The transition from 30-something to 40-something is like a kind of initiation. At first, embracing the body’s changes (like hair growing in odd places — what's that about?) felt like I was certainly losing it.
But what happens at 40 is nothing short of miraculous. Rather than being outwardly obsessed, the focus is brought inward and a new sense of fulfillment is discovered and allowed to blossom. Beauty does indeed start to feel, and radiate, from a confident deep place within.
There is so much to celebrate about being 40. In most ways life is 10 times better than what I envisioned, and here's why:
1. The mind is more flexible and I can easily tell a new story.
Instead of “wrinkles are bad,” I can easily see that they are evidence of lifelines; joy’s, sorrows, and a life fully lived with all its spectrum of experiences.
2. My closet is more fun.
The clothes in my closet are no longer dictated by trends in fashion but are now based on ways I get to express myself creatively.
3. I no longer need to diet to keep optimal weight.
As my focus has changed from "being skinny" to being healthy, I invest my money in products that support good health. Like gut flora-promoting probiotics, which allow me to absorb more of the nutrients I eat and help me maintain my ideal weight.
4. I naturally embrace a more wholistic picture of what it means to be beautiful.
Beauty at 40 is more of a sensual experience, and has more to do with how I feel inside than how I look on the outside.
5. I’ve stopped trying to be somebody else. I love what I’ve been given.
In my 40s I stopped trying to make myself something I wasn’t. I actually started to own, accept and love all of what I’ve been given. Instead of continuing to delude myself that I can change my body, hair, skin, and shape, I now get to embrace all parts of me.
6. My flaws have become my greatest gifts.
I used to hate my nose, but now I see it gives my face character. The things I thought I wanted to change about myself are now my greatest assets that get to accentuate my personality and style.
7. I move with incredible freedom (and this brings me inexhaustible joy).
I notice as women we don’t move freely in our culture. We walk on a treadmill because it makes our butt firmer, but we forget to sway our hips to stay in shape, and contain our joy to acceptable sonorous levels. This all goes out the window when you've lost your need to be somebody you’re not.
8. I’ve stopped worrying about what everyone thinks of me.
How does that happen? Just with the deep realization and understanding that no matter how much you pretend you have control, you don’t. Reality is good; and I embrace it.
9. I question my beliefs.
About beauty; about what I think I should or shouldn’t look like; about my thighs and the pretty 30-year-old thighs sitting across from me. It’s a good practice and keeps me sane.
10. I make my life simple.
I use fewer products, with fewer ingredients in them. I keep everything in my life cleaner and simpler. Not just my makeup case, but also all other aspects of my life.
11. I wear my clothes rather than letting them wear me.
When I walk into a room now, people see me first, not my sexy outfit. My clothes and makeup enhance my natural beauty rather than becoming the main attraction.
12. I read the labels on the foods I eat and the skin care products I use.
The clean food I put in my mouth, and the natural skin products I use keep me protected from the toxic overload we're hit with daily.
13. I don’t try to escape change.
I’m more curious than ever in redefining what beauty could feel and look like with my particular shape and tastes. There’s an added bonus to this: no more injections to freeze my face. Some things just don’t make sense!
14. I don’t try (or pretend) to be perfect.
I acknowledge and cooperate with the fact that sometimes I'm simply a human bean, and actually look like one sometimes.
15. In a culture where everyone is trying to be young, I try to be me.
I'm learning that the standard definition of beauty doesn't necessarily give space to qualities that come with age.
16. I revere myself as a woman.
This means I see myself as creator. We have been given a womb with which we create life. I cherish using this unique gift of womanhood to embrace myself creatively and honesty.
17. I keep encouraging myself to expand my definition of beauty.
At 40 I’ve gained a real attraction and appreciation for the perfectly imperfect. The traits that charm and delight me are intriguing and full flavored.
18. I don’t live from outside myself anymore.
In the past it was easy to fall prey to the illusion that my image could bring me more: more happiness, more money, more success, and more love. Now I know who I am, what I likes and don’t like, and I live from a state of completion.
19. I start from where I am now.
I’ve shifted my attention from what I’m not to what I am, from what is absent to what is present, to what is missing to what has been given and can’t help but fall in love with this beautiful mystery that I am.
20. I’m filled with gratitude each day.
What could be more wonderful than embracing the wrinkles, scars and sunspots given to me by the hands of time? I’ve gotten here and have so much more to go!
I encourage you to find your own definition of beauty in your 40s.
What makes you feel beautiful?
Photo Credit: Getty Images