New Year, New You: Life Begins at 40!

New year, new you: life begins at 40!

Life begins at 40

There are several endings too the phrase “Life begins after…” but one that is often heard is that life begins after our 40th birthdays. Recently, I got into a discussion with a friend about what the 39 previous years were and what exactly led up to that big 4-0. Because I’ve been hearing it a lot lately and I’m clueless as to why I have to wait another 15 years for life to seriously start.

But then it got me thinking. Maybe that big birthday symbolizes something completely different. Maybe it’s bringing into light a big birthday, hence a big change and a chance to make a difference you had always considered but never had the chance-or the courage-to do something radically different than before. Bring in Kerry Adderton, who beat cancer at 35, and started a new career at 41. And she just may be the pure definition of a huge life alteration at a mildly terrifying age.

Michelle Cunnah

Michelle Cunnah, 52, had been out of the workplace for 15 years after following her husband abroad and supporting his career which saw her living in the US and Netherlands for 15 years, bringing up their 2 young children. A part time author she was financially independent but when she recently returned to the UK she wanted to be a part of corporate life again and re-ignite her own career.

Struggling with a loss of confidence in her workplace skills, and fear of being discriminated against for her age and career gap, she was nervous about this next phase of her life – but she’s updated her skills and found a job – and couldn’t be happier.

After battling her cancer from age 34 and getting her 5 year clearance from her consultant just before her 40th birthday, Kerry decided the time was now, to do something that would not only affect her present, but also her future.

Kerry completed the Secretarial Diploma course which covers essential skills to be a highly regarded Secretary or Executive Assistant, learning how to work under pressure and prioritise workloads which allow executives and managers to work more effectively. She was desperate to update her skills and push herself into a higher level job that challenges her. She found her previous admin work very repetitive and it didn’t fulfil her.

She now works as an Office Manager for a team of surveyors adding value to their team and feeling valued in return. Her previous experience was boosted by her training, to make her a key member of the team, and she enjoyed a 10% salary increase in this new role, with further opportunities for growth available.

Kerry decided to take the fear of what comes next after beating a life threatening illness and intertwined it with uplifting her own life in hopes of inspiring others who found themselves in a similar or exact situation.

Instigating change after a scary event is absolutely terrifying, for lack of better or stronger wording. But sometimes, it is often necessary to shed that past skin and put away to only be taken out as a lesson learned. Life beginning after something doesn’t have to be attached to a numerical age or to anything as superfluous as getting outside of your comfort zone but it does need to begin somewhere.

Because while life may not start technically when the clock strikes 12 on your 40th birthday, it can signify a new beginning, a new life of sorts, that you didn’t expect to come into existence. Having the phrase “Life begins after…” can be changed interdentally with whatever applicable phrase you see fit but to be honest, it seems to address the underlying feeling of having something new and shiny and beautiful waiting for you if just one tweak is made. It’s a strange yet endearing sentiment that most anyone can aspire to fulfill in whatever destiny or fate or life they believe in. And it’s a stellar motivator to utilize in whatever life board you’ve set aside for yourself.

After all, life isn’t a sprint or whatever clichés we’ve heard lately. It really is a marathon full of really strange twists and turns. Life is an odd occurrence that’s full of adventures and if it takes us till we turn 40 to realize what we’ve always dreamed of, and then maybe that’s when our lives really do begin. Sometimes, a certain age can be a kick in the pants that we’ve always needed to jumpstart our insides into creating action. And who doesn’t love birthdays? Maybe more good will come of them than just too much cake and far too much one sided love.

Finally, if there is anything a story like Kerry’s can teach us, it is that clichés are sometimes true. And sometimes, having your life begin after a near death experience isn’t something as cliché as it sounds. After all, it’s your life. Why not have it start whenever you so please? It’s nothing if not an adventure and filled with too many chances.

Dana Zillgitt

Having loved the written word as long as she can remember, Dana has written for I Am That Girl, Man of The Hour, and more. She’s far too comfortable on the open road and in airports. And she can be found on Instagram at honey.thyme or on Twitter at hazelnuthyme. She regularly uses one and tries to keep up with the other. If she’s not buried in a book, Dana can be found at the local coffeehouse, planning her next article or book chapter.