The right side of 40 — a poem


Steel mesh, building, diggers

Which is the right side of this fence?

There’s no wrong side of 40.
Regardless of your age
you’re always on the right side
the satisfying stage.

The first side that you lived
beneath a fine and frantic sun
you had to run run run
but face the fact my darling
that side is gone, it flew.

The other side is more, it’s new
it’s broader and longer and sweeter
than you knew, it grew and grew
into a wholly grown-up map
mysterious and blue.

And now it’s true, you’re over a hill
and so you pause and catch your breath
and see a grander view
another range, another peak
a better you.

Poem and photo by Rachel McAlpine CC BY 2.0

28 thoughts on “The right side of 40 — a poem

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Funny that yesterday I was listening to a couple of women in their early 40’s bemoaning the inevitable physical changes that come with aging. As for me, they happened so long ago I can’t remember my body back then! LOL

    1. The changes may seem very hard at the time and it can still take me by surprise sometimes.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        I look more and more like my grandmother, but fortunately I loved her and don’t mind.

  2. hilarymb says:

    Hi Rachel – sadly there’s no way to go – except with the flow … lovely poem – I enjoyed the read and now the thoughts … cheers Hilary

    1. That’s not sad, is it? Thanks Hilary!

  3. cerise99 says:

    You can say all the same thing for 60!

    1. Too right, and every age.

  4. lifecameos says:

    This is especially the case when 40 is close to being the half way mark of your life.

  5. Jonno says:

    Nice one Rachel, loved the poem. Forty seems a while ago now but wise words for any birthday. Life does just get better and brighter with every passing day.

    1. Thanks Jonno. That used to be our little secret, but word is seeping out…

  6. Sportsbebe says:

    So fitting to read this today. Beautifully written.

    1. Thank you! And it’s only after forty that many of my friends have started to exercise 🙂

  7. Personally, I love the wisdom that comes from being this age. Yes, the physical changes are a challenge; but if you check my pockets, you’ll find them empty, for I have zero effs to give whether my pants are a socially acceptable size or my eyes are as wrinkle-free as marketeers think they should be 😁😉😁

    1. That’s a special kind of happiness.

  8. You’re so right that there is no “wrong side”. We are where we are, and every age teaches us something. Good poem.

    1. Thank you Carmel. You understand.

  9. Ally Bean says:

    Your poem has summed up the reality of aging. And about feeling grander as you go along. I certainly do, no regrets about being on “the wrong side” of 40… or 50…

    1. Glad to hear it!

  10. lynnefisher says:

    ‘A better you’ – I can so relate to that, Rachel. Lovely poem!

    1. I’m so glad, Lynne.

  11. Mr. Wapojif says:

    I’m 34 shortly. A few things have hit me already, such as my hair stopping growing. But I always view ageing as an inevitability and don’t get worked up about anything. I take it in my stride. And it can also be quite beautiful looking back and reminiscing about your younger self.

    1. Sense of humour makes all the difference.

      1. Mr. Wapojif says:

        Absolutely. There should be Sense Of Humour classes at school.

  12. Thank you for stopping by on my blog. I’m glad you did because otherwise I wouldn’t have found this beautiful poem of yours. As it happens I’ve just been a few years on this new side of 40 and the other side already seems like another life time. I’m still catching my breath from this long steep walk up that hill, and I can’t seem to enjoy the new view yet, still too exhausted, but I’m starting to appreciate it. Can’t wait for the easier downhill climb. Isn’t that what follows after? 🙂

    1. Yes, it will come! I am so glad you found the poem and that you can see the hope. You’re right, it’s a tough uphill climb. Be kind to yourself.

      1. That’s very reassuring, thank you.

  13. I am 39 and this one is a sermon for me!

    1. Perfect timing then.

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