Marking a Milestone

Why is the 40th birthday a big one for women?

If we’re fortunate enough to do so, we’ll eventually reach the age of 40.  It’s inevitable.  Time keeps moving on and doesn’t wait for anyone, male or female.  Somehow, though, the Big 4-0 seems to be a bigger milestone for women than it is for men, who stereotypically get more distinguished with their wrinkles and grey hair in comparison to women, who just get old.

My 40th birthday is just a week away, and I’ve been psyching myself for it over the last few years, probably since my 37th which turned out to be the tough one for me.  I told myself that I was going to be positive about my 40th birthday when it comes.  I was going to do something big to celebrate the occasion.  Do something I haven’t done before, like take time off from work and take the trip of a lifetime to Ireland.  Maybe go together with my mother, who’ll be turning 60 just four days after I turn 40, and make it a dual celebration.  Sometimes, however, things don’t go exactly as planned.  My mother is still recovering from her surgery and isn’t up for long excursions; I got married this year and am all pooped out from wedding festivities and the traveling associated with them.  But don’t think these changes have put a damper on things.

Women of Generation X, to which I belong, are increasingly viewing the 40th milestone as an opportunity to celebrate their lives and being at a comfortable age–not too young and immature but not too old for the rocking chair.  We’re feeling more at ease and secure in ourselves; we’re not easily rattled by what other people think of us.  We’re starting to live our lives the way we want and not the way others expect us to live them.  Best of all, we’re still vibrant with much still to offer to ourselves, our families, our friends, and society.  Taking all these things into consideration, you bet the 40th birthday is a big one for women to mark.

So if you’re wondering what I’m doing for the Big 4-0, it’s anything I want.  And I don’t care if some people think some of the things I’ll be doing are silly or crazy (like square dancing with my husband).  I’m going to enjoy sleeping in, reading a book, hanging out in my pajamas, having a quiet dinner out, and doing whatever else strikes my fancy.  In other words, I’m going to have some fun and enjoy life.  Why can’t we all take a little time to enjoy life sometimes, and not just on milestone birthdays?

Why, indeed.

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