As I write this, I’ve been 40 for about one conscious hour.
I know that women, especially, are expected to be upset by turning the big Four-Oh. It’s an old number. A number that can no longer be fudged as young-ish. It’s a definite adult number, one that no one will mistake for youth. It’s the threshold to gray hair and wrinkles and menopause.
But the truth is, I don’t mind it. My mother hated being 40. She fought it, as if she might have a chance of keeping it at bay. Seven years later she was diagnosed with breast cancer and a year after that she was gone at 48. She never got to see 50, and I was exactly half her age when she died. Middle age has always had a different meaning to me.
I plan to enjoy every moment of my 40s. This year is the year of doing things I’ve been afraid to try. First up is running. I’ve committed to participating in an official race every month that I’m 40. On Sunday is race number one: my very first 5K. I’ll do a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day, and I’m hosting a virtual 5K on my blog for New Year’s Eve (want to join?). In June 2012, I’m participating in a 178-mile relay race through Reno, around Lake Tahoe, through Carson City and Virginia City, and back to Reno with a team of 12 racers.
On my Facebook page there are a lot of really sweet messages today. Since my birthday is so late in the year, a lot of the friends I reconnected with from school on that site are already 40, and there are notes reminding me that it’s just a number. I suppose that’s true, but I think 40 is a number that sometimes gets a bad rap. I’m excited to see what this year, and the next decade, have in store for me.
Are you 40? Have you been 40? Is it coming up? What are your thoughts on turning 40?