My 41st birthday is looming. I have a wonderful career in finance, no children, and a very empty right side of the bed.
I am a fully fledged member of the 'singles club' - I have the credentials to prove it, and although my desire is to marry and have a family of my own, achieving this, hasn't been the smoothest of rides. But, if I am honest, I don't completely hate it here.
There was a period when my single life really troubled me. I would see couples and families together and I would grimace at the thought that I may never find that. I felt as though I was the only person in the world who was not in a loving and fulfilling relationship. It ate at my confidence and what came was a cascade of feelings of unworthiness.
Like many women in their 40's, I have kissed my fair share of frogs. I have been on endless and unpromising online dating apps and dates. I have experienced no shows, non-committals, love bombing and ghosting. But, what I have come to realise, is that at 40, I have become a well rounded woman. I have developed self-love and I have a good-ish radar when it comes to time wasters - hey, I am human after all.
Unfortunately, the media, movies and society will lead you to believe that being single at 40 is rare, and that you are lacking if you're not married with 2.4 children by the age of 30, or at least are on the road to it. As a result, we harbour these obscene ideologies and beliefs, that have been engraved in us since childhood. But, essentially, there are no rules, just ideologies. There is no set timing to finding love.
What I've haphazardly found is that at 40, both character and attitude to dating and relationships can change immensely. We become self-aware. We are able to draw on past relationships and know exactly what we want and don't want. The red flags that were usually dismissed, are now highlighted, so the chances of accepting behaviour that we might have put up with in our 20's and 30's is now considerably low.
My personal thoughts around dating are now more aligned with self-love and increased worth - like, Do I really like this person?, and less of Does this person like me? I seek compatibility as opposed to someone fun. Goals, ambitions and stability are of high importance and personality definitely overrides looks.
It's important that we challenge the narrative of being single in your 40's. In a world with over 6 billion people - there is no set age to find your 'happily ever after'. We are the gatekeepers to our own happiness and when you feel at ease with where you are in your life and own it - you'll attract the right type love. Take your life experiences and enjoy the fun of dating - even in your 40's.