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Why Your 40s Are Genuinely The Best Decade Of Your Life

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Milestone birthdays are a big deal. Probably because we hang a lot of baggage on them, like things we want to achieve by that age.

For some reason, there’s something about a number that ends in a zero which feels more important and powerful.

When you’re ten, it’s double digits; excitement, the feeling of (finally) growing up. At 20, you’re often living your best life too much to care, but it marks the end of teenage years and the start of proper adulthood.

30 is the biggie; the pressure of how sorted and under control your life feels can scramble minds, but come 40, it’s likely you’re there.

Not in an ‘I have everything I want and need’ way (do we ever?) but in a less selfish, bigger picture outlook. It’s the decade that brings serious wisdom.

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As we’re sure the Duchess of Cambridge knows only too well, your 30s is often a time of exhaustion, raising small people, caring too much about what people think, trying to climb rungs of the career ladder, unnecessarily scrutinising changes to your body, clinging on to old friendships, worrying about money…

And that’s not to say any of that magically changes the day you turn 40, but it’s a decade that brings confidence.

The ability to feel less guilty about that exhaustion and say no to things you don’t actually want to do.

To feel it’s OK to ‘cruise’ or stay at this level at work if that’s what works for you right now, or step back from relationships that don’t give you anything back.

Of course, there are worries – new ones you might not have even contemplated as a 30-something, like sick or ageing parents, health woes, relationship trauma, kids going through much tougher life issues – but the wisdom that comes with having lived through four decades already, allows you the reflection needed to take a step back, be calmer, work out what’s important for you and move forward on a path that feels right, knowing you can change things up if and when you want to.

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The Duchess of Cambridge during a school visit in late 2021 (PA)

Kate looks great at 40, like many of us do. And if we don’t, it’s probably because we’re prioritising other more important stuff than our looks.

In another decade, it’s likely there will be more stress – bodies can start letting you down a little more once you hit 50, and those lucky enough to still have parents in their life will have old parents, who might well need a lot more help.

Your 40s are a time to shine, bathe in the knowledge and experience that comes only with age, let the pressure of life ebb and flow with the security of knowing situations will evolve and change, whether you’re controlling them or not, and to let it be.

Happy birthday, Kate. Welcome to the best decade yet.