Ten Things I Know Now I’m Forty. And Wise.
1 – Getting older is a fucking gift. The biggest of all privileges. Don’t fight it, embrace it. Be so bloody thankful for all the days you’ve been blessed with. Remember the people who would’ve given their right arm, and more, to reach the age of forty when you’re whingeing about the fact that your kids didn’t get into their first choice school or something else which will matter not one jot in the grand scheme of things.
2 – While we’re on the subject of getting older; Botox is brilliant. It’s not unfeminist to get it… any more than having a boob job or wearing high heels. It just makes you look like you’ve had a good nights sleep and gives you eyebrows that J-lo would aspire to. As long as you’re getting it to please you and not anyone else; fill your boots. Or your face, as the case may be.
3 – 3% of people are complete arseholes. Every now and again you have the misfortune to meet one. Don’t dwell on the 3%. Give your energy, effort and attention to the other 97%.
4 – Some friendships will weather the storms of kids/divorce/illness etc. Some won’t. And that’s no bad thing… quality over quantity and all that. Some will wobble and then regain their footing coming back stronger than ever. Friendships that survive these crazy, busy frantic, manic, stressful years are worth more than gold.
5 – You’re not for everyone. This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn and I’m still not quite there with it. ‘Like me, like me, please like me’ is my middle name. Don’t feel like you’re too much, or not enough… because the truth is, you are too much/not enough for some people. But you really can’t win ‘em all.I’m making this the decade where I truly appreciate the people who love me for my ‘too muchness’ instead of toning myself down to try and win over anybody else.
6 – Comparison truly is the thief of joy. I have joyously given up the unhealthy habit of looking at ex-boyfriends gorgeous young girlfriends on Instagram. Why do we torture ourselves so? Social media has many wonderful benefits yes… but lusting over the velvet sofa of a person you’ll never meet, does not bring fulfilment. I will let that shit go.
7 – Learn when to cut your losses, and when to make your point. I would hate to tot up how many hours have been spent in my 30’s arguing with racists on Facebook. And you know what, never yet have I had an inbox saying “thanks for raising that point Sarah, it really made me think about the plight of refugees.” It’s taken time to realise the best course of action is to keep educating myself and then in turn to educate my boys in the hope they’ll go out to do good things in the world. Life is just too short to stress myself out trying to get Keith from Widnes to have some fucking empathy.
8 – Guard against future regrets. You can do sweet F A about things you regret from your twenties or thirties. But you do have the power to ensure that ten years from now, you look back and think “I made the right choice there”! When you’re stuck making a decision, use this tactic: when I’m 80 and telling my grandchildren about this; which choice will make the better story?
9 – You will never have your shit together. This constant inner dialogue that when the kids start school/when we turn 30/when we buy a house or whatever, we’ll achieve calm..? It’s bullshit. Well done to all of you who feel you do have your shit together; but I’ve made peace with the fact that I will always be the mother who forgets it’s non-uniform day. I mean, I was stuck indoors in a global pandemic for months and I STILL didn’t sort out my cupboards. Whatevs. All my favourite people are the ones who clearly don’t have their shit together. Embrace being a hot mess. Or just a mess. There is no pressure to be hot (see point 2).
10 – Champion your besties. Instead of comparing yourself in a negative way to others, raise them up, sing their praises, encourage them every time they step out of their comfort zone. I really believe you can train yourself out of being inclined to jealousy, if you cultivate pride. Think of your friend’s successes as a collective effort, when they do well, it’s partly because you’ve created a supportive space for them to achieve great things. There is no buzz like saying “I’m so proud of you” and meaning it.