In the past week, I have had three different women moan about turning 40. GASP. And then today in the grocery store,  a woman I know said she was envious of my outdoors adventures, but she has small kids. “In twenty years, I’ll be able to do those things,” she said. “But then I’ll be in my FIFTIES.”

Ladies. Please. Look around you. There are a plethora of women in their forties, fifties, and beyond who are amazing. It certainly has something to do with genetics, but to a larger extent, desire. I can say with experience that I haven’t noticed any adverse effects of being older, except maybe slower running times, but I also think that could be because I just don’t care if I run fast anymore so I don’t work as hard at it. There is no reason to be afraid of 40. Or 50.

Back when I was younger, it was difficult to find those examples. They may have been out there, but lifestyles were different. Social media wasn’t around, and expectations were different. Though things were rapidly changing when I was little, the idea of professional female adventurers, or even those who remained childless and thus were able to do long hikes and ultras easier, was pretty rare.

I admit, I have whined talked about getting older on my personal blog, and have been called out for it. But it was not in the context of being able to do outdoors adventures. Rather it is that the older you get, the faster time speeds up, and there is still so much I want to do. I have never let my age hold me back from doing athletic things.

Okay, maybe I should cut you younger ladies some slack. I recall the day when a 41 year old woman showed up to be a wilderness ranger at our field office. Whoa, we oblivious twenty-somethings whispered, she is in awesome shape! Working with V that summer opened my eyes. Life did not end at 39.

So if you are under 40, please do not say the following to an “older woman”: “I hope I can be in half as good shape as you when I’m your age.” This is not a compliment. Instead, know that your ability to run, hike, ski, does not magically go away at the age of 40. Forty might not be the new 30, but it isn’t ancient. It’s not something to fear.