. I proved to be rubbish as a businesswoman. Today though, with the wisdom of hindsight, I can look back and be a bit kinder on myself. Every failure taught me something. I see those 10 years as one huge learning curve. It was a time when I got to grips with what really mattered and discovered what I was made of. Having reached rock bottom meant that my family could finally help me. I’d been there for them in the past and this was their turn to gladly support me. While I inevitably lost some girlfriends, those that stood by me are keepers for life. I can see that even though
‘I got to grips with what really mattered’
Sam with her husband, Pascal
Out on the town in her 30s
Sam in India in her 20s