Lordy, Lordy, Looks Who’s 40!

10685376_10155082629555697_3542599079178828409_n

Me and my dad – around 40 years ago!

It’s hard to believe that I am 40. I feel like I’m in my 20’s, except for when I hurt myself, drink too much and have a three day long hangover, or get sick. Then I’m like, yeah, old. I even forgot about my upcoming birthday until my husband reminded me and started trying to figure out where he can buy black balloons in Brazil. He seems to think that turning 40 should bother me. In fact he insists it bothers me. The truth is it doesn’t.

DSC05961

They’re close to black!

I think I had my midlife crisis a long time ago at the ripe old age of 27 because I was almost 30. Now I think that’s ridiculous. I’m actually happier at 40 than I’ve ever been. Sure, I can’t eat whatever I want any more without repercussions. I have a few more lines on my face. And, now I’m bragging, but I don’t have any gray hair! It’s a redhead thing…

My 20’s were great, but why is it that other than having fun partying with friends I remember being in agony all the time. I was constantly worried about what I would do on a Friday night. Heaven forbid I should just hang out at home and watch a movie because that would make me a “loser”. I was also concerned and afraid that I would never meet my other half and end up being the old cat lady. Somehow I convinced myself that the secret to happiness was finding that perfect someone. I did manage to get my head out of my butt long enough to decide to study abroad and work on my Spanish. Something that did not involve boys. Oh wait… It just opened up another door to Latin boys…

In my 20’s I thought the 40’s were so old! 40 year olds go to bed by 9:00p.m., work all the time, and all they talk about are stocks, health issues, and retirement. They are so boring! At least that was what I thought. Wow was I a jerk! Also, did you know that the human brain does not stop developing until sometime in the mid 20’s? This explains a lot of my thinking back then.

Birthday collage

Scenes from my first Brazilian birthday last year

In my 30’s life was surprisingly better. I still loved a good party (at least during the first half of my 30’s) and while I still wanted to meet my future husband I wasn’t as concerned. I grew to like myself and my independence. I traveled and lived abroad again in South Korea. It was an amazing experience but it had its ups and downs. Then I came home and met my husband. My career started to take off. Everything just fell into place.

So what’s in store for the midlife 40’s? I don’t know. That’s the great thing about life is that it always surprises you. All I know is it is going to be a heck of a ride. If you had asked me in my teens or 20’s where I would be I don’t think I would have said that I would quit my job and live in Brazil! I expected to be settled down with a nice little house and a family by now. Again, that’s just what I thought everyone at age 40 was supposed to do. But, as they say, life happens when you are making plans.

This is my second birthday in Brazil. It has been awesome. For a February baby, finally being able to have a summer birthday and go to the beach is the coolest thing ever! It makes turning 40 seem like an endless celebration. Guess what, my birthday week is also the beginning of Carnaval. So the party goes on and on! Not so bad.

10348539_10154779503165697_2033965986306403172_n

Summer birthdays are the best birthdays!

Nevertheless, at age 40 I can’t complain. I refuse to let my age define me! Sadly, many are denied the chance to turn 40. Every year is a gift. I’ve been gifted with a lot! I’ve been to 19 different countries. I’ve lived abroad in 3. I speak 3 languages (all rather poorly, but I get by). I’ve experienced adventure and I have my best friend, my husband, with me through most of it. I’ve gone outside my comfort zone many times. Of course it was scary, but at age 40 I have no regrets. 40 is just the beginning. I plan to continue to challenge myself and grow even as I age. I’m not slowing down yet! I plan to live every single day and to embrace change and opportunity.

What about you? Where do you hope to be at age 40? If you are already 40+ what surprised you the most?