There’s something about turning 40 that makes you start thinking differently.
At least, that’s what happened to me. Two years ago, I turned 40. While dreading the impending big 4-0, I managed to handle it better than I thought. I had a huge girls’ trip planned with the friends I grew up with, and that helped soften the blow since we were all turning 40 together. I was worried about aging and changing but managed to talk myself into looking at all the positives that came along with aging gracefully and not just what I thought was a negative.
One of the first things that surprisingly changed when I turned 40 was my outlook on situations and other peoples’ opinions.
I remember always being so consumed by how people viewed me, whether I met their expectations, and whether I was doing the right thing. I was always a people-pleaser, and it made me happy to say yes and have people happy with me.
I would say yes to events and outings that would cause me stress. I would take on extra work at my job. I often listened to peoples’ problems and made it my goal to help them at the expense of my own sanity.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a people person. I love to make people smile and laugh. I love to help and be there for others. But now, as a forty-two-year-old woman, I can absolutely say no to someone or something.
When someone asks me if I want to participate in something that I know will ultimately stress me out, I say thank you for the invite, but I won’t be able to make it. I learned that I don’t have to explain myself. Sometimes, I still do, but I remind myself that I owe it to myself and my family to take it easy and do things that make us feel good and bring us joy, not because we have to do what everyone else is doing.
I’ve learned that not everyone is going to like me. People will talk behind my back, and others may misunderstand my humor or believe my kindness to be fake. And yes, when I was in my twenties, I had someone tell my good friend that my kindness was all an act. I carried that with me for years. I let that person’s words and poor judgment get the best of me.
Now, if I hear something that offends me, I laugh. I legitimately don’t care what others think about me. My friends and family know me, and they know my heart. I’m not worried about what anyone else thinks anymore! It’s liberating! I don’t understand why the shift came so quickly, but I credit it to being 40! I know what’s important in life, and it’s not about catering to anyone else.