Duffy Brown here and my daughter just turned the big 4-0. We did the dinner out thing and presents and cupcakes and sang but when we got ready to go home I turned to her and said... Emily, the forties are best years of your life! I wasn’t just being supportive because she’s getting older I meant it.
Here’s the thing…
When you are in your twenties you’re thrilled your crush finally asked you out, you have no idea what a 401K is, you got the job of your dreams and a week later hate it. Every time you open the mail there’s a wedding/shower/bachelorette invitation or maybe all three and you don’t have a date and can’t afford a new dress.
Your bestie just broke up with her guy, you just broke up with your guy, your just married and hate your in-laws, new apartment, found out your pregnant and thinking what the heck have I done!
The twenties are indecision, deciding and deciding wrong, or deciding right and wondering is this all there is for the next ninety years?
Personally I wouldn’t be twenty again for all the tea in China.
Then there’s the thirties. Life is more meaningful, more established, more fulfilling, more stable. You have fewer fights, cry less and make fewer bad decisions. You have less fun because life is more predictable and less spur-of-the-moment because you have a real job, a house a car and maybe a kid.
The kid thing is the real life-changer. You trade independence for craziness and no sleep and the five minute shower. You have everything you dreamed of those nights coming home from a bar when no one asked for your number, crying yourself to sleep because you felt so alone. In fact, you never feel alone and what you once prayed for sometimes feels like a curse.
Most days are a blur of alarm, kids, shower, kids, breakfast (maybe), coffee (definitely), kids, car, road rage, kids singing "Wheels on the Bus," daycare, work, work, lunch (at your desk), dinner, bath time, bedtime, TV, glass of wine (much-needed), sleep (interrupted by to-do-list, kid crying, partner snoring, etc.)
Then there’s the forties! The best part of being forty-something is that you finally feel comfortable in your own skin. You know who you are and you’re good with it. You’re calmer about challenges and function better in relationships. You look better than you did when you were twenty ‘cause you got more money to join the gym, buy clothes and the kids are sleeping through the night.
You’re quicker to say I'm sorry, slower to linger in spaces that feed you, and generally liberated from 80 percent of the shoulda-woulda-couldas that dominated your life before. You are who you and that’s just fine.
So, what do you think? Did I tell Emily the truth? Are the forties your best years of your life?