You are surrounded by the ones you love most.
Your kids are still little and think you are the best thing that’s ever happened to them, but not so little that they are still in diapers or keeping you up for round the clock feeds at night.
You spent your entire life preparing for a career. You either love it or you make a change and get out. You realize you still have another lifetime (40 years) of good living left to do something else if you desire.
You have completely lost the ability to care about what others think of you. That’s none of your business.
You have worked long enough that if you see a cute dress or a fun new restaurant, you go for it. Your 20’s were for ramen noodles and budget finds (although let’s be honest, you still eat an insane amount of ramen noodles).
You look back at all the cool things you have done over 40 years and feel fulfilled. There are no regrets for the life that made you who you are today, no matter the challenges.
You are also excited that there is still so much time left to create more experiences, memories, adventures and mishaps.
You are beginning to see your children develop their own identities with unique characteristics all their own.
You see your parents in a different light-older, wiser, and maybe a little more fragile over the years.
You don’t worry about the vanity youth can bring, but ease into a comfortable peace with yourself.
Your life is busy, like really busy. Work related concerns/opportunities are ever present with the constant pull to also go on the field trips, watch the games, and coach the teams for your kids.
You realize what a blessing it actually is to be pulled in so many directions. This is much better than the other way around- if no one was looking for your input, recommendation, or seeking your loving approval.
You appreciate good health like never before. By now, you have had an injury or hospitalization. You have lost someone close or have seen a tragedy happen to a friend.
You don’t take things for granted.
You don’t get carded at a bar anymore and are happy about it. It’s annoying to get your ID out anyway.
You are learning how to “stop sweating the little things” and let go of what really doesn’t matter.
You have come to understand that every single person is facing challenges in their lives and it’s best to give people the benefit of the doubt as you have no idea what they are currently going through.
You can count a small handful of friends that you know will be with you through life. You may have met them at various stages, but they have remained a constant in your life over the years.
You have learned enough to start giving back. With your time, money, skills and expertise you begin to realize the joy in helping others and lifting up those facing challenges.
You learn to forgive yourself. You know you are not perfect. You make mistakes. You learn from them and try to do better. You realize the same for everyone else.
Lastly, 40 is the best birthday because you still are in relatively good health and are hopefully no more than halfway through your life. It’s a birthday for reflection. A time to be grateful and optimistic.
Looking back at your last 40 years, you can’t even begin to imagine what the next 40 will hold.