Turning 40 for me was a pretty big hurdle. I’m not sure why. 30, however, was awesome, I was newly divorced, taking control of my life and I felt ready to tackle anything. 40, not so much. And it’s not for the superficial reasons one may think bothered me. I’ve got grey hair and laugh lines and veins, but I’m good with all that. I think it was more about facing mortality, statistically speaking, life is probably half over and I’m not half done yet.
My husband did the rock star thing and invited 50 or so of our nearest and dearest to a party to celebrate my 40 years. It was a catered, dinner party, complete with Frank Sinatra music and fancy dresses. (For real, he’s a good man, a REALLY good man.) It was a beautiful night, one that I will cherish always. After the party I went home and wrote a letter to everyone who attended the party. My intention was to mail the letter with my thank you cards. But being the loser that I am, I never sent the thank you cards out, and for real, how do you recover from that? It was four months ago, can I still send them? Not sure. I am going to share my letter with you and hopefully some, if not all, of those that attended will see my words.
March 28, 2015
I turned 40 today. For those of you who have spent time around me during the last couple of weeks, you know that I have struggled with this birthday. And I humbly apologize for the random outbursts of tears you have had to endure. 40 does not bother me because of the grey hairs that highlight my otherwise brunette hair or the wrinkles that deepen with each passing year. 40 bothers me because of how fast I got here, and I know the next 40 will go even faster. So as I sit here pondering what this milestone means to me, I want to try to grasp the magnitude of how wonderful my life is right now, in this moment.
I have friends, and by friends I mean people that I can’t imagine going through life without. Some I have known for what feels like a lifetime and others we are in those early steps of knowing one another. But regardless of the history, know that you are my people, my chosen family. I have parents and step parents, four incredible people who show me unconditional love and support day in and day out. They are pillars of strength and kindness. I have my extended family, some of which I share blood, some of which had to accept me when I married into your clan. You are a part of my world, something special that enriches me. My four children, they are the heart that beats inside of me. They teach me daily how to be a better person and they fill my life with joy and laughter. My husband, it is hard to find the words to express the love I have for this man. He has stood beside me when the ground beneath us was shaking and he has done so with love, compassion, forgiveness and strength.
All the people who share in my journey, make this life amazing. Yes, turning 40 is kind of worse than the flu, in my opinion, but having all of you with me, celebrating, eating, drinking, laughing made it way easier. And I think that’s the lesson I’m taking away from this milestone birthday…..aging, getting older, that is unchanging, it is going to happen, day by day, but what makes life beautiful and downright breathtaking is the relationships, the friendships, the family and all the people I am fortunate enough to have along with me.
So I thank you, with heartfelt gratitude, I thank you for being a part of my life.
If you find yourself creeping up on the big 4-0, I hope you find time to reflect on all that is perfect in your world, I hope you have a crazy big party to celebrate and I hope you have peace in knowing the experience, wisdom and fortitude 40 brings is worth the wrinkles and grey hairs. Many blessings.