Ten reasons why turning 40 is better than turning 30
Last week I hit a milestone, well actually a milestone toward a milestone. I hit the month countdown to my 40th birthday. Now in a matter of weeks plus a few days I will have a birthday that honestly I am dreading. Why? I’m not totally sure. I love my life. Every. Single. Part. Of. It. My marriage, kids, work, home, friends, family, all of it. And yet the grey roots have a brilliance they didn’t a week ago, the last few days by the pool have brought out all of the spots I hate on my face (a hangover from pregnancy mask two babies ago), my clothes shout dowdy to me from their hangers in my closet.
I realize these are all issues of vanity. And I confess in some ways vanity has never had a stronger hold on me than it does now. But the truth is in so many ways it doesn’t. So in an attempt to get myself psyched for the big birthday (and because writing is cheaper than therapy) I’m making a list of all of the reasons turning 40 beats turning 30. And that’s pretty incredible because my 30s have been my best years yet. So here’s just a start at that list.
Ten reasons why turning 40 is better than turning 30:
1. My family size has doubled. Our household was a total of 3 people when I turned 30. It is now 6. More people to love with, laugh with, argue with, forgive with, play with, eat with. All of it. There’s more. And had I known a decade ago that I would be a mom of four girls, all so different from each other I would have felt part disbelief, part ecstatic, part exhausted at the thought. Good thing I didn’t know and I just lived the goodness of it step by step, child by child.
2. I will never be pregnant again. I am beyond thankful I’ve had four healthy, successful, full-term pregnancies. AND I’m happy to not have swollen feet, heartburn, leaking breasts and Braxton Hicks contractions ever again. I love my girls. I didn’t love being pregnant.
3. I buy quality. I’m not talking Armani or Lexus, but more not heading straight to the sale rack JUST because it is the sale rack. This is hard for me because I have cheap in my veins. If something is cheaper well it must be a better bargain! But after four decades of wasting money on stuff I don’t need, I’m learning to spend money on fewer things that will last (which in the end really saves).
4. My friendships are deeper. The truth is if I had a big party next month I’d invite a lot of the same people that were at my birthday party ten years ago. But we’ve lived a whole ‘nother decade together and with less and less pretense. I don’t have the same freedom I did ten years ago to sit for hours hangin. So I tend to get to the meat faster.
5. I don’t care as much. I promise the little rant about my grey hair isn’t an indicator of my overall confidence. The more life I live the more I know almost everything that stresses me out is temporary. So I’m better at letting things go. I wear pajamas to drop kids off at school, let my kids eat rice krispy treats as an appetizer for dinner and try to forgive myself for so many years of holding onto rules that didn’t matter.
6. I break the rules more. (This is really an extension of the last one.) If I’ve learned ANYTHING this last decade of life there’s rarely a “right way”. Which means this rule-follower has let loose a little and changed things up based on needs rather than shoulds. Oh the freedom!
7. I’m taking better care of my body. Okay this is where I risk sounding pre-old lady, but the truth is my body ain’t doing what it used to. So I’m working out on a regular basis. Something I haven’t done since I was in my early twenties (when I didn’t have kids and oh by the way…WHEN I DIDN’T NEED TO). And I’ve been to the dermatologist three times in the last few months to get things removed (I warned you, inappropriate old lady over sharing medical info. here).
8. I’m learning generosity. This whole holding things loosely in terms of stress has helped me hold everything with a little more give. My money, my time, my attention, my talents. I am getting better at moving my plans for God’s plans. And to not hold back when I’m needed.
9. I say “NO”. Okay this is a big difference from ten years ago and really does go hand in hand with generosity. Just as I’m more in tune with when to give freely, I’m also growing in my confidence to say no to the things that don’t hit my must-do list. I know who I am, how I’m wired, and who I am not.
10. I laugh at myself. Maybe it’s my subconscious awareness of my mortality kicking in or simply a combination of the first nine reasons on the list, but I’m done with my infatuation with me (despite the fact that I just wrote a post all about me). As I learn that I am not in fact the center of the world I’m able to laugh more often knowing how much I once thought it did. So much better this way.
I’m still in shock I’m old enough to write this post, but here I am. Knowing that life is good in all of its stages, even the ones that have always felt too far off to be real.
What wise friends would you add to this list?