The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Firmly Feeling 40

on June 18, 2015

So you may or may not recall, I spent a bit of time talking about Embracing 40 last year. In fact the whole reason I started writing this blog had something to do with Embracing 40.  

And now all of a sudden, I’m closer to Embracing 41. In less than eight weeks time actually. That is how fast time can pass us by.  

 We can have a bizarre relationship with the passing of time. Sometimes it can’t go by fast enough or needs to slow down a little. Sometimes we’re so busy filling it up doing stuff. And even though sometimes we may wish to do nothing at all, time moves on regardless. 

There’s no question about it that Embracing 40 is rather a milestone in one’s life. Like all Birthday’s ending in ‘0’. And over the months I’ve seen friends mark this occasion in a number of different ways as they Embrace 40 their way.  

I rather enjoyed Embracing 40 as you could probably tell. Whilst it may look like I spent a whole year building up to what kind of party it would be, I enjoyed reflecting on much of my previous 39 years. 

It was a good time to take stock and remember, whilst I can, what brings you to where you are now, what you’ve gained, what you’ve lost. What you can be responsible for, what you can’t and what you want to change.  

So what now? 

What does Firmly Feeling 40 mean now that the party is a memory. 
Does it even mean anything significant or did I build it up to be something much more? 

On the one hand I don’t feel much different to how I did ten years ago. And I’m not the first to think that. I still like the same flavours of crisps, smoky bacon, Marmite and prawn cocktail but if pushed to choose just one flavour for the rest of my life then I’d choose ready salted because they really are the most versatile even if you think they seem a bit dull. I still like the same bands, actually I love Blur, I really do. Or do I just love Damon. I still like the same kind of humour, books, fashion and chocolate eclairs with fresh cream and not your shit fake cream. In fact, looking at things now I think I’m stuck in some sort of time warp because these likes stem from my early 20s as well. 

Some time ago I mentioned Husband likens your 30s to the Transitional Decade. It is quite true. Though I still haven’t fully transitioned, maybe in a couple of full moons time I will. On the days when the responsibility of being a Grown Up weighs heavily upon you, it’s impossible not to feel the change the last ten years have brought. On occasion I feel myself reminiscing what I used to do with my weekends or how I never used to have to referee pointless discussions between four and six year olds and how I feel like I could just give up talking about something I’m saying to #1, 2 and 3 that is having no impact whatsoever. 

Firmly Feeling 40 doesn’t mean that I feel the need to act a certain way befitting my 40 years. It sort of just happens. I am fast morphing into my Dad, Mr Li without me realising. I can hear it in the things I say and what values have taken precedence over others. When amongst young people, I just can’t emulate the way they interact and thankfully neither do I want to. I’m quite happy with my ‘It wasn’t like that in my day’ way of thinking. But equally I know I can’t afford to lag behind in how young people do interact, there are some things you need to keep learning and it’s not because I wish to ‘get down with the youths’ but to remain relevant in gainful employment and to keep in step with #1, 2 and 3 then you have to know.  

And how does 40 feel?

It feels quite comfortable so far. As many who have reached 40 before me have said, you now have the right kind of confidence and self esteem. Having seen some of the world has put much of life’s tribulations into perspective.  With solid experience in Gainful Employment, Parenting and Friendships it’s easier to make good informed decisions on your own without wondering what others will think. I’m much more mindful of what I say and the impact of what I do and I have a greater depth of empathy for others. Because at 40, everyone’s story is much more complicated than it was at 20.

And how does 40 look in the mirror? 
Well I definitely couldn’t say I look no different to ten years ago! But at 40, not much has significantly changed since 30. I still recognise the face I see in the mirror. Yes, there are dark circles under my eyes that have no intention of leaving, subtle lines are forming and cheeks and jowls are becoming softer. I noticed these things because I paid closer attention to see what I thought was different. But really I don’t want to focus too much on it. You should take care of yourself inside and out. You should feel able to take care of whatever you think needs taking care of in the way you see fit. But I agree with George Clooney who says that he doesn’t want to look young but just good for his age. And he is doing this very well which I’m sure you’ll agree. For me, I just don’t want to focus on the things that don’t please me because then you’ll notice something else and something else again. It seems a shame to undo all the work we’ve put into building our self confidence to break it down again with a tweak here and there.

And to be honest, after incubating #1, 2 and 3 I can’t even remember what my body looked like beforehand. I do know that my knees creak going up and down stairs when they didn’t use to but I think that’s more to do with running which is a well known enemy of the knee. 

And that’s another thing, after a break of seven years I took to running again last December and what I find is that it feels so much easier. I’m much more focussed and disciplined and I find this is a great time to think things through in my head. And I guess it also helps that I have a group of friends who also run and I don’t feel the odd one for giving up pub time. Not that I live a life nowadays with lots of pub time. 

Everything is different in the life that I lead compared to 10 years ago. I’m not even in the same country anymore. So how can it be that I am not different. Well I guess it’s because I still like all the same things plus a whole lot more. I still have the same group of friends and all of us have gone through some form of Transition. Not often at the same time or the same sorts of Transition but what brought us together then still applies to now. And I have a new group of friends I’ve met during this Transitional period which has made it a lot more fun. 

The business of Embracing 40 and taking stock of all that I have and had and talking about it here, has been like some form of therapy. Like most personal blogs are. I mean it’s no different to writing a diary, a mindful one at that, and sharing your thoughts with friends and strangers alike. It’s quite a bizarre practice really. I wonder what makes us do it? 

So, you know, 41 is now calling and I have quite a lot more stuff to be getting on with. I’ll let you know what all that stuff is another time. For now, I need to do something about eradicating those dark circles under my eyes with some eye brightening, dark circle reducing, fine wrinkle line removing state of the art technology in a tube eye cream.

Or I could just got to bed and get some sleep.



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