One week from today I turn 40. All day long I couldn’t help but hear the Wicked Witch of the West in my ear, as if she had turned over the hourglass and cackled, “This is how long you have left to be in your thirties… Yee hee hee hee hee hee hee!” 

I said before that I’m not upset about this birthday, and I’m not — at least not in the traditional sense.  Sure I have the normal hangups about aging and its impact on my looks but truthfully, I am far more comfortable in my skin (literally and figuratively) than I was ten years ago, or even twenty years ago.  I suppose that is the joke life plays on you — that you can’t have the wisdom, self-confidence and sense of purpose that comes with age AND a flat stomach at the same time.

Body issues aside, what I’ve mostly been reflecting on is simply the passage of time and whether I’ve lived up to my own expectations of my life and myself.  More morbidly, if I died tomorrow, would I feel like I had done everything I should have/could have?  The answer is a resounding NO (so I really hope I don’t get hit by a bus tomorrow).  In a way that is frightening and in a way it is also very exciting.  I feel young precisely because I have so much left to do.  I’ve already started my career over, and now that my kids are getting older, there will be more freedom to contemplate what else I want to contribute to this world while I am still in it.

So the old witch won’t have any power over me come next Tuesday.  But I think I’ll wear red shoes just in case…

What about you? Have you had some birthdays that were better or worse than you expected?

Categories: Birthdays · Tags: , , , , ,

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9 Comments

  1. My 40th didn’t bother me either. My 50th did . . . a little. Now, I’m fine with my age.

    As far as expectations go . . . I have NOT lived up to my “original expectations” for life. Rather than beating myself up about it, I just lowered my expectations. 😀

    Happy (almost) Birthday!

  2. I think you’ll love it Julie, the wisdom to use your time effectively and less worrying to really go out there and achieve all you dream of. My silliest friend is in her mid-forties btw 🙂

    • Catherine, I think I’m going to love the “forties” too. I’ll let you know when I’m turning 50. 🙂

  3. It’s not my birthdays that make me feel old, it’s my kids’ birthdays. Having a daughter turn 18 this year I was like, wow!, how did THAT happen?

    So far, I haven’t had a birthday that has made me suddenly feel my age (I am chronologically older than you are by 6 years but if you go by maturity level I’m probably a lot younger :)) but I do have the same kinds of thought you’re discussing – probably natural as you grow older. I, too, still have lots of things I want to accomplish! Good luck with the things on your list, and have fun doing them! 🙂

    • My kids’ birthdays don’t make me feel old so much as a little sad. I wish I could shake that feeling, but it always reminds me that they’re growing up so fast…

  4. Some days I wish my kids were older so I could get something (or anything) accomplished. So much inspiration. So little time. Hope you have your best year yet!

    • Hannah – it will come sooner than you think. My “baby” is going to be in Kindergarten next year and I can hardly believe it. People say it goes by fast, but you really don’t believe it until it happens to you.

  5. Since my little guy turned 1 today, it has totally distracted me that I will turn 40 on Friday. I guess it’s true when people say children will keep you young. Lots more to do in his lifetime and in mine.

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