What a scary number for most women. Well, in 2016, 40 came to my life and stayed. It looks like it’s not going anywhere either.
While most women struggled transitioning out from their 30s and transitioning into “40,” my circumstances were highly unlike most, and for that, I’m grateful. Before turning 40 myself, I heard heart-wrenching stories from women about their harrowing experiences with it. The difficult transition can be minor, chronic or severe. I recall a female friend who was having difficulty with the notion as she was single, never married and without kids at the age of 40. Her choices in life were driven by desperation and overwhelming need to feel good that ultimately led to her own pain and suffering. To receive some form of validation, she engaged in this unhealthy habit of dating men who were married or already in relationships. Little did she know, that cycle wasn’t going to get her a long-term commitment from anyone — the very core of what she desires.
That friend’s approach to life never left my mind. Partly, it’s because witnessing her go through a tough time with the age made me wonder if I’ll go through a similar unpleasant situation. The thought scared me. Subconsciously, over the years, I have kept that image of her in my mind as a contrast to how I wish my transition into the 40s to be.
In my case, I turned 40 while camping and hiking with friends in Acadia, and like my friend — single, never married and with no kids. There was no real celebration as on my actual birthday I was on the road driving back to Washington, D.C. As expected, people sent me their birthday wishes in various forms, but all in all, there were no fireworks to celebrate the milestone, which is exactly how I intended it to be.
Internally, however, it was a different experience altogether. There was a sense of peace and calmness within me and yet a loud voice saying, YES! Quite frankly, turning 40 felt like a major achievement in my case because despite all the dangerous solo trekking I did the past decade, I successfully made it to 40, nonetheless. I also felt rather enlightened by the many lessons I have learned both on my travels and in my regular life. I even managed to write about the 40 lessons I learned on my blog to celebrate my entry into the 40s zone. In essence, I had no fear whatsoever when 40 entered my life. Instead, I felt tremendously excited about the new decade settling in. In my mind, it only means more adventures to come for a wiser and more mature version of myself.
So, as you can see, my reaction to 40 was different from how my friend reacted. It wasn’t an overnight process. My 30s involved making mistakes and learning, getting hurt and growing, and even hating myself in order to finally love myself. When you figure out a way to the path of becoming a self-made individual, you then discover your powers to create your own world that is aligned with your true essence. This then develops your ability to dismiss any negativity in the external world.
In other words,
You no longer have the urge to please everyone or even anyone for that matter. You learn to value pleasing yourself. You no longer feel obligated to look, act or speak as dictated by society. You are 100% YOU. You no longer follow other’s desires. You only follow yours. You no longer judge others. More importantly, you no longer judge yourself. You no longer fear anything or anyone but fear itself.
This all leads me to say, “40 turned me into my own hero.”
By permitting yourself to embrace the person you are now and in the future, you dive into a version of freedom that only a handful of humans can relate to. You become fully awakened by your potential to expand and create your own path. You become your own superhero — in my case, a superwoman.
Forty can be an enlightening moment — a moment to be your own version of a hero to yourself so you can be of service to others and beam light on people’s lives in the darkest of days.