Friday’s Essay – In Which I Decide That Turning Forty Is The Opposite Of Turning Thirty

Fortieth Birthday Cake

Happy 40th Birthday to Me!

I did not want to turn thirty.  Turning thirty meant I was old.  No longer in my twenties.  No longer young.  No longer fun.  When I turned thirty my daughter turned nine.  I could see her becoming her own person.  Being thirty meant I was a grown up with a daughter who would also be a grown up.  I avoided thirty.  My step-mom is exactly twenty years older than me.  She asked if we might have a joint birthday for her fiftieth and my thirtieth. I hope I didn’t bark ‘NO’ too loudly in her face.  Maybe I pretended not to hear her.  In any event, I tried very hard not to turn thirty, or at least to ignore the fact altogether.  I’m sure my family gave me gifts and cards.  I know my mom gave me diamond earrings.  I don’t think I’ve ever worn them, but they are beautiful.

So, on April 24th I’ll be forty.  Basically, I’ve hit the half-way mark.  It’s a rough slide to the grave from here on in, right?  Well, screw that!  I’m blowing a ridiculous amount of money on spending my fortieth birthday in Vegas, baby!  And, its not about ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ or getting blotto and forgetting that I turned forty.  It’s about celebrating!  An awesome, week-long adventure in a crazy town to celebrate an awesome, decade-long adventure in my crazy life!  It’s about celebrating a huge life change.

I am finally in place where I actually like myself.  I actually have a good idea of who I am and what I want to be when I grow up.   I have a grown-up job, with a grown up salary and grown up benefits.  I own a house, well, half of a house.  Most of my plants are still alive.  I feed my dog every day. My daughter is living away from home.  I’m ready for grown-up stuff.  So, here I am at forty, finally putting on my big girl panties and ready to live a grown up life.

Now, at forty, growing up is fun and exciting.  At thirty, growing up was frightening and ugly.  I expect awesomeness in the next ten years.  Which is the very opposite of what I expected for the the coming decade when I was twenty-nine.