Lifework for Women: The Big 40!


I am absolutely no stranger to the concept of life long learning, particularly in the arena of self discovery. To me, this is the greatest and most important journey of all. One of my greatest teachers was my fortieth birthday. Although I had forty years to prepare for it, the big Four Oh managed to catch me by surprise.

How does forty years pass so quickly? For some odd reason I thought I would be exempt from the aging process. During past birthdays I felt better than the year before, full of life experiences, more confident, competent, and closer to my own beauty. I had the sense of life endlessly expanding before me, until forty loomed near, and then I began to feel haunted.

Haunted by the merciless march of time. The illusion of time spinning endlessly before me was dispelled forever. Forty is a milestone because it marks the end of the first half of life and the beginning of the final sequel on earth. For me, it has been a painful transition viewing my life from this new context. It has pressured me into serious reflection of my past forty years, with the unsettling question arising, "Do I want my next forty years to be like the past forty?" Upon hearing a definite no reply, I spiraled into a spasm of agony and dark well of tears.

Not desiring a repetition of my past, cast a dark veil over the years I had lived. I felt the anguish of having lived so many years for so many others. Years spent trying to be someone I'm not. Trying to please others, win love and acceptance, shape shifting, turning one face then another like a prism of many facets. With a painful futility, common to many women, I sought to find inner worth through the eyes of others. And of course, that inner worth, love and acceptance always eluded me and the outside props repeatedly dissolved and escaped me.

Turning forty forced me to re-evaluate my entire life, values and beliefs. I saw how I had used relationships, careers, and being accepted and recognized by others, as thin veneers to cover my own pain and emptiness. My pain and emptiness sprang from a lifetime of denying myself, refusing to acknowledge my own feelings, my own truth, often making someone else or something else more important. Can there be anything more lonely or painful than the abandonment of self? In the depths of this place, I think not.

This momentous birthday helped me understand I was not wrong throwing myself into the world, seeking to find myself, and make my mark externally during the first half of my life. But it would be tragic if I followed this path for the next forty years, as I would truly face a lonely death, devoid of the spirit of self. Not only did my birthday bring home the pain and shortcomings of my life and the required metamorphosis, but it also reinforced what I had gained through the years.

Many warm, intimate wishes from special people upon this day reminded me of the value friends. My five year old boy and his little 'sister' friend sang me happy birthday ten times and told me I was beautiful. Their pure innocence did much to restore my joy in life and my faith in myself. The three of us blew out the candles upon our cupcakes and made a wish. It was fitting I had but one candle, symbolizing my first year in this new era of life. My wish? I wish to live the next forty years being true to myself.

Welcome to our "Free Quality Articles" that you may use as content on your site. Teresa Proudlove is a well-published writer who worked as a successful columnist for twelve years. Teresa has also been inspiring, supporting, and guiding over 3000 people upon their career and life paths for fourteen years - with compassion and heart.

If you would like to reprint any of these articles or parts thereof, please do so. We simply request that you state the article title; credit the author, Teresa Proudlove; include her brief bio; and attach a hot-link to

Copyright © 2004 Teresa Proudlove - Yourlifework Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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