On Friday, I will be forty.
The fact that it will be Friday the thirteenth is not lost on me.
I’ve been hearing that the forties are the best decade ever.
That women feel empowered in their forties.
That they are old enough to have found out what really matters and young enough to be able to live what they’ve learned.
That they find comfort in their own skin, finally learning that they are not defined by the shape of their bodies nor the size of their clothing, but by who they are and how they live their lives.
And I don’t mean to be rolling my eyes like a bratty thirteen year old as I type this; I swear.
It all sounds great, really.
And I think under different circumstances, I’d probably be kicking up my heels, dancing and laughing my way into this next decade.
But well, I am where I am.
And if I’m being honest, where I am lately doesn’t include a whole lot of dancing.
I am unsettled.
I am anxious.
I am under tremendous pressure to figure out just what the hell comes next.
I have three other human beings (and a dog) depending on me to figure it out sooner than later.
And one of them needs a whole lot more than the average bear, so it ain’t really the run-of-the-mill kind of ‘figuring it out’.
So, this isn’t quite what forty was supposed to look like.
Forty was supposed to be, well, different.
Just plain easier.
Know what else?
Forty was supposed to happen in Bermuda.
I never told anyone that. (Except for my friend, Drama the other day just for the hell of it.) No point, really.
But that was where I had long ago decided that my fortieth birthday would be.
Toes in the sand, drink in my hand, Luau by my side.
We would be there with friends.
There would be at least six of us, maybe eight.
We’d spend a weekend laughing until our cheeks hurt.
We’d tell embarrassing old stories as we created new ones.
We’d linger over drinks after dinner and walk the beach at sunset.
We’d laugh some more as I bid my thirties farewell – watching the waves sweep the entire decade out to sea.
Of course there’s no Bermuda.
There’s no group of three or four couples who can fly off for the weekend just for the hell of it.
No three or four couples at all really.
That’s no longer the world that I inhabit.
On so very many levels.
So I will ring in forty at home.
I will be surrounded by my family.
We will say grace – the same grace that we say every night before dinner.
“Thank you for the food we are about to receive and the precious gift of each other. Amen.”
I will look around the table and see what really matters.
These people – these incredible people with whom I am so blessed to share my life and whom I love with a ferocity I never could have imagined.
I will decide the rest is crap.
I will blow out the candles on my homemade cake.
I will make a wish.
I will try not to cry when I do, but I probably will anyway.
I will resolutely tell myself that Bermuda can kiss my ass.
I’ll even declare a boycott on their stupid shorts. Yeah, that’ll show em.
I will realize how lucky I am.
I will be overwhelmed by gratitude.
I will take a bite of cake and savor it. I will not sweat the fact that it will go straight to my thighs.
I will take another bite.
I will hold my girls close.
I will decide that maybe forty ain’t the end of the world.
So take that, Bermuda.