Remember when your parents turned 40? Didn’t that seem old? I remember being in middle school when my dad had a surprise party for his fortieth. I recall black decorations featuring the grim reaper and “over the hill” balloons.
Forty was adult. Forty-year-olds had their shit together. They had tax accountants and garages full of power tools. Also, my dad had a middle-school-aged daughter when he turned forty. I have a Meyer Lemon tree that might be dying and a dog that barfed unidentifiable blue pieces of plastic this morning.
Regardless of whether you’re responsible for a fruit tree or a human, turning forty is an achievement. A good portion of my 30s was spent dreading the fact I was aging. And now I’m just thrilled to be here. To be healthy and strong. To have a smile lines. To turn a year older.
You only turn forty once and I wanted to be flashy, flossy and over the top. This is not my style. I’m more of a “save your pennies” kind of girl. It’s hard for me to go big. The gumption to press the button and redeem flyer miles for first-class seats took me over a week. Huzzbot basically sat me down and coached me through the splurge. Five seconds after I pressed “redeem,” I began strategizing new ways to earn more miles and get my “savings account” back to a level that made me feel safe.
Even my packing was over the top. I brought our biggest suitcase. Just for MY things. Anyone who knows my rigid packing style knows this is a deviation from my typical practice of using a backpack for two weeks worth of clothing – often with room to spare. I brought so many dresses, heels and hats that never got worn. But I had them in case I needed the perfect outfit to go with the perfect winery.
And yes, speaking of wineries…Sonoma Valley was the best place to go big. Wine has always been a sideshow on our trips, but never taken center stage. My fortieth birthday called for a quintessential wine vacation. We opted for Sonoma Valley because as much as we wanted to drink wine, we also wanted to spend time on the water, enjoying ocean vistas and hiking.
Rest assured, there was still an extraordinary amount of wine drinking. And no matter how old I get, I still don’t seem to learn that I MUST eat before I start drinking. I learn and promptly forget this lesson a couple times a year. And on the last day of 39, I learned this lesson yet again. Maybe my 30s will be the last time I make this mistake? Probably not. In the final hours of my 30s, I accidentally joined two wine clubs, sent Sissy a video of me giggling in a cave which I have no recollection of recording, fell asleep with my wedges on and woke up around 5:30 p.m. demanding we drive 23 minutes away for pho. Flossy.
One of the most special moments of my 40th birthday was the surprise heap of cards, letters and gifts that Huzzbot dumped onto the bed when I woke up. He secretly coordinated with friends and family to shower me with the most special wishes. I laughed and cried – sometimes at once – as I sifted through them.
On top of being grateful for turning 40, I was grateful for, and in awe of, the extraordinary circle of people I have around me. There’s gotta be an annoying quote out there about measuring your life not in numbers of years, but in number friendships. That’s how I felt on my birthday.
As I ponder the platform I’ll set for my 40s, one thing is clear – I want to keep cultivating close friendships. I’ve not been as consistent around this as I’d like, and as I get older, the more important it becomes. Also, I have like 24 more bottles of wine in my house than I did two weeks ago, so maybe you should come over so we can cultivate our friendship with wine. Seriously…hit me up.