'Let's go girls, let's just be in our power. Why not? Life's too flipping short.'
A weird thing happens to many women in their 40s, something I had heard rumblings of before I arrived at them but didn't fully understand until I was in them. Somehow, somewhat suddenly, you just get better.
I mean, there are definitely some complaints about aching bones and perimenopause to be lodged at this age, but there's an internal shift that happens where you sort of come into your own self. You know who you are and you feel comfortable in your skin.
“I'm 47, there are bits that don't do what you want them to do anymore. There's something kind of fab about going: ‘Oh well, that's just the way it is, isn't it?’"
Yes. It is totally fab. My body has changed in ways that feel far too "old" for the age I feel inside, and there are some days when I look at my suddenly crepey arm skin and go "Whoa!" But generally, there's a kind of acquiescence to change that goes along with this age. Even if we take good care of ourselves and even if we use all the creams and serums in the world, our bodies are still going to change in ways we can't control. Fighting change is fruitless.
“But I think women come into their 40s, certainly mid-40s, thinking: ‘Oh well, this is the beginning of the decline and things start to change and fade and slide in directions that I don't want them to go in anymore.’ And I've just decided no.
“We become more woman, more powerful, more sexy. We grow into ourselves more, we have the opportunity to speak and speak our mind and not be afraid of what people think of us, not care what we look like quite so much. I think it's amazing. Let's go girls, let's just be in our power. Why not? Life's too flipping short.”
So much yes to all of that. I remember being younger and sort of fearing my 40s, feeling like it all must be downhill from there. But it's not. Not even close.
I'm exactly the same age as Winslet, and I've felt that power she describes.
One thing that happens is you start to simply and calmly not care what people think. It's not the purposeful, semi-rebellious version of not-caring-what-people-think that some are able to achieve when they're younger; it's a genuinely effortless confidence that just sort of arrives one day unannounced. There's a freedom in the effortlessness of it that is impossible to know until you experience it, but it's utterly delicious.
"Life's too flipping short" sort of sums it up. It's a saying we pay lip service to when we're younger, or which we use to justify all manner of YOLO risk-taking, but at this age it's more about not wasting our precious time or energy or life force on things that really don't matter.
This is not to say that women in our 40s have figured out the keys to everything or never experience self-doubt. Definitely not. But this decade is definitively powerful. It feels nothing like it looked like it would feel from the outside. I've never felt more comfortable in my own skin. I've never felt less pulled by trends. I've never felt better in my body (and yes, never sexier). I've had friends who are a little older than I am tell me about this phenomenon, and now that I've experienced it myself, I want to share it with women who might be fearing their 40s.
Never fear—the 40s are fabulous. Kate Winslet is right. We do become more ourselves, and it is amazing. And from what I've heard from women in their 50s, it keeps getting better, at least for a good while longer.
"Let's just be in our power," she says. Yes, let's. It's the absolute best place to be.
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