Turning 40: The First and Best Day of the Rest of My Life

Turning 40: The First and Best Day of the Rest of My Life

Every time I’ve told someone I’m turning forty this week, I can tell I get a funny look on my face. I never thought I’d say this, but I am psyched about forty. Nervous, of course, that all the good – or at least employable – years are behind me and nervous about the way my neck is starting to ripple and my nipples now point downwards, but so eager to see what new adventures are in store for me as I enter this new decade of my life.

Want to know a secret? Every time I say “I’m 40,” in my head I giggle because to me the number 40 sounds a lot like 14. I feel the same bubbly anticipation that I did back then, 26 years ago today, when I hit my second year of being a teenager. Only this birthday is so much better, because I know how big my boobs are going to get, I know what true love feels like, I know who my kid is going to be, I know how to both give and receive oral pleasure, and I have a much better sense of who I am. Forty is not the new 30. Forty is the new f*cking amazing.

But last night, as I was falling asleep, I hit upon a real moment of sadness as I thought about my thirties. Not because they’re over, but because I had wasted so much time worrying about totally useless shit. Ten whole years wishing I was smarter, thinner, happier, less anxious and less sensitive. Ten years searching for some outward definition and validation of success. Ten years of hoping that everyone would like me, even when that was impossible. What a waste of precious time.

Here’s the advice I would give to anyone about to enter her thirties. Actually, I take that back. Here’s my advice to anyone who thinks that getting older is something to feel anything other than fantastic about.

* Don’t deprive yourself. Not from love, food, orgasms, friendship or even hours of bad TV. Some of the most creative periods of my life have come right after Teen Mom marathons.

* Stay away from Facebook’s newsfeed. I stopped a week ago and it's the best thing I've done for myself in ages. No more comparing myself to everyone else and no more feeling like I don’t measure up.

* Don’t get an IUD put in the day before your birthday. Holy crampiness. And don’t listen to people who say it’s just a little uncomfortable. That shit hurts.

* Stay away from toxic relationships. You will never change anyone.

* Ladies: Stop being a-holes to other women. We need to be each other’s champions.

* Stop obsessing about your muffin tops. Big deal, you have muffin tops. Perhaps they are even big and juicy muffin tops that leak out of every pair of pants you wear. IT DOESN’T MATTER.

* Surround yourself with good people. People who treat you with love and kindness and respect and joy and tenderness. People who see the best in you and feel lucky to be in your life.

* Like yourself, goddammit. Seriously. What are you waiting for? This is it. This is your life. Do you want to wish it away?

We have such little time. Why should we spend it hating ourselves or, just as bad, hating others? Why not do some good, so when we wake up in the morning we can open our eyes and say yes the world is full of shit but we are doing our part. Even if it's one small thing for one single person, we are trying our best to acknowledge that we are part of something that is bigger than us and our own problems.

In ten years from now, we'll check back in. I'll let you know if I fell asleep the night before my 50th with a regretful pang in my already very crampy belly. Let's hope not. We've got bigger and better things to do.

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Filed under: Families in the Loop

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