Friday, June 21, 2013

Forty & Fabulous

Even Google is helping me celebrate..kind of creepy but
who would have imagined this 40 years ago.
The day that has been 40 years in the making has finally arrived.  After watching numerous friends celebrate their milestone birthdays over the past few months, it is now my turn to turn the big 4-0.  Even as recently as a few years ago I had dreaded this impending milestone; so much so that when I hit 32 I decided that that number was a good one to keep and each year I kept telling myself that I was 32 (again). Even my husband got into the action by annually giving me a birthday card verifying this number.  But within the past couple of years, my mindset has slowly changed and now that this once dreaded birthday is here, I'm realizing it isn't so bad. After all, age is really relative and like a fine wine, I'm just getting better with each passing year.

A few weeks ago Huffington Post blogger Amy Wruble posted a rather humorous take on 40 things about turning 40.  I ignored the article the first few times it popped up on my Facebook page but after the sixth posting I clicked on the link to see what had so many of my friends Facebook sharing.  The top forty on turning forty provided a humorous take on life issues ranging from purchasing one's first pair of reading glasses and selecting the comfortable shoes over the sexy ones to upgrading the quality of skin creams you use and the lack of current pop culture knowledge many of us now have. (You can find Wruble's entire post here and read all forty of her points for yourself).  I'll admit that I've purchased at least one, if not more, of the afore mentioned items myself in recent months and am so far out of the "what is popular" loop that I've just given up trying, so these comments hit rather close to home.   As I continued down the list I found myself agreeing in some way with much of what was written but rather than getting upset with and bemoaning the realities of turning 40, I mentally embraced them.

And here is why: I didn't care much for my 20's since I spent that decade trying to find myself professionally and personally and achieving neither great results nor satisfaction along the way. (I often wonder about people who look back on their 20's and wish they could live them all over again. Maybe they were just luckier than I was but personally, I wouldn't want a replay that time period for all of the tea in China).  My 30's were much better with each and every one of my "32nd years" being an improvement over the last and it has been in the past few years that I feel as though I've finally hit my stride.  I now know who I am and am comfortable with it.  I'm far from perfect but I know both my strengths and weaknesses and rather than dwell on my faults I'm learning to embrace them all.  I'll never be tall or skinny nor will I be rich or famous.  I'm not going to be a career super star nor am a I going to be president.  And that is o.k.  I'll never have so many friends I can't keep track of them but those that I do have will always be special and important to me.  Over time I've learned which battles are worth fighting and which ones it is just smarter to walk away from.  I realize now that it is more important that I am true to who I am and what I believe in than it is to be popular.  I've learned to bite my tongue when necessary and turn the other cheek if doing so is for the good of the group.  I'll never win a mother-of-the-year award but I also don't think I'm imparting too many lasting scars on my son.  It is doubtful that I will write the great American novel, become a world famous chef, travel to all of the countries in the world or visit all of the national parks in the United States (all dreams at one time or another) but I will make it a point to visit the places I really want to see, continue to cook up good family dinners, and blog from my little corner of the universe.  And I am happy with all of this. If someone had told me ten years ago that I would feel this way about so many things, I would have laughed but today I understand this to be true.  And this is my more mature, 40 year old reality.

My real birthday celebration was a girl's trip to Spain last month (another benefit of being older is also having the funds to do the things I enjoy doing) so today will be quiet and low-key.  Thanks to Facebook I've received birthday greetings from friends around the globe and I even received a special birthday message on my Google search screen.  (I find this to be a bit creepy but that is a conversation for another day).  This afternoon I had lunch and laughs with great friends and tonight will be dinner with my boys.  And that is just the way I want it. After all, being older and wiser I realize that being all flashy and splashy just isn't my style.  Been there, done that, tried it, and it just didn't work out.  All that pomp can be saved for the "young-uns" because I like things just the way they are.  So bring on the 40s................they are looking to be fabulous.

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