I’ve been preparing for this day for my whole life.
Like a beacon in the distance, the age of 40 has been looming, staring me down, daring me to approach.
Those who have gone before me say, “It’s all downhill from there,” and “Forty isn’t that bad,” and “Someday, this will be you.”
As a child, 40 was a house full of people giving my dad black carnations and gifts with “Over The Hill” emblazoned on them.
In my teens, 40 was an impossibility. I’d never be that old. Because 40 was ancient — a lifetime away.
In my 20s, 40 was there but still off in the distance, still “someday.” like Sally lamented in When Harry Met Sally. I had time. Eight years, at least, right Harry?
In my 30s, reality started to sink in. Now 40 stood like a sentinel nearby, foretelling the impending “Over the Hill” presents that would soon be mine.
And, now, it’s here. Right here. I’m standing right on it.
I’m turning 40. The Big 4-effing-0.
And, like Sally iconically cried, that someday is here. Not in eight years as Harry consoled her. Here.
And I’m not sure it’s what I expected. It’s scary. It’s surprising. It comes with thighs I don’t recognize.
It’s better than I’d hoped.
My 40 is:
Looking around and seeing friends who lift me up, who want me to be in their lives. It is saying goodbye to the ones who don’t.
Getting mammograms that hurt (a lot) and doing them every year from now on.
Speaking my mind in ways I’d never dared in my 20s. Because I’m a grown-up now.
Saying goodbye to loved ones who parented me, guided me, and shaped me into who I am today.
Being comfortable in my skin — despite my thighs.
Watching friends leave their marriages.
Having friends who show up with a white limo and champagne, not black carnations, to celebrate the Big 4-0.
Being married to a man who “gets” my crazy and who has decided to stay for the long haul.
Having zero understanding of Common Core math and also giving zero fucks about that.
Hearing ’80s music and realizing “Hangin’ Tough” wasn’t actually thug — at all.
Raising my kids to leave me in a few years and hoping I’m able to let them go when the time comes.
Starting a new writing career.
Watching friends save their marriages.
Buying braces, and glasses, and college educations.
Saying no and not giving a rat’s ass if you don’t like the sound of it coming out of my mouth.
Being grateful that my body still allows me to run marathons.
Buying the good wine.
Giving up on “that” number on the scale and welcoming the one that’s there instead (mostly).
Realizing that I might not have relished every second of every minute with my children.
Vowing to relish every second of every minute with my children. I know, I know — it goes so fast.
Hearing the word “Bucket List” and thinking I’d better get a move on. Paris and the pyramids are calling.
Closing my eyes at night and thanking The Maker that this life is mine.
As I approach this milestone birthday, I am anxious, I am nervous, I am excited.
I am shocked at how fast 40 arrived, and I am praying the next 40 go by more slowly — or, at least at a pace that I can keep up with.
When I blow out my birthday candles, I will make wishes, promises, and hopes for myself. I will cross my fingers that my 40s will live up to my expectations.
Because I’m going to be 50.