In 2016, turning the page on a New Year has also meant turning the page to a fifth decade for me and my contemporaries – all 3.1 million or so of us born in 1976. My 40th (there, I said it) birthday is still a few months away, but I’m keenly aware of this looming milestone.
When my parents were this age, my concerns were hanging out at the local skating rink in tight rolled, acid washed Guess jeans and buying the latest cassette tape at the mall. (Incidentally, it’s USA Today official: Guns N’ Roses is reuniting. Pigs are in fact flying. Although, how many in the 40 plus crowd will go see them at Coachella of all places? Midlife crisis, much? Kind of odd if you ask me.)
I digress, but these are the things (not Taylor Swift’s birth) that colored my 1989. Turning 40 wasn’t given a passing thought.
Now that it looms large, I’m looking at 40 as just another day and year to enjoy in this life. If there is one thing that my 30s have taught me, it is that life is a marathon and not a sprint. As cliché as that is, I don’t think there is any better way to sum up what I’ve learned in the last decade.
In many ways, approaching 40 feels like stepping out of a fog. My 30s were filled with corporate mergers, moves, childbirth (x 3) and associated health challenges, just to name a few of the curves life threw my way. There were many good times, to be sure, like watching three babies grow and develop into the sweet little people they are, starting a business, and continuing to pursue freelance writing. But the gravity of changes certainly put the brakes on the fast-moving future I thought I had all figured out in my late 20s. Ah, those carefree dual income, no kids days of the early to mid-2000s – that was the life! And then things got real.
It’s kind of a whirlwind to look back on, but I’m not mourning the loss of my 20s anymore, which is what my 30s have often felt like (good riddance to that!).
Not everyone’s journey looks exactly like mine, but I’d venture to say, by 40, we’ve all lived enough to have experienced some ups and downs along whatever path we’re traveling. My faith and the support of my husband and family have helped me through the tough times, and if I stop to reflect on the things that I most want out of life, I have much to be thankful for. That’s a pretty good place to be.
I’m finding the joy in 40, and I’m open to whatever the future holds.
Happy birthday, Bicentennial babies! How are you feeling about turning 40?