I wonder if by the age of 40 we could really possibly have our entire lives mapped out before us. I personally don’t think it is possible, because believing so simply means that the things we learn in the one year before that point or the years following that point are useless.
However, society wants us to believe that life stops at 40, regardless of the tons of literature available claiming otherwise. If we look around us the messages bombarding us are positioned to make us believe that our lives have an invisible cut off point marked at that age. The beauty industry conditions us to believe that we need to spend thousands of dollars on beauty products designed to banish the normal biological signs of aging, in case, God forbid, we look 40.
We read articles that are titled, “Make Your First USD One Million Before You Turn 40” or “30 Things You Should do Before You Turn 40”. Notice the word “should” indicating that we lack all respect for our existence if we don’t do the things on such lists.
Although life expectancy has risen significantly, we still call people who are 40 middle- aged. This naming in my opinion is not correct, because, in reality people live beyond the age of 80. So, how can 40 still be marked as the age where we should have found a partner, bought a house, landed the perfect job, and done all the stupid and reckless things we were supposed to do? If this is the case, then what are we going to do with the net 40 or 50 years of our lives?
Society is designed to make us believe that we should have life figured out at this point for purely economic reasons. The beauty industry thrives on our need to look younger than 40. The real-estate industry thrives on people scrambling to buy property before turning 40, and corporations are filled with ambitious people wanting to make their first million before turning 40. But , is this possible? As someone who turned 40 already, I can tell you it isn’t. Personally I am nowhere near making my first million. I can also tell you, I don’t spend tons of money on beauty products because that is not me, and about owning a house, no I don’t own one.
My career goals are changing everyday and so are my priorities. But, guess what I don’t feel I am a failure, because really the person I am this year is different than the person I was last year. I feel for me that life is still full of possibilities after 40, because people are still healthy after that age. With ongoing learning opportunities and the explosion of the internet and online world, we can still learn new things everyday. Therefore, the possibility is there for us to discover after the age of 40 that we do want to start a new career.
The marriage age has risen significantly, so that you do find women above 40 still single and yet still open to the possibility of meeting someone. So, calling 40 a cut of point to me is wrong, especially when it is simply a response to industries wanting to thrive.
40 isn’t middle age, it isn’t the end. In fact, it is a new beginning for older and wiser individuals who know the importance of figuring out what they want in life, or individuals brave enough to figure out that life is to be lived and not to be measured.
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