Life begins at forty. This is the revolutionary outcome of our New Era. Today it is half a truth. Tomorrow it will be an axiom. Walter Pixin, 1932
This is a phrase that came into being in the 20th Century, believed to be coined by Walter Pixin. It wasn’t until the 20th Century that people were living long enough to have a decent life after forty, when all the toils and worries that come with a younger working lifestyle can be put aside to begin the best part of life.
These days, forty is considered young, and maybe the phrase should be changed to ‘life begins at sixty’
I remember when I turned forty. It seems a long time ago now, but strangely life was just beginning for me, or at least for my little Star who had just been born. All my life I swore that I would not have children when I reached forty. It seemed ancient, and there were so many risks involved. Particularly as I have a family history of Down’s Syndrome. My own mother had a child at forty-two and I know she found life tough at times, particularly as my dad died the same year.
My life was taking a different turn. My husband had left and I was bringing up two children on my own, then I met a new man who was younger than me and had no children of his own. We decided to try for a child together but after a miscarriage and two years of trying I was beginning to think it was time to give up, maybe my body was too old after all. Then at 39 and a half years old I got pregnant. When Star was born we decided we’d like to try for another, even though I was already forty. Then I had Boo when I was forty-one. That was it, I’d done it, two lovely girls and my family was complete. Of course the Little Man turned up when I was forty-four and gave us all a bit of a shock.
So, women are having babies later, I know I’m not the only one. People are living longer and working longer, so does life really begin at forty anymore?
Now as I approach fifty (not quite yet, but I’m sure it will fly by) I’m thinking about all the things I haven’t done in my life and wondering if I will ever do them. Do I go crazy and complete a bucket list? Or do I just sit back and be happy with what I have achieved? Is this when life begins for me, or did it begin many years ago when I started making choices for myself?