If I can be honest for a moment, before I turned 40, I didn’t think there was anything that could top the life I lived in my 20’s. When my besties and I reminisce about our 20’s the way we simplify all that transpired is by saying, ” we did everything except lick lightning or burn a church down.” Yeah, we did the most, and while I have no regrets and make no apologies, I know now that you flex an entirely different muscle when you are mature (mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally), your ish is together, and you can boldly ask the question, “who gone check me boo?”
Yeah, my 20’s were obviously lit, but what I thought was me being young, wild, and free, now I see It as young and dumb. Opting out of class for foolishness, giving guys I barely knew boyfriend privileges when they hadn’t made me their girlfriend (I said what I said), and partying like a rockstar while broke and living off my parent’s hard-earned money and student loans. After failing college algebra one semester, I remember my auntie Carolynn urging me to figure things out ASAP because it was downhill once I reached 30 years old. This didn’t stop me from partying, messing up in college, or getting pregnant before I graduated, but I am almost sure that haunted me from 25 to 35 years old. Why? Because by 25 years old, I was a mother of two, and regardless of how young and dumb I was, what I wasn’t going to do was introduce my children to the hardships I experienced while my mother struggled to find her way. I transitioned into womanhood consumed by fear because I thought that I was doomed if I didn’t have it all figured out by 30. Once I reached 30 and didn’t have it figured out, I felt like a complete failure.
While I feared 40 initially, the closer I got to the milestone, the more I began to feel empowered by it. I saw all of these amazing women like Oprah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Mary J. Blige slaying 40, which energized me. What was I so afraid of? All the growing pains were gone, I had applied all the lessons I learned from my mistakes, and I had begun to address and heal past traumas. Honey, one day I looked around realized I was living my best life, and being 40+ was a much greater vibe than 30 and damn sure 20. Listen, Jay-Z said 30 was the new 20, and I rapped it loud and proud because, like him, I wanted to be hot, still. However, baby, when I read Beyonce’s open letter, and she penned, “Whoever tried to condition women to feel that we are supposed to feel old and unhappy when we turn 40 got it all F’d up,” I felt that in my spirit. I have never felt so filled with peace and joy as I do now, and maybe now that our Queen Bey has co-signed for me, you will believe.
In the words of Beyonce, 40 is “grown grown,” and there are specific characteristics that women in this space and time in their lives embody. Oh, and just in case you feel indifferent about turning 40, I want to share a few things that prove some of the most significant energy you will conjure up will show itself in your 40’s.
- Being CONFIDENT is something that I lacked as a younger woman. I managed to second (and third) guess myself more than I made moves. I questioned whether I was good enough for people and situations that didn’t deserve me because I didn’t know my worth. However, today I am confident that the woman in my mirror can do all things. I know that I don’t have to water myself down for people who can’t digest me in my most authentic form. When you know who you are and accept it, you activate another level of power, and it causes a shift in the way you see yourself, present yourself to others, and operate. One part beautiful and one part brilliant; I enter every room with the understanding the I am much greater than a dime; I know I am priceless.
- If only I had been as INTENTIONAL then as I am now, I could have dodged several bullets regarding relationships. Relationships were one of my most outstanding issues as a young adult, I didn’t fully love myself, so I didn’t know what I should require. I allowed people to mishandle me in the name of love and loyalty. I didn’t understand that people and situations that didn’t serve me well shouldn’t have any space in my life. Oh, and those relationships weren’t just romantic; I had poor friendships and family ties that needed to be corrected or put to rest too. Now, I have two options in regards to people; either meet me where I am or leave me where I am because I refuse to lose myself to save anyone, especially someone that is okay with me being lost. I also respect the fact that some relationships aren’t forever; they are solely for a season. I have to choose to do what promotes joy in my life and people-pleasing at my expense, ain’t it,
- I can’t remember who said it, but someone once said your 40’s are your F-it years, and I couldn’t agree more. I have never been so stress-free and UNBOTHERED in my life. I was a worrier as a girl, I took that foolishness into adulthood with me, and it damn near drove me crazy. I sucked at math so, I totally forgot the part about every problem having a solution and immediately went into panic mode when things went wrong. Today all that stress is a no, I allow 24 hours to worry about something, and then I commit to fixing it, figuring it out, or saying F-it. Listen, life happens, and sometimes it won’t be favorable. Just remember you happen too. When you know the power of doing your work and showing up for yourself, the things that attempt to come against you lose their strength, and you prove to be greater.
As a 44-year-old woman, I take pride in being deemed auntie to so many young impressionable women. I love offering my nieces sound advice and grace that will hopefully make their transition into womanhood a little easier. I want them to understand that a mistake should also be a lesson learned. Life comes at you in waves; the first one happens in your 20’s, the second happens in your 30’s, and the final wave happens in your 40’s. In your 20’s you are not prepared, and if you aren’t careful, you could drown. In your 30’s you have learned to ride the wave a little better, but you experience a few wipeouts. However, when that third wave comes in your 40’s you are ready; you are mature, you have met many of your goals, you have a sufficient amount of coins in your account, and your ride that wave into the sunset.