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This week, I turned the big 4-0. I am now officially a woman in my 40s, and I think I like it!

I’ve been looking forward to this, actually, because I noticed something about women 40 plus–all those things they told us mattered most when we were growing up, suddenly start mattering a whole lot more. You remember those talks we had with our parents, when they told us to ignore the mean girls, to power through heartbreak, to be brave and know our own worth? That’s when they told us what mattered most–character, brains, a sense of humour. “And you have those, sweetie. You’ll see. Life has a way of turning things on their heads.”

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Life at 40 isn’t about how cute you are anymore, because if you’re still adorable at 40, you’re doing something wrong! 40 is not cute. Laugh lines, a solid line of gray down the part in your hair, and a new appreciation for when it’s too late to eat is not adorable. And I’m glad, because the whole cutie-pie thing past 16 is very annoying. It’s come full circle again, and life is now about the very things our mother’s predicted: character, brains, a sense of humour.  So if you haven’t spent the last 20-odd years developing the important stuff, it’s going to be painfully obvious. Because “cute” no longer cuts it.

The media has a lot to say to women under 40 about who they should be, what makes them beautiful, what they deserve… But there is a veritable media blackout for women 40 plus! The actresses–except a select few playing grandmothers and storekeepers–slip into the background. And some might think that’s a bad thing because it implies we’re no longer relevant, but I disagree. It’s freeing! Nobody cares what we do anymore! 

This isn’t news to the other women. I’m just new to the party, so it’s all exciting and novel. The lack of societal supervision is heady. It doesn’t mean we aren’t beautiful still, but with the bulk of the attention off of us, we could do a whole lot while no one is looking…

Character, brains and a sense of humour. I knew they’d come back into style eventually. 😉

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