It’s a big week for me – in a few days I’ll be hitting my next decade and turning 40.
Truthfully, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to feel about this milestone birthday. Saying it definitely feels strange. Looking at the number on paper seems weird. Thinking about it seems unbelievable. But when it comes to how I’m actually feeling about it – it really doesn’t seem to be phasing me. In some ways I think it’s probably more shocking for my parents than it is for me at this point.
A few years ago, my grandmother (who was about 85 at the time) told me that she sometimes still looks in the mirror and is shocked by the reflection she sees staring back at her. She explained that she feels young on the inside and that it’s that feeling that trumps her actual age or reflection. I get it now. Sure I’ve recently covered a few greys for the first time and yes, there are a few lines showing up around my eyes but when it comes right down to it, I feel young and energetic and like I have so many amazing things ahead of me. It’s hard to be bothered by a number.
When I look around, what seems to be reality for many of us lately is that we’re starting our families a little later than our parents did. I remember my Dad’s 40th birthday party clear as day – I was about 14. It’s hard to believe that my oldest is half that age and I still have a three-year-old who won’t even start school for two more years.
For me, the forties are feeling like a time in my life when I know myself well. I have built the foundation of my life and can now enjoy the fruits of my labour. The kids are old enough that there’s a little more freedom so I can spend some more quality time with my husband. Sure we’re going to be busy with activities and chauffeuring but there are no babies anymore. This is a decade the kids will actually remember when they’re older– a time to make some incredible family memories and for us to show through our actions how loved and supported they are as they make their way through life. It’s going to be full of firsts – driving, dances, crushes, heartbreak. It’s an incredibly important ten years in their little lives which makes it even more important in mine. Health, exercise, energy and the overall importance of taking care of ‘me’ has never been stronger in my mind than in the weeks leading up to this birthday. I’m a pretty important piece in this puzzle. In the past I’d feel guilty or wrong about saying that but I guess with age comes clarity and you know what? I can see now how ‘me first’ will only make everything else that much richer.
In a lot of ways, everything about this decade excites me. There’s a lot to look forward to so my plan is to breeze right through this week and celebrate how I’ve made my way through the fun, adventure, heartbreak and incredible life moments of my first 40. With that being said, I’m guessing we’ll have to talk again on my 50th when I’m halfway to 100 and the kids are moving out of our house. But geesh, that’s a whole ten years away. We’ll deal with that one when the time comes.
Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller