Every year on my birthday my little mama calls me and says with a shaky yet happy voice, “(however many years ago – this year it’s 40 years ago) right now it was just you and me kiddo.” It’s more profound this year than any other year as I have my own babies to help me reflect on the day of their birth and be awed by the wonder of it all.
I usually tick people off when I say, “I don’t really celebrate birthdays as I think my mom should get all the credit. I mean, I didn’t do anything. She had me for cripes sake.”
My sobriety date has become much more important to me in the last 12 years than my birthday has and rightly so. But not this year. This year I am forty. I am not “39 again” or any of that nonsense. I am 40 loud and proud and ABSOLUTELY I am proud.
When you believed your whole life you would be dead by 35 and THEN you reach 40, you celebrate. I had no plans. I still have no plans. No expectations. I lost a bunch of years so whatever I have is a bonus.
I remember my dad turning 40 like it was yesterday. My mom had a big party and my brother and I got to stay up late and it was a BIG DEAL. That is when 40 seemed O L D. Today, it doesn’t seem old at all. Because today it’s happening to me and I ain’t old.
Here’s how it looked to me when my parents turned 40. 40 was wise and confident and accomplished. 40 was owning a home and having a savings account. My parents had money for my brother and I to go to college. 40 was knowing what the hell you were doing.
40 looks very different today than it did when my dad hit that milestone.
We don’t live in that world today. I’ve got 2 babies in pack and plays, one car and a walk up 2 bedroom apartment that we rent. At 40, we have hardly any savings. This is 40 TODAY. Society and politics have changed a lot, and yet they are really the same. College being paid for is pretty much a pipe dream for us. Our kids will go to college; we just don’t have any idea how it will be paid for. But they will go. We’ve started being really careful with money now because we have kids. Same old story. 40 to me is not really knowing what I’m doing, but doing the best I can and loving every minute of it.
I did some googling about turning 40 last night before I started writing this post, you know, just to see what’s been written already and I was shocked by the number of “look great at 40” posts there are. As if suddenly at age 40 we don’t know how to look good anymore? I mean, come on!
40 is the new black. It’s way younger than it used to be. Because we say so, right? I’ve been waiting and wishing my whole life for what I have now. Many take such normalcy for granted, but I’m here to say I’m grateful for every harried moment. This is what I’m meant to be doing. Writing and mothering and helping others get and stay sober and living this dream with my dear sweet dumpster husband. I don’t regret my past, but I am so excited for my future!
I’m turning 40. Now get off my lawn. I’ve got a butterscotch all unwrapped for you in my pocket with just a little lint. Come over here and let me pinch your cheeks.
Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.