This year I turned 40.
We had just moved into our new house 3 weeks before and our spare pennies had gone towards moving trucks, storage and we had a pile of decorating and renovating we had to do.
Oh, and it was easter weekend
The whole family was exhausted from 12 months of stress of owning a home, but not being in it. We were still surrounded by boxes, and bumping into things in the dark.
And I turned 40.
I remember my mother’s fortieth birthday, and that in itself totally freaks me out, by the way.
I remember that they had a huge banner where she worked that spanned the length of the room shouting out “Lordy, lordy look who’s 40”
I also remember they held her 40th birthday AND a mortgage burning party on the same day.
I know. . . mortgage burning… HA! I just choked on my wine.
I work from home, so there as no sign, and we had just moved into a house we had bought. . . the ink was still so wet on our mortgage that it wouldn’t have burned had we tried.
So, on the last night of being 39, I lay in bed while my hubby snored and I cried. I wept at getting older. I wept that there was no spare time, money or energy to surprise and celebrate me.
I cried at all the things I said I was going to do, but hadn’t. I held my muffin top in my hands and cursed it and I felt that the skin around my knees didn’t feel as “youthful” as it used to. I lay in bed and was angry that I was turning 40 NOW.
I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t organized enough for it yet.
And then I woke up to this.
It was front page of the Huffington Post.
It was in Bold. and red.
And I had a chicken on my shoulder.
They had done the interview the week before, and during the chat the reporter (who really was fabulous) found out I was turning 40.
And, I guess the headline worked?
But here’s the thing.
Bold? Caps? Red??
It wasn’t a gentle welcoming into 40 that I was wanting. It wasn’t a pretty scripted “This is 40” with a lilting harmony attached.
It was BIG. And it was BOLD and it was RED.
And it was 40.
While I was so proud of the story and the opportunity to share it, and I basked in the glory of the comments and the supporters, I screenshot the headline not because it was a badge of honour, but because it left a wound.
And that wound has turned into a scar.
I am now almost 40 and a half, and I have some unresolved issues about this experience. I have been staring at that screen shot for almost 6 months, and I am ready to delete it.
My 40th let me down and I demand a do-over.
I want to courageously leap into 40. I want to have tanned thighs, and windswept hair. I want to feel powerful, loved and passionate about life. I want to be wearing a good bra, and a clean shirt when I turn forty. I want to eat truffles, drink champagne and laugh so hard my head aches.
I want to feel like ALL of me. Every piece that brought me here to this day, every whisper of my personality, every defining moment of my life.
I do not, (I repeat DO NOT) want a selfie of me with a chicken on my shoulder on the front page of the Huffington Post.
I mean, the chicken wasn’t even looking at the camera…..
And I want to make something clear here. I am fine “being” 40. I finally feel confident in who I am, I feel my brain working right alongside my heart, and I love, love, love my life. I don’t gasp when I run like I did in my 30’s, I still feel comfortable in my bikini and (while my feet will hurt the next day) I can still shake it down on the dance floor.
Being 40 isn’t the problem.
But TURNING 40 sucked ass. Big time.
It was anti climactic.
But I was more than Bold. and Red. And CAPS.
And it was nobodies fault that it was what it was, and in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t a big deal. My failed 40th won’t define me.
I was surrounded by my family, and my children, and loving my life.
One day, I don’t know what I will do, where, when or how it will come into being, but at some random point in my life I will stand tall on a table, surrounded by friends and family and life experience and throw my hands out wide and welcome turning 40. I will have my peace with it, and I will feel beautiful, and powerful and entirely me.
And I will NOT have a chicken on my shoulder when I do it.