Just Frances

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Deconstructing 40

This entry was posted on Friday, February 20th, 2015 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: running, phd, happy, ego, dating, celebrations, birthday

Today is my last day as a 40-year-old woman. It’s the last day of what I had hoped would be an empowering and fabulous year of my life. But really, it’s just the last day of another year of my life. Nothing life-changing; nothing that will carry me through to the next year. It was, just a year.

I suppose that’s normal though. I mean, how many people actually have one fantastically amazing year after the next after the next? How many people really and truly have a life that’s more exciting than the average, run-of-the-mill life?

Yep. For me, 40 was just average; just life. Or, at least, it’s not the amazing year I’d dreamt of when I entered my 40s last February.

When I began my 40s, I had high hopes that I would meet someone new to spend my life with. Instead, I found that dating at 40 is just as rubbish as it was in my post-widowhood 30s.

I had great dreams of being the most productive and fabulous PhD student. Instead, I found that being a fabulous PhD student is difficult because doing a PhD is damn hard work.

And I had over-reaching ambitions of being blissfully happy. Instead, I found that no matter how many times you tell yourself that you’re “40 and fabulous”, life is just life and you can’t force happiness.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad and I’d be silly to think it was.

I met new people, spent time with dear friends, and travelled home to America to see my family.

I ran several races (including two with PB times!), completed the first year of my PhD, and even gave a public talk at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

So no, 40 wasn’t like the Hollywood movies. But then, reality never is. I did find some happiness throughout the year though and I created some memories to take with me into my future.

And that future? Well, it starts now. No, I mean now. No, wait… I guess my future is only ever a second away.

Tomorrow starts 41. And maybe it will be the year of new love, fabulous PhDing, and blissful happiness. But if it’s not, it will still be a year worth living.

[Photo note: That’s me in my pretty party dress on my 40th birthday. Copyright to my PhD supervisor, Hazel Hall.]

Comments

Happiest of birthday wishes to you,  Frances!

by Victoria at 8:15pm (GMT) on February 20th, 2015

You may only be halfway up the hill, the climb is hard, and you can’t see the view yet, and you’re perhaps a little impatient. Don’t forget that you’re awesome company for the rest of us in the meantime, and we’re grateful that we know you. Happy Birthday, and may all your tomorrows be wonderful.

by Old Goat at 8:26pm (GMT) on February 20th, 2015

My dear Frances,

You are beautiful inside and out whether you’re 40, 41 or 101. No-one I know has a sole as kind as you and I hope you find that happiness soon. You know Fi and I only want for you to be happy. Paul is looking down on you today.

Happy birthday.
mac
XX

by mac at 10:44am (GMT) on February 21st, 2015

Thanks, everyone. It’s been a happy day so far… and will hopefully only get happier. :)

by Just Frances at 1:43pm (GMT) on February 21st, 2015

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