Being 40: 40 things I know

  1. I turned 40 this week and the day was supreme.
  2. All day, though, I had thoughts running circles around my brain. I needed a place to put them so I could return to them some time in the future. Looking back on my 35th, 36th, and 38th birthdays, I’m glad I took the time to write things down.
  3. In my 39th year of life I admitted out loud that I was I’m Type A, so a list seemed like the best place for these thoughts.
  4. I love a list because I love ticking things off that list. What can I say? I am goal-oriented. I’m not even a little bashful about being goal-oriented. (I think it’s what people love and loathe most about me).
  5. I don’t always need a list. Some days, I can let the universe decide what happens.
  6. I’m likely one of the few people on the planet that is stoked to turn 40.
  7. Someone once told me that big birthdays aren’t earth shattering when you’re happy with where you are in life.
  8. For this reason, I haven’t worried for a moment about turning 40.
  9. Turning 40, I feel like the best version of myself.
  10. And I don’t know if I buy into the idea that 40 is the new 30 or that 40 is “so young” as those pushing 50 have told me. I never cared about how aging will show up as wrinkles on my face or gray hairs. I am not starting now.
  11. 40 feels substantial to me, like I’ve accumulated enough time on the planet to know something but I still have so much to learn and explore. I hope I never stop feeling that way as the decades tick by.
  12. I hope that my girls have a clear memory of me on this birthday.
  13. My girls don’t know it yet but I cannot find the words to thank whatever higher power delivered them to me.
  14. I don’t have enough good memories of my own parents being forty but I hope they felt this happy.
  15. Even though I think everyone deserves a parade on their birthday, I am pretty happy to be 8 days older than my husband.
  16. Marriage is about as weird as I thought it would be, but we’re doing pretty well twelve years in.
  17. I am the luckiest person alive to be married to someone who has grown into life with me, sharing the same passage of time in lockstep.
  18. But after twelve years of marriage and 17 years of togetherness, your husband will still surprise you by baking you a cheesecake on your 40th birthday. And the cheesecake will remind you of your mom who also baked cheesecake. And you might feel sad about her missing your birthday for the 11th time. But this new husband-baked cheesecake fills that space for now.
  19. Even though your husband is an expert baker, the fire department may have to visit your house twice to help with some baking mishaps. The story of the cheesecake will keep your entertained for a long time (at least until you turn 50).
  20. And eating that cheesecake, I didn’t even sweat it. I work out, I take care of myself, and I can eat cheesecake if I want. And I will eat it for breakfast if I feel like it.
  21. I feel more together than I ever have–like I’m really living my personal philosophy:
  22. You have to be able to carry your own (physical and emotional) baggage in life. (I’m doing this)
  23. Life is not fair. (I know this to be true)
  24. Things happen the way they should and for a reason. (I know it doesn’t explain all of life’s injustices but it works for me)
  25. No one is immune from feeling fear or experiencing trauma. (No one)
  26. If you keep your eyes up and your heart open, you can stay an optimist. (Truth)
  27. There is so much to be optimistic about, too. It’s important to remind myself of this because it is so hard to unsee the universe when you start to see it with sociological lenses.
  28. It can be difficult to sustain my personal optimism but I fear the alternative so I just smile.
  29. I care so much about being good at what I do that my max effort is out of range with normal humans.
  30. Sometimes, I do like time alone.
  31. I am my most calm when standing over the stove, stirring something that will feed my family.
  32. But most of the time, I prefer the company of people (or voices).
  33. I am so proud of the friendships I have and the relationships I’ve fostered.
  34. There is no shortage of time and attention I want to give every single person who crosses my path.
  35. I don’t see turning 40 as passage into some new club or confirmation that now I have to change my worldview. I just hope that I’ll continue to feel this sense of confidence and fulfillment.
  36. I hope this year will be the start of many more years of planning and doing, like writing that play, writing that book, learning to draw, learning French or starting that podcast.
  37. There is no time to waste because there is a slim margin between life is great and life is chaos.
  38. I fear that slim line tremendously, but don’t know how to plan for falling over or stepping on it. I don’t think you can plan, so I don’t think about it. More simply, today is all we have.
  39. So this year (as in most years), I’ll hope (for good things) and I’ll pray (for patience) and I’ll smile.
  40. And I’ll remind myself (continuously) to be easy on myself, to move slowly and to enjoy the view.


About rglw

Sociologist mom writes for work and for pleasure.
This entry was posted in everyday life, family, friendship, kids, lessons learned, marriage, parenthood, personal, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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