Monday, February 8, 2021

On Turning 40

 On Saturday, I welcomed in a new decade! I vividly remember anticipating turning 30 and had a lot of big feelings about it - mostly anxiety about the fact that I wasn't married (or dating anyone) and hadn't started a family. Most of my college friends were married and had started families so I felt like the late bloomer and wondered when my biggest hopes and dreams for a companion and children would be granted. 

Luckily, my patience paid off and my prayers were answered during my 30s. I met Phil when I was 32 and we were married when I was 36 and had our babies when I was 37 and 39. I also found a job that I love when I was 34. Of course my 30s were not without their pain. I went through an unwanted relocation to Charlotte which was one of the hardest years of my life. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis months after moving to Charlotte. Phil and I both lost loved ones and dealt with a heartbreaking miscarriage in 2019. But all in all, I look back on my 30s with gratitude. I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that your 30s are better than your 20s. It's not that life is any easier. Hard stuff continues to happen. But you are so much better-equipped to deal with those challenges because you know yourself better and have more perspective than you did at a younger age. 

Perhaps that is why turning 40 isn't filling me with anxiety. It helps that I have as many children as I wish to have and know that I won't ever have to be pregnant again! Hooray! And I have a wonderful partner by my side to help me weather whatever comes our way. It does boggle my mind that I'm 40, though. I remember my parents 40th birthday parties. There were black balloons and streamers and signs about being "over the hill." It's funny how turning 40 has changed since then. I haven't received any over the hill cards or comments and doubt I will. But with the longevity my generation will experience, God-willing, 40 is probably not the half-way point for me. And after all the heartache and loss our nation and world has experienced in the past year due to Covid, we should all feel nothing but gratitude to celebrate a birthday each year as the gift of aging is not guaranteed! 

For my 30th birthday, I went to Paris for a week - by myself - and had the most amazing vacation. This milestone birthday looked very different thanks to Covid and having a 2-month old. But it was still very special! Here is how I celebrated the day!

I came down on Saturday morning to my gift from Phil - a signed photograph of my "dad crush" - John Dickerson! I am a huge fan of him so Phil worked with his cousin's wife, who works at CBS News, to get a signed photo. He didn't have any headshots so an assistant took this photo especially for me! In the background are the beautiful flowers from my parents and a co-worker.

While Phil went grocery shopping and ran errands, we facetimed with my parents and then I played several games of Hi Ho Cherry-O and the Hungry Caterpillar game with Paul. I absolutely love playing games so am glad he's at the game-playing stage. I bounced Will in the bouncer while we played games and was glad he stayed content long enough to do this!

Will gave me lots of smiles throughout the day, too! He's a fun stage where he smiles and coos and is more interactive. 

Throughout the day, I receive 3 deliveries of macarons - one from my college friends, another from our realtor who is a good friend, and a box from my mom that she made! I have been enjoying them over the past several days and it turns out that Picky Paul is a big fan of the ones from Nana! 

I had a video chat with 3 girlfriends I met through Phil. I think our high was -1 so while it would have been great to see them in person, it was nice to catch up from our cozy homes. 

For dinner, we ordered Indian and I enjoyed some Prosecco after Paul was in bed while holding Will. I snapped a photo of him when we went to bed. I was definitely feeling very grateful to have a little baby to tuck into bed. Newborns are not without their challenges but I know how lucky we are to have 2 healthy little boys. 

I'm hopeful that by August when Phil turns 40, we'll be able to safely have a backyard gathering with friends, But despite not being able to do something "big" for this birthday, I had an amazing day and felt so loved as I received many phone calls, texts and facebook notes. 

I'm looking forward to the decade ahead and can't wait to see what it holds for my sweet family of 4!


Carolina John said...

Agreed, your 30's are way better than your 20's, but the 40's are where it all starts to fall apart. The good news is that there's not much difference between 40's and 50's, so it's all a stable decline after this haha. I'm hitting 46 this summer, and after turning 40 I got arthritis, cataracts, reading glasses, a herniated disc in my back, all of which ended my athletic pursuits. But it's not all bad! You get to move into more senior/mentor/management roles at work, make way more money, have more freedoms as the kids grow, it's pretty fantastic. happy birthday again!

Shoshanah said...

Hope you had a very happy birthday! And it’s crazy that your Paris trip was 10 years ago, because I remember when you went. So crazy to think we’ve “known” each other for 10 years now!

Jeanie said...

From where I sit, it sounds like a perfect birthday. When my mom turned 40, I went to show and tell and "told." I thought it a big deal, my mom's birthday! She was mortified. I liked my 40s a lot -- maybe my best decade. I wish you all love, joy and happiness in yours!

Amber said...

I so vividly remember when you took yourself to Paris for your 30th - that is absolutely wild it was a decade ago already! I am SOOOO happy for all the last decade has brought you. You are so deserving of all the happiness and I'm so happy you got everything you wished for - so so worth the wait.

Honestly, your birthday sounds simple and beautiful and perfect. It will be one of those birthdays you look back on one day and really cherish I bet.

Stephany said...

It's so crazy that your 30th birthday trip to Paris was a decade ago, which means I've been following you for longer than that! I remember when you went and thinking it was so brave to travel alone, haha. I'm so happy for all the joy and happiness that your 30s brought you! Even through the hardships, there were so many moments of goodness. I'm excited to see what your 40s bring you!

katielookingforward said...

Happy Belated Birthday!! I am glad you're able to be on the "good" ra meds now, and that you have your beautiful family, what blessings! I can't wait to see what else life brings you in this new decade!

Grateful Kae said...

Happy happy birthday!!! Wooooo!! 40!!! I totally remember my parents turning 40, too. My mom got my Dad a huge "over the hill" sign for the yard and had a surprise party with lots of "over the hill" stuff. hahaha! I agree, I don't really hear that term as much anymore. My 20's feel like kind of a blur of graduating, starting my real job, getting married right away and having the boys! Whew! So to me, my 30's have just felt a lot more stable/ less crazy I guess. I also feel WAY more aware of what I enjoy, personal introspection, etc. In my 20's I kind of feel like I was just skating by in many ways, though that's probably not really fair to say. I have 2 more years until my 40th, but my husband turns 40 in less than a month!! I had thought a few years ago that maybe we would take some big 40th birthday trip for his birthday (he has always wanted to go to Denmark), but obviously that is not happening. So far we do not have any plans for his 40th! It sounds like you had a really great day, regardless of the circumstances. :) Happy birthday again!

Abby said...

I would say your 40s are off to a great start!!! I am so happy for you that you're entering this decade with a beautiful family.

I remember you worrying often in the beginning of your 30s about whether you will meet the right one. Im so happy you and Phil found each other!!

Glad it was a special day, despite it being a bit different due to covid. I agree about 40 being viewed so different now! I whole heartedly view 40 as young!!!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

It is funny how 40 gets younger and younger as the years go by. I actually do not remember my parents turning 40 but I do remember my uncle (who is only about 13 years older than me) turning 30 and man was he old! I don't know whether it's because I have never been a big birthday celebration person or what, but for my 40th, I went for a run and a beer with a friend and it was good enough for me! I have not felt a big difference between the thirties and forties yet (not like when I turned 30 and all of a sudden my metabolism went down the tube) but I guess it is what you make of it!

Welcome to my decade! We are glad to have you here!

Anne said...

Welcome to your 40s! They are an excellent decade, to be sure. And yes, 30s>20s. I'm so glad that you really settled into being you in the past 10 years. And, oh, Paris. Sigh. I wish travel were a thing. Even I - the biggest homebody ever - am desperate to see something different. I hope you get to do a BIG celebration one of these days!

San said...

Happy birthday (again) and I love that you were able to "accomplish" so much in your 30's that turning 40 didn't feel like BD.

Age is just a number :)

Marlys said...

I’ve been a tad slow in reading blogs lately, but so enjoyed this one! Your Birthday was almost perfect sans a big party, and the weather was not desirable, but you had a lot of wonderful things happen! Milestone Birthdays come and go so quickly, and even though I’m now in the 70’s, I don’t feel old. Now the 70’s seems quite perfect!
You have much to be thankful for!

Gracie said...

Happy belated birthday! What a lovely day to celebrate you. I hope this year is filled with joy!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Happy very belated birthday! I totally agree that 30s were way better than 20s, and I think each decade will just get better and better. That's wild that people used to think 40 was "Over the Hill". Times certainly have changed.

Will looks so cozy in his little swaddling thing. You sure do have cute kids!