lifestyle

"40 is the new 30."

Nina May

by NINA MAY

I turned 40 recently.

It’s a milestone, no doubt, a time of reflection. And when I read Chris Urquhart’s piece on turning 30, it made me think back to that time a decade ago – and of what’s happened since.

Like Chris, I too thought that by the time I’d hit 30, I’d be a homeowner, married and a parent. I remember thinking that the year 2000 would be a great one to start having kids. I’d be 28 years old then and, hey, it seemed a good a time as any.

The reality I didn’t even meet my husband until I was 31. I married at 33, and had baby no 1 at 35. Baby number two came last year, at age 38.

I’m pretty sure that when I was a teenager I never thought I’d be changing nappies at 40.

I’ve had a great career (22 years since I started, I still love working in the media) and I want to do more. I’ve travelled to some terrific places but feel there’s so much left to see. I’ve met some amazing people. And, best of all, experienced the great joy of watching my two babies gurgle and grow.

I agree with Chris’ simple philosophies on life – live, love, laugh, learn. Live in the moment. Love what you have. Laugh with family and friends. Learn from mistakes.

But there are also two other L’s that have been especially important to me as I‘ve moved from my 30s into my 40s.

Loyalty. The older I’ve become, the more I’ve relished my core group of friends and family. I’ve a close-knit circle of girlfriends, who are like my sisters. We know each other’s secrets, trust each other implicitly, and have a bond Superman couldn’t break.

One of my closest friends said recently I was like a vault, and that’s a badge I wear with honour. 

Liabilities. And by that, I mean getting rid of them. In my 30s, I learned to focus on the positives and not be drained by the negatives, re-balance my life to juggle career and raising a family, and go easy on myself.

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It’s often said that by the time many women hit their 40s they’re much more comfortable in their own skin. Hopefully, they’ve got rid of some insecurities and relish what they’ve achieved.

And most days I do feel like that. But there are still times of pause. I’m doubtful that changes with age. I hope I’m making the right life decisions but it’s oh-so-different from ten years ago – now I have a family of my own to consider, and with that comes much more responsibility.

I’ve also learnt the power of the unexpected. When I was heavily pregnant with our first child, my husband was diagnosed with a melanoma. Thankfully, he is fine now but at the time it came as big shock. Soon after his diagnosis, we had our new baby.

I dealt with it all internally, telling only my inner circle and taking one day at a time. But once the fog cleared and the shock dissipated, I discovered a passion that I never anticipated. I decided I wanted to learn more about melanoma, and do something to help. My work as an ambassador at the Melanoma Institute – liaising with the fantastic team there, meeting new people, hearing their stories and helping raise much needed funds – is now an important and enriching part of my life.  And one I never would have expected.

They say 40 is the new 30. But no matter how you fudge the maths, 50 is up next.

Of course, there are still more things I’d like to achieve. Live overseas for a while. Report from the International Space Station (if only). Run the City2Surf without stopping (I’m working on it). Sing in a band like I did at high school. Read all those books gathering dust on the shelves.

I celebrated turning 40 with an 80s music party. And, it was just like my 30th – with the same tunes, same poorly executed dance moves, even some of the same faces in the crowd.

In 10 years, a lot has changed. But then again, some things haven’t changed at all.

Nina May has been a journalist for more than 20 years and now co-hosts First Edition and News Now on Sky News. She’s also a proud ambassador for Melanoma Institute Australia. You can follow her on Twitter here.

How did you feel on your last milestone birthday? Have you changed much since?