So this past year, I turned 40. For the first time, I felt truly old. I have a distinct memory of going to my aunt’s 40thbirthday when I was a little girl and thinking, dang she’s old. Not to mention the theme of the party was ‘over the hill’. There were black balloons and a gravestone on the cake (thinking back that seems kinda morbid, but hell I only attended the party).

What’s the big deal about turning 40? For women, it’s a change in how we see ourselves. For most of us, it signals an end to the most fertile time period in our lives. I was 37 when I gave birth to my baby girl, and I was immediately put into the ‘high risk’ category simply because of my age. If that doesn’t make you feel old, nothing will.

There are a ton of good things about getting older. I always say my twenties were my time for being wild and exploring what I wanted out of life and what I wanted in a partner. My thirties were for finally kinda figuring it out. I have no idea what my forties will be like, but stability is something I’ve craved since I was a little girl and I now have it. I think I’ll revel in that for a little while.

Priorities change as you get older. The appearance of things doesn’t matter nearly so much anymore. When you’re younger, a lot of what you do is to impress others. You cut your hair a certain way because your friends did, go to a certain club because everyone goes there…the list goes on and on. All of your energy is focused on the appearance of things, rather than the reality of them.

At some point, we just get tired of expending that energy into making things look a certain way. I’ve embraced my many flaws at this point. I’ve let my rosacea turn my cheeks a rosy red, and I cut my hair short because I like it that way. I wrote a book that won’t make much of my family happy because of the language and sex scenes. Ten years ago, could I have done that? No freakin’ way. I would have been too terrified to put myself out there like that. Could I have even written this blog? I doubt it. Everything was about image and hiding who I really was. Now my life is about just being me and savoring what I have. Today, I’m still terrified, but I’m more worried about making me happy than other people.

At the end of the day, the only person we have to look at in the mirror is ourselves. We only need to satisfy that voice within that says this is what I want. There are a shitload of obligations and duties that go along with getting older, but it becomes easier to say no and focus on what’s important to you.

When I look in the mirror, which I rarely do these days, I see a few laugh lines and feel nothing but comfort at the sight of my old, familiar face. She’s not the prettiest in the bunch, she definitely needs makeup, but she’s kicking ass…well at least sometimes? She knows who she is. Did twenty-year-old me know who I was? Hell no. I had no idea what I really wanted or how to accomplish anything. I struggled, I flopped, I got my heart broken…often.

Damn, if it wasn’t a journey though. I can look back and say I wouldn’t change any of it because there is no way I would appreciate what I have now nearly as much. There is a contentment in looking at mistakes that we’ve made and saying yep I did that, and I lived through it and I learned from it. Regret is a waste of time and energy.

Just to really show my age, I’ll use a quote from one of my favorite shows back in the day, Sex and the City (I was a total Charlotte, but feel a lot more like Miranda these days, with a little Samantha when I’m particularly badass):

“Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives?” Carrie Bradshaw (the fabulous Sarah Jessica Parker)

Love to you all,