What is so great about being 40? Fabulous 40?

In a word: Dreams.

Oh, not those night time scenes we play in our heads from the time we close our eyes till the time we wake up.

No, the Dreams I’m talking about are always talked about with a capital “D”.

Once you’re 40, the world gives you permission to open up your music box — you know, the one Aunt Margaret gave you at age 5 with the ballerina on it — and pull out that Dream.

What was it? A great writer? A famous musician? Perhaps you wanted to start your own business?

We brandished our Dreams proudly in elementary school. In junior high and middle school, we wore our Dreams as a medal of honor. And in high school, we displayed the Dreams as a sign of true idealism.

We went off to college. Work piled up on us. Course loads covered our Dreams. Well-intentioned, but cynical advisers and professors scoffed at our Dreams. A history major? They chided. There’s no money in that? A writer? Only one in who knows how many can make a decent living doing that.

Read More: Over 40? Its Time to Begin Living the Life You Dream Of

That implied — no it shouted at you — that you were one of the many with not enough talent or ability or spunk to cut the mustard. Settle for the ordinary, people told you.

We thought we were going to be different. We weren’t going to get out of school, marry and have children right away. Our lives would be different from our moms. Our lives would totally remake society.

Then we fell in love. And “life happened.” Bills cascaded on us monthly — the electric, the telephone, cable, cell phone . . . . if you went to college your student loans came due with an unstoppable penetrating force.

Why are Dreams Important?

Dreams. They suddenly became what you imagined for your children. Oh, you held on to them nostalgically. But you weren’t gifted enough to change the world. You weren’t talented enough to be that New York Times White House Correspondent. Let’s face it, you didn’t have the tenacity to be the CEO. You knew that with a degree of certainty because those professors told you it was so.

butterfly 40Then 40 hit. One day you woke up and realized that the children were pretty much raised. Your days were no longer spent changing diapers, baking cupcakes for school parties or cookies for the youth theatre or watching your daughter being the most talented cheerleader.Now you had a few moments to yourself to dream that Dream again. But now, in addition to the haunting Dream, you also have the overwhelming self confidence it takes to initiate it and follow through with it.

That professor that told you that you couldn’t make a living writing — boy was he wrong. The guidance counselor that gave you those statistics on failing businesses never counted on your unwavering enthusiasm and your robust self-confidence.

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That’s what so grand about being 40. You rediscover your Dreams. They never really left. You dig out your old plans. You hook up with other 40-something women and . . . before you know it, you are changing the world . . . one simple baby step at a time.

You’re writing passionate articles on causes you care about. You’re setting up internet businesses that are actually making money. You’re funneling funds to needy organizations. And it feels good to have control of your Dreams again!

What’s so great about being 40: The self-confidence of re-discovering your Dreams again. Fabulous 40

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