Life After 40

I’ve always been a late bloomer. (And an under-achiever, but that’s fodder for another post).

At school, I was one of the shortest in my class. And the flattest. (Oh, how the nickname “pancakes” was like a stake through my heart!). As a teenager, I still looked like a tweener. It was NOT a good thing to look younger than you are, back in high-school.

My first boyfriend was at the age of 20 – in 3rd year UNI, fer pete’s sake. It was only with the second boyfriend, at age 26 or so that I passed that other important “ahem” milestone. Yes, I’m slow in every way.

I did get to India 4 times in my 20’s which was pretty good, but then I let it go 10 years before travelling again. Smoked my first joint at 30. Became a regular in bars and had my first one night stand around then too. Took my first E at 32. Dated backpackers years younger than me. Everything about a decade later than most people.

By my mid-thirties, I didn’t think I was ever going to get married. And then, I did – at age 40. And not just any old wedding. Oh no – being the festival fiends that we are, my other half and I got married on stage at the Big Day Out (the biggest rock festival in Australia). In front of hundreds of people. In purple PVC – well, that was just me. We were rock royalty for a day.

I did my first modelling at 40 years of age too. Started travelling several places every year. Joined the alternative and gothic community and started wearing way more creative and theatrical clothing and make-up, dyed my hair blue (see below) and wore plastic extensions and brightly coloured fake-hair dreads. Became Fashion Editor of Fiend magazine. Got a highly paid secure job that finances my many travels. Studied millinery for 2 years at TAFE.

The upshot of all this? So much that I wanted in life (and more) came to me much later than expected. But come to me it did. And so much more is ahead of me.

We put artificial “use-by” dates on things, on life events. So what if you’re 40 and never been married? Have never travelled overseas? Never worn platform boots? Never started a blog? So what?

I’ve learned there are very few hard and fast rules in life, except the ones in our heads. OK, so I’m never gonna be a cover girl on Seventeen magazine. But I can jaunt around the world, wear “out there” pvc outfits, go clubbing til 6am, hang out with people from way different cultures and age groups than me, learn new languages and skills.

And strangely, it seems to be a kind of mission now. When D and I go out, we represent the new couples who don’t have to stop living just because they’re married, (moving to the burbs, having dinner parties and eschewing going out etc). When I dress fashionably or extravagantly and young things are shocked that I’m 45, I plant the seed in their minds that there is life after 40.

In my blog too, I want to show that an exciting life is possible even if you’re not 20 anymore. What are the things that you think you can’t do, held back by time, or age, or circumstance?

For some of us, the best parts of our life come late. We may blossom far behind the other flowers, but the blossoms are no less sweet.

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  1. Oh thank you V! That means a lot to me 🙂 I love the way you write too, especially about your love for Tokyo and the "freaks" and subcultures within it.

  2. Hear hear! thanks for inspiring me 🙂