Today’s post is a guest post contribution from Vicki Marinker of Lifestyle Maven
Here are some of the things I’ve learnt since turning 40 (several years ago now):
- Headstands are no longer a party trick I can pull off without vomiting.
- Some styles of clothes suit me, some don’t. I have come to terms with this and it has set me free.
- A small group of close, supportive friends is more important than being popular.
- I would rather be happy than perfect.
- Life’s too short to worry about other people’s opinions.
- Comparison is the thief of joy. There’s no point comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle.
And here’s the biggie:
- I can become invisible.
My invisibility cloak
On my 40th birthday I was given an unwanted gift by the universe – an invisibility cloak that I would wear unwittingly for all eternity. *
*There is one exception. My invisibility cloak doesn’t work with doctors or nurses. Since having kids my body is public property to anyone in the healthcare profession.
My invisibility cloak is really powerful. It can do the following:
- make my legitimate place in a queue null and void, allowing other queuers to take their place just in front of me, but not before they’ve stepped on my toes.
- render me utterly unnoticeable in shops. It matters not if the shop is full, or if I’m the only customer, I can browse to my heart’s content without anyone asking if they can assist me, or take my chosen items to the changing room to liberate my bingo wings.
- allow buses and taxis to carry on their journeys, unburdened by the need to pick up a desperately waving traveller who is undetectable to the naked eye.
- free up staff at cafes and restaurants to serve younger, as well as older clients, while ignoring the inconspicuous woman in the middle (both physically and metaphorically speaking), with the grumbling stomach and the raging thirst.
- make me more conscious of my mortality, by rendering me imperceptible to cars approaching zebra crossings.
You may think I exaggerate, but the above examples all happened to me in just one day, compelling me to write this blog.
A shop assistant actually said to me “sorry, I didn’t see you there” and instead of smiling and buying the items in my basket, I just put my shopping down and walked out.
The invisible middle
According to We Are Superhuman’s Invisible Middle Study, 70% of women in their 40s and 50s feel they are largely ignored by the mainstream media. I strongly believe that this lack of representation leads to older women becoming invisible in real life.
We live in a society that values youth over experience, beauty over wisdom. The media projects an unattainable and airbrushed vision of beauty, and heaven forbid we should be seen with our real-women muffin tops, cellulite and wrinkles.
Imagine how different women would feel if magazines stopped peddling this toxic nonsense and started celebrating our uniqueness and strengths.
One of the reasons I write my blog at lifestylemaven.co.uk is to speak up for women in their 40s. I’m just an ordinary working mum, average in every way – certainly no maven (maven means expert, but in my case my tongue is very firmly in my cheek). But I have never felt my true age and am loving life in my 40s.
Happiness, not perfection
Ageing means having confidence in our convictions, and making choices that bring us happiness.
I have found a virtual tribe, mainly on Instagram, of supportive women in their 40s and 50s who are authentic, bold and brilliant. They are unafraid to challenge society’s idea of perfection. They share their challenges and their pain.
They might occasionally post a beautiful outfit photo in front of an ‘instawall’, but it will be accompanied by a caption about how their partner is going through chemo and the dog just shat in the kitchen again.
The mainstream media may not be champions of older women, but social media can be an inspirational place to hang out – if you aspire to be happy, not perfect.
I hope you’ll hang out with me there. My handle is @lifestylemavenslifestylemavens on all channels.
For more tips from over 40 bloggers check out these beauty recommendations for women over 40.