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…

Woman's Own - - HELLO & WELCOME -

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.

Rock bot­tom

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

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