Claire King



Posted on: November 25th, 2011 by Claire - 17 Comments

I’m one of those human beings who needs the symbols and ceremonies that mark our little lives.

The beginnings, endings and milestones along the way. I believe that they are important, psychologically.

I like birthdays, weddings and although I don’t enjoy them, I very much appreciate funerals. I always loved the first day back to school, and last day of school before the summer holidays. I love launch parties and recognitions of success. So what am I trying to tell you? OK, I’ll spit it out. I have a birthday with a zero at the end coming soon.

In forty days and forty nights, I’m going to be… (can you guess?)

Forty gets used a lot in religious texts. They seem to use it to mean ‘a big number’.

I remember my mum turning forty. I was sixteen. And forty did seem like a big number to me then. It was the age of mums and dads. An age to joke about, to celebrate, but in a mocking sort of way. In an ‘Over the hill and off the pill, get your slippers out’ sort of way.

For my mum, forty came in the heart of a storm. She was too busy surviving to worry about celebrating, reflecting or looking forward. It was all she could do to keep the boat afloat with her kids in it. My mum, by the way, is amazing. And her life since forty has just got better and better.

For me, forty comes in fine weather. I loved my twenties, although I was rather volatile for much of the time. I loved my thirties too, although I was in rather a hurry and sometimes a bit overwhelmed. I’m thinking that my forties are going to be brilliant, and for now I’m just thankful.

I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for our good health. And I’m thankful that we are bouncing along the regular ups and downs of the day-to-day, living the little trials and joys of our lives, with clean drinking water, untouched by earthquake, famine or flood. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had so far, and the opportunities I have now.

And there’s no big wish list from this blogger. Everything I want from my forties has to come from me. I want to be a good mother to my girls, a good wife to my husband, a good daughter to my mum. I want spend as much time with my family and friends as I can, while I can. I want to seize the opportunity I have to write novels and have them published well. I want to be true to myself, and try and make myself a better person at fifty than I am today.

Hello, 40, you’ll be welcome.

17 Responses

  1. martha says:

    Strongly recommend having a huge party and getting pregnant — that’s what I did!

  2. Kate Brown says:

    Well, I was pregnant already, but I did the party too. My Dad turned 80, I turned 40 and 0 was in my tummy… Very happy memories. Go for it.

  3. Charlie says:

    I was not pregnant, when I turned 40, nor did I have a huge party.

    What I did do was have a wonderful day in the bosom of my wonderful family. Good food, cuddles, kisses, wine. That kind of thing.

    I would highly recommend something along those lines.

    I don’t know if this has any bearing on things, by the way, but I’ve always fancied doing thing we did the other day, with a 40 year old. Just saying.

  4. Charlie says:

    No I mean *after* the fajitas.

  5. What a lovely, optimistic post. I wish I’d had your outlook on turning 40. 40 really did symbolise ‘getting older’ in a negative way to me. Thankfully, a few weeks later I managed to shake off the doom and gloom feeling and just get on with living. Numbers don’t mean a lot really do they, it’s what we do with our life that matters. Happy Birthday for when it comes!

    • claire says:

      Thanks Abi. Glad you’ve shaken off the doom and gloom. I’m not sure those feelings come from inside us, I think perhaps they’re instilled in us. Numbers mean zip. I still love Spandau Ballet’s line about someone being ’18 summers long’. I like the idea of being 40 summers long 🙂

  6. Forty-something is good. Enjoy it, Claire. On my fortieth I wrote a list of forty things I wanted to do or achieve before I got really old. I have ticked off quite a few already (including publication of a novel – whey-hey!)with many others still remaining. For me, it was a way of focussing the mind on what I really, really wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I check in on that list when I feel lost or a bit down.

    • claire says:

      I think that’s a great idea, as long as you’ve got ambitions and desires, you’re living your life. It’s when you decide you’re ‘too old for all that’ that you really do age.

  7. Absolutely. Keep striving!

  8. Rebecca Emin says:

    Your 40s will be excellent, I have no doubt about that. It sounds like we are thinking along very similar lines for that decade.

    For my 40th I hosted a writing competition on my blog which was so much fun I am doing another one to mark my debut novel’s official publication day. I also spent the day with my family and had a lovely day out. It was perfect. I hope yours will be just as lovely.

    • claire says:

      Thanks, Rebecca! My birthday comes hot on the heels of Christmas and New Year, when most people are feeling a bit partied out. But as long as I’ve got my family around, whatever we do will be just perfect.

  9. 40 was the beginning of awareness and transformation.
    Awareness that the life I was living was not the one I wanted. It led into a journey of transformation and I have grown from every moment of it, the good times and the hard times. I’ve discovered it is a life time work in progress. That’s why I have enjoyed when I turned 50 so much. Another almost five years later, I wake up every morning thinking that life is beautiful even when, sometimes, it is tougher. Don’t forget that your words and your thoughts create your reality. Decide what you want your 40 to be!
    Take care of you beautiful Claire!

    • claire says:

      Thank you so much, Agnès! You’re absolutely right. Next time I’m in Paris I will call for a drink! It’s been a year since I was, it’s usually Toulouse these days, or the mountains. But that is also part of it 😉 xxx

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