Virginia

This is 40

I just turned 40.

I keep looking at that number and keep expecting to have feelings about it.

The birthdays that end in zeroes are supposed to feel significant.

But you know…honestly…I feel just fine and dandy about turning 40.

This is one of the ones that is supposed to feel like a milestone.

I think I’m supposed to feel like I’m slowing down.

Like I’m over the hill.

Like I should be itemizing my life and figuring out where I’m found wanting.

But when I itemize my life, it’s full of amazing experiences.

I’ve visited over forty countries on six continents.

I have a wonderful husband and a little son I adore.

I have an amazing assignment, the perfect one to end a great Army career on, and a great plan for life after Army that I’m hoping to put into motion 18 months from now.

Not everyone gets to make it forty trips around the sun, so just being here is a privilege.

This is typically the time you’d expect one of those “forty things for forty years” posts, right?

I think I’ve actually learned more about how much I don’t know at this point than the things I do know, but I do know a few things.

When you’re 20, you’re brimming with confidence and energy and you know everything.

When you’re 30, you still think you know everything, but you’re a lot more relaxed and easy about it all.

When you’re 40, you know just how complicated the world is, and that things aren’t black and white.

You know that there’s always more to the story.

You know that nothing is guaranteed.

You know there’s always a plot twist in there somewhere.

You know that you never understand what motivates someone to make a decision until that decision is staring you right in the face.

You know that you never know what you’re made of until the moment it counts.

You know that nobody ever really knows what’s going on and that we’re all just pretending to be the adult in the room.

You know that the scariest thing in the world is when someone actually believes you’re the adult in the room.

You know that even though we’re all scared, we still manage to make things work and muddle through.

I know that I’m looking forward to my forties, even though that feels strange to say.

Part of me still feels like if I blink, I’ll wake up and be 30 again and the ’90’s will be just back around the corner and not almost 20 years ago.

The rest of me knows that there are new adventures around the horizon.

By the time I reach a new decade {50, oh my good Lord in heaven}, my son will be 11, I will be well on my way into a second career, and it will be really interesting to see how life will have unfolded around us.

But in the meantime, where am I now? What does being forty actually mean for me?

My number one priority in the world is just getting some sleep.

I’m not afraid of being alone or walking away from people who are poisonous. It’s a beautiful and freeing feeling.

I don’t have much in the way of inhibitions anymore. I have decades of practice trying new things. Things that used to embarrass are now hilarious.

I’m done chasing fads. It’s nice to be able to take the time to pick out a bespoke suit or a bespoke experience.

Speaking of bespoke, it’s nice being able to choose what luxuries you care about. I will splurge on a tailored suit and a plane ticket and buy a used car and gas station coffee.

I’m perfectly okay with being upgraded to “ma’am.”

I’m planning my midlife crisis with relish. It will probably involve some form of pink hair as soon as I retire from the Army.

It’s awesome to be blonde, because you don’t go gray – you go champagne.

I’m reaping the benefits of “you are what you eat.” Having good diet and exercise habits early in life pays off when your metabolism starts going into retirement.

Having a standing desk at this age is gold, because pretty much everyone I know who doesn’t have one is wrestling with back pain. Forty means having to get up and stretch.

Having a one-year-old when I’m forty has been terrific for my health, because I’m up and down off the ground, carrying him, and active when I otherwise would be taking it easy.

I worry about having a one-year-old when I’m forty because I’ll be fifty when he’s eleven, sixty when he’s twenty-one, and hope I’ll be around for a lot of his major milestones.

I realize that this decade just might be as good as it gets, and I’d better make the most of it.

I started this post out just to capture my thoughts on turning 40. I felt great about turning 40 at the start, and at the end of this post, I feel great and amazed. And I’m pretty sure this is going to be an amazing decade.

I’d love to hear from you all out there who are over 40. What was the best part of your forties?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

3 Comments

  1. Forty and still young is a blessing. Many in their thirties because of various factors are less active then many forty plus. God is good I am happy for you enjoy life after Army when you get out and establish yourself and family in the path of peace and righteousness

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