Turning 40 was Not What I Expected

The weeks leading up to 40 were filled with dread and trepidation.  I thought I would feel different and alarm would set in, but somehow I felt exactly the same on my birthday, as I did the day before.  I thought I would have to immediately give up my childish ways, but my friends who are already in what they call Club 40, say they are just as childish and it’s makes me feel so much better.  I thought it was because I didn’t  have kids, but my friends with kids admitted to bouts of childishness and feelings of imperfection too.

Maybe I should say child-like instead of childish, as childlike has a more positive quality about it.  Whatever the label, what it means to me is that we look at the world with fresh wonder and see the joy in the littlest of things.  Children tend to smile and laugh a lot more than adults, so that’s another great thing about letting your inner child out to play.

We just don’t play enough and are filled with guilt every time we do.  A child never feels guilty about playing.  To an adult playing could include just relaxing with a book and coffee – anything you think is fun to do.  Often we feel guilty with these little indulgences and are not able to let go and enjoy the moment as our minds are filled with all the nagging tasks we haven’t done.  Often though, the book is so good that there are those moments you get so absorbed in them, it feels like you’ve entered a new world, just like you did as a child reading an Enid Blyton fantasy.

So 40 feels about the same as 39, and in spite of all the adult worries and guilt trips (that I often give myself), my inner child hasn’t been completely banished – thank goodness.

What really prompted me to write this was memory of my cousin who left this world recently and never made it to 40 like I did.  He makes me feel like reaching an age milestone is a privilege.  He had this amazing childlike quality that made everyone love him.  Like a child, he never got angry, which was an amazing quality that drew everyone to him.  And never in his life did he ever give me a guilt trip.  He only made me feel joy and even remembering the jokes he used to play, makes me feel like he was truly the embodiment of sunshine.

I had this weird notion that a woman in her fourties didn’t smile as much or giggle and that it just wasn’t elegant. Now that 40 has settled in, all I can think was, boy was I wrong!  So here’s to not holding back on our smiles.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
This entry was posted in Midlife Musings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Turning 40 was Not What I Expected

  1. C’mon…40 is the new 20-something!
    Happy Birthday!
    I often think about people who have left this world, but still affect us (lost my Dad a few months ago). Those are special people indeed.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thank you so much…been 40 for some time but just had the courage to reflect upon it as I thought about my cousin. I am so so sorry for your loss and pain – losing your dad – no words can describe it.

  2. Happy 40th birthday BJ! Hope it’s a good one for you.

    ¨`*•♫.•´*.¸.•´* ♫…`*.♥¸.*´♥´.♥´♥ h b d girl! ¸.•´¸.•*¨( ♥ ¸¸.• ♥

    This song should cheer your spirits with it’s childlike qualities.



  3. btlau says:

    yep, childlike is a very very good quality, it makes one stay positive and continue to dream

    • bookjunkie says:

      I don’t know at what point I started to feel self conscious about it. I guess perhaps a comment here or there that I was always smiling (and not really said in a complementary way which made me think – meaning I smiled annoyingly too much?) I started to smile less and smile (also due to life’s circumstances), and inside I felt sadder too. But looking at people around me, I gravitate towards people who have that bouncy energy within them so I am trying to get back to that happy me.

  4. xinapray says:

    Belated birthday greetings! I hope you had a great day.

    As someone who has been through 40 a while ago, I can confirm that this setting-aside-of-childish-ways stuff is mostly mumbo jumbo. I like what you said about about having fun and letting the smiles roll on. To that, I’d like to add a broader modification – don’t hold back on life. After all, this one (life) is all that each of us has to live.

  5. I wish there were more people who would embrace their child-like sense of discovery, fun and love of life.
    I’ve been known to eat cookies for dinner and am quite happy to be childish enough to do it and old enough to not get scolded for it!

    Happy belated birthday! I hope you celebrate the whole year long!

    • bookjunkie says:

      oh yes…have definitely done the cookies for dinner thing 🙂 I guess we just need more people to join us in our child-like ways…it’s a much ‘funner’ way to be.

      thank you so much for the wishes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.