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Quarante Quatre Ans

Exactly 5 weeks ago I turned 44 years old (in French: quarante quatre ans). The birthday celebration was modest, surrounded by my loved-ones in the tiny island of Gili Meno, Indonesia where I passed my summer holiday (more story of this island later on).

Since my thirties I haven’t throwed birthday parties as I’d rather envisage quietly about the purpose of my existence on earth. If this sounds too serious, well in a brief summary let me put it this way:

Every decade of ages has different challenges to offer.

Since I am in the 4th decade of my life, I will share some thoughts about this. When I was a teen until my early 20s, women in their 40s seemed old to me. Now I am mid 40s myself, I don’t see myself as old, mature maybe but not old.

Every morning I see proof of the inevitable ageing; the grey hair. Up until now I haven’t dyed my hair. I find it rather interesting to see how my body changes. How the wrinkles under my eyes and around my mouth grow deeper by day no matter which beauty cream I use. And you know what? This doesn’t bother me.

For some getting old is scary because the society is fixed on the youth. Youth looking appearance is sought after. If I was to choose between back to younger me at my adolescence year with good physique but desperately looking for my own identity and craving for validation than my own version of today; my choice would be the latter. ClichΓ©? Perhaps, but let me tell you something; at certain age you would get more at ease with yourself. You have found who you are. This makes interaction with others easier because you know what you want and what you don’t.

Aside from appearance, more intriguing is to experience the imminent physical decay.  For example nowadays it takes me longer to recover from a heavy training session than it was – let’s say 4 years – ago. The question is not whether but when do I have to wear glasses? I have been to opticians twice these past two years. I wonder how I would deal with physical discomforts as the years go by.

People in the 40s become more aware of death as they statistically have bigger chances of losing their parents starting from this life phase. Part of them fear death. Last year I went from being somebody’s daughter into an orphan. My mother’s passing has made me more aware not of death but of life. I started to wanting to devour life as much as I could.

That is why I don’t experience my teen daughter growing up as an empty nest syndrome. Ok, on the surface she seems that she might not need me as much as she did three years ago. I love to see her transforming from a little girl to a young lady with her own opinions and dreams. It feels like guarding a butterfly who is going to be ready to fly away soon. When is soon? I don’t know. Meanwhile I will stay in the nest, keeping it warm.

While doing so I have more time to explore my spiritual and mental growth, my hobbies (cooking, taking pictures, blogging), maintaining friendships, learning, reading more books. And the most fun part doing others things I please. According to literature this is called midlife crisis but I disagree. This is what being 40s has to offer, plenty of time and opportunity to reflect and becoming a better and mature version of yourself.

Don’t be afraid of getting old or ageing or whatever we call it. It is a natural process one can’t divert, delay or stop. You will experience it like it or not. There are two choices: loathing it or embracing it. This is from 8 years ago but my strive stays the same namely growing old graciously.


45 thoughts on “Quarante Quatre Ans

  1. Happy belated birthday mba Yo, cheers to your content life 😊
    Btw, precies vijf weken geleden is mijn manneke geboren, tanggal lahirnya sama kayanya sama mba Yo nih hehe

  2. Happy belated birthday Mbak Yo. Sehat selalu dan berbahagia bersama keluarga. Intinya tentang penerimaan terhadap apapun perubahan yg mengiringi pertambahan angka usia. Tahun depan usiaku sama dengan tulisan mbak Yo yg tertera pada link dibagian bawah. Kadang2 ngerasa fase usia 30 ini kok cepet larinya dibanding fase 20an. Tau2 akan lewat 35.

  3. Selamat ulang tahun, Mba Yoyen. Glad to have a chance to follow your writing on the energy and positivity. Semoga sehat selalu. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰

  4. Happy belated birthday mbak Yo… huhuhu, jadi gemeter menanti detik2 menjelang the big 40 juga nih mbak and i feel the same with you —> When I was a teen until my early 20s, women in their 40s seemed old to me. Now I am mid (in my case: almost) 40s myself, I don’t see myself as old, mature maybe but not old…. yang penting tetep keliatan awet muda, sehat and always energetic ya mbaaak…

  5. Happu birthday mbak Yo. You look young and so vibrant. I made a mental note to my self after this post, to grow mature gracefully like Mbak Yo #growingoldgoal πŸ˜€

  6. Happy belated birthday, Mbak! Aku pikir umurnya 30an lho. Stay happy, healthy & beautiful!

  7. Mba Yoyen, selamat ulang tahun. Semoga sehat dan bahagia selalu
    Aku suka banget baca tulisan ini, jadi bikin percaya diri. Bikin pede menyambut bertambahnya umur yh tinggal beberapa hari lagi.
    Terima kasih mba

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