Thoughts on Turning 40...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

This weekend it happened.  I turned the dreaded corner into middle age.  Honestly, 40 still sounds so old and foreign to me, even though that is now my age.  I suppose it is one of those ages that will take a while to settle into.  It seems like only a few years ago that Jimmy and I were 22 and searching for our first apartment in Boston.  Where does the time go?  It's so cliche to say, but I feel like my 30s blew right past me.  I hope the same will not be true for my 40s.  I'd prefer if they mosey on by at a snails pace.  They will be the last years that we have both children at home.  Well, actually, that's not even true, by the time I turn 50 I'll have one child working on his driver's license and the other (hopefully) entering his senior year in college.   Even though I'm not a fan of the number 40, I am a big fan of this stage in life.

The big difference between 30 and 40 is a feeling of contentment and being settled.  I'm no longer planning when/if we should have another child, we are no longer searching for our forever house and neighborhood, I'm no longer stressing over whether or not I should give up my career.  We have settled into our lives, to our marriage, to parenting, and it feels good.  (Not that we don't still have plenty of dreams for our future,  just that their urgency is different.)  I'm in better shape than I was at 30 and feel more comfortable in my own skin, nevermind the extra smile lines around the eyes (sunglasses even when overcast!) or that weird, occasional chin hair that makes me feel 80 instead of 40 (tweezers, for more than just brows!).  I know myself better and I am more aware of and able to focus on what really matters in life to me.  I feel so much of my 30s were the planning years (especially my early 30s), the adjusting to being a parent years, the figuring out your identity years.        

Last weekend Jimmy and I took Charlie to the preschool fall festival in our neighborhood and we both sort of looked around at the many, many very young children and then glanced at each other knowing we both felt a bit grateful that the baby years were behind us.   Grateful too that we had had our chance to enjoy them, but thankful that we were on the other side of nighttime feedings and diapers and pacis and cribs, etc...    At the risk of sounding completely selfish, let me assure you, that I adored the newborn/baby years with my boys, truly I did.  Plenty of times I'd just look at them and cry from overwhelming happiness or marvel at their milestones like they were the first humans in history to be so completely amazing,  Sometimes I still feel that way.  I just like where we are as a family now too.   I like that we are moving beyond the little years.  Occasionally (ok, often) I can be a bit wistful for those times and their chubby cheeks and baby smells, but knowing our family is complete is a good feeling and makes turning 40 easier.

Now, I'm pretty sure with my entrance into middle age that I'm expected to ditch bikinis and mini skirts and possibly colored tights but I have every intention of hanging on to those things as long as I can.  If you start to see things heading south, kindly let me know, until then, I will continue to dress like my 30 year old self!   If Gwyneth Paltrow can do it, by golly, so can I!   So for those of you still in your 20s or 30s, don't fear 40, look forward to it!  You'll still feel pretty much the same.  You'll likely have a few more of life's battle scars under your belt (and many more to come, ugh) but it's just like what everyone preaches, it's only a number and there is plenty of good that comes from reaching it too.  Cheers!

PS. A great big thank you to my incredible family and friends who made me feel so special and loved today!  Your sweet words, thoughtful gifts, all the ways you went out of your way to make me happy - all so appreciated!!  And the cake my mum made me, well it deserves a post of its own, possibly the best dessert I've ever eaten!  I'll share her ambitious recipe soon!!



21 comments:

  1. Happy 40th Tessa! Glad you had a wonderful day :)

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  2. Happy Birthday! You make 40 look fantastic!

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  3. This is a beautiful post. I have been reading your blog for awhile, and I really appreciate your thoughts on being content and settled. Happy birthday!

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  4. Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had an amazing day. You look fantastic - I always thought you were probably lots younger than me - but not so much :) I just already have one driving and both in high school. Crazy! The stages always seems right when you are in them - there is that bittersweet part too. I sometimes miss their little selves, but they are still sweet with me and I feel the love.

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  5. Yay for 40! I'm headed there myself and it doesn't feel bad or weird in any way. I'm glad you had a wonderful day, you derserved it! Happy birthday.

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  6. Happy Birthday! I love your post and the way you sound so content with where you are in life right now. I am a few years ahead of you and I can honestly say I feel more comfortable in my own skin as I get older..of course that "skin" isn't as firm as it used to be! Enjoy your day and your lovely family!
    -Shelley

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  7. What a lovely post! Happy Birthday! I think your fabulous and should continue to rock the cute tights!

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  8. My first comment to you - Happy Birthday!

    I am a few years ahead of you but I agree, turning 40 meant freedom and contentment! Enjoy!
    xo~Jill

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  9. Welcome to the 40s, Tessa! I turned 43 this month and I will tell you, this is a wonderful time in life. I can even say this while I have a 2 year old who is making daily messes and I feel like I'm going to crash at the end of the day! Don't you dare stop wearing those bikinis and mini skirts. In fact, I own the exact outfit you are wearing in the picture LOL!

    Oh, and thank you for sourcing the color paint of your dining room hutch. I painted my little boy's dresser Flagstone and I just love it. You saved me hours of looking at colors and going crazy with a decision on the paint!

    Angela

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  10. Awesome blog Tessa! I myself jumped on the 40 train in September and your words have been my motto since turning 40. So with you, if Gwyneth can do it we can too! Cheers to 40!

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  11. Awesome blog Tessa! I myself jumped on the 40 train in September and your words have been my motto since turning 40. So with you, if Gwyneth can do it we can too! Cheers to 40!

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  12. What a wonderful message of contentment and appreciation for life--at any age! As someone who will be thirty in a few months, I hope I can feel half of the settled feeling you describe soon.

    Happy birthday to you. To many, many more happy years!

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  13. Glad you had a happy birthday!! You look might dang good for 40!! ;) The cake looks fabulous! :)

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  14. Happy Birthday! You look amazing and I love your message!! Cheers to you!

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  15. Happy Birthday, Tessa! I love how you described how you're feeling at this stage of your life - so positive and not sounding like your life is over!! And you don't sound at all selfish. My kids are 18 and 16 and I do the same thing when I see people with younger kids. Loved it while I went through it, but love my kids being older now too. I have 2 friends my age (44) and they just now had their FIRST child!! While I don't feel old at 44, I don't think I would feel young enough for that either. Enjoy your 40's - they're good years :)

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  16. Happy birthday! This is really interesting for me to read. I'm 26 and sometimes everything seems urgent and uncertain.

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  17. Happy Birthday Tessa!! Lovey post. You look fabulous!!

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  18. Happy Birthday Tessa! Lovely post. You look fabulous!!!

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  19. Loved hearing your perspective on turning 40...I am a few years behind you, but I have to say, it has been inspiring to see you wear the mini skirts with class. ;)

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  20. I thought you were MUCH younger than that! (Not that 40 is old.) My hardest birthday was the one to turn 30, and even though I am in my fifties, my brain still thinks I am in my thirties. I really don't think after 30 something your mental age ages...if that makes any sense.LOL (The body ages, not the brain.) Enjoy the forties. They are great. And a belated happy birthday to you!

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  21. I'd like to think I wished you a happy happy 40th on IG. If not, happy happy 40th! Can't really beleive we are 40 either. And funny you mentioned Gwennie b/c I always make myself feel better knowing she's a full year ahead of us (she and I share a Sept 27 birthday). Let's enjoy every single second of being 40! xoxoxo

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