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Turning 40

November 4, 2011

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?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. vesta44 permalink
    November 4, 2011 12:30 pm

    I’ve been 40, and it was no big deal to me to turn 40. I’m going to be 58 this month, so I’m coming up on 60 soon, and really, to me, that’s not a big deal either. I don’t feel like I’m going to be 60, whatever that’s supposed to feel like. Well, I should clarify that, I guess. Mentally, I don’t feel like I’m any older than 25, outlook-wise, but I’m much wiser than I was at 25 (although I’m still excited by life and living it, most of the time). Physically, however, well, that’s another story. There are days that I feel like I’m every day of my almost 58 years, and there are other days when I feel twice that old. I’ve done too much damage to my body over the years with repeated dieting, that failed WLS, getting hit by a car when I was 19, and all the times I went without eating/sleeping so I could do more/go more/have more fun. But in spite of all of that, life is still well worth living, I’m excited about what my 60s are going to be like, and I’m looking forward to being 70, and 80, and maybe even 90.
    So Happy Birthday and enjoy being 40 and all that it brings, it’s a fun ride, all in all.

  2. DeAun permalink
    November 4, 2011 5:07 pm

    Happy birthday! I won’t be 40 for a couple more years, but I kind of felt this way about turning 30. I’ve always been told I was born 40, so in my mind, I haven’t caught up with myself yet. 🙂 I often wonder if there will be any big changes for me that year. Looking forward to it.

  3. SherryH permalink
    November 4, 2011 5:31 pm

    Many happy returns! I’m 42, and to be honest, neither expected nor experienced a huge change when the decade rolled over. So far, the 40s have been fabulous! I hope you enjoy yours as well.

  4. Fab@54 permalink
    November 4, 2011 5:55 pm

    Happy Birthday Shaunta!! (And many many many many more!) I turned 55 this past August. I’ve always embraced my age (aging), probably because Like DeAun, I’ve also been told I was born old and emotionally and spiritually I’ve always felt “old” anyway — much older than my actual years. But like most other traits – that can be both a blessing and a curse.
    Anyway- Happy Birthday Again! Be happy, be loved, be who you are meant to be!


  5. November 4, 2011 7:04 pm

    I’m 22, so maybe I’m speaking out of turn here, but I have always felt that you are as old as you feel. If you don’t feel or act old, aging won’t be a big deal. I also have noticed that this translates, to some degree, to your looks. I never look old because I feel so young. People tell me I can look 14 without trying. If you just look at a head shot, I can look even younger.

    I don’t know what it is. Part of it could be that enjoying life means less stress, which means fewer physical indications of aging. Part of it is that you look old, but no one notices because you exude so much youth in your personality. For me, it’s both.

    What’s ironic is that attempts to look younger, which includes weight loss, can actually make you look and feel older because of the physical stress of it.

    Anyway, I’m glad you are excited about turning 40. Everyone talks about how much it sucks to get older, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. Go you for living your life the way YOU want to. Numbers don’t mean shit.

  6. hlkolaya permalink
    November 4, 2011 8:29 pm

    @_@ you have just made me more terrified of turning 40. I’m afraid of 40 because then I know I’ve only for 30 or 40 more years left.. and i know they go by fast.. but thinking of all those horrible things that can go more wrong as you age? I never thought about getting cancer in my 40’s… and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

  7. November 5, 2011 4:06 am

    Been there, done that, looking at 50. And with apologies to the male readers, very much looking forward to leaving PMS behind! I’ve always had absolutely hideous periods, possibly courtesy of my hypothyroidism. I suspected polycystic ovary disease, as did my doctors early on, but the damn thing has always been regular as clockwork till now. At any rate, happy 40th. It ain’t no big, really! This society is so stupid. If you aren’t eternally young, pretty, and thin you’ll be hated on for it. So to hell with the haters–they’re stupid. Enjoy your year!

  8. MrsS permalink
    November 5, 2011 3:29 pm

    This is the most important statement in Shaunta’s article:”I plan to enjoy every moment of my 40s. This year is the year of doing things I’ve been afraid to try.” Not everyone has the desire or strength to participate in a race, but don’t wait until “someday” to do something you have always wanted to do.

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