“Over the hill.” The phrase conjures images of black balloons and middle-age crises. Turning 40 means your life might as well be over, because it’s “all downhill from here.”
But then I turned 39, and the reality of 40 stared me down. I fought the urge to flinch. Was it possible that my best days were behind me? I was determined that the trajectory of my life would not decline. I would make 39 the year that I really discovered who I am and what I really want. And more than that, 39 would be the year I acted. I would create real changes and start to live my life accordingly.
So today, on my 40th birthday, I make the following declarations:
It is never a mistake to show love. Even when beliefs differ, common values can unite us.
The best course of action is almost never proposed by the far right or the far left.
My marriage is worth more than mediocre effort and long-established habits. My husband deserves more than my complacency, and I deserve more than his.
True friends are worth their weight in gold. I will cultivate relationships with the women who see my worth and I will help them to see their worth as well.
I will make it a point to spend time alone, because I like myself and because time alone puts my priorities in perspective.
My dreams are worth chasing. I will apply for the Ph.D. program because if I don’t, I will regret it in five years – also, because I will be a damn good professor.
My body is my story, and it deserves the same grace and love that everything else in my life deserves.
I will not waste my time or money on cheap ice cream or cheap deli meat.
I will run a half-marathon because the process of training will help me discover whether I can ever experience the elusive “runner’s high.” If I can’t, I will never run again, and I will not feel bad about it.