On Turning 40

Fading Tulip

I recently celebrated my 40th birthday.

Pretty much everyone I have ever asked has always said that 40 is fabulous.  So that’s something.

Many people write about this birthday, and the general feeling from women seems to be:

  • I don’t care so much how I look now – win.
  • I don’t care so much what people think of me anymore – win.
  • I know so much more than I did when I was 20 – win.
  • I’m smart enough now to not get so wasted at parties – win.

But me?

I still care how I look, and I think it’s because I felt so blessed with my looks.  Growing up, I was a really ugly duckling and felt horrible about myself – as most teens do.  But the swan stage of 20-35 was so wonderful, and it felt like such a gift.  So now that it’s fading, it is a little sad.

After I do my hair and look in the mirror in the morning, I feel great about how I look.  But then I see pictures that people take of me…and oh…not so much.

My smarts have also faded.  I know more about life and peace and perspective, but my brain reacts more slowly.  I know it’s the injury, but I was wicked smart as a kid.  Not as much now, and it’s a little sad.

Caring what people think?   I’m on and off.  Sometimes I don’t care, but sometimes I still do.  I’m pretty sure many people still do, but good for those who really don’t anymore.  I’m working on it.

And then parties…well…  I don’t go out as often for sure, but I do sometimes drink more than I should.  And it is still a whole lot of fun.  I am the happiest, sweetest, and most genuinely concerned tipsy person in the room.   Case in point – Friday night birthday trip dinner…I asked our waiter to show me the pictures of his back tattoos.  He did, and we had a lovely discussion about the meaning and cost and decision-making that goes into getting a back tattoo.  It was fascinating.  Everyone I met that evening bought me a drink or a dessert, and we had so, so much fun.

I went a bit overboard on the Facebook sharing…which is similar to the drunk dialing of the 90s I think.  But I woke up, realized I had checked in 3 times and posted 4 pictures and took everything down but 1.   I felt pretty stupid about it, but my darling hubbie reminded me that simply realizing you posted a slightly-annoying amount of status updates is not the worst thing that could have happened.

Even with all of this, my gratitude for life continues to expand.

  • I really appreciated my swan years, and that memory will always be lovely.
  • I almost didn’t make it to 30, so 40 is a blessing even though my smarts have faded.
  • I still care what people think of me more than I should, and I still sometimes drink too much at parties.   But I am honest about it.  Self-acceptance is the first step to healing.  That’s something.

So is 40 fabulous?

Just like this picture, the petals are starting to curl and the flower is starting to fade.  However, if you take the time to look at it the right way, there is still so much beauty there.

Gratitude.  Works every time.

Much Love,