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Where did these wrinkles come from? Gray hairs? Why do I look so tired? I eat a cookie and gain 5 pounds. I swear this all happened at once. Ladies and gentlemen, can you relate? In two weeks, I am turning 40, big gulp.

While some say that 40 is the new 30 and to embrace the big day, to be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it. Some days I am totally freaked out, while other times I am okay with it. Well, slightly okay with it.

Over the last year, I have eaten the healthiest food, been dedicated to exercising and wear my sunscreen. I am doing what I can to look and feel my best, while also trying to stop the clock. Blame it on the media, blame it on social media…whoever you want. But the reality is that many women, including myself, are struggling with getting older.

From the thoughts of botox to painfully waxing…well everywhere, we are doing everything to look our best. My mind still thinks that I am 25, but my body thinks otherwise. I inspect every picture that I am in. From the marks on my legs to the circles under my eyes…I see a lot of flaws. I admit that I’m hard on myself, but aren’t we all? As I go back and forth about the big birthday, I find myself leaning more towards the acceptance of it.

It’s only a number, right? Instead of focusing on my past and freaking out about getting older, I’m beginning to think about what I have yet to do. I have a lot of ground to cover. A lot of places to travel. A lot of opportunities ahead of me. A lot of memories to make with my family. A lot of wisdom to share. I am finally getting to a place where I don’t care as much about what people think. I don’t get involved in the drama and if people don’t like me…so be it. I can’t make everyone happy. I am more confident now than ever. I don’t shy away from opportunities…I embrace them.

I recently asked some friends who are approaching the big 40 or who have already reached this milestone about how they feel. The overwhelming response is that they are happier now more than ever. They feel free. They feel alive. They feel confident. They feel powerful. Here’s what some had to say.

Jessica Chase McGregor: “I was dreading my 40th last August. I can honestly say that it’s not as bad as I thought. I feel great! It’s still a shocker when I say my age out loud. I think I am more confident now though. I’m no longer worried about what people think of me. I have a strong marriage and two healthy daughters. I guess I’m pretty lucky :)”

Shawana Perry:  “I turn 40 in September. I am not freaking out. I will tell you that I am enjoying the ability to tell people “no” if I don’t want to do something and the fact that I can give that special gesture to the “mean girl” that sometimes pops up in women’s heads.”

Jenn O’Neill:  “I am more comfortable in my own skin than I have ever felt in my life. I’ve finally realized some people will like you, and some won’t. Be YOU.”

John J Ryan: “I’m the proud father of 8 beautiful children. My oldest will be driving in a few months and my youngest just started crawling. I turn 40 next month and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve enjoyed my first 40 years, can’t wait to see what the next 40 bring. As far as health, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in and it feels great.”

Julie Rogers: “Something happened when I turned 40 and my willingness to put up with BS declined quite a bit! I hear it drops even more dramatically when you turn 50!”

Mandi Jacewicz: “Turning 40 is similar to turning 20…you have the whole world in front of you and now, you have twice the life experience.”

So, turning 40 doesn’t seem too bad, at least for today. We may have to hit the gym a little harder, pass on the cookies and invest in a good anti-wrinkle cream. But, us aging folks are confident, healthy and determined to make a difference. However, if anyone reading this invents anything to stop me from aging, I will barter public relations for your magic potion. Ladies and gents, I would love to know what you think about turning 40. Please share!