Today, I am 40 years old.

Holy crap.

How in the world did that happen, I ask you?

Wasn’t I just traipsing across the stage as Dorothy in my high school’s production of Wizard of Oz? No? Right. That was 23 years ago.

Maybe it was just yesterday that I married the most amazing husband ever? Nope. That was 18 years ago.

I know! I must’ve just given birth for the first time. Or moved to Florida. Or gone to Italy. No, nein, nyet. Those were 15, 13, and 10 years ago respectively.

So, I guess it must be true. The big 4-0 is here! And as crazy and incomprehensible as that seems, I’m actually kind of excited.

Nope.  Scratch that.

I’m freaking PSYCHED!!

I mean, it’s kind of like I’m now officially a grown-up. Regardless of the four kids I’ve got and that I’ve been married for a longer amount of time than most people are anymore, there’s just something about being 40 that sounds a bit “adultier” than just being in your 30s. Like being in that next decade all of a sudden makes you wiser and more sage than you were the day before. People who are 40 have their stuff together, you know?

Well, except for the fact that I let myself get sunburned at the beach this morning.  I mean, other than that, I am TOTALLY an adultier adult today!

Growing up, I always heard that 40 was “over the hill.”  It meant mid-life crises and having been alive and kicking for at least half of the time you’ve been allotted for this earth.  Pardon me, but I don’t feel any different today than I did yesterday!  I don’t look any different.  I certainly don’t think I’m going to need to ditch my husband, buy a sports car, and vamoose  due to some crazy existential crisis any time soon.  And, quite frankly, not a one of us knows our halfway point, so there’s no use worrying about that.

I find it absolutely hilarious how, when I tell people I’m turning 40, they react in one of two ways. A) They comment on the age itself. Oh, it’s all downhill from here! Or, conversely, 40 is awesome! Age isn’t anything but a number. B) They comment on my appearance. Usually, by saying Well, you don’t look it!  And the kicker was when the receptionist at my dentist’s office combined two of those yesterday afternoon.

“I see you have a big birthday tomorrow!  Don’t sweat it, sweetie.  40 is no big deal and age is nothing but a number.  Anyway, you don’t look like you’re 40!”

Hold the phone, sister!  What does that even mean, anyway??!!  If 40 is no big deal, why should I be worried about looking like it?

I love looking like I’m 40.

I really, really do!  Or, more specifically, I’m really starting to appreciate who and what I look like.

I have more gray hair than most 60 year old women.  Who am I kidding?  It’s not gray anymore.  It’s white!  And that’s A-OK with me.  In fact, I love it!  It’s in my genes, it’s unique, and I feel like it’s part of what makes me who I am.

I have little lines that are forming on the sides of my eyes and mouth.  You know what that means?  No, it’s not time for Botox.  It means that I’ve laughed a whole heckuva lot in my 40 years.

My shoulders and my arms are big and muscular.  Not ripped like some body builder, but solid from the work of lifting babies, carrying toddlers, and supporting the needs of my family and friends.

My tummy is soft.  It has these dimples and fine, purpley-white lines all over it.  Four babies grew to be 8 lbs in there!  Children have laid their heads there when they’re tired and need to snuggle.  And, let’s be real, I just really like carbs, too.

Sure, I weigh a bit more (ahem…15 lbs…OK, fine…17 lbs more) than I did when I got married.  That makes me a little bit overweight.  OH WELL.  I have curves now that I never had when I was younger.

And you know what else I have more of?  Confidence.   I wore a freaking bikini to the beach today!  Why?  Because I wanted to, that’s why!

It’s funny.  I feel like I have a better handle on my style, too, as I’m getting older.  Part of that comes from more confidence, but I think part of it also comes from experience in finding what works.  Having a little more disposable income to spend on things doesn’t hurt, either!

So here’s to a new decade!

My goodness gracious, these next 10 years are going to bring so many changes.  We’ll bring all four of our kids to or through their teen years.  I’ll probably be completely white-haired by the time 50 rolls around.  We’ll have put two kids through college and another one into it.  And, most likely, I will have gone back to work (doing goodness knows what!).

But despite the many changes that are headed our way, I know some things for certain.  I know that our family will continue to be guided by a God who loves us.  I know that Greg and I will keep growing our marriage stronger and stronger through whatever trials come our way.  Our friends and loved ones will continue to bring joy to our lives.  There will be good days, bad days, and plain old regular days and happiness will be found in all of them.  And, of course, ice cream, chocolate, and carbs will still be my three favorite food groups.

And I know for sure and for certain, without a doubt, that my life will be filled with love and gifts beyond measure.  Just like it has been for the first 40 years.

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