I turn 40 in 40 days. Or so my friend kindly informed me. It is Monday morning and I don’t have enough fingers to work it out but she is the sort of person who knows these things so I believe her. It sounds about right.
I am a bit of a misery guts when it comes to birthdays though. Well, mine anyway. Other people’s birthdays and especially the children’s birthdays I love. Well, maybe misery guts isn’t quite right but I’m just not that fussed, you know? But when it comes to turning forty, I’ve found that it is somehow loaded with expectation. When you say you’re not bothered, people think it’s because you have a problem with turning forty. And I don’t. I really really don’t. I’m just not big on birthdays. Fortieth or not. But then you get a knowing smile and have to answer to the whole the lady doth protest too much thing. It’s like people expect you to be wildly excited about turning forty and if you’re not, then you must be dreading it. There doesn’t seem to be room for anything in between. Yet here I am, quietly happy in between.
The getting older thing really doesn’t scare me. For starters, I don’t even think of forty as being that old. I certainly don’t feel it. And my friends who have already turned forty certainly don’t seem it. But maybe that’s an age thing in itself? It just seems wildly unfashionable to be okay with getting old these days but that’s where I am. In some ways, I just feel lucky to even be here; wrinkles, grey hair and all. But by the same token, if I am okay with the getting older thing then why wouldn’t I want to go all out to celebrate such a milestone birthday? And the truth is that I’m not really sure. My own birthdays have just never been a big deal so why change the habit of a lifetime I guess! Over the last few years there have been a flurry of fortieth celebrations for my friends of course and I have hand on heart enjoyed every single one of them. Good for them, you know? But it’s just not for me.
It seems really popular these days, especially amongst blogger friends, to do the 40 before 40 type lists. You know, a list of 40 things to tick off before you turn 40 (or 30 before 30 of course – they’re not all dinosaurs like me!) Sometimes these lists include small things that you feel you should maybe have done by now but other times they are those great big adventurous things that you are finally ready to go out and grab. I actually like reading these like I enjoy reading other people’s new year resolutions despite never making any of my own. But I am essentially quite lazy and the thought of coming up with 40 things never mind fitting them in over the next 40 days feels like a bit too much of an effort, you know? Another spin on this that I really do love though is to come up with a list of 40 things that you are proud to have achieved as you turn 40. What better time to look back on your life. I’ve been all over the gratitude thing long before it was even a hashtag so this might actually be more my thing. I have forty days to come up with a list so we’ll see.
I know everyone says that your forties are the best yet because after spending your thirties finally working out who you are, this is the decade of not giving a fig and just going for it. But I think I might be ahead of the curve here because that kicked in for me around my mid-thirties if not earlier. Old before my time maybe? Ha! I’m not sure what is wrong with me, I just seem to be lacking in that gene that makes me want to embrace The Big 4-0 and go all out to celebrate. But actually, I’m okay with that.