Who are you in your 40s?

The tired, saggy eyes of a 44-year-old who can’t afford plastic surgery.

This should be a blog post about how fabulous it is to be 40+.

But it’s not.

I have no fricking idea who I am in my 40s. I am completely, totally lost.

I thought I finally had my shit together in my 30s. I was juggling a successful career with two kids. I was confident. I ran at life like a bull at a gate. There may have been a dance with PND, but I prefer to gloss over it.

The main thing is I had purpose.

Less than a decade later, I am completely rudderless.

I know who I used to be. I have no idea who I am now.

How does that happen? I thought you were supposed to become more comfortable in your own skin as you got older.

How can I be comfortable in this skin? It’s failed me. I have “age warts”. Age fricking warts. Fantastic. They are brown, with little spots all over them. I can only see one, under my right boob. It is tiny, but very ugly. The doctor says the ones on my back are MUCH bigger. There go the strapless tops. And the doggy-style sex with strangers. Dammit.

The bits that don’t have age warts are saggy or wrinkled.


It’s so bloody depressing.

I am not comfortable in my own skin AT ALL. I’d like some new skin instead.

My body is betraying me in so many ways. I have an inflamed disc in my back. I groan when I lower myself onto the couch (I was doing this before the inflamed disc). I have shrivelled, old woman’s hands. I’m on permanent stray lip-hair patrol. I’m so tired I want to crawl into bed at 6pm every night.

I don’t even recognise myself in the mirror. I catch a glimpse of a strange woman and think, “Who the hell is that? No! It can’t be me.”

But it is me.

And if one more attractive blonde writes one more smug article about society’s deplorable focus on appearance I will scream.

If I can summon the energy.

I look at all the dynamic twentysomethings pinging about the place and ache for a shot of caffeine. Where do they get their drive? Can they spare some?

I’m lucky to write two blogs a day – for which I get paid sweet F.A. – while the housework piles up around me, the children are neglected and the washing moulders in the washing machine … Argh! Back in a minute, better put that in the dryer before it goes whiffy …

And yet, I’m only halfway through my life. What am I going to do with the next 44 years, other than bemoan my body (and mind) crumbling?

I talk and talk about starting my own business, but I don’t get around to writing a business plan. I talk and talk about writing a movie screenplay, but I can’t even finish the fourth act of the TV script I started four years ago. I talk and talk about moving out of Sydney, but I never get further than a wistful Domain search.

Do I want another job? Do I want a bank loan for a small business? Do I want to stay at home, blogging for pleasure, not financial reward? Do I want to spend the rest of my life in cargo pants and baggy T-shirts?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know …

The only things I do know are that I drink too much, eat too much and whinge too much.

If this is what your 40s are like I am OVER them.

Can I be in my 30s again, please?



17 thoughts on “Who are you in your 40s?

  1. Oh I’m really sorry to disappoint you but what you are feeling is real, its called mid-life crisis, or at least that’s what i think i am experiencing. But you think you have worries. I too am on permanent stray-lip (and chin) hair patrol. I tried to wax my whole face recently and came out in red spotty welts. Try dealing with acne on top of yr woman whiskers. (i have thought of putting my newly acquired growth to charitable use though and joining in movember).

    I’m still working and looking after a young child. it doesn’t give me purpose but exhaustion. However being a resourceful type ive set myself up to look forward to my older age. I’ve figured given my life expectancy is 84 (will I look like grizzly Adams then?) that I will have enough time to pay off the mortgage (at 83) and have one year free to play – perhaps join a retirement home in Ibiza?

  2. As you know Alana, I’ve personally been through the fire of recreated identity (more than once)…. and it’s a bitch. But, I also know the “old” lives I’ve left behind were not serving me (more than that, they were strangling the spirit out of me). So, although it’s not what I thought it would be, I’m actually deeply content with my new lot. Doesn’t mean I’m not tired etc, or don’t have bad days – sisters who should have been called Goneril and Reagan have helped this week – and wouldn’t like the things which are current “missing” in my life. But somewhere through those fires, I’ve forged a really strong sense of who I am (and actually know the “missing” parts aren’t essential, they’re just other choices. That’s incredibly liberating. The rest is the small stuff. Not always. Not in every moment. But essentially and undeniably the small stuff. You will too. You’re honest and intelligent enough to get through this. You’re just in the “I didn’t think it was going to be like this” part, which comes somewhere before acceptance. Hope that wasn’t too, too annoying. By the way, I love your blogging. It’s like having a conversation with you each day, which probably, neither of us would make the time for. Oh, and read the Margaret Olly advice about housework I posted to FB…. it’s gold.

  3. I spent my 30’s at home with my kids and I had no bloody idea who I was, I didn’t think I would ever find anyone willing to employ me again, I drowned under all the demands of tiny children. I went to a vocational psychologist, I wanted her to tell me WHAT THE HELL JOB WOULD MAKE ME HAPPY. She did all the testing, told me the results were a complete surprise to her, she wasn’t expecting me to turn out to be a “radical personality” whatever the hell that meant. She gave me pages and pages of possible career choices (I’d just wanted ONE GODDAMMIT) and told me not to have any more children. So I remained confused and had another baby. However, with the benefit of hindsight I am grateful for those ten years at home, it forced me to create an identity not linked to a career, it made me rethink what I wanted and who I was. It was a painful process but I sometimes look at men and other women who have never had that “time out” of the workforce and I can see that I have benefited from the experience. In my 40’s nothing has turned out how I thought it would. I know quite clearly what I want to do but finances don’t permit it. I’m still trying to get to where I want to be but that angst and confusion of the 30’s are gone. I know WHAT I want I just haven’t yet figured out HOW to get it. I’ve been back in the workforce now for six years and I’m starting to think I could work from home again, and this time I would do it better. I crave that flexibility, and I’m discovering teenage children, while more independent, still need you, in some ways you have to be more vigilant because their problems aren’t as obvious as when they were little. So the answer is I’m expecting my 50’s to be sensational! I’m with you on the whole body thing, my lower back has gone too, I get out of bed in the morning and walk like my mother, I have no stamina, everything is sagging, dragging and wrinkling and I lie in bed at night with various parts of my body aching and feeling like I’m 100 not 44.

  4. For cryin out loud, SNAP OUT OF IT!!! You are SO much better than that!
    I signed up for your blog as my sister (was in your year) kept reminding me about how well you had done and why I had not made contact over the years when promoting my products…”it’s who you know” she would say…but for me, that wasn’t what was going to make me feel better about myself.

    So I’ve sat back & read each blog, (ok, glossed over the ‘Hollywood’ stuff) had a laugh, a tear and even thought about about contacting you finally, NOT for products though but on “how DO you trigger an appeal or put a little money in for someone who doesn’t have what you have?”.

    BUT, knowing I had just helped a little girl with a heart condition FINALLY be able to have her ears pierced, or helping a balding (youngish) man begin to get his hair back (and confidence) feels SOOOOO much better than sending a product to a celebrity or begging for a ‘spot’ in a magazine.

    I guess what I’m saying is YOU NEED A PURPOSE that will take the emphasis off your ‘age warts’.

    They are ONLY ‘age warts’…Do you have Parkinsons, MS or a heart condition???…build a bridge and friggin RUN, and GET over it, QUICKLY.
    The other 44 years will begin to roll over much faster than you think…Don’t let yourself become one of those women who gets there and wonders what did she REALLY do with her life???

    YOU HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO OFFER in this world with what you have behind you…so…USE IT for something better than your age warts!!! Since signing up for your blog…I have faith in you.

    BTW…you don’t need a ‘business plan’ to start your own business, just a determination to keep going with the acceptance that MOST people will not necessarily help you along the way. The reality is most people do NOT want you to succeed because it means you may be doing better than themselves.
    We still don’t have a ‘business plan’, (after over 15 yrs in business) but we do have a ‘life plan’ in our own heads of where we want to be heading. In my mind, there is no such thing as the word FAIL for people…only people who stop, or don’t even start trying.

    Come on Alana, you can do better than whinge about being 44. 🙂

    Need some brainstorming on that script or book?…it’s 2nd next on my list 🙂

    • Well, I did ask for advice … WOW, there’s a comment to stop me feeling sorry for myself. Thank you. I feel a bit ashamed. And I have lots of questions: who is your sister? what is your product? are you writing a book?

      • Oh wow, I did go on a bit (sorry about that) but I DO have faith in you. My god, woman, you have lived in New York (green with envy here)
        As for my sister, her name is Kathy, still lives in Newcastle and you guys were a few years behind me at KHS.
        My products are where my passion is…piercing kids so you don’t trigger a nickel allergy, growing hair, lashes, brows (wherever there is a viable follicle left)…I can’t work miracles on dead ones (speak to a higher being each day but not granted the ability of miracles) OR… I’m getting rid of hairs (yes, I’m currently working on the lip & chin hairs as I’m on THAT patrol each morning too) but I can grow nails a LOT faster.
        All are from a purely vane point of view, originally. I was losing my hair and didn’t like it(the others were a bonus extra) or…I have too much hair where I didn’t want it (yes, I have a wog background)
        I know they work because I have been using them (selfishly, I was told) for about 5 years. You won’t find them in large department stores because I believe in supporting women in business, so smaller salons is my thing and, only for the last year or so for our own products. (told to stop being selfish)
        I’m not a millionaire but I’m not destitute either. I could be I’m told (millionaire that is) if I would pull my finger out and get in front of a camera, but even the thought sends terrors through me. So…I’m happy to stay “under my mushroom” (as I call it) and get a HUGE kick when I get to talk to customers who tell me our products work for them too. Thankfully, they work for more people than not, so life is still good. I live a bigamist life…I’m married to my man & my business and tell him often how lucky he is to have a threesome with me every weekday

        As for my book, well, it’s still 2nd on my list. I have the story in my head, but putting it to paper/on computer…well, that’s for once I put the 1st thing on my list into place..and… that’s the most (first and prob last time too) I have ever written about what I do. 🙂

  5. Miranda – Wow! Clearly a lot on your mind which found an outlet to be projected onto Alana’s blog. Practise kindness to yourself and to others in their moments of doubt. We all have them. It doesn’t make us weak. It makes us honest. Good luck with your business.

    • Ah, Fee, it’s ok. It was good for her to give me an electronic shake. It’s practice for when the blog goes on ivillage next week – I reckon they will totally cane me there.

    • Fee, I’m sorry, it wasn’t meant to be “an outlet to be projected onto Alana’s blog” if you took it that way.
      If I had named brands, I could understand your comment but I was asked: sister, product, book, and I answered as honestly as I could in the way I was taught to write.
      Or maybe, I just don’t understand ‘blogging’ yet.
      If I offended you, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that either, nor to offend Alana (I’m sorry if I did, Alana).
      If I was cruel, it was meant to be kind overall, as sometimes, in moments of doubt, an outsider’s shake is just enough to make you realise that life is not as bad as what you may be thinking at the time or just the kick needed to ‘start that business you’ve been thinking about’
      If I offended ANY of Alana’s blog followers, I truly AM sorry!!!

  6. Oh honey. I’m actually happier than I have ever been in my 40s. This is because in my early 30s thought my ducks wouldn’t ever line up. However they did in ways much better than I ever expected. While everyday is full of gratitude for me, I can completely relate to your current loss of direction. I’m also searching for a new path albeit with more optimism than you seem to have at the moment. I’m sure with your enviable media experience and the success you’ve had building this blog an golden opportunity will present itself soon.
    Happy Birthday.

  7. Ok, I’m catching up on my blogging as I am in the process of renovating and moving, so haven’t had much time. Sorry girls, but I’m with Miriana on this one. We all have crap going on in our lives, but whenever I start to feel sorry for myself, I ask “What’s the alternative?” My answer is always the same – love what I have as if I spend time wishing for more or pining on what I have missed out on, that is all I will achieve. I have also noticed how we always seem to think everyone else has their shit together except ourselves, believe me, we are all thinking the same thing about each other. We have it good, lets love it!!!

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