Turning 40! Heart to heart interviews with real women – PART 2

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Author: Ann Grandchamp, Mental Health Editor

I’m really honored to share two more interviews with you on what it’s like to turn 40 and to be 40 years old. I love this quote about aging and I think it really fits with the heart to hearts I had with 7 authentic and strong women:

Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

– Jack Benny

A heart to heart with Marta

When did you turn 40?

In April 2017.

Did you celebrate? If so what did you do?

My youngest was only 3 months old, so a big party was not really what I had in mind. I wanted quite a few people around and my parents came over from Hungary. I therefore organised an open house. We baked a lot of things in advance with my mum, which was on its own a special time to celebrate her giving birth to me 😊 .It was great, as people were evenly distributed over the day and I managed to talk to everybody, while being at home. My two older kids (10 and 12 then) had a table set up in the garden and were allowed to invite their friends, so they had a fun day too.

What’s your least favorite thing about being 40?

I started to loose my eyesight, which was always perfect! I find it much harder to find jobs.

What’s your favorite thing about being 40?

I feel that I really managed to work myself back to the roots and then build on everything I have learned along the way at the same time. I love to see my children finding their own ground as teenagers.

marta divall 2
My Swiss Story: Turning 40!

What has turning 40 changed for you?

Well, maybe it was coincidental, rather than age-related, but I divorced, gave birth to my 3rd child with my new partner, gave up my job, moved to another canton with my children to live together with my partner, started to learn a new language and was forced to face life with new eyes, all in this year 2017, when I turned 40. I was gaining quite a reputation in my field of science and was climbing the ladder, but I consciously gave this up. I never had to look for a job in my life, as opportunities arised before, without me searching. I am now on the jobmarket, while looking to establish myself as a free-lancer. I am a yoga and pilates teacher in the mornings and a private maths-physics tutor in the afternoons, while being a mum and house-wife in between. I constantly reanalyse in my head my expectations from life and the expectation of people from me. Which of those is really essential and which are just conditioned into us by cultural background, family, society. With the pressure of building a career I felt that the balance tipped the wrong way and that I was expected to go all the way in every aspect of my life. There are many around the world, who don’t have a choice regarding education, jobs, or lifestyle. I wanted to feel like I have a choice to give this up and focus on my family more. It was this realisation, which was a turning point for me. 

I also started trail running, with previous experience in amateur triathlon. Women actually have their highest potential for endurance sport around the age of 35-45, so hey, there is still a lot to discover.

What would you say to a woman who’s afraid of turning 40?

40 is just a number. Much nicer to be afraid of 43, which is a vicious prime number. Joke aside. I think women really have their prime time around this age! We become accomplished, efficient, and make decisions more easily.

Never stop to seek for new things and to learn, make long term plans and enjoy the moment! We are hopefully not even halfway through our lives! Imagine the things you can still pack in!

A heart to heart with Michelle

When did you turn 40?

On 27 March 2020.

Did you celebrate? If so what did you do?

I had plans to celebrate, big time!

Firstly, my husband and I had booked an overseas trip for March 2020 (just the two of us, without our three children) to the UK, Switzerland and Germany to visit friends, family and do some skiing.

Then on our return I had a birthday party planned at a local German brewery in Auckland, New Zealand.

We did make it overseas for the first 10 days of our 3 week trip. We went to London and skiing in Switzerland, but on arrival in Germany to visit family, we heard on the news that the borders between Switzerland and Germany were going to close at midnight that night and our flight home out of Zurich had been cancelled due to sudden Covid lockdown. It was a bit strange as we had checked with the airline and travel insurance that morning and all was well.

So we quickly drove back over the border and made it just in time. Spent the next 48 hours desperately trying to book another flight home, which we did, thankfully. Back home in NZ we had to self-isolate for 2 weeks, meaning my birthday celebration was not going to happen. 10 days into our self isolation, NZ went into a full lockdown for several weeks.

We did celebrate, just not at all how I had planned or expected. My actual birthday was spent quietly at home, with my husband, three children and lots of swiss chocolate that we panicked-bought at the airport in Zurich!

michelle willis
My Swiss Story: Turning 40!

What’s your least favorite thing about being 40?

I had to think long and hard about this question, I like being 40 a lot! Probably the regret of not achieving a couple of goals – especially around financial wellbeing.

What’s your favorite thing about being 40?

After overcoming a number of physical and mental health issues in my 30’s, I have now found a new lease on life. I love this stage of life with my children being older and more independent, lots of strong friendships have been built and I’ve learnt how to do marriage well. And I now have the confidence and ability to pursue some life long dreams. (sorry that is more than 1 thing – it was hard to pick!)

What has turning 40 changed for you?

It’s been a turning point for me. Mostly because I’ve made a decision to live a life I love. The biggest change is that I’m happy with being me, no longer shaped by the opinions of others. Having some life experience and perspective now, it is easy to make decisions about what to invest time and energy into and what to let go of.

What would you say to a woman who’s afraid of turning 40?

Embrace it! You may not realise it but you have everything you need to do your 40’s well. Go easy on yourself, be self-compassionate, be present.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these next 2 interviews. I certainly did! We have so much to learn from each other and we can find inspiration and ideas in each other as well. Part 3 will be out tomorrow with 3 more wonderful interviews. See you then and in the meantime…

Take care! Stay safe!

Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for our February posts, cuz “self-love” is in the air. Stay tuned to read about body positivity, turning 40 or 50, encouraging children to eat healthier, and many other useful resources.

Are you interested in the topic of Body Positivity? Please read this post to get associated with us on our new creative collaboration.

To read posts from January, click here

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