Forty is the mid point in a person's life. Some people see it as the time when youth withers away and old age sets in. Forties is the in-between age, when you are neither young nor old. It has many advantages though many women think it is a disadvantage to be past the age of vim and vigour. No one can remain young forever but a sensible lifestyle should find you fit and healthy at forty and take you on to a healthy old age. But, what lies in store for you later in life, will be determined by how you conduct yourself in these middle years.
Let us see how life changes after forty. On your forthieth birthday you wake up in the morning after a restful sleep. You look into a mirror and see a couple of grey hairs on your scalp. You've just turned forty but you feel old. You need reading glasses for near work and wonder how long it will be before you need a hearing aid and a denture as well. You feel terrible.
It is a myth that once you cross 40 years of age you are headed for memory loss, loose wrinkled skin, teeth falling out, hearing loss and stiff joints. If you experience any of these symptoms it would be health related rather than caused by age. As you enter your mid-50s the acuity of your senses may begin to diminish and you will find yourself slowing down. But it would be years before you see the changes mentioned above. Instead of grumbling over lost youth, you would do well to accept the changes. People who have learnt to accept aging gracefully lead fuller and richer lives. It is just a question of attitude. You are only as old as you feel.
"I can't read fine print"
Most people when they enter their 40s, find that there is a difficulty in reading and in near work. What happens here is that the eye's crystalline lens looses its capacity to change its focusing power. You require glasses for near work. That's it. So, pick a fine frame that gives you an intellectual look and watch how all about you regard you in high esteem and approach you for your wise advice and guidance in matters of importance.
To preserve your eyesight have your eyes regularly checked and ensure that you use the correct glasses for reading or distance. Always read in adequate light. If you work on a computer, make sure you blink often to moisturize your eyes.
Cataracts develop in old age, though not as early as in your 40s. Anti-oxidants are recommended for delaying the formation of cataracts. And when they do develop there are newer methods of dealing with them such as cataract surgery by phaco - emulsification with intra-ocular lens implants. So, why worry on that aspect. .
"My hair looks different"
It is not only the greying of hairs that is disturbing but also the change in thickness of the hairs and receding hairline and the baldness that sets in. For greying of hairs you can treat them with henna or apply a good hair dye. For baldness you can wear a wig.
"My teeth lack their bite"
Your teeth are going to need a lot of attention by the dentist. As the gums recede and the teeth become loose you will find it difficult to crack nuts and open bottles with the ease during your earlier days.
Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a good fluoride toothpaste and a brush small enough to reach every part of your mouth. Change your toothbrush every 3 months. Floss your teeth everyday. That is the only way to get rid of plaque - bacteria, and its by - products.
"I tested positive for diabetes"
This applies to those persons who have a family history of diabetes. The disease manifests itself after the age of 40. Have your post meal blood sugar checked and plan your diet well. Go slow on sugars and carbohydrates. Do not look at it as a problem, rather call it a move to insure your future well - being.
"Can I sit down this dance ?"
Once you could have danced all night. Now you get tired more easily and the couch is more inviting than the dance floor. So, conserve your energy for things that matter. Conversing with the other guests is equally good rather than dancing away for hours.
"My weighing machine tells lies"
Despite all the walking and jogging you do, you weigh heavier on the weighing scales. However, if you exercise regularly and do a wise dieting, you can still stay fit and trim.
"I just can't rock and roll"
Stiff joints do not come as early as the forties. These came after a couple of decades later. Check it out with your doctor if they come early in the 40s. Have a glass of milk a day and calcium supplements to make up for the loss of calcium which begins as early as the 30s. Regular weight bearing exercises will keep the joints supple and the bones strong.
"What did you say ?"
Your hearing and understanding capacity diminishes with age. Your memory wavers and you forget names and things you have to do. Get a hearing aid for your hearing loss and make a to do list for your forgetfulness. Try yoga and meditation to reduce stress and keep relaxed. Stimulate your mental capacities by doing challenging work and solve crosswords and mind challenging games to improve sharpness of your brain.
"My joints are becoming stiff and painful"
Osteoarthritis begins as a slight pain in the knees, hips, and the spine, the main weight - bearing joints of the body. It is painful but relatively mild as compared to rheumatoid arthritis. The cause is the usual - wear and tear, lack of exercise, poor posture, and excessive weight. Aching feet can make you miserable and the pain is sometimes severe. Wear the right shoes, give yourself a weekly pedicure and do not wear the same shoes everyday. Alternate between two pairs, at least. Soak your feet in hot water treated with Epsom salt or plain salt.
"My sleep patterns have changed"
You need a nap in the afternoon. You sleep less at night. Do you wake refreshed every morning ? If your answer is yes then there is nothing to worry about. And there is nothing wrong in catching 40 winks in the afternoon. Actually it is good for you. A nap in the afternoon will rejuvenate your mind and body to deal with the rest of the day.
"Turn down that noise"
If you find yourself getting impatient and irritable, it is not necessarily a sign of aging. It is just the stress factor. There are probably more demands on your attention and time than there was when you were younger. Regular exercises not only tones up your body but they also soothe your mind as well.
"My libido will flag with time"
The sexuality does not diminish with age. If you are in good health and have a healthy libido there is no reason to fear a loss of desire. In fact, couples who have been together a long time say the sex is better now than it was before. If you are having less sex, it could be because the stress to care for family and home wears you down and you are too tired to make the effort. Health problems are another cause of decreased libido.
"Will the sex be satisfying ?"
One of the major obstacles to satisfying sex is boredom in the bedroom. By this time sex may become monotonous. Under these circumstances men may start looking out for variety and things may become serious. The best way to overcome this danger is to communicate. The couple must discuss about their desires and work out as to how they can help each other to their mutual satisfaction.
So, you must accept old age gracefully. There is a saying that "Life begins at forty". And truly said, Life Does Begin At Forty.