I am at an age that notionally sits on a precipice. I have not hit the 40s just yet but I am well on my way there so I am expected to have the emotional and mental maturity of someone approaching the point after which life truly starts (if the idioms are to be believed). This puts a lot of undue pressure on my maturity which is dragging its feet at this point and being rather unwieldy about hastening up. It also makes me believe that when I do hit the number of 40, some seismic shifts are going to take place. I assume that life will be all rainbows and unicorns. I will finally be able to ask for a raise, I will understand that the camera does nothing on its own and I do really look like that and I imagine I would have figured out where I get those bruises on my legs are from. Apparently, not all of this happens. But turns out a couple of things do happen.
What Exactly Is F*** It Forties?
I stumbled upon the concept of F*** It Forties accidentally. But I am so glad I did. Basically, the implication is that when you get to your forties, you run out of f***s and are extremely protective of your time and energy. You can’t be bothered by a crazy boss on a power trip, you’re unfettered by the ongoings in your neighbour’s house (previously a past time requiring several hours of commitment) and just simply do not have time for people masquerading as friends. Honestly this sounds like a blissful state. I spoke to a couple of mental health experts to understand what exactly changes when you finally become 40.
Does A Switch Go Off When You Hit The Forties?
Ms. Pragati Goyal, Lead Clinical Psychologist at Lissun, says, “In women, especially, there are multiple physical and physiological changes when they turn 40. You might experience perimenopause or premenopause symptoms which are basically the hormonal imbalances and fluctuations that occur preceding menopause. It is not necessary that every woman would experience this phase in the same way. The changes could be in their menstrual cycle, sleep cycle, wrinkling, weight gain, changes in libido, hair loss, heart palpitations, dry skin, and vaginal dryness. Emotionally also there are a range of changes that a woman may notice- like frequent mood swings, anxiety, and irritability. Going through these changes can psychologically affect the woman in her day-to-day life. The age 40 thus becomes a reflective point to understand and evaluate your lives- How well you have fitted in the role of maybe a professional, mother, or wife? There is a picture, a narrative that many women carry of the things they expect by the time they turn 40, and if they fail to meet up those expectations they start questioning the meaning of their life.
Meeting age 40 also means contending with societal changes and expectations. There is always the pressure of looking young and vibrant while the men are expected to mature with age and that is even considered sexy. She might find it hard to balance the feeling of ‘not quite old but not quite young’. Sexually, she might feel shy to express her needs and inhibit her desires to prioritize other roles in her life.”
So while our hormones are raging in a whole new way, we quickly run out of f***s but also have to feel all the feelings. Being a woman is incredibly tough, but I imagine the f*** it forties life when things finally turn around. There’s a book about it too!
There’s Also The Societal Pressure…
Roma Kumar, Chief Psychologist at Emotionally.in explains how all the pressure that women have to be perfect probably contributes to the feeling of free in the forties. “Women in our culture, are fed a narrative about their lives: get educated, get a job or career, find a partner and somewhere to live, have kids … and that’s where the script stops. The later parts of women’s lives are unmapped, undiscussed. Older women in all cultures are marginalised and discriminated against; it is the aspect of diversity that is too often forgotten. Many women make use of a midlife transition not just for a career change but also to connect to their desires and become more independent, self-directed women. Thus for women, midlife can be a particularly valuable period. Their lives can become enriched beyond recognition as they take steps toward individuation: the process of becoming your true self. Many women, who successfully negotiate midlife changes finally have the freedom to ask themselves what they want and believe.”
As I rapidly hurtle towards the forties, as one inevitably must, the idea of f*** it forties gives me hope. It gets better as you get older, this is the promised light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s hoping.
By the way, I also wrote about makeup with skin loving ingredients, check that out.