This is how men feel when they turn 40

This is how men feel when they turn 40

Prince William turns 40 this week.  (Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)

Prince William turns 40 this week. (Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)

Prince William turns 40 this week. (Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)

“Am I where I expected to be at 40?”

This is probably not a question Prince William is asking himself as he enters his fifth decade. But the Duke of Cambridge’s birthday made us think about milestone ages and why some of us place so much importance on certain numbers.

For women, approaching ‘The Big Four O’ often means discussions about fertility and the biological clock intensify (whether or not you want children and even if a woman doesn’t suddenly wake up on her birthday unable to conceive) .

But what is at the forefront of men’s minds as they approach that age? We asked a bunch of guys 39 and older to find out.

‘I get a lot of dick for being single’

(Photo: Stephen)

(Photo: Stephen)

(Photo: Stephen)

“I am almost 40 years old, single, with no permanent long-term job. I still love to travel and explore and I don’t have any kind of plans. But I’m kind of okay with that.

“At 40, you’re expected to have job security, a demonstration of some sort of career progression, where you ended up with a bigger salary, a nicer suit, and a nicer house.

“I get paid a lot for being single. All my friends are in marriages or second marriages, in some cases people say, ‘you’re not going to be drawn are you?’ Every now and then, you question your life choices. There will always be periods in a 12-month calendar where you will have some phases of doubt, where you may question the way you have done things. You can feel a little sorry for yourself and have a pity party. But overall I’m pretty happy with where things are – I’ve seen a lot of the world, met a lot of great people. I have been very, very fortunate in that regard.” – Stephen Boyd, 39, Lincolnshire

‘I was fine with turning 40, but turning 41 hit me hard’

(Photo: Peter McKerry)

(Photo: Peter McKerry)

(Photo: Peter McKerry)

“Turning 40 didn’t shake me, but when I turned 41 I started obsessing over the fact that my life was on a sort of descent towards the inevitable end and that my best experiences were behind me. I was also worried that if I had a child, I would have a limited amount of time to be in his life. My dad was 53 when I was born and I got teased about it at school so I didn’t want to be an ‘old dad’.

“It turned out I was 43 when my daughter was born, so I beat him by 10 years! Now my life is all about watching her grow and develop (she will be three in August) and that has given me joy but also anxiety. I’m trying to live in the moment now because I don’t want to have any more regrets than I already have, and I want my daughter to have the happiest, safest childhood I can give her. So now I’m not so obsessed with my age or my past, but I have a real focus on making sure Flora is happy and loved.” – Peter McKerry, 45, Westcliff-on-Sea

‘Men have more free passes’

(Photo: Andy Dewar)

(Photo: Andy Dewar)

(Photo: Andy Dewar)

“I turn 44 this week and I love it. I think 30 was more of a hindrance for me psychologically as it was the age where I felt like you needed to dedicate yourself to some personal and professional responsibilities and accomplishments, as well as resenting the fact that I am no longer young and carefree. So, at age 40, you can take advantage of all the new challenges and opportunities that come your way.

“There’s a lot more pressure on women of all ages, but particularly 40-year-olds to have a great career and be a mother, I think. When it comes to media and peer pressure, men have more freedom. I’m lucky in the sense that family and friends have never had a big competition between us to do well, some days are hard, some days are easy. If you set goals, you lose sight of what’s important, which in my case is just trying to enjoy what I’m doing.” –Andy Dewar, 44, Hamilton, Scotland

‘I didn’t change anything’

(Photo: Michael Charles Grant)

(Photo: Michael Charles Grant)

(Photo: Michael Charles Grant)

“I felt perfectly fine. [approaching 40], no preconceived thoughts of 40 being a problem and forbidding me from what I can do physically and mentally. I look younger than my age, so maybe that played a part in my mindset.

Did something about being 40 surprise me? No, no way, why should I? I didn’t change anything in my lifestyle to accommodate my age or feel like I needed to.” – Michael Charles Grant, 40, Hertfordshire

‘At 40, I reassess my health and fitness’

- (Photograph: -)

– (Photograph: -)

– (Photograph: -)

″40… oh, that sounds old. Well, that was the thought I had when I was in my 30s and on my way to 40. Society puts you in a category when your age starts at four. I had just had my twins Alex and Lewis a few months earlier and dealing with them was really taxing on the mind and body. It was then that I decided that ‘Dad Bod’ was not something I liked and that I needed to do something about it. Overall fitness levels were poor and I found myself struggling with day-to-day tasks when dealing with two newborns. So I said to myself, ‘Paul, you’re now 40, you’ve got the twins to think about, you don’t want two rowdy boys growing up with a father who can’t keep up… in shape. It was a ‘If I don’t do this now, I never will’ moment.

“I’m in better shape now that I was in my 20s and 30s. Confident in my looks, with plenty of energy to play with the twins. My change in physique has also motivated my wife to return to the gym as well, as well as bringing us closer to our shared interest in fitness and just being better for our kids. Plus, more body confidence = more intimacy too.” – Paul McCaw, 46, Belfast Northern Ireland

“Each decade just got better for me.”

(Photo: Stu McKinlay)

(Photo: Stu McKinlay)

(Photo: Stu McKinlay)

“Each decade has gotten better for me, so – while the birthday itself doesn’t seem like a big deal – I was pretty excited that my 40s would continue that trend.

“My 30s was where I started putting into action the things I discovered in my 20s. I left my great public service job (which I totally loved) to start my own brewing business. My wife and I started the business, had three children and then moved our business and family from New Zealand to the UK. It was very busy, but we were both doing things we loved. Coming into my 40s and seven and despite my Brexit and Covid curls, I’m having the time of my life!

“While there is an immense privilege in being a man – and this is something that few men understand – I think there is a lot of pressure on men to achieve certain things at certain ages. I’m constantly aware of how, at a certain stage in my life, I feel like I haven’t grown up yet. And I wonder if my parents felt the same way. I remember my dad telling me that he didn’t really feel secure and comfortable in his life until he was 50. I totally understand this. I think part of that is the kids growing up and releasing that weight of expectation around taking care of them.” – Stu McKinlay, 46, London

This article was originally published on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

Related…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.