I was nervous about turning forty. I can't really explain why, but as my fortieth birthday approached, I became anxious about it. Perhaps it was the memory of my dad's fortieth, where he only received gag gifts and every single one basically said, "Wow, you're old now and your life is over and it's all downhill from here ... sucks to be you! Oh, and happy birthday" and the look of forced cheer on his face as he endured the black cards and "Over the Hill" balloons.
I mean, that miiiiight have something to do with it.
However, now that I've been forty for nearly a year, I'd like to say something to my fellow forty-ers, because I wish someone had said this to me:
FORTY IS AWESOME.
Being in your forties is AMAZING. It's actually sort of like marketing slogan for Kohl's department store: Say Yes ... to YOU!
I have spent all year saying yes to me, and it's been great.
YES! I have permission to care for myself first when I am sick.
YES! I can acknowledge that there are things I just plain hate to eat (looking at you, yogurt) and ... STOP EATING THEM. You know what? I can get the important stuff that's in yogurt somewhere else.
YES! I acknowledge some relationships as toxic and then simply let them go.
YES! I can say to a loved one, "You and I don't agree about this subject, and it makes us both angry and sad, so let us STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. We have so many other things! We can talk about those!"
YES! I can say to someone who is being horrible to another human being, "HEY! Stop that!"
YES! I can acknowledge that I am smart and valuable.
YES. YES. YES.
YES to all of the things.
Before I turned forty, I didn't feel like I was ... um ... adult enough? I didn't think I deserved to have the authority to say, YES, I'm going to go to bed when I'm tired even if that means I'm going to sleep ridiculously early. Turning forty gave me the sense that I was grounded on this earth, that I had earned this spot and it was MINE, darn it, and I would give myself permission to live it as I wished.
YES to taking chances.
YES to healthy relationships.
YES to realizing that I'm just doing my best.
YES YES YES.
This is forty.
And darlin'? It's damn fine.