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What can I do at age 40 ?

Turning 40 can be quite a tumultuous period for women. You may find your hair turning white, your face lined and wrinkled and your body besieged by hormonal changes as you approach menopause. Time hangs heavy on your hands. Your spouse is busy climbing the corporate ladder, while the kids are busy with their studies. In short, your life has become boring, monotonous and lonely. So what do you do? Do you want to continue with this humdrum existence or take some actionable steps to make your life worth living? If it’s the latter you are interested in, then we have some tips to help you make your forties a vibrant and dynamic period:

Say goodbye. Take a piece of paper and write all your thoughts on it. Write all that you think has gone out of your life. You might want to write about your youth, your kids, your health, your husband or all your fears and insecurities. Then cry all that you want to and throw the paper in the dustbin or tear it up and say to yourself: “I’m going to get moving with my life now.” This will be a cathartic experience for you and lift a big load from your mind. You will feel like a new person and ready to take on the world.

Exercise. Want to get back into shape. There’s no better remedy than exercise to solve this problem. If you have a penchant for dance, then play some loud music, throw caution to the winds and dance away. Or check out the aerobic classes in your neighbourhood. You could even go for a walk or may be a swim if you are a water baby. Exercise will keep you fit and also keep your mind free from stress.

Develop a hobby. Now is the time to revive your old interests and hobbies that you had given up because of lack of time. Try your hands at gardening. May be you’ll find that you have green fingers! If reading was your passion, join a library and read all your favourite books. Alternatively, you could find new things to pursue and let your creativity take over. You could try painting, pottery, ceramics, candle making and sculpting. A hobby will not only keep you fruitfully occupied but will also make your house aesthetically appealing.

Join some social service organisation. If you have time on your hand, use it to work for some charitable organisation. There are lots of organisations who would be only too glad to have your help and assistance. You could work for blood banks, society for handicapped, for old people, for orphans and for women. Hospitals too have a social service wing. You could even join in a literacy project or educate a girl child. Find what cause is close to your heart and then give it all you have. Your life will have a new purpose and meaning.

Revive old friendships. This is a good time to catch up with old friends and exchange notes. Sharing how they are coping with this new phase will help you face the same with equanimity and courage. You could arrange get togethers and meet together as a family. This will forge new relationships between the respective husbands and kids too.

Work from home. If you don’t want to step out of your home and hearth, don’t despair. You could do many things while at home. From freelance writing and editing to designing to catering, there are innumerable opportunities. Find out what you are good at and start at home.

Take short breaks. A change of scenery always does a bit of good. Don’t feel guilty of wanting to spend some time away from home. You need not plan a long holiday. A short weekend break will be enough to rejuvenate you. You could meet up some old friends or visit your parents. And don’t worry about the kids and husband – they’ll learn to become independent.

Think positive. Last but not the least, get rid of all the negative thoughts and energies that surround you. Think that you can beat the odds and you can; think that you will get beaten and chances are that you will. For instance, instead of thinking “Is it possible for me to do it?” say “I can and will do it.” The power of the mind is the greatest power so leverage it to your advantage.
If you are still not convinced, remember the words of Harold MacMillan: ‘Most elderly people know what it is to be young and ignorant, but not a single young person knows what it is to be old and wise!’

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