I’ve been preparing for this day for my whole life.
Like a beacon in the distance, the age of forty has been looming, staring me down, daring me to get there.
Hearing 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”.
In my youth, forty was a house full of people giving my dad black carnations and gifts with “Over The Hill” emblazoned on them.
In my teens, forty was an impossibility. I’d never be that old. Because forty was ancient and a lifetime away.
In my twenties, forty was there but still “Someday”, like Sally lamented. I had time. Eight years, at least, right Harry?
In my thirties, reality started to sink in as forty stood like a sentinel in the distance, the realization that the “Over The Hill” presents were soon to be mine.
And, now, it’s here.
I’m turning FORTY. 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 forty is:
Looking around and seeing friends who lift me up, who want me to be in their lives. And saying good bye to the ones who don’t.
Getting mammograms that hurt. A lot. And getting to do them every year from now on.
Speaking my mind in ways I’d never dared in my twenties. 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.
Hearing 80s music and realizing “Hanging Tough” wasn’t thug. At all.
Raising the Fruit Loops to leave me in a few years. And hoping I can let them go.
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 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 Fruit Loops.
Vowing to relish every second of every minute with my Fruit Loops. 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 forty arrived and I am praying the next forty go 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 forties will live up to my expectations.
Because I’m going to be 50.