About Jen

Hi, I’m Jen, and I’m here to talk about life after 40.

Why 40? Because looking back, I wish I’d had a friend to help me through the challenges that begin around this age, and I’d like to try to be that person for you.

I want to offer a few signposts and some encouragement when you need it.  Because I’ve been there and I know what you might be going through.

“Forty is when your warranty runs out”, my doctor said bluntly.

Some think that 40 is just an age like any other, and in a sense that may be true.   All seasons of life bring their unique challenges.  But as my doctor once told me bluntly, “Forty is when your warranty runs out”.

What did he mean by this?

It’s the age when the “chickens come home to roost”, as my mom would say.   In other words, the age when all your good habits pay nice dividends, and — unfortunately — when any bad ones can land you in a pile of debt – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Like most people, I am a mixture of good and bad. At the age of 40, I was happier than I was when I was younger.  I had developed some self-acceptance.   I had a great marriage, a good job, and faith that things usually work out for the best.

Everything flowed easily for me. Until one day when the flow just stopped.

But I also pushed myself a lot.   I had something to prove, and I wanted to be the best at anything I did.   I worked full-time  for a security products company, but also wanted a fulfilling, creative home life.  I wanted to be a writer, and I loved to read and cook and spend time with my husband, and I exercised every day.

Then we bought a house with a garden and I wanted to grow vegetables and flowers and be the envy of the neighborhood.   So I added these to my to-do list.   Since there are only 24 hours in a day, something had to give, and early on I decided this something would be sleep.

I found that if I exercised nearly every day and took a lot of supplements and drank coffee in the evening to stay awake, that I could get by on about 5 hours of sleep on weeknights and make it up on the weekends.

This worked for quite some time.  I had endless energy and easily moved from one task to the next.  Everything flowed easily for me. Until one day in my early 40’s,  when the flow just stopped.

Suddenly if I tried to garden, and then go for a run, I would get dizzy and headachy.   And often I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling panicky – like something needed to be done but I didn’t know what it was – and I had no idea how to get back to sleep.

Then I started to get tired at work and lose focus.   I also got a strange hive-like rash my doctor couldn’t explain.

As if this wasn’t enough, around this time my mother died unexpectedly, and my life was thrown into chaos.  All the structure I had built for myself seemed to fall away and I felt like I was starting at zero.

You can emerge from these challenges wiser and stronger, with more compassion for yourself and others.

But I’m happy to say that a decade has passed, and I have been feeling quite good again for many years.  What changed?  Well, I’ve had to make some adjustments.   I‘ve had to change some of my thoughts and habits.   And I’ve had to grow in some surprising ways.

wood nature walkingBut this is the very nature of life, after all.   It takes unexpected twists and turns, and sometimes the journey seems dark and uncertain, but we can emerge from these challenges wiser and stronger, with more compassion for ourselves and others and better habits and attitudes to take into the future.

I don’t want you to feel alone in any of this.   I want to share what I have learned, and perhaps make this journey a  little easier for you, as we continue along together.

Please leave a comment below if there’s anything you’d like to talk about – or just to say “Hello!” –  and check back frequently for articles that I hope will benefit you as you move through your own challenges in your 40’s and beyond.

All the best,

Jen 

12 thoughts on “About Jen

  1. Hello Jen,
    The appearance of your website is good because the articles and the topics that you describe are very important for today’s society. Therefore, you have become a social reformer through your site. I wish your success, Jen.

    1. Thank you, Daya! Glad you like what I’m doing. I like to share what has helped me in hopes that it will help others as well. Sometimes even small changes in habits or attitude can make a big difference.

  2. Hi Jen! I’ve enjoyed reading your articles and I’m looking forward to your future posts. I’ve seen a lot lately about the healthy benefits of clean eating. I would love to see what you have to say about the subject.

    Your website looks great! Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi, Roberta! Glad you enjoy my site! Writing health articles and talking to readers has been a wonderful experience!

      I wasn’t familiar with the term “clean eating” until recently, but it does convey in a nutshell all of the healthful elements of eating that are important to me: organic, unprocessed foods; clean water; mindful meals with family; and balanced portions from the essential food groups.

      Thanks for bringing this great concept to my attention. It provides a great focus for better living.

  3. Good evening. I know what you mean, but being forty and over is great, because many did not make it that far and as for me, I am grateful. But I guess we can say “been there and done that” when we reach this age. It should have made anyone a whole lot wiser but looking back and looking at my life, I know I did some crazy things. But you live and you learn and the good part is that we get to help direct the younger generation in the right direction. Life is great at 40 and beyond.

    1. Hi Norman! Yes, life is definitely great at 40 and beyond. And the older I get, the more grateful I am to be here and to be feeling good. I think the rough patches have made me more appreciative of the good things I have.

      As far as “been there, done that”, one thing I notice is that challenges don’t upset me as much because I feel like I have been through whatever it is before, and I will probably be able to handle it in some way. Thanks for your insights!

  4. When you mentioned “Forty is when your warranty runs out” that statement really hit me hard. In 6 years time (not very long), I’ll turn 40, but it feels like I am racing against time.

    Still struggling financially and not married, I am really feeling the pressure when I compare myself with other women who have achieved more at less than my age. Some days, these thoughts can be very depressing. I try not to think about it too much and just push forth with whatever will that I have.

    1. Hi Cathy. I hope you can relax and let go of the feeling that you’re racing against anything or competing against anyone. You are a unique individual who can’t be compared to others. Try thinking of your life as your unique journey with interesting twists and turns that reflect your individual gifts that no one else can offer.

      The “warranty” analogy is just a way of pointing out that everyone has physical and emotional trouble spots that can cause problems as we get older. We need to care for ourselves throughout of lives so that as we get older our weak points don’t become major issues. For instance, I pushed myself to accomplish too much when I was young, so I had problems with hormones and energy when I hit my 40’s.

      Yet it is almost never too late to turn things around and I am doing much better now!

      The advice I would give my younger self is to relax and enjoy life, exercise moderately (not excessively), eat well, and extend love and kindness to everyone you meet. These will help keep you healthy. Take care!

  5. Hi, Jen!

    I enjoyed reading about you. Reading your words felt like a pleasant conversation.

    I’m 59 and often look back on my life. It goes by so fast. Like you, I pushed myself too hard when I was younger and now I wonder what for.

    My marriage fell apart and destroyed my finances in the process. Recovering from the loss, I learned to cherish the small things, silence, stillness, my granddaughter’s hug.

    1. Hi Gary! I’m glad you enjoyed reading about my journey. I do try to write like I’m having a conversation with a friend. Life can very be hard at times, and it’s important to be able to connect with and understand each other.

      Why is it that we push ourselves so much when we’re young? It may be a certain personality type. I think I wanted to prove that I was good enough, that I could be successful in anything I chose.

      But relationships often suffer, as you point out. Sometimes I think that working on projects and plans is easier than dealing with real people. At least that’s sometimes the case for me.

      I’m glad you are cherishing the small things. Often these are the most real and satisfying.

  6. Hello! I’m really looking forward to your future posts! The website looks great so far! Best of luck and keep up the good work!!

    1. Thank you! It’s been a great learning experience. I love to write and to talk about health-related issues, and I want to discuss the many ways that we can adapt our thoughts and lifestyles to live even better as we get older.

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