At the age of forty you get membership to an exclusive club — middle-age. But fear not, you don’t need to pull on those slippers, sip your cocoa and turn in for an early night (though if that’s what floats your boat at forty good for you, each to their own).
There’s plenty of time to get out and live a little more, but maturity can lead a few health niggles. However, advancements in science and medicine has brought us laser eye treatment, tadalafil for men and HRT for women, all great in the effort to combat age-related problems.
Am I Too Old for Love and Sex?
You can maintain an active sex-life well into your twilight years. Problems such as erectile dysfunction do not necessarily mean an end love-making. Seek advice from your GP, they may prescribe tadalafil for men or other medication, therapy can help too. Couples counseling can address the emotional issues surrounding problems in the bedroom and help you to face problems together.
The best advice is to act, do not assume your best days are over just because your hair is greying! Sex matters and if you are at all worried put any embarrassment aside and go and see your GP, he or she has heard it all before and will not be remotely phased by anything you tell them. Alongside bedroom antics it’s important that you still make your partner feel special. Try to go on regular date nights, make the effort to look good and take time to talk and listen to each other. Many relationships crumble due to carelessness and complacency – don’t make that mistake!
Never found that special someone to share your life with? Or perhaps you did find “the one,” but have unfortunately lost your partner. If you find yourself flying solo do not resign yourself to being single for the rest of your life. Entering your forties will bring you maturity and you may find that you feel more confident than ever before.
You have experience, wisdom and knowledge on your side now too remember! Love could be just around the next corner – keep your eyes open and don’t turn down the opportunity to do new things and meet new people.
Should I Cut Down on Booze and Junk Food?
Reaching forty doesn’t mean you need to go tea-total, but do try and make sure you have a few alcohol-free days each week. Our aging bodies don’t need the added complication of tons of beer, wine and spirits taking their toll every single evening. Give yourself a break! Also, at the risk of sounding like a kill-joy over forties do not make attractive drunks, so don’t go over the top if you do decide to partake in a few sherries – especially if you are in company.
There’s nothing worse than a drunk guy in his mid-forties, flailing around in an attempt to throw a few shapes on the dance floor, sweating profusely, swearing loudly and spilling lager all down his shirt. Leave it to the teenagers, it’s funny when they get hammered, but not so much when you do – especially the next day when you’re fighting off the hangover from hell.
As for your diet – it’s important to consider what you are eating however old you are, but as you age your metabolism slows down you may find it harder to shift those pounds. Try and cut out the junk and comfort food you reach for after a long day at work, keep healthy snacks close by and try to eat regularly (skipping breakfast will just make you crave biscuits at 11.00am).
How Important is Social Interaction and “Me-Time?”
You don’t have to be a social animal, or attend the opening of an envelope, but you should try to spend time with others. Chances are by the time you are forty you will have formed meaningful relationships with family and friends, but that doesn’t mean you should close yourself off from meeting new people.
There are opportunities to expand your social circle everywhere you look, through friends of friends, through work, through hobbies, even through a casual drink at your local pub or when walking your dog in the park.
Striking up a conversation is very easy once you get the hang of it. If you find it tricky focus your efforts on the other person, ask questions – most people love to talk about themselves! Once you have gotten used to it you will find interacting with others easier and discovered shared passions, lively debate and may even form a few more close, long-lasting friendships.
Midlife can be busy, at forty you might find yourself at the peak of your career, with children to care for and elderly parents that need your support too. Along with this you are trying to maintain your looks by keeping fit and maintain your social circle by meeting friends and organising events. On top of this the garden needs mowing, the walls need re-painting and Fido the family dog needs his two walks per day (otherwise he will be eating your slipper again in consternation). How can you possibly save a slither of time for yourself? It is essential to find time to switch off now and again, read a book, do a crossword, enjoy a cup of tea – just close your eyes and take a moment. Try and find opportunities in your day for both social interaction and quiet time for yourself.
Is it Time for More Rest and Relaxation?
Forty doesn’t indicate that it’s time to slow down, but we do all need to rest our brains and bodies. A good night’s sleep doesn’t always come easily -are you too hot? Too cold? Is it too noisy? Or perhaps it’s too light. Invest in a good quality bed, mattress and bedding and you might find it easier to get some valuable shut eye. Black out blinds are a great idea if early morning sunlight wakes you prematurely and earplugs can offer welcome respite from a noisy road or a snoring spouse (unfortunately snoring is another of those annoying ailments linked to aging).
But what if you are the snoring spouse? If you are keeping your partner awake (or disturbing your own sleep) with loud snoring then you really need to seek out a solution. Separate beds (or even bedrooms) can certainly help – but for many that’s too drastic an option. There are a number of contraptions on the market that might help – such as a gum shield that improves your breathing. It’s worth speaking to your GP if your snoring has become a problem.
Quality sleep can improve your physical and mental state, help to stave off illness and reduce weight gain. Make sure your bedroom offers a calm and relaxing space – that means banning the tech! You do not need to sleep with your mobile under the pillow or on the bedside table! It shouldn’t be the last thing you look at before bed and the first thing you see in the morning! If that’s the case you have an unhealthy relationship with your phone and its high time you weaned yourself off it.
Does Anybody Care How I Look?
Everyone should care about how they look – including you! Age is just a number and no excuse to let yourself go. Mid-life should not be synonymous with pot-bellies, comb-overs and comfy cardigans! (In fact, there is no age where any of these three things should be remotely acceptable).
It’s time to look after yourself, and that includes taking care of your skin. Skincare isn’t just for the ladies, males can benefit from adopting a sensible regime too. If you’re not sure what your skin needs you could consult a dermatologist, he or she will advise you on the best way forward (so you don’t waste money on tons of products you don’t really need).
Get a good-quality haircut too, middle-age can cause hair to become more fragile or start to thin. A hairstylist should be able to advise you on a style to suit – don’t stick with the same old short-back and sides you’ve had for the last twenty years, go for something fresher that flatters and makes you feel good about yourself.
Forty and Fabulous.
Forty is not old! It’s a time to celebrate what you have achieved and take stock of what you want to do next. Enjoy your midlife – there’s really no need for a crisis.