Is 40 really the new 20? 

Okay maybe not, but as I get ready to celebrate my 46th birthday this week, I contend that there IS definitely a whole lot of life left after 40. 

In fact, I think I’d even go so far as to say this is my favorite decade so far! 

And so in celebration of my birthday and hopefully aging gracefully, I thought today I’d share a few of my favorite things about life in my 40s—the things that honestly have surprised me.

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 And whether you’re in your 40’s, 50’s, or beyond, I’ll be curious to know whether you agree.

So, without further ado–here are the five surprising things I LOVE about being in my 40s.

I no longer care what other people think of me.

The first big thing is that I’ve pretty much stopped giving a—well, we’ll say—crap about what anyone else thinks of me.

And that’s actually a pretty big deal.

And it’s not that I’ve ever considered myself a total people pleaser, but I think we all have a little bit—or maybe a lot—of insecurity when it comes to being around people and especially being around other women. 

I’ve always been pretty driven and pretty outspoken and also sharp and witty and sarcastic. I’m also just a natural leader.

But when I would get around other women that maybe weren’t quite as driven or outspoken, I would try to tone it down. Basically I would try to temper my personality to fit the social situation, I think because I was often afraid to be fully ME.

I worried about fitting in and not offending people.

And honestly I think that fear or that worry even translated to how I showed up in my business. For a long time, honestly for years, I felt like I had to hold a part of me back. I was afraid to speak my mind or get too controversial or to say anything that might offend someone.

In fact, I think for a long time that was why I struggled so much with social media. I never knew what to say because I didn’t really feel like I could fully be myself. What if I was too much?

And I don’t really feel like I do that anymore.

As I’ve gotten older, I think honestly I’ve stopped caring so much about other people’s opinions and what they think of me. I’m so much more willing now than I ever have been to just let the chips fall where they may.

I’m not for everyone, and that’s okay.

And let me tell you…it feels SO GOOD. I know who I am and what I like and don’t like, and I don’t feel like I’ve got to prove myself or change myself to fit in or be accepted. 

So that’s the first big thing that’s really surprised me about getting older—I’ve finally stopped caring so much about what other people think.

I’m way more confident in my own skin.

The second big thing that has surprised me about getting older is that I’m way more confident in my own skin than I’ve ever been before.

And it’s kind-of odd when I think about it, because when I look back at photos of myself at 20 or 25, I was so cute and tan and thin and yet SO insecure about myself and my body.

And yes, losing 40 pounds definitely helped me feel a lot more confident, but my 45 year old body still looks like a 45 year old body.

I’ve got varicose veins and cellulite and stretch marks. Every day I find a few more gray hairs. I’ve wrinkles and age spots and laugh lines and boobs that are starting to sag just a little.

But those things honestly don’t bother me.

I love my body right now, just the way it is, and after struggling with my weight for so long, it kinda feels amazing to be at this point.

I dance around naked for my husband, which I NEVER would have done before, and tell him every day how lucky he is to have such a hot wife.

And again, objectively I don’t think it’s because I’m actually hotter now than when we first met, but my CONFIDENCE is what has made me more attractive.

I think maybe it’s because as you get older, you gain wisdom and perspective, and you start to realize that your flaws and scars are just part of who you are.

They’re part of your story and they’re what makes you unique and interesting.

But that’s the second big thing that has surprised me—how much more confident I am in my own skin.

My kids are so much more self-sufficient

The third thing that has surprised me is how much I love this next phase of parenting, where my kids are older and more independent and self-sufficient.

And while teenagers—especially teenage GIRLS—definitely have their moments, this stage of parenting has actually been a lot more fun than I thought it would be.

I always thought it would make me sad to watch my kids grow up, but honestly it doesn’t make me sad. It’s been so fun to watch my girls grow into becoming their own people. 

They’re still at home for a few more years, but now they’re driving themselves places and taking responsibility for their own homework and don’t require a babysitter when we want to go out—or even when my husband and I want to go away for the weekend.

And that’s actually a huge deal because living here in Florida, we never really had any family around while we were raising our kids, and good babysitters are hard to find. 

I remember so many years when they were younger where we felt overwhelmed by the neediness. And now I have employees who have young kids and it makes me remember just how exhausting that phase of life is, and I don’t really miss it.

And don’t get me wrong, I actually LOVE kids and I’m SO excited for grandkids in a few years, because I am going to be SUCH a kick-ass grandma, but I’m also not sad that in just a couple more years my husband and I will be empty nesters and we get to watch our kids go navigate the world on their own.

So that’s the third thing that has surprised me—how much I love having self-sufficient kids.

I have way more fun.

The fourth thing that has DEFINITELY surprised me is that I’m having WAY more fun in my 40s than I ever did in my 20’s or 30s.

And maybe this is due to the fact that my kids are way more independent, or maybe it’s because I’m more confident and comfortable in my own skin, but I also think it’s because in my 20’s and 30’s I was more focused on getting married and starting a family and then growing my business.

But I’ve never had more fun than I am having now, at this phase in my life.

I think part of it is that I just don’t take myself as seriously as I used to. Again, maybe that’s the increase in confidence or just being a lot more willing to be myself and not feeling like I need to impress anyone.

But I think a big part of it also is that over the last few years, my husband and I have gotten a lot more intentional about creating a shared vision for our life together, and for what we want our life to look like.

And that definitely wasn’t always the case. We weren’t always totally on the same page. I was super busy trying to grow my business and do all the things and be all the places. I had my own goals, but they weren’t really shared goals. And that sometimes put us at odds.

If I’m being honest, sometimes it felt like we were living different lives.

But during COVID a lot of that changed.

I suddenly stopped traveling and I was home all the time, and we started doing a lot more things together. We reconnected as a couple and we also started making more local friends in our own neighborhood. We also found a new church and began growing spiritually together as well.

And we started having more conversations about we actually wanted for our life together.

And maybe it has nothing to do with covid, maybe it’s just a natural thing that happens as your kids get older and get closer to leave the nest, and you have to come to grips with the fact that at some point it’s going to be just the two of you, and you’ve either got to be in it for the long haul or you’ve got to go your separate ways.

For us, it was figuring out how to create a shared vision for our life.

So we actually wrote it all out—what we want our life to look like. We realized that we want a home where people can gather—a place where everyone feels welcome.

And we also realized that this vision didn’t have to be something we waited for. We could start inviting people to gather right away.

And so we do. All the time. Even when our life is crazy trying to keep up with our kids’ sports schedules and work and all the house projects we have going on.

We don’t worry if our house is tidy, or if everything looks perfect. We don’t worry if everything is all pulled together and beautiful. Often it’s not. In fact usually it’s not.

Don’t get me wrong, I love planning a good party, but I don’t WAIT until everything is perfect to invite people in. Honestly these days we’re usually a total shitshow and our house is a disaster.

But there is rarely a weekend where we don’t invite people over, or where we’re not gathering with friends, even if it’s just to have a bonfire in the back field or play pool in our yet-to-be-renovated game room.

Because what I’ve realized at this stage of life is that no one cares how perfect it is.

When I was younger I would get so caught up in the details that I’d forget that the whole point of gathering is to CONNECT.

And so that’s what we do. And it’s a lot of fun.

So that’s the fourth surprise.

I’m way more aware of my own mortality.

The fifth surprise is just how much more aware I am of my own mortality.

And maybe this doesn’t sound like a good thing, but I actually think it is. So hear me out. 

It’s not like I’m constantly worried about dying or anything, it’s more that I have a palpable awareness of the fragility of life and the preciousness of time.

I think when you’re younger, you think you have all the time in the world. You put things off because you assume there will always be a tomorrow or next week or next month.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. And so in a general sense, I think it’s made me more intentional about how I spend my time, who I spend it with, and what I’m doing with my life.

I don’t think I take nearly as much for granted anymore—whether it’s my health, my family, my friends, or just the little moments throughout the day—because I know that it could all be gone in a heartbeat. 

I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to live fully and make the most of every day that I have.

So I’m more willing to take risks, to try new things, and to not let fear hold me back.

Because at the end of the day, what’s the worst that can happen? We all die eventually anyways. Might as well make the most of the time we have.

And that’s been a surprising and freeing mindset to have. It has helped me let go of perfectionism and comparison, and just focus on living my life in a meaningful way.

So while there may be more wrinkles and gray hairs than I’d like, getting older has also brought some unexpected joys and lessons. And I’m excited to see what else this next phase of life has in store. No matter what, I’m sure it will be one wild and crazy ride. 

So that’s my list—the five surprising things I love about being in my 40s! 

And I’m sure you can relate to some, if not all of them, but honestly I’d love to hear back from you on this! Do you love this midlife phase of life too, whether it’s your 40’s, 50’s or beyond? 

If so WHY? 

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

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