Today is my birthday (thank you), but it’s not just any birthday – it’s a milestone birthday. The one that most women decide they will never have….you know….the one where time magically stops and you remain 39 forever…….
Yup. There it is. I’m turning 40. FORTY. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to handle this (when I turned 30 I cried).…but I have to say, although I’m not exactly thrilled about making the jump to the big 4…0…, I’m not as upset as I thought I would be. In retrospect, there are many things that happen between 30 and 40 that are pretty life-altering – in a good way. Let me share:
- You finally accept yourself for who you are.
If you haven’t changed in 40 years, chances are pretty slim that you’re going to change now. I’m not saying we can’t change, but once you know the intricacies of how you tick you’re pretty effective at doing things “your way”. I am who I am, (I get it Popeye!) and you know what – that’s OK.
- The “little things”don’t affect you like they once did. By 40, things roll off your back a lot easier than they did 10-20 years ago. People have their opinions and are entitled to them. Why should what others think or say affect you? Most of the time, I don’t let that stuff get to me. My friends know me and would never judge me for being me. Someone didn’t call? Guess what, I’m not thinking about what I did that made that person not want to call. Life is short, people are busy, things happen. The days of taking everything personally are OVER. You don’t agree with me? That’s fine, I’m still going to have my opinion without feeling guilty about it.
- Your life is not as uncertain as it once was….
More than likely you know where you are, and have a pretty good idea of where you want to go along with a realistic vision of how you are going to get there. The details may not be clear, but it sure is nice having one foot firmly planted. I’m a wife, Mom, small business owner. In 10 years I’ll be a wife, Mom and hopefully a small business owner!
- You’re know your limits and are OK with them.
At 40 you accept your limitations…I don’t like rides that spin or go high, I hate flying, red wine gets to me very quickly, I am not a dare-devil, nor do I like to be the center of attention. Guess what. It’s who I am. Not gonna change folks. Like it? Great. Don’t – oh well.
- The emotional roller coaster has changed from Space Mountain to Goofy’s Barnstormer.
This is a HUGE one for me. My 20s and 30s were riddled with uncertainty. New life, new job, dating disasters, my heart broken, my heart falling, my heart crushing. Good relationships, bad relationships, weird relationships. Up, down, up, down, upside-down. Now? I’m very content with my life. My husband is everything I could ask for, I have two lovely children and my family life is stable. Sure we have our arguments (show me a family that doesn’t), but no matter what, I know that my family unit will remain intact. They will be there no matter what. Nobody’s walking out the door to find something “better”. Instead, we work on what we already have and make that better. Whew….thank you 40…..thank you.
- Chardonnay trumps wine coolers and beer.
With age comes taste and sophistication. Wine cooler? Let the 20 somethings enjoy them. I’m happy with a good glass of wine, some live jazz and good company. My days of bottled beer, wall-to-wall packed bars (a.k.a. P&G’s – my college friends will know this) are over. Those memories will be fondly remembered, but I’ve moved on.
- Getting hungover is not appealing.
Oh those days when I would (and could) drink as much as I wanted, get completely lit and somehow manage to function the next day without much effort. Yeah….those days are long gone. At 40, my body does not process liquor quite the same way. Now with every drink I take, I think about how it will affect my state of mind the following day. How will I drag myself out of bed to get the kids to school? How will I get my work done with that awful headache. What I used to cure with a glass of water and some Advil now requires a full 24 hours in bed. I’ll stay with my 2 drink limit, and you know what, I actually prefer remembering what happened the night before!
- A “Girl’s Night Out” consists of wine, good friends and conversation.
I so fondly remember the days of heading out the door at 9pm and partying with my “Girls” We’d all head out to a super loud bar or club where we would dance and drink until the wee hours of the morning. Conversation? Who needed it when there were guys, drinks and dancing! The music was so loud any “conversation” consisted of 50 “What?”‘s, anyway… At 40, “Girls Night Out” has morphed into a comfortable gathering of friends where conversation flows freely. Sometimes games are played, sometimes the topics are serious, sometimes silly and always therapeutic. These nights have become a safe place for me to vent my frustrations, share my feelings, get advice and just be. Love this!
- You finally understand your parents.
You catch yourself saying things like “When I was your age”, “Don’t make me pull this car over”, and you find yourself puzzled by some of today’s technology (like the preference to text vs. talk which really baffles me). While it may be a little depressing realizing that you are becoming your Mom/Dad, it does feel great knowing you have the ability to connect with them in a way you never have before…the “Ahhhh, I finally get it!” is empowering. Of course they are now laughing and enjoying their “I told you so” moment …but now we can laugh at this, not get angry. The reality is that we’ll get to that place someday too!
- You go to bed at a decent hour and actually enjoy it.
I rarely see 10pm these days. I usually fall asleep with my kids in my arms…and I’m ok with that. I feel well rested when morning comes around and I have the energy to keep up with my two little monkeys and my business. Why in the world did I ever even want to stay up until 2am anyway? I wouldn’t trade my fun-filled days with my family for lonely late nights for anything.
Finally, you get to experience and appreciate the more important things in life.
The best present I received for my birthday this year was my children running down the stairs at 6am beyond excited to celebrate my birthday. The handmade gifts from my 6 year old, and the very sincere “Happy Birthday, Mommy” accompanied by a huge hug from my 3 year old that brought me to tears. Priceless.
My husband is taking me out to dinner tonight where we will enjoy each others company, good food, some wine and live jazz. And chances are, I’ll be in bed by 10pm… well, maybe 10:30. So, I guess turning 40 isn’t so bad.
My tears this birthday are tears of joy and contentment… I’m ready for the next 40…BRING IT!