Turning 40

June 17, 2017


 By: Zara Maqbool

Age is just a number or so they say and I wholeheartedly believed it until I turned 39 and the reality of entering my 40s no longer seemed like a long way to go. I still continued to enjoy myself choosing to ignore what lay ahead. But then it seemed like 40 was planning to appear way sooner in the form of various symptoms, way before my actual birthday.

The first reality check came when my vision started to get blurry. I shrugged it off contributing it to the excessive screen time until the visit to the ophthalmologist. “Are you 40 already?” he said and tears welled up in my already blurry eyes. “When you enter your 40s, this is expected,” and before he could add more insult to my injury I rushed out, the prescription number hidden in the deep pockets of my handbag.

For years I have been used to hearing people say, “Oh you don’t look like the mom of three children, or the more recent now “you look like you are in your early 30s.” So even though the popular belief is that age is just a number but then a smaller number is considered a boost to one’s own vanity.

So what else changes as we enter THE 40s? And is it same for both, men and women? For one thing male and female body becomes absolutely stubborn and wants to add weight but not lose a single pound. I remember a time when wanting to fit in my new pair of jeans I would only have to starve for a day before and VIOLA! I would have lost half a pound. Now is a different story altogether.

Personally speaking I have also felt a change in my perspective towards life. I remember a time when a new dress would keep me excited for quite some time in anticipation of wearing it to a social evening whereas I don’t know about others but I don’t feel that excitement anymore. I buy clothes with as much of enthusiasm as I buy the daily vegetables and fruits. But maybe it’s me cause I have seen men and women becoming extra cautious about their looks and clothes after crossing the 40s, trying their best to hold on to their youth either through healthy lifestyles or a visit to their favorite plastic doctor. The term mid-life crisis I believe was coined for crossing over to the 40s too. What that entails might require writing a blog or two.

One thing is for sure, that turning 40 means shedding away if not a few pounds a few inhibitions at least. My friend Samar Bilour says, “By the time you hit 40, one cares less about what people will say and more about what feels good.”

I feel one is more secure and confident professionally and even at a personal level the majority of people are at a more stable stage of life. I for example have more time for myself now as my kids are older and it gives me more space to fully explore my personal growth and happiness. The 20s and 30s flew away between managing feeding and pamper changing times and a few part time jobs, as my kids were younger. Now I have the time to follow a full time career. I also feel one becomes more choosy about who and want they want in life. One no longer has the patience to form new relationships or even drag previous dead relationships. I think the existential reality hits pretty hard as you approach your 40s because if the 20s and 30s can fly by so fast who will stop the 40s from doing the same?

I feel I no longer need permission to live my life a certain way. I have perhaps never experienced my free will so fully like now. Yes I do give this speech to myself every day to compensate for the memory loss I experience more now and that includes forgetting some very important things like my favorite hair stylist’s name or falling asleep in the car on any route beyond 20 minutes or a concealer being the favorite make up item to hide away the ageing lines below the eyes and elsewhere.

At the end I do wish the 40s hadn’t sneaked up so fast on me!