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6 reasons why turning 40 is pretty cool

Posted Apr 10 2014 4:21pm

Today I turn 40.

40 is a “milestone” birthday.

I’m not really sure what that means…

I’m 40. That just looks weird to me. I don’t feel old, but man 40 just sounds old. I had a realization a few years ago when I started at my current job teaching middle school wellness. I’ve been working in secondary education since graduating college. When I started my first “real” job as a high school athletic trainer I was 25 years old. I wasn’t much older than my athletes and I loved being viewed as the cool older sister or aunt. Fast forward 15 years and although I still could technically be the cool aunt, I now realize that I could be….their mother. I think I find this so odd because my oldest is in first grade so technically I shouldn’t be officially old enough to be their mom for another 5 years. This logic seems to work in my mind but unfortunately not in biology.

Am I freaked out because I am having a milestone birthday? No I’m not. I am in a great place in my life and things are exactly how I imagined them. Well, maybe not exactly. If they were exactly as I imagined them then my dad would still be here and he would be able to watch his grand kids grow up and see their milestone birthdays.

My dad & son in 2008. Our first trip to Chicago to see my brother.

My dad & son in 2008. Our first trip to Chicago to see my brother.

If you had asked me what I thought about turning 40 when I was 36, I would have probably made a dramatic comment about 40 being “officially” old & being sad about it. But just 5 months after I  celebrated my 36th birthday my dad died from cancer. My perspective changed after that summer from hell and I wrote about it here.   My dad died 11 days before his 67th birthday. 

That’s right; he didn’t make it to his birthday. I’ll bet if he had, he wouldn’t have complained one bit about “getting old.” He would have accepted it as the gift it is; the ability and privilege to spend more time with people you care about.

So for my birthday today, I am going to focus on all that I am grateful for & why turning 40 isn’t so bad after all.

  1. My Husband- I have the most amazing husband. Not only is he smart and really good at his job, but he is a loving, caring, supportive, and generous father and husband. His family means the world to him. He loves and supports me in whatever I am doing. I remember asking him if he thought I could run a full marathon a few years ago. Without hesitation and in a matter-of-fact voice, he told me that I could do The 4 of us last summer at Purgatory Chasm.

    The 4 of us last summer at Purgatory Chasm.

anything I wanted to. This was not a “you have my permission” voice, but more like a “you are just the combination of determined & crazy” to do it voice. He’s hot. Yup, there I said it. I thought he was hot the moment I saw him and I still do to this day. Oh, and we make great looking kids if I do say so myself.  I am thankful that I have a loving husband and a great marriage.

  • My Kids- my son is 7 and he is the light of my life. He is a kind, polite, and compassionate little boy who makes me proud every day. He will tell me he loves me and that I am the best mom out of the blue…for no reason. He is healthy and growing stronger and smarter every day. He is a good brother who absolutely adores his sister. He is my angel. My daughter will be 5 next month and she is a mini version of me (which is good and bad.) She is funny and outgoing; give her a few minutes to open up around you and you will see her personality. She is not afraid to tell you what she wants, how she wants it done, and what she thinks. She can hold her own and stand up for herself. She loves her brother and is a daddy’s girl-just like her mom was. She can make you want to pull your hair out one minute and the next minute she’ll make you melt as she throws her arms around you and gives you the biggest and best hug you’ve ever had. I am so thankful & blessed that I have 2 healthy and beautiful children.
  • My mom & brother- I have a mother who is still in my life and for that I am truly grateful. My mom went through hell when my dad was sick. It was the longest 4 months of my life, yet I was able to leave the hospital or hospice and go home to my healthy family daily. My mom slept in the hospital and then in hospice with my dad for almost 4 months straight. She only left to go home and shower or do laundry or feed her cats. She never left my dad’s side and was his biggest advocate as well as care taker. All rights reserved.
    All rights reserved.

  • Watching my mother hold it together that entire summer was nothing short of amazing. She never let her guard down, not once. She is the strongest woman I know and she is in a good place right now. She loves her grandchildren and I am truly blessed that she is making happy memories with my children. I don’t see my brother as often as I would like because he lives pretty far. He loves his nephew and niece as if they were his own kids. If I ever needed anything I know that I could call him at any time and he would drop what he was doing to help me. He was a big part of my support system the summer my dad was sick. I don’t know what I would have done without him. I am truly blessed that I have a healthy mom and brother.

  • My job- How many people can truly say that they love their job? All I know is that I am lucky enough to be one of them. I had no intention of going into teaching when I was in college. A part-time position came up as a long-term sub at my school and the rest is history. I made the transition from athletic trainer to teacher when my son was born. It was too hard to be a new mom and have 2 jobs. The hours for athletic training were all nights and weekends. I remember getting stuck in traffic coming home one day and I had just enough time to put my son to bed. I remember rocking him and crying because I missed him so much and I was so stressed out trying to do it all. Luckily for me, I ended up getting cut from my job and I had to find a new one. Back then, I was devastated. I did not take the loss of my job well. I didn’t get to leave on my terms and I had a hard time dealing with the added stress of finding a new job and feeling like I failed. But everything happens for a reason. I would not have quit on my own and being cut forced me to find a new job. My job now is about 20 minutes closer to my home and although I was nervous about making the jump from high school to middle school, it is the perfect place for me. I love this age group. Middle school kids are the perfect age: they are old enough to think for themselves & have their own opinions, yet there are not so old that they are set in their ways. They are open to new ideas and change and it is easy to make a difference in a kid’s life at this age. This is where I feel like I am actually making a difference. I am blessed to get paid to do what I love for a living. 
  • My friends- Friendships change over time; that is just a fact. I struggled with this in my mid-30’s a lot. I couldn’t understand why the group of women I once considered my best friends, now were more like acquaintances. I was resentful and I blamed them secretly for not caring enough about our friendship to Celebrating 40 in Punta Cana!

    Celebrating 40 in Punta Cana!

    make an effort. I would say things like “why should I be the only one to try?” or “We’re all busy, if it’s important enough you’ll find a way.” And while I do still believe that if something is important enough you will find a way, I now realize that getting older means our priorities shift and friendships change because we change as individuals. Some friends grow up and change together and some friends grow apart. It happens- I am not the same person I was at age 25. I have different values and certain things that were important to me then are just not important to me anymore. Some of these friendships have been terminated and some have just changed. I’m at a place now where I am okay with where my friendships are. I am lucky that I still have women in my life who are like sisters to me. I don’t have a sister, but what I do have are 2 women that are like family to me. We don’t see each other as often as we would like, but when we do we pick up exactly where we left off. And for that I am grateful & blessed for my sister-friends.

  • CrossFit Master- Now this doesn’t mean master like Jedi master, but more like at age 40 I sadly don’t have to compete against the 20-something-former-college-gymnasts-turned-track-star anymore. Now I get to compete against the 40-something-mom-of-3-who-used-to-maybe-play-a sport-but-still-schools-me. And interestingly the best female athlete at my Crossfit box just happens to be a master’s level athlete…go figure. But really I’m not excited to be a CrossFit Master athlete because I actually think I could compete in the CrossFit games. I just really like being & feeling strong. I am strong, I am fit, I am confident, I am healthy, and I am 40, so there.  You can’t help but be confident when you are strong and feel good. One of my coaches posted this video and honestly, it just inspired me. 

    Click here to view the embedded video.

    This is what it’s all about. I want to grow old while still being a badass. I want to be able to have my future grandchildren play with me & play on me like the woman in the video.  All the stuff that my dad can’t do, I want to be able to do.  Joining CrossFit 3 years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I found my love for exercise again.  I call this exercise mojo & I wrote an entire post about it last year. Check it out here. Exercise mojo is what gets me out of bed at 4:30 every day to workout. I even want to go on days that I literally can’t walk or raise my hands over my head because I am so sore from previous workouts. Not only do I love what CrossFit has done to my physically and mentally, but really what I love is the friends I have made at my box. My CrossFit Ladies (CFL’s) ages range from mid-twenties to mid-forties & that’s what makes it great. We are all so different and yet we have so much in common and have become great friends both in & out of the gym. I am grateful for finding CrossFit and for my CFL’s!

    In the process of snatching.

    In the process of snatching.


    So here’s to another 40+ years of hitting my birthday milestones and watching those I care about hit theirs. :-) Thanks to CrossFit I now know what “milestone” birthday means: “Age is a milestone, not an obstacle.” I like it.

    Yours in Health,




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