Friends. Today’s the day. I’ve seen a lot of posts on turning or being 40 lately. This shouldn’t be all that surprising since thousands of people in the world turn 40 each day, but you know how when you have something going on in your life suddenly you see it everywhere? (Really, there are DOZENS of articles out there on turning 40. I’m not the only one who’s obsessed.) One that’s been making the rounds lately is titled 40 Effed Up Things About 40. It’s a pretty funny take on aging and not really feeling old enough to be 40. Some of it made me laugh, and some made me cringe because as my birthday has drawn closer, I’ve been trying hard to shift my attitude. A birthday is something to celebrate, not dread, to rejoice in, not complain about. So here are my 40 fabulous things to appreciate about being 40.
1. I share a birth year with People magazine, Jimmy Fallon and Hello Kitty. I should just stop here, because that is cool.
2. I am healthy and so is my husband. We are old enough and have seen enough tragedy to know this is no longer something to take for granted.
3. I’ve learned there’s a fine line between being chubby and having lots of wrinkles on my face. Just enough extra fat fills in those lines on your forehead and eyes.
4. I am blessed to still have my grandmothers, who amaze and inspire me with the depths of their love. I won’t have them when I turn 50.
5. I am constantly learning more about myself – good, deep, reflective stuff that I wasn’t capable of discovering at 20 or 30.
6. I am wise enough to know that pumpkin pie for breakfast is not healthy. I am old enough to not give a damn. And – bonus! – it helps fill in the wrinkles.
7. I’ve been to some amazing places in this world, and I am constantly planning more trips in my mind. I know I’ll get to go on at least a few (Greece, Spain, Italy, Israel – I’m looking at you.)
8. I’m finally okay with only having two kids. I wanted just one more! But my boys are sweet, smart, cool and just plain awesome.
9. I have the type of friends who will fly cross country just to have dinner with me on my 40th birthday.
10. I have friends who – despite being told not to – bring me meaningful and fun birthday gifts. Amazing chocolates, a beautiful potted plant, delicate jewelry, luxurious lotion, vodka and wine. These women KNOW ME.
11. I have a good job and I work with good people. Even if it doesn’t light my creative fire, that is more than so many people can say.
12. I found a community at our synagogue. Something I never thought I would say (both the “synagogue” and the “community” parts).
13. I know what color lipstick works on me. (That shit took forever.)
14. I don’t feel 40. But I don’t really know what that means. I’m tired a lot, my memory is slipping, my boobs are slowly drooping, and my taste in music is starting to get a little stagnant. Crap. Maybe I do feel 40.
15. I exercise my right to vote thoughtfully, but I am disappointed in my choices. My husband will disagree and say I vote party line…I’m not a strict party-line voter. I can’t help it if one party is right more often than the other. Is there nobody out there willing to run for public office who is as awesome as the people I know? No? Sigh.
16. I say certain things are “once in a lifetime” pretty often. Even when they are not. But you never know if this chance will be your last, so why not act like it is?
17. I don’t fall for media scare tactics. Case in point: I am informed enough to be concerned about but not obsessively freaked out by ebola, or whatever the plague of the week happens to be.
18. I read voraciously and always will. I love a good YA novel. Perhaps that’s what keeps me from feeling 40. I read like a 16 year old Twi-hard.
20. I have learned to bite my tongue when it’s not constructive for me to argue. Except on the local news station’s facebook page. It’s really hard for me to keep quiet in the face of that level of stupidity.
21. It’s a fantastic life skill to know all the words to the theme songs for Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Ties and Growing Pains. Hours of fun, I tell you, and super useful when you’re trying to embarrass your kids.
22. I wear awesome shoes when the occasion calls for it. Otherwise I wear flats. Because I am beyond caring about being short. Short is cute.
23. I don’t freak out about having to buy a bigger size if something doesn’t fit right. If I am usually a medium but I need a large, I buy the large.
24. Apparently younger moms think I am calm and have figured stuff out. A working mom in her 20s told me that recently. I stared at her for several seconds before saying “Really??? Thanks!”
25. I’ve learned how to take certain compliments. I have good hair, good skin, and nice boobs (for now). The rest of me…eh.
26. Maybe it’s confidence, maybe it’s ego, but I know I’m a good attorney and will be an even better writer.
27. There’s still a small part of me that thinks I could be slightly famous someday. Although I know that is highly unlikely, I think it would be sad to let go of that daydream. It would be a little TOO grown up.
28. I am proud that I am unable to say that anyone I know and love is anything less than beautiful in their way. It just isn’t in me.
29. This isn’t midlife. One of my great-grandmothers lived to be 102. I’m out to beat the family record.
30. I will never be a fashionista. I’m okay with that.
31. I’ve learned that rearranging furniture, lamps and pictures throughout your house is good for the soul and the bank account.
32. I’ve learned that mentoring a young woman or man who needs advice on law school, their career choices, marriage or parenting is the best feeling I will have on that given day.
33. I know that you can get more flies with honey than with vinegar. I’d like to share that sentiment with all of my legal colleagues around the planet.
34. I’m sad but grateful to have lived longer than my childhood idols: Princess Diana, Amelia Earhart, Flo Jo, Anne Frank, Christa McAuliffe.
35. My husband and my kids think I’m beautiful. Who am I to argue?
36. Someday during this first year of my new decade I will go to my favorite Mexican restaurant (NOT Casa Bonita!) and have the courage to only order the chips, salsa, guacamole and margaritas. Because I love Mexican food, but I’m really just in it for the chips and tequila. And I figure if I’m having pumpkin pie for breakfast I can drink and snack my way through lunch.
37. I’ve learned that a well spent mental health day is magic.
38. I’m so proud that we are teaching our kids about their Jewish heritage and, despite having a whole branch of our family who celebrates Christmas, we’ve done something right because those boys are ALL IN. They are proud and dedicated.
39. At ages 16, 38, 75, 102, I will always cry during Les Miserables. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
40. I’ve learned that you’re never too old to make new friends. Right, Heidi?