Why is it fabulous? Because I look and feel better than ever. In my twenties I lived on fast food, cigarettes, Miller Lite, stress and severe anxiety. What's fun about that? I worried constantly about my job, my life, my savings account, my health, my future, what other people thought of me. My life was one big worry fest. I couldn't enjoy the moment because I was always planning ways to make the moment better.
I don't worry about those things anymore. I have the best job in the world as a mother. My husband and I save for our future because we don't live above our means. Some years are leaner than others, but we still manage to live comfortably. However, the most important lesson I learned along the way is that it really doesn't matter what other people think of me. I can't make everyone happy so I might as well just focus on making myself and my family happy. As Dr. Seuss so aptly reminds us, "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
I don't stress now about things I can't control. Okay...that might a bit of a stretch. I stress less about things I can't control. But, I have a great teacher in my husband. He doesn't get angry very often and I admire his ability to let things roll so easily off his back. He concerns himself with things he has some influence over not the things he doesn't. I watch and learn from him. I am working on it.
I put my health first instead of last. I quit smoking, have been exercising regularly for the past 10 years and made friends with fruits and vegetables. I don't diet but eat in moderation. I didn't give up my beer, although I switched to a higher quality brew. Nothing will come between me and my Sam Adams! I keep it simple. The better ingredients I put into my body, the better my body works. It's not rocket science.
I don't put as much emphasis now on trying to prove myself. I have already proven that I can be successful at work (promotions, pay raises, accolades). I have already proven that I can be successful at home (great family, well-rounded kids). And, I have already proven that the quantity of friendships don't matter nearly as much as the quality (goodbye to toxic people who bring me down or cause me grief...hello friends who add something positive to my life).
Wanna know one more reason why 40 is freakin' fabulous? Because I love my life. I don't think anyone on the planet has a better husband than I do. I couldn't be my best self without his constant love and support. My kids are wonderful little human beings who have brought more joy and happiness to my life than I thought possible. I wake up most days in awe of my good fortune.
As the saying goes, "you are only as old as you feel." In that case, I should be about 18. But, seriously, I wouldn't take a million dollars to go back and do my twenties all over again. What a drag. I have paid my dues and learned some hard life lessons along the way. But at least I learned. I took every one of my mistakes and every sad story and turned it around to an "aha" moment. I constantly ask myself, "what can I learn from this?" I may not always find an answer but I am always aware of the question.
I'm not unhappy about getting older. I am embracing the fact that I am much smarter than my younger self. I love that with age comes wisdom. It's true. Every birthday brings me that much closer to the me I want to be. Every year I stop making excuses about why or how I do what I do. Every year I realize that fewer justifications are necessary.
Whoever said "40 is the new 30" wasn't living in her moment. Forty isn't the "new" anything.
It's just plain fabulous exactly as it is.