Monday, 31 October 2022

Thoughts On Turning 40 & Things I Want My Children To Know

Today I'm turning 40 years old. 

I remember feeling all of the anxiety on the eve of my 30th birthday because I was so convinced that 30 was *OLD* and that it would all be downhill in life from then wrong I was!

My 30's were without doubt my favourite decade of all. It was the decade I found the right relationship, and became a mother. It was the decade that I left employment and started working for myself. And it was the decade that I finally figured out who I really was.

It wasn't until I was around 35 years old that I started to really develop an innate sense of self - I started to feel confident in who I was as a person, what I believed in and what mattered to me. 

I finally felt able to let go of all of the things in my life that didn't feel authentic...something I have continued throughout the last 5 years...letting go of those false ideals about life and what's important to me, letting go of the dreams and ambitions I had thought were mine but really had been pushed on me by society, freeing myself from the dead weight of fair-weather friendships filled with falseness and forged out of business convenience rather than true kinship. 

As I turn 40, I feel nothing but freedom, hope and excitement.

Freedom from the expectations and desires of others, of the weight of their opinions and the desire to please others at the expense of myself.

Hope for my future, for my children as they grow and develop their own personalities every day.

And excitement...for the unknown twists and turns of life, the chances and opportunities still to make themselves known to me, and the experiences and joy that life still has in store.

If my 30's were anything to go by, then I truly believe that life may well begin at 40 after all!

For my birthdays, I usually like to share blog posts with a little extra "cheese" ... what can I say, birthdays bring that side out of me! 

This year is no different so I’m going to  share 10 things I want my daughter to know...

In actual fact, I want all of my children to know these things...but being a woman in this world can often come with an extra layer of expectation and guilt, so I want her and my young nieces in particular to learn these lessons early. 

My eldest niece, Amelie, is now 14 years old - which is around the age I was when I first started to think I had to change who I was to make people like me more. I saw her recently when she modelled some white dresses for a job I'm doing, and we spent some time talking about how she was settling in to her new school. She reminded me so much of myself at her age. I see her navigate her way through her school days and I wish I could somehow let her benefit from the hindsight that I have now.
Amelie's beautiful dress is gifted from - there's a beautiful range of white dresses available

1) You do not need to shrink yourself down for anybody else's comfort. Stay full and whole and exactly who you are. You don't owe anybody anything, and if you are ever deemed “too much” or “not enough” for anyone then that’s your cue to move on. Don’t ever stick around in places where you’re made to question yourself, Go where the kindness is. 

2) You will never make anybody like you more by pretending to be something you're not,  you'll only hurt yourself in the process. Be yourself and at least the connections you make will be authentic, even if you don't attract the "Popular" ones. They’re really not all they’re cracked up to be anyway, I promise.

3) Your weight and looks are the least interesting things about you, so don't let them take up too much space in your head....there are so many more exciting things to think about! 

4) There's no such thing as the "perfect time" or feeling truly "ready" for those big things in life that scare you - follow your instincts, and be prepared to make mistakes along the way - that's how we learn and grow. By the same token, know that true bravery is having the confidence to trust your instincts and stick by them, even if it means going against what everyone else is doing - if something doesn’t feel right, always trust your gut. 

5) Never be afraid to speak your truth. If people don't like it, they're not your people.

6) At the same time, be mindful of the power of your words. Once you've spoken them, you can't get them consider them carefully, speak with integrity and authenticity but never with malice.

7) Try not to get too caught up in following the crowd. That's not where your happiness lies. Find your own path, and follow it fiercely. If you dance to the beat of your own drum, you can never get the steps wrong. 

8) You don't always need to be "good" at everything. You can do things just because they're fun. Capitalism will teach you that things are only worth pursuing if you have a talent for it...ignore that, do more things just for the joy of it!

9) It's far better to disappoint other people than to disappoint yourself. Say "NO" often and with're allowed to say no and you don't need to explain your reasons. 
"No." is a complete sentence.

10)  Wear whatever the hell you want to wear, cut your hair however you want, pierce whatever you want, tattoo whatever you want - your body is your own and you can express yourself in whatever way you choose to (as long as it doesn't harm or oppress others). You do not need my approval on this or anyone elses. I gave birth to you but I do not own you and neither does anyone else - you own you. 

In a nutshell....Do no harm but take no shit.

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