Wednesday, 2 April 2014

IWSG - the first 40 years

Hello first Wednesday of the month, how beautiful you look.  It's Insecure Writer's Support Group time again, Are you in? If not, follow this link for the linky list to check out other group members, or to join up and share your own insecurities.


Yes, I know, I've been banging on about my impending doom birthday for a while now - and for good reason!

40 is BIG!

BIG!

REALLY BIG!!!

Okay, so it's not really that big. It's just a number. But, it's a number that makes me cringe, reflect, fear, enjoy.

Cringe: I'm getting old. When I look in the mirror I have wrinkles, and I'm convinced I have more than my mum who's always stayed out of the sun, and worn the most ridiculous straw hats in the summer - you know, those really huge ones? In the mornings, my face has a certain puffiness to it, which takes a while to settle down. And I'm a gym instructor, for goodness sake... I'm in an industry of children!!

Reflect: What have I actually achieved? When I was 20, 40 seemed ancient. But, everyone who was 40 had their lives sorted - they were successful, secure, and most of all they acted like grown-ups! At 20, I honestly didn't think I'd reach 40, it seemed so stupidly far away, surely I was never going to reach it.

However, when I look at what I have achieved, it's not all that bad:
  • Happy, healthy kids who like spending time with me (mostly)
  • A fifteen year old marriage
  • Two books published, and another on the way (and to be honest, this was the only goal I've ever had.) 
  • After making mistakes, I've finally figured out who I am and what makes me happy

Fear: Have I peaked? Will everything come tumbling down? Will I wake up with aching bones, grey hair, an urge to wear nylon trousers the very day after my birthday? Will people expect me to act my age? Will men stop wolf-whistling me in the street? ... Oh, wait, no, they don't do that anyway, phew! 

Enjoy: Two years ago, I'd have been middle-aged now... However, I recently read that middle-age has been redefined and now starts at 50!! Who-hoo, ten more years before I get truly maudlin. (Oh, you thought this was bad??) 

Don't worry, I know myself very well... I will have all these fears until the actual day, then I will enjoy being the centre of attention and eat lots of cake, and the next day, I will be completely myself again!

This will be my last post until 23 April, but in my absence I've arranged some brilliant guest bloggers to help me celebrate my birthday and pass along some words of wisdom. The first post will be Monday, 7 April. 

Happy A-Zing to everyone who's taking part!

60 comments:

  1. When I turned 40 I felt the same! It is only a number and I keep telling myself I'm still a few years off 50. Hope you have a great birthday and get spoilt by the family.

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    1. Yes, it's just a number - we are exactly the same people we were 10, 20 years ago, just better. Thank you :-)

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  2. *snuggles* I had a similar thought process when I hit 30, and just like you, when the day came, everything was fine. :D

    I hope you have an amazing birthday and enjoy your time away! <3

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    1. Thank you! Isn't it odd how we get hung up on a number??

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  3. Hi Annalisa .. ah ha - you're off on holiday to Bonny Scotland methinks .. enjoy. 40 is not bad .. if I could rewind the clock I might! But have a lovely time and you've achieved so much .. lovely happy family ... great kids, wonderful hubby and then those books and short stories ..

    Live and have mega fun - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary - I know, I should be looking forward to another awesome decade, and I will, in a couple of weeks :-)

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  4. I was 40 once. People may have expected me to act my age. If so, they were sadly disappointed.

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    1. I still remember the video you posted when Escape to the Country was published (I hope I got the title right) - you act exactly as you should :-)

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  5. *hands on hips* What d'ya mean now it starts at 50? Can we put that off another decade?

    Nine years ago, I turned 40. I wasn't happy about it either. But it just so happened my birthday fell during a ski vacation -- My family, plus some friends who were 20-something. During that weekend, I out-skied the 20-somethings -- who mostly lay around whining and complaining about how sore and tired they were -- all while dragging two young daughters and all their ski equipment around with me. Made me feel pretty good at 40.

    Also, before I was 40, I published no books. In the last decade, I've published 2 books, with the 3rd coming out this month, and it's the first in a series. So take that, middle age!

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    1. I'm sure it won't be long before 60 is the new middle age. Love the ski-trip story, and congrats on all the success so far!

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  6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Annalisa! I remember my big 40 surprise party. Enjoy! You're Young!

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  7. You have accomplished a lot!! Happy and healthy kids and a fifteen-year-old marriage - those are the accomplishments that really matter :)

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  8. Happy Birthday month! Hang with me and you can be the 'baby". Older and wiser and a whole of don't "give a sh#t" comes with age. Embrace it. You've accomplished a lot and family is key. Enjoy, have fun, and of course eat chocolate

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    1. Thanks Joanne, wise words indeed, especially about the chocolate :-D

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  9. Where I live, I am constantly inspired by the older folks I see - riding bikes, playing tennis, volunteering, taking classes, being artistic, etc. They have more oomph at their age than I sometimes have now. Age really is only a number - it's how you feel that counts. Have a great birthday!

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    1. Absolutely. At the gym I'm surrounded by very vibrant older people, who are very inspiring. Thank you :-)

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  10. Happy Birthday! I get all the insecurities, but I hope you are able to spend more time enjoying it than worrying about it. :) Have fun!!

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  11. I really really enjoyed your post! I am not yet 40 but have thought about quite a few of these points you mentioned. Your perspective has made me feel a lot better in some regards - so Thank You. Happy birthday, I hope you have a wonderful month and all the best with your next publication!!

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for visiting :-)

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  12. I had a terrible time with turning 40. But now I feel like that was so silly as the five years since have been some of the best of my life.
    Interesting to know that 50 is now considered middle age. Five years of youth left then LOL.

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    1. I think we place too much importance on a number... but I'm still doing it. And yes, you're still young :-)

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  13. Isn't it great to be able to go to bed at night and to wake up the next day and the slate is wiped clean. Have a happy birthday!

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    1. Yep, that's usually how my life goes :-) Thank you!

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  14. I'm about to hit the next decade after forty, and I still don't act my age.
    Just enjoy your birthday!

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  15. Yeah, 40 is on the horizon, but I keep hearing people talking about how they saw their biggest success in their early 30s. I hate when people talk like that, because seriously, I haven't sorted out my life at all (like at all). So yeah, I think those people are full of it. I also think that most people fake it better than me, and that's the real difference.

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    1. It's been all about my late 30s for me, and I'm just beginning! Work hard, Rena, and you never know what will be around the corner!

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  16. As a writer, 40 is barely hitting your stride. From here on, you'll feel much more settled, accomplished, confident, knowing those formative years are behind you and you've arrived.

    Well, it sounds good--doesn't it?

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    1. That sounds ideal, thank you for that thought :-)

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  17. You've achieved a lot, and you've got plenty of life left to live.

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  18. I can't believe how close I am to hitting 40. My list of things achieved almost looks like yours, but my kids are both under 2 so it's not amazing that they enjoy being with me at this stage lol.

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    1. You've got years of fun ahead with your kids. 40 is one of those ages that creeps up on you while you're busy doing something else!

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  19. Well, I"m older than you and the 40's were good.

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    1. Good to know - it doesn't seem so bad after all :-)

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  20. I worried about turning 40 too, but so far, they've been the best couple of years of my life. Have a great break and a very happy birthday. :)

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    1. Thank you! You guys are just making me feel better and better :-)

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  21. I turned 40 in December and I think it's been easier to take because it's been my most creative and on goal year of my life. I've had a now or never kind of attitude about it.

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    1. That's great. I think the older you get, the more you wonder what you're waiting for. Go for it!

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  22. Oh, I get it. Forty is on my horizon as well. A hand full of months and then...BAM! I'm also banking on my fifties being a true mid life. If we believe it, then it must be true. Right? :)

    Great IWSG post!

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    1. I read it in the paper, Kim, and the papers never lie!! ;-)

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  23. I'll be 40 in a couple of years and hope to look back at all the wonderful things I've done. I feel young. No way am I middle-aged.

    Happy birthday.

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    1. No, middle-aged definitely conjures up some specific images, doesn't it?

      Thank you so much for featuring That Sadie Thing on your blog today - I always get a shock when I see that cover somewhere I'm not expecting it... even I get creeped out by it :-)

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  24. Happy Birthday!!!! 40 is liberating! You'll rock it.

    My high school teacher once told us she visited prisons. Not because she was such a good person, but because it was the only place she could get cat calls.

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    1. Thank you! I think my first and last wolf-whistle was when I was about 22... ah well, I have brains... hopefully :-)

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  25. Happy birthday! Wrinkles only mean you have lived. Besides, you are comfortable in your own skin and that doesn't come easy when you're in your twenties. You're just awesome and should let yourself feel it.

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    1. Thanks Murees, although I could do with a few less wrinkles, especially when I catch sight of myself in the mirror while I'm laughing!!

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  26. I do this same thing every year. I don't think I have had a really "happy" birthday since age 29. Sad I know. Look at every thing you have accomplished though! You should be very proud of that! Wishing you a very very Happy Birthday!

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  27. Happy birthday, Annalisa. 40 is a great age to be. I felt okay about turning 40. It was 50 that freaked me out, but it made me decide to do something with my life instead of allowing it to vaporize. Amazingly enough I felt okay turning 60 because by that time I felt I was really being productive. I don't feel so old yet, but 70? Still some time to go - I may be scared?
    You are a success, and have plenty of years ahead to achieve so much. Be positive because you're going to get there girl!

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  28. Totally a scary moment.. I know, but also a new start... that's how I'm looking at it:)

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  29. I'll be 30 this November. Happy B'day and the big 40 is little compared to all that you have achieved Annalisa.

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  30. Stop moaning - I've just turned 70!

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  31. I'm not quite at 40 yet, but I have these thoughts all the time already. But you seem like you're doing pretty damn well.

    Have a fantastic birthday!

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  32. Hi human, Annalisa,

    I would of been here sooner. You can blame those of them obsessed with the alphabet challenge for my late arrival :)

    Forty is well cool, so my human informs me. Of course, he can barely remember being forty. He's working on becoming an "old rage" pensioner. Still, anything but Bingo!

    Enjoy your birthday. Forty is fun for sure.

    Penny, the pawsitive host of the Alphabark Challenge, 2014!

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  33. Happy Birthday, Annalisa. :)

    I think I understand your brew of emotions. I turned 40 in February and hit more psychological speed bumps than I anticipated. It is a very reflection-inducing milestone ...

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  34. I've been in my 40s for 3 and a half years now and, so far, they've been the best years of my life! I think each decade gets better because you learn to enjoy life more...

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Please comment - I love a good chat!