A funny thing happens when you turn 40. You lose … everything. Or at least that’s what the media wants us to believe.

In your twenties, love and romance are at its peak. You simply can’t get enough. Your passion cup runneth over.

Then you turn thirty, and things start to change.

This post describing The Bachelor as it exists compared to if they selected older women for the contestants says it well:

Currently on The Bachelor:

The season is filled with fairytale dates of private concerts, exotic destinations, and fireworks?—?both in the sky and in their hearts.

And on The Bachelor for Senior Citizens:

“Hey, does anyone want this date? It’s a helicopter ride but I get vertigo and it says dinner is at 8pm, which is pretty late for me.” No one ends up going on the date but in unrelated news, the unlimited hotel room service for the contestants has been banned from future seasons.

I laughed at her humorous descriptions – how true! But what was a little shocking was what her idea of an older woman was. She described an older woman as over 29!

What the hell happens when you turn 40? 50?

As we age, we deal with it all. Trying to keep our jobs. Trying to motivate our kids. Trying to keep our parents healthy. Running through the household chores.

And then there’s menopause …

The articles will tell you you’ll run out of steam. You’ll lose interest. Libido? What libido?

By the time you turn 40, it all disappears.

Or does it?

I believe that’s when it truly begins.

By the time you’re 40, you are more confident living inside your skin. You know what works and what you want. You’re less willing to put up with the crap.

Suddenly we discover who we really are. And instead of hiding away shy and demure, we let our natural beauty fly high. We let our sexiness flourish. And we’re more comfortable asking for what we want. And need.

I currently write romance novels for women over 40. Why? I don’t think there are near enough.

contemporary romance novels for women over 40

I also write about reinventing your life in midlife. We’re finally free! We have more flexibility than ever before. Kids are grown. You can change jobs and careers. You can sell off your family home. We can add and grow in our relationships. You can do whatever you’ve said “no” to all those years before.

And one of the things I’ve discovered through all of my research is that we as a society really don’t paint a very rosy picture of growing old. (Is that really over 29?) When in fact it can be the times of our lives!

I’ve noticed something lately about our perception of midlife.

I spend a lot of time looking through stock photo sites, trying to find the right images to accompany my books, posts, and articles. And I’ve noticed a disturbing trend.

Want to find a romantic image? Be prepared to use one with twenty-something people.

Want to find a shot in the bedroom? Forty and fifty-somethings barely exist. (I won’t even get into what you’ll find for 60, 70, or 80 somethings.)

Think 50, 60, or even 80 somethings aren’t having sex? HA! In fact, we’re having the best sex of our lives!

So why are we afraid to show this? Or admit this? Why have we made it such a big deal?

Maybe it’s time we start showing the reality of the lives we’re living. Maybe we should all own up to what makes us happy and fulfills us.

A novel where the characters are living with the drama that comes with divorce, death, and empty nests? Yes, please.

Because that’s our reality. That’s what gives us depth and character. That’s who we are.

And it might change us, but it makes us better. It might be difficult, but it’s who we are right now.

It doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of years left to build businesses, change our relationships, move to different parts of the world, and explore who we really are.

It means we have time to recognize all of these different facets of who we are. And we want to explore them, live them, and come out on the other side in a positive way.

Want to read more about those kinds of women? Me too.

That’s why I do what I do. And I’m always on the lookout for more like me.