Yep the big Four O. Researchers from the University of Melbourne have just completed a study in conjunction with British researchers that seems to show that woman are the least happy in the first few years of their forties. It actually said their unhapiness peaks in their early forties.
As that is exactly where I am at the moment, as well as having a lot of friends at the same age or a bit past it, I’ve been pondering why this is.
I think the researchers are partially right that this sadness is due to family pressures, but I think it goes deeper than that.
I have noticed that many of my girlfriends end their marriages in their late thirties and early forties. This would obviously cause a lot of stress and unhappiness but they are ending their marriages because they are not happy in that situation anymore.
By forty, for many of us, our children are all at school and we may be reconsidering reentering the workforce or taking on more work outside the home. I think it is a time in a womans life when her outlook is changing. Our most fertile years are behind us and menopause is looming. I think it is a time when we feel least appreciated for all we do.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. It seems to be a time when we decide to do things for ourselves. When our children are young everything revolves around them and a s a mother your own wants and needs tend to be put on the backburner. By forty the load seems to lighten, children develop their own interests and start to become more capable. Although, I have to say parenting teenagers is hard work but that’s a blog for another day!
For me, this year brings a lot of changes. My eldest started uni (yes I was a child bride), the next one down is in his last year of high school, number three started high school leaving my baby in grade four. This December I will have been married twenty years.
I’m not unhappy at the moment but I wouldn’t say I’m content either. I am more determined to voice how I feel and what I want – this may cause unhappiness for the people around me but I do think it’s my turn in the spotlight.