Apr 16, 2024

How To Make Forty a Fresh Start: Being Fierce After Forty

It used to be said that forty was over the hill. But what if we learned how to make forty a fresh start instead of the beginning of the end? That’s the question many of our Fierce After Forty clients asked themselves as they entered their fifth decade. 

If we are lucky, as women we have the opportunity to age, grow, and redefine our relationship with ourselves, our community, and our society. Traditionally women have been viewed as having three distinct phases to their life; the maiden, the mother, and the crone. The word “crone” often has an unfortunate negative connotation, but this is far from the truth. For women over forty who have learned how to embrace fierceness and make forty a fresh start, they hold within themselves a wisdom, groundedness, and sense of agency often lacking in their earlier decades. 

At Show Your Spark, we recently ran a Fierce After Forty Project designed to highlight the inner strength of women who have lived and experienced four or more decades of life. We asked them to share their stories of overcoming and insights lessons learned along the way. 

The wisdom and stories we heard from each participant proved that life over forty is truly not over. It is quite the opposite. Life after forty can be empowering, grounded, confident, full of agency, and a fresh start. 

Read on to glean wisdom from Spark Alumni briana’s insights about life and how to make forty a fresh start.

Woman with fishnet bodysuit with a dark background with neon lights in front of her.  Photography by Lindsay Hite.

Growing as We Age

“Who I am as a fierce after-forty woman is someone who is calmer, more at peace, and able to prioritize myself in a way that allows me to better help others. I am not concerned with voicing concerns, or with saying things that need to be said, even if they are uncomfortable for some to hear. I have learned that there is always more to learn, there are always more opportunities, and my ability to continue toward a life well-lived is expansive, only growing as I age.”

Defining Fierceness

“Fierce to me means being strong and unapologetic in the face of challenges. It means doing what is right for you, even when it’s inconvenient or unpopular with others. Fierce is not just a description, but a state of being. The older I get, the more I see how fierce women need to be in this world and how aging increases our ability to access that. Fierce is being able to be soft, kind, and caring of ourselves and others, while also being firm, holding people accountable, and working hard for something bigger than ourselves alone.”

Woman wrapped in foil in a silver background.  Photography by Lindsay Hite

Making a Fresh Start

“Since moving into this decade of my life, I’ve learned I am capable of so much more than I ever thought. I finally realize that I can change, that I can be dedicated and consistent, that I have so much more to learn, AND that I know quite a lot! This decade has felt like such a new beginning – like I am starting. It’s a little like the revolution of being a teenager, except you’re a bit wiser, a little creakier, and a lot more at peace. :)”

“I am proud of myself for learning to let go of the “shoulds” and “supposed tos” and really believing that I am capable of anything I choose to do.”

Embracing New Values

“I value the time I give myself now in a way I didn’t always. It felt lazy to rest, and free time felt like it should be given to people or causes I valued as if I weren’t one of them. Now I give myself time and space to rest, to rejuvenate, and to breathe, so I can learn, be better, and be more present when I am with others and working on things.”

Woman in black coset and sparkly red jacked sitting on a red velvet chair.  Photography by Lindsay Hite

Make Forty a Fresh Start

“I want others to know that for women over forty, as you age, there is more room for you. In your 20s, people want to know where you are going and if you will take the steps in life we see as rites of passage; in your 30s, they want to know if you are okay, if you are happy with those rites, and if you will take more steps toward what is expected of you; in your 40s, you are freer to make a life that is yours, people expect to know less about what you are doing and understand they have less say over it. Your agency can take up space here. It can at any age, though the pressure to conform, to follow the path, to answer to others is heavy. Know there is room to come, and it’s yours when you want to claim it.”

Becoming a Crone

“In the coming years, I imagine the freedom to be as I am will increase. I don’t mean that in society’s view, but because society tends to consider older women less, you are more free to live as you wish, to take up interests and causes, and to work at things without apology. I’m excited to see what there is to learn and how I can continue to grow. Women’s lives have historically been divided into three phases: the maiden, the mother, the crone.”

“While the crone is often seen as the stage of the least contribution to society, it is the most important phase, as she has developed the most wisdom to advise those in the first two stages. The crone is a sage, a healer, a wise one, who sees the ways we are connected to one another, and part of everything around us. I can’t wait to be a crone in a crown! Queen Crones!”

Woman in strapless back dress against a wall of black an white photos of women  standing in their fierceness.  Photography by Lindsay Hite.

Publicly Claiming Fierceness

“I wanted to be a part of the Fierce After Forty Project because I feel so much stronger than I ever have, even while I am watching the ways that age changes my heart, mind, and body. I see the beauty of the women who are older than I am all around me. I want younger women to see that and feel hopeful, and for all of us who are older to see that we are still strong, beautiful, and fierce. Being part of this meant claiming that fierceness publicly, and sending the call to others to rise up. We aren’t alone in this, even though we all have something unique to contribute.”

Reversing Society’s Standards

“Capturing the ways that women are beautiful at all ages – especially when we really start to be cast aside by society, when the beauty industry starts focusing on “reversing” where we are going, when we start to be seen as less important – is so deeply needed. Being part of this is a way to remind myself of my own power and ability to contribute while also reminding others. Representation matters. Seeing us women of all backgrounds, experiences, and identities showing the world, our community, and ourselves that we are here, we matter, and we are gorgeous creatures is a gift.”

Woman sitting in a silver tutu with a black background.  Photography by Lindsay Hite

Advising Younger Generations

“If I could give my younger self advice it would be to meditate, move more, rest, get a high-quality mouth guard, give grace and take no shit, and to stop apologizing.”

“My Fierce After Forty portrait says, “Every time you think you are at an ending, things are only just beginning. Rise up, Phoenix, and take flight. You are your best yet and your best is yet to be!””

The Fierce After Forty Project, designed by Show Your Spark Photography Studio, seeks to highlight powerful women over Forty through photography and storytelling.  In doing so, we inspire countless other women to embrace and celebrate their journey, bodies, and power – no matter their season of life. 

If you want to show off your After Forty Fierceness, contact us today!

Remember, you are powerful, courageous, and one of a kind! Show Your Spark!

Here’s what to expect when you contact us

  1. Schedule a free consultation call to have all your questions answered and start planning your Spark Experience. 
  2. Select a Spark Session date that fits your schedule. (Studio located in Braintree, MA)
  3. Rock the session like the bright light that you are, and create beautiful, tangible artwork to inspire you for the rest of your life. 

Remember, you are powerful, courageous, and one of a kind! Show Your Spark!

Curious about having your own empowering session?

click to inquire

Get the VIP treatment


Join our exclusive online community of women unapologetically standing in their confidence. Be encouraged to live authentically as YOU and receive mindset hacks for your everyday life.

Our VIP Facebook Group is also great for getting insider tips on how to prepare for your Spark Session, seeing exclusive “behind-the-scenes” moments in the studio, and getting to know the team behind “Show Your Spark”!