Forty! I turned 40 a couple of weeks ago. So far, it’s been everything I’d hoped it’d be.
Everyone loves celebrating 40. Those who already are, welcomed me with open arms. Those who still have a ways to go say, “I can’t believe you’re 40,” but the look on their face says, “Thank God it’s not me!”
Y’all know I love celebrating a birthday. This one’s even better. I’m happy to celebrate all year if anyone feels left out. Specifically, I love cake and champagne.
I’ve never been afraid of 40. I guess it wasn’t on my radar until recently, though. For years, friends who’d gone before me said, “Just wait. You will love 40.” When I was 30, I was a skeptic. Love it? I can imagine it simply not being a big deal, but love? What about “over the hill” and black balloons and headstones and such?
Talking to a friend one night, we commented about a peacefulness that seemed to be growing as 40 drew closer. I can’t explain it fully, but maybe you understand. It’s not that I care less about things, but I care more about the things that really matter. It kinda leaves less room for the things that don’t. I’m not sure if my “really matters” list matches yours, but that’s not important. Whatever makes you happy, y’all.
Friends have come and gone, but the most important ones still remain, and they are more important than ever. The cream rises to the top. It’s a natural selection process that at first feels a little unnatural. Go with it.
A wiser, older friend told me it would happen. I didn’t believe them. Even when it was happening, I denied it. Her words came back to me in a bright, flashing epiphany. “Just you wait until you’re 40,” she said, “you’ll be surprised that the ones who now cause you pain won’t even remain.” It sounded so silly at the time.
Family matters most. So many of my friends have lost parents over the last couple of years. Focusing on our own mortality is a natural side effect. How will we be remembered? Will we have time to give all we can to our children? We’ll never truly know, so make each day count.
Jobs are work, and work is necessary, but there’s no reason to be miserable. I’m not quitting everything that makes me unhappy, but accepting that things aren’t always fulfilling is a big step.
My grandfather worked for the same company for his entire career. Was it his passion? Nope. Did it pay the bills? Yep, and then some. He retired a wealthy man who stuck with a career that provided for his people.
Doing things he was passionate about came after work and on weekends. He was a concert clarinetist with plenty of time to play. He loved tennis and golf and trains and never complained about not having enough time. A job is a job. If it’s also my passion, that’s a bonus. If it pays the bills, that’s life.
Dozens of people told me to wait for the calm. Wait until I wouldn’t pay attention to the drama anymore. Wait and see. It was worth the wait. Somehow 40 feels like an earned spot. As if I belong on this earth now, with no justification necessary. I’m more me than ever, and I like that person. I’m not an expert in anything, and that feels better than thinking I have any of the answers. I don’t love that gray hairs, pimples, and wrinkles all happen at the same time, but it’s not the end of the world. It feels like a new beginning. Cheers!