The Priviledge of 40

I am turning 40.

Yeah, yeah. I know.

“Do not regret growing older. It is a priviledge denied by many.”

I’m on Pinterest. I see that quote all the time. And I agree with it 100%. But still, you guys. I’m staring at 40.

In the months leading up to this, I’ve been very resigned about it. It’s no big deal. Just an age. But now… IT’S HERE. You know as well as I do that all the “40th birthday” decorations in the Party Store involve being over a particular hill and gravestones and senior-related things. It’s totally dumb and I’m far from gravestones. But this birthday has a certain reputation still. So, before I freak out unnecesarily, it’s time to write myself a list of why 40 is juuuust fine. No biggee.

1. I am very much alive and well. My ticker runs well enough, my mammograms have been clear, all systems are status quo and I am actually somewhat in shape (ish). (Don’t count the chips and wine and cookies and shit I enjoy daily from time to time.) I count my lucky stars for all of this.

2. I have been bountiful. I’m not saying I’m some supah-stah and I certainly haven’t found a cure for cancer and I’m not saving starving children around the world. But… I have produced two children. From my body. And I they have been fed food everyday and they are potty-trained and can read books. Excuse me while I go take my victory lap. That stuff is BIG.

3. I am a productive member of society. Again, I know I am not shooting out the lights as some big-wig exec, nor is my name actually IN lights, but I am in the process of rebuilding my career after 8 years at home, I am doing something I enjoy and I am providing for my family the best way I know how. Boom.

4. I know more stuff. At 23, I had no idea. Yes, I was college educated and full of self-indulgent, super woman piss and vinegar. I thought I knew stuff. Kind of. But deep down I was very insecure and had no idea about bills and life and death and talking to idoits who are trying to sell you a load of crap. A lot of things that used to freak me out just don’t anymore. I LIKE not freaking out and knowing how things work.

5. I know my future. Well, for the most part. Back to my early 20s again, that was a time of all sorts of stress and fear of the unknown. What am I doing with my life? Where should I live? Shouldn’t I get married soon? When should I buy a house? How could I ever afford to buy a house? When do I have kids because I have to have kids and I am 7 years from 30 which is ANCIENT and I need to plan because I have to have kids OH MY GOD I want to have kids and I don’t know when I’m going to have kids!!! I don’t have to deal with ANY of that crap any more. I have been blessed with a great partner and kids and a house and it’s all good. (Phewphewphewphewphewphewphewphewphew. Phew.)

6. It’s a little bit, sort’ve my turn. I spent the majority of my 30s tending to my children. No complaints at all, it’s what I spent my 20s freaking out about working towards. But, now they can kind of self-sustain long enough that I can sleep in a bit on the weekends or write this blog post. I don’t expect that they will get “easier” per se. (Wait a second. Cue that 20s freak out over their upcoming teens years. And let me rethink my “I know stuff” swagger above because I’m not sure what I will do when they sneak my car keys and crash the car and say mean things and decide they don’t want to go to college. I don’t know anything about THAT stuff. At all.) But I do think there is more room for me to have a moment from time to time. Maybe with my husband. Maybe I can be a wee bit more selfish in my 40s. Maybe.

7. I waste my time less. Let’s get back to those Pinterest quote posts.

“The trouble is, we think we have time.”

Time runs out. Our time is not forever. This is an important thing to know. And it’s something I embrace and know for a fact (my mother died 23 years after she turned 40). So I try very hard not to waste my time or energy on things that just don’t matter. Or on people that suck the life right out of you. Or worry over things I can’t change. Or really care about drama. No time people. Onward.

8. The glass really is half full. No, really. People, there is a lot of stuff left to do. There is still so much to see. It’s not over! I can practically hear all of my friends and family over 40 shaking their heads and telling me this is no big deal. Get ON with living. There is so much left to go. Stop fixating on this number. It’s time to put my big girl panties on, get out of the junior section in life and proudly own the years and experience I have aquired. I lived 40 years and I did it pretty well, right?

So. What’s next?

3 comments ↓

#1 Stephen Roznowski on 07.09.13 at 7:57 pm

The big 5-0! :-)

#2 Carrie B on 07.09.13 at 8:41 pm

Caroline, you are still the one of the coolest chics I know. Haha. I’m with you. I started my family at 22 (married in S. Mandelle living room right after graduation) and have spent the last 12 years pouring into them. (By choice.) And now, it’s my turn. I choose not to wait to 40 to go ON with my life. I love maturing. I love not being concerned with the drama. I love knowing my mind and being about to call BS – spot on. I am so much more comfortable in my skin. I have a different energy to offer the world. I am ready to embrace it. Thanks for the most awesome reminder. AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY FRIEND!

#3 veronica on 07.09.13 at 9:27 pm

Soooooooooooo happy and privileged to be with you on your BIG day!!!!!!!!

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