How I’ve changed since turning 40

(Scroll down for the Hungarian version - A magyar cikket lejjebb találod)

It’s been almost 15 months since that day.

Hitting 40 was not as special or fancy as you all imagine it to be. No big party, nothing. I was at home, sick with the flu. I had a huge party planned in my head: the roaring 20s but with twice the bang. Friends, cocktails, everyone dressed up, looking real swell. Well, it didn’t happen, so I’ll spare all the other details.

Then came 41 this year. I was prepared to make up for last year’s fiasco, but guess what? Covid came to town. Well, I can assure you, it wasn’t on my guest list. So again, a birthday at home, sans friends.

One year passes, another one begins. We make plans. Plans get cancelled. We make plans again. Plans get wiped off the face of the Earth. This article is not about my missed birthday parties. I’m used to those already, remember? This article is about how these 15 months have changed me.

1. I’ve started believing in myself more. Why? Because everything else was so unpredictable. I couldn’t believe or trust in that. In return, when I was able to get through another day, or achieve something, it made me realise that I can trust myself with that. Even if it was a tiny thing, I knew, it was in good hands - my hands.

2. I became self-employed. When? Let me tell you. Now. Only a few months ago. Crazy, right? But it was a whole process, it began last year and it made no sense to stop it. Will I make it? Will my little business of writing books and taking photos survive? I cannot say just yet. I can only do everything I can in my power and hope it does.

3. I understood that learning new things makes me happier than it did when I was younger. I am way hungrier for acquiring knowledge than ever before. It’s the best investment. Since then, I’ve built websites, wrote and illustrated a book, edited and self-published it, started a blog, took amazing photos, put together a portfolio and helped others with my endless creativity.

4. Being curvy isn’t a curse. It’s a blessing. It can be shaped and modified just the right way.

I have never been as comfortable in my skin as I am today. So many things will change in our 40s and let’s face it: gravity is ungrateful. It doesn’t help if we beat ourselves up about it every day either. If it really bothers you, do something about it. But do it in a way that is doable. Setting unrealistic goals will only take the fun away. And you’ll give up before you start seeing results. Love your body. Eat salad, eat chocolate, drink water or wine. Just give it what it craves and find ways to move it that brings you joy. This is not to say that my relationship with my body isn’t complicated. It is. Just sayin’.

5. Have you noticed? Less and less people really listen, or really care. I’ve accepted and understood that too. I have made my circle of friends tighter than ever. I’m very strict about who I listen to and whose opinions really matter. But to these people I really listen. And they can trust me to listen and help no matter what happens.

6. If I feel that somebody is treating me badly, I now walk away. You don’t even have to give them a reason. Just. Walk. Away. Now read this point again.

7. Taking risks feels liberating. It’s scary, but liberating. Like becoming self-employed in September 2020.

8. I didn’t have to become a superhero to become courageous. Loving deeply, daring to say what I mean, and being vulnerable because of all these things are my superpowers. Of course most people hate these qualities in me. But those people are not my tribe.

9. Priorities shift. And that’s OK too. Friends slip away. They move, they have kids, they have their own priorities. I moved away. More than once. But I’m here, between these lines and if I slipped away, I hope whoever needs to, will find me here again.

10. If there’s a book I don’t like, I don’t finish it. Same with movies and anything found on Netflix. Oh and don’t even get me started on shit food.

11. Some people won’t like me or the stuff I write. And that’s OK too. I have very few people I really like. So if you bore me, you’re out. Sorry… Oh wait, not sorry… I no longer apologise for everything.