Not long ago, I realised that no matter what I did, I was going to turn 40 this year. Oh, I twisted and turned in my mind, trying to work out a way of making it not so, but whatever angle I looked at it from, I was going to turn 40. No matter what. Then there was some agonising, and a strong feeling of pressure to Get Things Done, and then a kind of hopelessness mixed with helplessness. And then one day, when I was in Newfoundland, I woke up and it all seemed right and just so and, in fact, spot on that I should turn 40. And, believe it or not, I've heard no whingeing from myself ever since.
I'd like to say, as I've heard others do, that I've never felt stronger, better, kinder, sweeter, more competent, more in control of my life, etc. etc. Perhaps I will tomorrow (most likely after the birthday cake and wines) but I doubt it. Perhaps that will happen when I turn 50. What I do know, though, is that I'm happy to turn 40. I see it as a place of strength to stand in and an opportunity to define what it means for me. I think what happened in Newfoundland is that I dreamed, one night, of all the limiting stereotypes that are hoisted at women as they age - the ones that say they are no longer fresh, fertile and able, the ones that say they are no longer new and wonderful and full of potential, the ones that say that 40 is the beginning of your graceful decline into old age - and I flung them out into the great, grey Atlantic ocean. I let that wild coastal wind pick them up and whip them far, far away from me and in the space that remained I let the cool fresh sea air fill me up with hope and life and wondrous anticipation about my life to come. No wonder I woke up feeling rested. Free, even.
So here's to life. At whatever age. I'm just going to go on with it, do my very best, and love my loved ones with all my might. What more is there?