Am I on the “wrong” side of 40?

Am I on the wrong side of 40 POST

I was at an event the other day when a woman introduced herself as being “the wrong side of 40″. That is, she was over 40.

I immediately wondered why this was “the wrong side”. Now, I’m over 40. But I don’t feel like there is anything “wrong” with it. In fact, I don’t think my life has ever felt more “right”.

It’s also a bit like when people refer to their “other half”. I’ve never been able to utter those words. I guess it’s because the implication is that if you don’t have a partner, then you’re not already whole.

Before you think I’m a pedantic nut obsessed with semantics … remember, I’m a wordsmith. That’s my job. I’m surrounded by words every day. And I also think that choosing the right words is very important. Because the words you choose can have a huge impact on the way you think about the world.

It’s just like whether you consider a glass to be half full … or half empty.

Or whether you choose to label yourself as a “business owner”, “mumpreneur” or someone who is “trying to sell a few things online in my spare time”.

The words you choose have power and meaning. Whatever label you give yourself will stick. Whatever story you tell yourself about your life or situation – whether you’re struggling, enjoying, hating, loving life – will come true.

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.
  • Hector McSquawky

    I am definitely on the right side of forty :)

    • valeriekhoo

      Hector: So am I!

  • Bruno Polito

    This is so true, Valerie. The words you choose do have power and meaning. More so, they can appear physically innocuous, while actually being psychologically oppressive.
    The wrong side of 40 (vocationally challenged / outcast)
    My other half (less that whole)
    The little woman (derogatory / belittling)
    To fall pregnant ( a la “fall from grace” a loss of status, respect, or prestige)

    • valeriekhoo

      Another one I can’t stand: … “The ball and chain”

  • Adam Franklin

    I totally agree Valerie. Well selected words are very important because they reflect what you believe in and where you are going. I love this quote from Ghandi:

    “Your beliefs become your thoughts,
    Your thoughts become your words,
    Your words become your actions,
    Your actions become your habits,
    Your habits become your values,
    Your values become your destiny.”

    • valeriekhoo

      Love this quote Adam. Am sticking it up on the wall here.

    • Jayanta Sarma

      The correct quote from M. K. Gandhi (not Ghandi) is –

      Watch your thoughts; they become your words.
      Watch your words; they become your action.
      Watch your action; they become your habits.
      Watch your habits for they become your character.
      Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

  • Shaggygirlrox

    If I’m on the wrong side of 40 then I’m happy to be wrong!

    • valeriekhoo

      I’ll admit: I’m loving it. For me, so many insecurities or concerns just don’t matter any more.

  • CaAtherine Meredith

    I definitely think I’m on the right side of 50 – and I say this as the celebration of my 52nd birthday approaches. If it’s the wrong side, then I’m deliriously happy to be there!

    • valeriekhoo

      Great place to be! You couldn’t actually PAY me to go through the angst of my 20s again. I’m loving the confidence that comes with experience :)

  • debqu

    i feel like the middle aged woman at the wedding in a new dress that nobody notices. i just turned 55 this week . widowed eight months ago,i find eyes slide right off me these days.invisible woman thats me. what is it about getting older that scar