Sam, Sussex, UK

‘I’m turning forty at the end of July and I’m quite excited about that. And happy! I had a real wobble when I turned thirty.’

Sam didn’t like entering a new decade ten years ago. She says: ‘There was a lot of pressure – perceived, not necessarily real – to have your ducks in a row. You know, to have a house, husband and kids maybe.’

Now, turning forty, she just doesn’t care. She says: ‘I don’t have a husband anymore but I do have kids. I got divorced when I was 36 and it sounds a bit cliched, but I’ve found myself again, and feel more like me now than I did back then.’

She never thought about getting to this age when she was younger, because it seemed so old. She says: ‘My sister-in-law turned 40 when I was 24, and she told me she felt great, and all I could think was how old it was.’

When Sam became single in her mid-thirties, she worried that people wouldn’t find her attractive. ‘Because I looked older. Well, I was older than when I was last single. I had to take myself out of my own head a little bit and now I’m very body confident generally. I’m a fitness instructor, so I’m in decent physical shape, but I’m getting a few wrinkles and greys now. But I’m getting a grey streak and I’m embracing it.’

Age doesn’t mean anything when it comes to being someone’s child though. ‘I’ve caused my Dad more grey hairs in the last five years than I ever did as a child I think,’ she laughs. ‘Getting divorced, being self-employed and trying to buy a property in the most expensive part of the UK would do that.’

Sam now runs her fitness studio exclusively online, giving her more flexibility and helping her work towards her financial goals. ‘Being single in your thirties and forties means creating your own security, there’s no Plan B is there?’

She feels very settled now, after spending time after her divorce living in a cold flat in a condemned shopping centre. She didn’t have the feeling of security she has now. She says: ‘I’ve joked over the last few years about giving it all up and moving to Ibiza, but since I’ve bought my place I’ve realised I really like it here. At first I felt a bit stuck, because of the kids needing to be near their Dad, but now I feel like I’m at home. Searching for that sense of home was quite a long journey but I’ve made it.’

She tries to live in the now as much as possible. She says: ‘There are some things I want to do, but I think I’ve achieved quite a lot in the last few years. If someone had told me five years ago what I’d be doing now, I wouldn’t have believed them. In the next five years I want to continue to grow my business, get my financial house in order and be there for my friends and kids. I’ve also been seeing someone for about 6 months now, who doesn’t appear to be a moron.’

She laughs.

‘He would like us to live together but he’s also quite patient. I don’t want to ever end up in a condemned shopping centre again. I don’t feel stifled by a relationship, but I need to know that if it doesn’t work out that I’ll be OK by myself.’

Published by Paps

I love running, writing, travel and adventure. I'll give anything a go once, and am always up for a laugh.

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