Enter the 40s!
When I was a little girl, I always dreamt of being a big girl. I fantasized about a wedding and all the paparazzi and fanfare that go into the day.
As I turned 18, I began to develop a sense of purpose. I knew that my life consisted of more than a husband and children. My university days were filled with a certainty that I was fulfilling purpose. In spite of all the ups and downs I experienced, I still believed that I was making a positive impact in my sphere of influence.
Fast forward to the year I was to turn 40! I had braved the 30’s as a single woman, endured the trials and enjoyed the triumphs. And I felt I was ready for the 40’s.
Then that day dawned; the day I turned 40. And I realized I wasn’t as ready as I thought. It hit me real hard! Physically, I didn’t look a day older than 30 (I gat pictures to prove…tongue in cheek).
But where it mattered (in my mind and soul) I felt wow! This is it! Where do I go from here?
Realities of Life After 40
Like I said, I felt that I was prepared for my 40’s but when it came… Phew!
I’d had some health, career, financial and emotional issues before then. But now they seemed to have grown in magnitude.
Wait a minute. Did I tell you that I was scheduled to go in for a second surgery a month after my 40th birthday? Is that a sob or a sigh I hear from someone? Don’t cry for me just yet. That’s not the end of my story. (Watch this space; there’s more glory ahead!)
True, life presents us with a lot of hard facts by the time we turn 40. We’ll discuss some of them. But know that there’s always a pro and con to every situation in life. We must always learn to look out for the good.
Health in Life After 40
There are so many articles both offline and online on health issues after 40. From mental health, to cardiovascular health, to cholesterol and high blood pressure issues; the list goes on. They are almost too many to enumerate.
You are advised to watch what you eat, exercise regularly and get a good night’s sleep; among other expert advices. These advices didn’t seem too relevant when you were 30 or less. But now it seems to be the “holy grail” for life in the 40s and beyond. Sounds trite but that’s the reality of life on the fourth floor (wink).
Truth be told, you have a lot to be thankful for if all you have to deal with is watching what you eat, exercising regularly and sleeping well.
Some folks have a lot more health issues to deal with at this point in their lives
Body Issues of Life After 40
Hmmmmm! this part is very painful; especially for ladies. A friend and I saw one of our old buddies (same age bracket) and he was looking buff.
She goes “it’s not fair” why do men become more dignified with age and women just age? I’ve heard that many times and though I may not be of the same opinion, that’s one reality of the 40s for women.
The once petite babe of the 90’s now has a rounded stomach and some stretch marks. Trophies from 2, 3 or 4 trips to the labor ward and 3 to 12 months of breastfeeding. Wrinkles start to appear on a once smooth face and the single ladies start freaking out about ever getting married.
Tall, dark and handsome now has some grays at the temple and a one pack (solidly in the midsection lol) that he does his best to hide.
These are actually the least of body issues; we know there are more serious body issues.
Well no matter how wonderful your genes are. No matter the level of discipline you maintain in every area of life. You can never look the same in your 40s as you did in your teens and 20s… Deal with it!
Mmmmmh not an expert on this but let me tell you what I heard. I heard that the get up and go in this department is not as it was in the 20s (especially for guys); just repeating hearsay.
But I’m sure all of us have experienced or are experiencing one issue or the other in this area. I hope we know that sexuality covers a wide range of issues? Just checking…
Mid Life Crisis
Tell me about it! Emotions and moods swing from one end of the pendulum to the other. People make crazy decisions that even they are in awe of.
Some people’s marriages break up due to a lack of understanding of what’s happening to them. Others wreck careers and relationships that have been built over the years. While some folks go into depression; the list goes on
Mid life crisis manifests in different ways. Each individual experiences it in unique ways. Some even experience it without knowing what they are going through.
This is usually a tough season for mid lifers who have kids. At this stage most families are seeing kids through college or preparing to. Some others also have mortgages and some debts that are not fully paid off.
If you are unfortunate to be unemployed at this age, you find that the competition to get a job is stiffer. Some 40s plus have had to take a pay cut just to have regular incomes. Those who couldn’t get jobs have had to resort to self employment and entrepreneurship.
All these coupled with preparing for retirement are serious financial realities.
By mid or late 40s, many folks are well advanced in their careers. Some begin to plateau while others fight to stay relevant in the fast paced corporate world.
Those who are not so fortunate feel that they can’t start anything at this point in their lives. Is it even possible to start dreaming again at this age? Can one start a new career after 40?
Preparing for Life After 40
Throw Out All Rules
We have talked about some of the realities of life after 40. There are so many research findings and studies on preparing for life after 40. So much so that many people are confused by conflicting advises and opinions.
What does one do in the face of all these ideas, theories and positions? Do I bury my head in the sand like the ostrich and believe that life would sort itself out? Is there any authority on how one should prepare for life after 40?
Can I share a life changing truth with you? Read all the articles, research findings, books and all on life after 40. Attend all the seminars, conferences and events that you can. Listen to financial, health and marriage advice.
Finally, throw them all out!
From the Inside Out
Preparing for life after 40 starts from the inside out. Remember our rule about coming back to what the bible says about every issue?
Yep! We are back to the basics. The bible says that as a man thinketh in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7 KJV).
You need a paradigm shift to embrace and live the good life even till you are 120!
Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life( Proverbs 4:23KJV) World English Bible translates it thus ” Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life”
You need to watch what goes into your heart and what takes up residence in you. Every day, we build strongholds in our minds one thought at a time.
So many people live in morbid fear of ageing, fear of not meeting goals or targets. Or not living up to societal expectations. Stop already!
It is imperative that you understand that your life is yours to live for God and not society. Am I saying you should be irresponsible and not plan your life? Definitely not!
You totally need to prepare for life after 40 but with one thought in mind; God is the author and finisher of your faith.
We are so obsessed with goal setting and planning that most of us leave God out of the equation. Ponder Proverbs 16:9 for a minute (I’ll show different translations)
Contemporary English Version
We make our own plans, but the LORD decides where we will go.
New Living Translation
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
Berean Study Bible
A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
New International Version
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
English Standard Version
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
King James Bible
A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
For the 40s and above living their dreams, I rejoice with you and ask that you share your success stories with others. Not as a yardstick or standard for living but as encouragement.
If you are in your 40s already and didn’t plan your life, it’s never too late to dream again, set goals and start over. You can pull down wrong mindsets that have told you that a fool at 40 is a fool forever. Your story can be that life begins at 40; With God all things are possible.
But if you are yet to hit 40, blessed are you. Hopefully, you do not have many regrets like some ahead of you. And can begin or continue to build up positive strongholds that would withstand the onslaught of midlife.
Did you think I was going to give you some “expert” ideas on how to plan for mid life? Ooops! Sorry. I just wanted to bring you back to the basics.
But not to worry; stay with us as we shall be bringing expert advice, tips and what to do at this point in your life.
We would also be sharing bible passages that would help build your faith and establish positive strongholds and mindsets.
Enjoying Life After 40
I’m in my 6th soon to be 7th year on the 4th floor of life. Have all my expectations been met? Am I living my dream without regrets or what ifs? Not entirely.
But one thing I can confidently tell you is this; life can indeed begin at 40.
God can restore all that’s been stolen from you. I was blessed by this line from The Insight Daily devotional by Pst Temi Odejide.
“So he (God) might not give you back exactly what or who you lost (so do not fixate). But he is committed to giving you something or someone better if you open your heart and mind and let him. Man is totally impotent to restore time but my God is master of time and space. Trust him and watch him put it all back together again.
I hear someone say “but I wasted my youth” Remember the prodigal son? (Luke 15:11-32).
Another may say “life has been so unfair to me” Remember Ruth? (Study the entire book of Ruth in the Bible).
Yet some other may say “I had a bad start in life and could never catch a break” Consider Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10).
Hindsight they say is 20/20 but it doesn’t have to impede your progress. You do not have to live in regret, bitterness or even past glories. You can employ the lessons of the past to enjoy the present and future.
Do you have stories, experiences, comments or questions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.