Q: How has your relationship to time changed as you have got older?
– Has it sped up? Has it slowed down? When did it move fastest for you?
I was a bit anxious as I turned 40 as I thought that I would age much faster, but it turned out to be the best age I could be. As I turned 40, I somehow developed that extra power and stimulus to enjoy life better and worry less. I became more adventurous and took up cycling, which introduced me to new friendships and beautiful places in and out of Malta. I had an inner confidence that I did not have before, and I became more comfortable with myself as a person, appreciating more my thoughts and dreams. I cared less what others thought of me or what I did. So long as I tried my best and did not offend or hurt others, I realized with more confidence that being or doing things differently from others was something beautiful and actually something to be proud of.
No time did not speed up, nor did it slow down. I realized that it was not the number of things I did that mattered but the quality and genuine appreciation of the things I did. Also being in the here and now was far more important than what happened in the past and what could possibly go wrong in the future.
Q: What was your career? Or job path?
I graduated in Pharmacy in 1992, and I worked full-time for seven years. After I became a mother in 1998, I followed a Postgraduate degree in Education to be able to teach Science and Biology. I then read for my Masters in Educational Leadership, followed by my recent Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy. I practice all of my three professions, but I am currently a full-time Head of a school in the secondary sector, and I feel that all my studies have helped me to carry out this role with fulfillment and satisfaction. I am a person who loves to learn, and I believe that learning is for life, so I am definitely in the right job. However, I believe that much learning occurs out of the boundaries of the classroom and I also believe that creativity and curiosity play a key role in learning. My encounters with my members of staff, students, and parents enable me to realize that life poses several challenges for us all, but with the right emotional and psychological support, there can always be a positive way forward. Together everybody achieves more.
Q: What advice would you give to yourself when you were a young mother?
I would repeatedly remind myself that you are definitely trying your best. It is normal to feel guilty at times, and it is normal to feel tired and that you need some time for yourself. Motherhood is not easy, and it can be draining. So it is fine to reach out and ask for the help of others to support you, especially eager grandparents who are proud to do so and have more time on their hands to do so. This will give you some time for yourself and for your partner/husband and it gives you back some of your energy. It also gives you some time to pamper yourself and to catch up on lost sleep.
Q: Have your values changed over time? What do you value now?
I have always believed that values can change over time according to our life experiences. My values are now entirely my own and not values imposed on me by society at large. Certain childhood values will always remain with me and I value them a lot as they have formed my springboard for the development of other values such as showing respect towards others, being conscious of other’s needs and context to understand them better and that being present for family members is much more important than gifts and other material revenues.
I have learnt that in loving and respecting oneself, one is much more able to love and respect others. Once you accept yourself, your positive traits as well as your less positive traits, you feel less angry and negative about things happening and people around you. It is important not to over-react, to think things out well before doing something, and that it’s ok to do so before feeling guilty you are wasting time as well as keeping in mind that life is a cycle of ups and downs. A favorite phrase of mine which I have learnt to use time-over-time in the event of negative circumstances is ‘This too shall pass’.
I now value time and the NOW, being fully present in the here and now. Today is always a good day for things to be good.
Q: Are there any myths you would like to bust about the over 40s? If so, can you tell us about them?
Women are somewhat made to feel afraid of reaching 40 that somehow life will soon be older, that we will start to regress physically, something not to look forward to. I strongly believe that after 40, the life of a woman, every woman can change for the better, much better. First and foremost, you have the confidence you did not have when you were younger, and you are much wiser. You no longer feel afraid or not confident to reply to an absurd comment, be it from another man or woman. Your language skills become more pronounced and clear, more assertive, and you most certainly know much better what you want and where you want to go. Frivolous matters concern you less, and you are able to focus more on the important things in life. At 40, you will probably be or reaching your career goals, and most of all, feel confident about carrying out your job well. At 40, you are also more comfortable in your body and less concerned if you go out in your shorts with some cellulite showing.
Not reaching 40 is not the end of the world. A common phrase is ‘Life begins at 40’. Well, I say life at 40 continues but it becomes more beautiful, more beautiful for you to enjoy and savor. If you want something, it’s there for you to take. You’re wiser and more beautiful in your own skin. At 40, you’re definitely more YOU. That’s one of the most beautiful feelings ever. Enjoy it. It shows in your face, in your eyes, and in the way you walk.
More information and how to participate our amazing 40 over 40, check this link: https://amandahsu.com/40over40/