While it’s largely a societal issue, the concept of women being ashamed of their age is something I still struggle to grasp. It could be because I grew up around women who embrace (and celebrate) life as they age and certainly do not see “the number” as a hindrance to goal-getting.
This concern about age asserts its relevance in my life as I’m nearing my 40s. I won’t be hitting the big 4-0 until 2025 but some of my friends are already in that phase. I feel it’s an underrated life stage as people have become desensitized to the quote “Life begins at 40.”
Host and multi-hyphenate Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, in recent episodes of her Paano Ba ‘To?! podcast, shares her spiritual solo trip experience in Bhutan. On a separate one, she also sends out an important message to women everywhere that there is value in accepting, especially appreciating wherever you are in life.
While reveling in being forty, Bianca shared her reflections and came up with 40 keys to happiness. Here are 15 of the seemingly mundane but impactful ones that stood out for me during my listening session:
1) Accept your flaws.
2) Show up even on days you don’t feel like it.
3) Allow yourself to feel.
4) Surround yourself with people whose faces light up when you walk into a room.
5) Stick to your values and morals even when no one is looking.
6) Seek (professional) help.
7) Recognize that you are a work-in-progress.
8) Keep on exploring interests that pique your curiosity.
9) Nothing that you put effort into is ever wasted.
10) Never think that you are better than anyone else.
11) Never wear your title, job, or status on your forehead.
12) Treat others with kindness and compassion.
13) Take care of your (only) body.
14) Rejection is not necessarily a NO.
15) Do not compare yourself with others.
As reality continues to remind us about getting fine lines and wrinkles or experiencing hot flashes and hormonal and bodily changes as we age, all the more we need is a major reframing of the mind. We need to take a look at how we have overcome life’s challenges, explored different places, survived jobs, shifted careers, and met new faces along the way.
It wasn’t until she was 40 that Vera Wang was able to design her first wedding dress (She designed it for herself!) and jumpstarted her world-renowned fashion empire. J.K. Rowling finished her iconic Harry Potter series at age 42. All we need is to wait for the perfect and appointed time.
Remember Asian-American actress Michelle Yeoh’s speech when she made history and bagged an Oscar last month? She said it with conviction, “Ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime.”
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Happy 40th birthday to one of my best friends, a soulsister, Pam!
Listen to Bianca Gonzalez’s rundown of the full list on her Spotify podcast Paano Ba ‘To?! March 20 episode titled 40 Keys to Happiness (Bianca’s 40th Birthday Special!).
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