Blog 138: How I Really Felt About Turning 40 Last Month

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In February, I had my 40th birthday! As always when we reach a new decade, turning 40 is considered a milestone and it can bring up plenty of thoughts and feelings about growing older, what we’ve achieved in our lives so far, and what the next decade will look like.

Lots of people have asked me how I feel about reaching 40, so this post is a very personal look at my thoughts and feelings as I enter this new decade of life.

Not the Best Start…

On the last day of my 30s, I felt great. Healthy, well, and excited to explore what my 40s have to offer. My parents came to stay with us because we planned to spend my birthday with them, and they kindly offered to babysit so that my husband, Bruce, and I could go out for the evening.

This is a pretty rare occurrence for us. We’re lucky that we both work from home now – Bruce was a firefighter for 13 years, but he took early retirement in October last year so that he could work with me on my business. This means our hours are flexible and we can sometimes take time for dates during the day, while the girls are at school. But getting to go out together in the evenings is more unusual.

We had a lovely dinner at the Botanist, a restaurant in Bath. We have a rule that we don’t talk business when we’re out together, although of course the girls still occupy a lot of our conversation! But we were also able to chat about holidays we’d like to take, podcasts we’re enjoying, etc. It was a lovely chance to remind ourselves how much we have in common when we have the chance to be Danielle and Bruce, instead of mum and dad, or business partners.

We didn’t stay out late – I think we were home by nine. I did all my usual nighttime routines, taking my magnesium, getting lemon and water ready by the bed for the next morning, and sprinkling some drops of lavender on my Sleep and Glow pillow. I got ready for bed and then slept fine that night.

Sleep and glow pillow

The next morning, I woke up naturally at 6am. And I felt like I had been hit by a bus. Sore throat, headache, blocked ears, fatigued, and aching all over. I don’t drink alcohol, so I knew this must be a virus and not a hangover! I tested for coronavirus, but the tests were negative.

Sometimes you can tell when you’re about to get sick – you might have a scratchy throat or feel more tired than usual. But on this occasion, I had no warning. I felt perfectly fine the day before and then bam!

We’d had a lovely day planned with my parents and the girls. We were going to visit Lacock, which is a very pretty village near us where a lot of Harry Potter was filmed. We’d planned a walk around the village, lunch at a pub, and a visit to the local National Trust property.

But I realised pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to be going anywhere. So, I opened presents with the girls in bed, then told them all to go out to enjoy the day. Obviously, they were sad to go without me, but I reassured them it was fine, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I already felt so lucky and blessed to have my family around me. Even though I felt sick, I knew it was temporary and would pass. There is so many difficult things happening in the world that really a little virus is nothing.

Secondly, I’d already had a few different outings to celebrate my birthday. I prefer not to have a big party. Instead, I’ve split the celebrations up into lots of little events. 

I’d already gone to a spa with a friend and spent a couple of nights with other friends in Exeter. Bruce and I took the girls to London for the day, and I had a few other things planned with other people too. So, missing this one day wasn’t too much of a disappointment.

Obviously, no one wants to spend their birthday feeling ill. However, I’m still feeling excited and positive about reaching 40, even though the day itself didn’t go as planned.

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Reflecting on a New Decade

In the months leading up to my birthday, when anyone asked me how I was feeling about turning 40, I’d reply “excited” because I genuinely was. But I wanted to dive deeper and reflect a bit more on how I feel about getting to this milestone.

I did the same thing I always do when I want to get in touch with my inner truth. I tuned in and asked myself “Danielle, how do you feel about leaving one decade and entering a new one?”

The answer is empowered. Happy. I really feel like this is where I’m supposed to be at this moment in time. 

I’ve always felt that I have an old soul. Like my soul has been on earth before and has lived several previous lifetimes. As a result, I struggled as a child and especially as a teenager because I often felt much older than my age. It sometimes felt like I was playing a role – saying or doing things because that was what was expected of me at that age. I can remember feeling quite torn about it.

As I get older, I feel like I’m more and more able to honour my soul. I feel much more settled into who I am and what I’m meant to do on a deep, soul level.

Of course, I still go through difficult human experiences. The last few years have been very testing for us all and the news often feels very heavy. But I’m more able to separate those temporary experiences of being in a human body from the experience of my soul, which feels at peace, happy, and ageless.

Embracing My Authentic Self

In the last few years, I’ve felt like I’ve been able to share more of my real, full self. The pandemic sparked a lot of change, shifting energies and paradigms for many people. For me, it has been a catalyst for sharing more of who I am on a deep, soul-level and becoming comfortable revealing these vulnerable parts of myself.

As I go through my 40s, I know I will be doing even more of this. I’m becoming more and more attuned to my intuition, making decisions in a very soul-centred way. 

Last year, there were a few things I did purely just to please other people because I felt I ought to do them, both for people I know and people I don’t. And it took me into a really difficult space, mentally.

This is unusual for me. Although I’m highly sensitive and feel things very deeply, I don’t usually have these big swings from very high to very low. I’m generally mentally resilient. But around October last year, I found myself in an extremely low place, probably the lowest I’ve ever been.

It was a very difficult month, for a variety of reasons. But I also learnt so much from it. Sometimes we need those lows – those dark nights of the soul – where you go down into your deepest, darkest places and in the process experience an awakening to who and what you are meant to be.

One of the things I learned was that I can really embrace my authentic self and share it with others in my business and my personal life. I’m going to stop asking for permission and worrying about what other people think of me.

This will be a daily challenge. As an empath, I’m very sensitive to taking on other people’s emotions and the heaviness in the world. But I’m excited to find ways to please myself and do what is right for me, while also embracing my empathetic, sensitive nature. I am pleased to say I feel like I have healed well from those difficult few weeks in October.

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 Any Negative Thoughts?

I also wanted to delve deep and examine whether turning 40 was bringing up anything negative for me. I really did have to search for this, it isn’t how I’m feeling on a daily basis. But if I go deep into my fears, what comes up is some concern about the effects of being in the public eye as I get older.

The work I do means that I’m on camera all the time. There’s at least 10 years’ worth of regular video footage of me, possibly as much as 15 years’ worth. And this means it is very easy for someone to compare how I look now with how I looked in my 20s and 30s.

I believe I’ll continue to age well, not just because of face yoga but because I take care of myself on a deep level.

I don’t mean that my skin will stay perfect, or I’ll never have lines or wrinkles. There’s nothing wrong with ageing. I just feel that I will always be the strongest, healthiest possible version of myself.

But 90% of the people I know who are regularly on camera have had some sort of invasive procedure, like Botox, fillers, or some form of plastic surgery.

I don’t oppose these options at all, it is great that we have the freedom of choice. However, I’ve chosen not to have these procedures. I’m aware that opens me up to scrutiny and criticism from people who will compare me to others of a similar age who have had them. This is especially true because of my work with face yoga – people expect me to look a certain way to show that my techniques work.

However, this fear is massively overridden by just feeling good about who I am on a soul level. I’ve built a career that aligns with my soul purpose, and I hope that I’ll still be teaching face yoga and wellness when I’m in my 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. I fully plan to make it to 100 – if I can still be teaching face yoga then, I’ll be very happy!

Thank You for Being Here

I want to finish by saying thank you to all of you who read this blog and support my work. I feel so blessed to have such a supportive, open-minded, empathetic audience behind me. You make this a safe space for me to share from the heart. I hope you find it helpful too.

I’d love to hear if there are topics you’d like me to cover, guests you’d like to see on the Face Yoga Expert Podcast, or if you have any thoughts or feelings to share about getting older.

A few months ago, I shared a post about ageing on Instagram. Afterwards, someone sent me a message to say there’s nothing positive about getting older. 

I fully disagree. 

I feel happy and blessed for every year older I get. Ageing is a privilege, and it’s not one everyone gets to enjoy. So, I’m excited to have reached age 40 and I’m looking forward to spending the next decade settling even more into showing up as my full, authentic self.
Thank you for being here for the next stage of my journey. I’m excited to share it with you.

If you’d like to hear more about my experience of turning 40, I’ve also talked about it in a solo episode of the Face Yoga Expert Podcast

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