Being forty

Oddly enough, I find on the morning of my fortieth birthday that I feel largely unchanged from the previous day. As a child I believed that there was some magic shift that turned a person into a proper adult. Some clinging residue of the belief stayed with me, I confess, but sixteen wasn’t it, and eighteen did not rewire my brain, and twenty one brought no revelations. At forty, I notice that no innate adulating capacity seems to have hatched within me. At this point I can afford to admit to myself that it never will, and that paperwork, bureaucracy, and tedious details are always going to be an arse.

When I started writing and talking about Druidry and Paganism – in my late twenties – I tended to be vague about my age for fear of not being taking seriously. It’s one of the good things about being a Druid, I think – the possibilities that age may deliver gravitas and wisdom rather than irrelevance. This may well be like the childhood thing of imagining that adulthood will just turn up. Perhaps I’ll be here at fifty admitting that the wisdom and gravitas thing was just as silly. In the meantime, it’s a nice thought!

In writing, much as in Druid work, age is more of an advantage than not. Very few authors make it under the age of forty, so I’ve everything still to play for. A few more grey hairs won’t set me back at all. Although to be fair, I don’t have that many grey hairs, I’m not dyeing my hair and don’t intend to and I still don’t have many lines in my face. I have no idea how this came to be and can only assume there’s a really good painting of me stashed in someone’s attic, taking all the damage… Yet at the same time I’ve been showing peri-menopausal symptoms for about a year now, so the call of the crone is very much on me.

I got in early with the whole midlife crisis thing, having spent the last few years revisiting many of the things that I was interested in as a teen, rebuilding a sense of self. I had a fantastic party on Saturday night to celebrate this large, round birthday number, and came to the conclusion that more of that – more dancing like a crazy thing in the company of lovely people, with fantastic live music and yummy beer is the form any further midlife crisis flashes should take. With, or without hot flushes.

Perhaps I have reached the magic age of not caring what anyone else thinks, not needing to be acceptable, not aspiring to meet other people’s standards. Many aspects of my life have been becoming clearer and simpler for me, and I like how that feels. I have some sense of where I want to be going and a lot of certainty about who I want as travelling companions. The rest I can no doubt make up as I go along.


About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

11 responses to “Being forty

  • Rick

    Happy birthday, Nimue!

  • Mary Walker

    I will wish you a happy birthday here too. Just did on Facebook.

  • Aurora J Stone

    Many joyous felicitations on your significant natal anniversary. I remember 40 was a good year for me, my birthday was a month before I graduated with my BA and MA. Happy time.

  • Tracy Kruse

    Many happy, happy returns of The Day! Celebrate many times!

  • John Davis

    When I was 50 I celebrated with family with a fish and chip and champagne party (I wasn’t veggie back them). Come 60 it was a hot air balloon trip….suggestions for 65 in a couple of years time? Glad you’ve embraced the wisdom of years with a good party….John /l\

  • bone&silver

    Happy Birthday from Australia! It’s true: life just gets better after 40 😊
    I turned 50 last year (still can’t quite believe I’m writing that) & can truly say I’m happier, wiser, clearer & also sillier than ever. Welcome to the glorious Croneing! 🙏🏼 G
    PS: dancing with lovely people is always a great idea, & yes, stuff the red tape/admin crap 😃😘

  • lornasmithers

    Happy birthday 🙂 I *think* I’m still having my mid-life crisis (I’m 35).

    • Nimue Brown

      There doesn’t seem to be any official limit on when and for how long 🙂 I’m increasingly inclined to think of it as a second teenage, I’ve certainly got enough hormonal weirdness!

  • Sue Marsh

    Yay for you! Congratulations on turning 40 and having the wisdom to know that what others think of you is no longer important. It took me to the age of about 65 to learn that lesson and now, at almost 75 life is awesome! For myself the physical didn’t bother me as much as the mental angst so even though of course the body aged the mind became clearer and I learned what my priorities were – first and foremost, to love and be loved, to be kind and help others and to accept being “different” and not worry if others didn’t accept me as the “real” me! Nimue, continue to grow and please continue to share your life journey with us – I love reading all your posts but especially those that show your growth journey. Much love and many blessings!

    • Nimue Brown

      thank you for this, Sue! I’m hoping I’ll get the hang of the transition stuff. I can at least not spot when it’s happening, and that helps. A clearer mind would be wonderful!

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