Today is the very last day of my 30s. Tomorrow I begin a new year and a new decade as I hit the big 4-0.
The age thing doesn’t bother me. I do wonder where the years have gone sometimes. But I enter my 40s feeling quite happy with life and incredibly lucky for all that I have.
A lot of people approach milestone birthdays with dread. I can understand that if you’re not where you thought you’d be at that stage in life. Big birthdays are a natural time to reflect and look to the future.
My life isn’t perfect by any means. My house is a constant mess. I have wrinkles around my eyes and the signs of pregnancies across my belly. We still have money worries. But I’m married to a man I adore and who, for some reason, adores me too. I have three amazing children who I love more than I ever thought possible. I’m healthy. And I have good friends and family too. Some so good that even though I told them I wasn’t bothered about celebrating my birthday, they went ahead and planned me a party anyway.
I feel a little bit wiser now than I did at the start of my 30s. I’m less bothered about what people think of me, more confident in my own decisions, and I find it easier to say no to things that make me feel unhappy or uncomfortable, rather than going along with them to keep the peace as I might have done when I was younger. I know who I am now and, although I’m not perfect by any means, I’m happy to be me.
This year feels like a transitional one for me. As well as turning 40, my youngest child will start full-time school in September. This means that for the first time in almost nine years I’ll have no children at home with me during the day. I’m emotional about it to say the least.
My 30s were about having and raising my babies. And I loved every moment of the baby, toddler and preschool years. Having three so close together was crazy at times but I feel so privileged to have been there for so much of my children’s formative years. We made financial sacrifices for me to do this – we didn’t have a proper holiday for seven years and our house is still the same 1980s timewarp in desperate need of renovation as it was when we moved in seven and a half years ago. Although I’ve kept on working part-time throughout, my career has taken a back seat so that I can concentrate on family life. In fact, concentrating on family life lead me to a new career with Cardiff Mummy Says – a job I adore and which I can fit in around my children.
No doubt my family will feature heavily in my 40s too – I’ll end this decade of life with three teenagers and all the challenges that entails between now and then, and beyond.
Although I miss the baby days, having school-age children has opened up a world of possibility in terms of family adventure and experiences. The five of us climbed Pen-y-Fan for the first time recently, and earlier this month we ran the family 5K Bubble Rush for Ty Hafan, the children’s hospice for Wales. I hope my 40s will be full of more exciting family adventures.
My 40s will also be about rediscovering myself again too. With more time to work, I’m looking forward to seeing how my career develops. After four years of mostly working when my children were in bed, I’ll be able to do more during school hours, which will free up my evenings. I have a lot of TV to catch up on and a stack of books next to my bed that I can’t wait to read. I’ll get to spend more time with Cardiff Daddy too.
I’m looking forward to setting myself some personal challenges during my 40s too. I’m running my first half marathon in October, also for Ty Hafan. After years of saying I wanted to take up the challenge, I finally feel like I have the time to commit to the training needed. Will there be more? I don’t know. But as I feel full of possibility that there might be.
I leave my 30s excited for the decade ahead. I’m sure there will be challenges and difficult times over the next 10 years. But I feel I have the strength to handle things, with the support of good people around me. With age comes the realisation of just how lucky I am to have made it this far. Not all of my friends have.
As of tomorrow morning, 30-something me will be no more. But 40-something me is ready and waiting, eager to open the next chapter of my life. 40s – bring it on.
Anyone else approaching their 40s or another milestone age? How are you feeling about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page.