Lordy, Lordy…I'm Turning Forty!

I love birthdays!  I think life’s meant to celebrate the special days, and birthdays are one of those days.  I’m not into giant celebrations – I don’t have a big party or go out until the wee hours.  I do like to have lunch with a friend, or bake a birthday cake and have a nice dinner with my husband and daughter.  But some birthdays are milestones, and the one I’m hitting this month is a big one, so to speak.  Have a piece of cake with me as I share what I’ve learned so far…

Turning forty isn’t the dreaded number I thought it’d be.  I’ve known those who started worrying about it eleven months before their actual fortieth birthday!  Honestly, I don’t feel much different than the last couple of years.  Physically, I feel better than ever! Much of that has to do with lifestyle changes I made after finding MaryJanes Farm.  Yes, I’ll say it again; organic food makes a huge difference!  In my twenties and early thirties, every time I turned around I had a sinus infection, cold, or virus.  Run down, I didn’t have the proper nutrition to stay healthy.  I’m also not killing myself at a gym for hours on end, six days a week.  I exercise and am very active, but not in the same way as in my twenties, when it just about consumed everything.  I love a little “glam”;  I’m not letting myself “go”, but the outside isn’t as important as it seemed twenty years ago… a freeing feeling, and something I’ve instilled in my daughter.  I’m not trying “fad” diets, not eating chemicals and preservatives, but eating “real” food.  Consequentially, the result is better skin, thicker hair, and boundless energy to keep up with what I want to do.  Eating healthy is the best present you can give yourself and your family.

I have an older brother.  There’s a large gap between us, so as a kid I sometimes felt like an only child, and often  “observer” to my parents’ antics.  When they turned forty, it was depressing!  Dad hit forty first, and Mom played a practical joke by stuffing  Dad’s clothes with newspaper, creating a ”dummy” to lay beneath a sign in the front yard announcing he’d hit the big “4-0”.   My grandmother gave Mom a wig to use with a stand for the dummy’s head.  Before they could get it all set up, the police were called because a well-meaning neighbor thought someone had collapsed in the yard!  Then there was the party.  Everyone showed up wearing black like they were attending a funeral and brought gag gifts.  The cake looked like a tombstone.  When Mom turned forty, Dad put a sign on the back of the car proclaiming, “Honk! I’m forty today”.  The ride home from school that day was a scary one, I tell you!  Dad threw Mom a party, too, with the theme “Over the Hill”.  I’m not “Over the Hill”…I’m still climbing!

I think we can get in a rut no matter what our age.  Someone suggested I do something crazy this year for my birthday, like get a dramatic new ‘do.  Honestly, I don’t feel the need for such drama.  It’s always great to try new things, be it a new recipe, a hobby (I teach knitting classes and my students are all ages), or trying something we never thought we could do.  I’m the “Klutz Queen”, but recently started taking a Zumba class after seeing how much fun my daughter has in her dance class.  I’m not “J-Lo”, but for that hour I’m having a blast!

The best birthdays are with my girl and my hubby!

Forty brings a better sense of self. I know who I am. Ten years ago, turning thirty, I was expecting my daughter, nervous about being a mom, and feeling pressure that I was turning into a “grown-up”, (never mind the fact that my husband and I had already been married ten years,  moved across the country, and by then had owned our own business for several years).  I was more nervous back then, didn’t always ask a lot of questions, and wasn’t sure of the future. I’ve learned we can NEVER be sure of the future.  But, when a door closes, there’s always an open window somewhere.

30th birthday spent with family

I’ve faced things I never dreamed I’d have to, but also found strength I didn’t know was there.  Life’s not perfect, but you can choose how you react to it.   The other day a friend called after she’d had a bad day and needed to vent.  She commented that she didn’t know how I could be so “happy” all the time; is it real?  What’s my secret?  There’s no secret.  When things get stressful, you can only do what you can, and only control so much.  Don’t get bogged down in worry.  One day at a time. Count your blessings. Choose to be happy

1949, my mom (left) and her twin celebrate their 7th birthday.  Look at my grandma…wasn’t she chic?  A true farmgirl, she grew up on a farm.  Very creative, she made all of her and her daughters’ clothes, and designed most of them herself.

My fifth birthday, waiting for my friends to arrive.  Don’t you just LOVE the Holly Hobby tablecloth? So “Farmgirl”!

My 29th birthday was spent with my hubby’s family in Denmark.  See the cake?  It’s a traditional Skagen, Denmark birthday cake.  Males get a more masculine version.

Life’s short.  A longtime family friend recently passed away.  I’d spoken to her by phone in December, and despite a long illness, she was upbeat, happy, and staying busy.  I have the last letter she wrote me six weeks before she passed.  She wanted to meet for lunch when I got in town.  Attitude makes such a difference. She never slowed down, and never stopped planning.  I thought, “How young she was”!  Then I read her obituary.  She was young – only 84.

My dad recently told me, “Life begins at forty.”  Look out world..I’m just getting started!

Birthday milestones…fourth grade and forty years!

For me, I find forty brings a broader, more mellow perspective on life than before.

Other life lessons I’ve learned:  Being a nice person doesn’t mean allowing yourself to be trampled on, you can stand up for yourself and still be polite….Family’s the most important aspect of life…Once you have kids your heart beats with theirs… True-blue friends are blessings; nurture those friendships … A day in the garden can do wonders for the soulBloom where you are planted…Dreams do come true, (but be patient, sometimes, not always as quickly as we’d like them to)- NEVER, EVER stop dreaming!

  1. Nicole,
    May I be one of the first of many to wish you a VERY Happy Birthday! I personally thought turning 40 was very cool … the 40’s were GREAT years! (I’m in the next decade now, paving your way!). I hope this year is a wonderful one for you in every way. Thanks for sharing your stroll down ‘Birthday Lane’ with us! Blessings, Cathi

    Cathi, Thank you so very much!  I feel the same way, turning forty is very cool.  Big Farmgirl Hugs to you! -Nicole

  2. Sheri says:

    As a fellow just-turned-40 I love the post. It’s so refreshing that we can appreciate where we are in life and not concentrate on the age that we are. I am so thankful for every year I’ve had along the way so how can it be a bad thing as they start to pile up? It’s just more memories, lessons learned and friends made. Happy Birthday!

    Sheri, thank you.  I’m so happy you liked this post.  Each year we are given is a blessing.  Take care! -Nicole

  3. Jan says:

    Well, happy birthday to you!! I am a bit older than you (yikes! 57!) and I just wanted to tell you that I think you are on the right track. Being able to stick up for yourself and your ideals, loving and appreciating your family, spending time in the garden enjoying the bliss of all that nature has to offer…
    Congratulations for making a wonderful life!

    Thank you, Jan!  Looking forward to the next phases life has to offer.  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  4. Laurie Dimino says:

    Happy 40th Birthday Nicole! It sounds as if you have the right idea to a long, healthy and Happy life! Enjoy!
    Farmgirl Hugs,
    Farmgirl Sister#1403

    Thanks, Laurie! And thank you for all the comments you’ve left on my blogs.  Means alot.  -Nicole

  5. Heather says:

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

    Thank you Heather!  I’m happy because my daughter’s school has early dismissal that day.  She’s the best present I could ever wish for.  -Nicole

  6. Adrienne says:

    A very happy 40th birthday to you! It will be a magical year for you with much happiness in plain sight just around the corner. Enjoy!

    Thank you, Adrienne!  -Nicole

  7. Lisa Reed says:

    Happy Happy 40th birthday to YOU °Ü° I love your positive take on things!!! When I turned 40. . . 7 yrs. ago, I had my day all planned. But my husband had other plans and ruined my plans, so I thought. Ended up @ the park with all the "in-town" family & a lot of close friends to Celebrate. It was a wonderful evening spent with good people. Hope yours is the BEST °Ü°

    Lisa, What a great story!  Sounds like a wonderful, happy day you had.  🙂  Thank you for commenting. -Nicole

  8. Coreen says:

    I love that you are so positive! I have been ill for many years and tend to get down in the dumps. But I am going to bloom where I am planted – it’s my new resolution. It’s time to start gardening and I will do what I can and not try to emulate Kensington Gardens, and I will be happy! Thanks for your cheering attitude-adjusters!

    Coreen, I’m sorry to hear that you have been dealing with illness.  It’s hard when you aren’t feeling well.  I hope that this year brings you much health and happiness! Thank you so very, very much for this comment.  It means so much to me.  Big Farmgirl Hugs to you!!!! -Nicole

  9. Kelly says:

    Happy Birthday Nicole! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I love your birthday essay! I totally agree with you! I’m 48 and my 40’s have been amazing in so many ways. I had my son and became a mother at age 40 and got my master’s degree at age 42 and started teaching a few months later at age 43. I’ve also gone through a divorce and lost a job due to the state budget cuts- some tough stuff- but I am still doing it- supporting my son and pets and am so grateful for my life. I love being 48 and look forward to all the years ahead.
    My grandmother lived to be 100-almost 101 and I hope I can be like her- healthy and active and enjoying life!
    Kelly in CA

    Kelly, You Go Girl! Sounds like you are an amazing, positive person!  Thank you for sharing your story with me! Your son is lucky to have such a great mom. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Maureen Bruner says:

    Congratulations and happy birthday! I hit double nickels this year and still feel like the person I was when I finally found my brain, late 20’s actually. When I hit 50, I exclaimed "I’m half way there!" You would be amazed at the number of people who said they didn’t want to live to 100! How exciting would that be!?! 3 digits! It is all about attitude, enjoy.


    Thank you, Maureen!  I’m with you!  Celebrate life! -Nicole

  11. Karin says:

    HAPPY 40th… Dream On!!

    Thank you!  🙂 -Nicole

  12. OH, Happy, Happy Birthday to you. You look fabulous 🙂 🙂 I’m 38 and I really enjoy life more now than when I was younger 😉 🙂 I really do think it only gets better 🙂 🙂 Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

    Hi Heather, Thank you so very much!! Hugs right back! -Nicole

  13. Stacie Pizzolato says:

    You are gonna love your forties…talk about attitude? It is a whole new world..I will be fifty in June this year and can’t wait for that either!!!Happy Birthday, lil’ sis!

    Thanks, so much, Stacie, and a Happy June Birthday to you!  Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Shery says:

    Happy 40th Nicole. Every phase of life thus far has been good…just a different sort of adventure. I’m now 4 years away from 60 and it just seems unfathomable. I’m incredulous, but I just remind myself of the same things you professed in your post. True is always true…not just back there, here or over there. Have fun in your next decade. I’m sure you will.

    Thanks so much, Shery!  Time does sneak up on us, though, doesn’t it?  It sure goes by fast.  Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Debbie says:

    Happy Happy 40th Birthday Nicole! Birthdays are my favorite to celebrate.. quietly with those I love. Sounds like you’ve got a handle on 40 already! Here’s to smooth sailing and lots of farmgirl fun going forward! Enjoy each day with your sweet girl and hubby! The years fly by way too fast.
    Deb ( beach farmgirl sister )

    Thanks Debbie!  Time is definitely going fast!  Hugs, Nicole

  16. Joan says:

    HaPpY hApPy BiRtHdAy to YOU!!!!! God Bless

    Thank you! -Nicole

  17. Sharon says:

    Happy Birthday Nicole! 40 really is just a #. I’m about to celebrate my 41st and I have to say that my age doesn’t phase me. For the last 10 years or so I have always taken my birthday off from work and do something to honor myself. While I have filled my day up with appointments galore (I’m visiting my pcp, dentist, optomitrist and dermatologiest), I know I am doing all the things I need to do to take care of myself. This also helps free up my time so that when I take my vacation this summer I can relax and enjoy the time knowing that I have already done all of the things I need to for the year. I hope you had a fabulous day!

    Thanks, Sharon!  All your points are so true!  Thanks for reading and commenting!  -Nicole

  18. Nancy says:

    Happy birthday, and many more! Other than moving a bit slower, life after 40 has been the best yet!


    Thanks, Nancy!  True…at the end of a busy day I am physically more creaky than before, but nothing earth-shattering.  It could be worse!  Thanks for reading and commenting! -Nicole

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