Today is my birthday. I am 41 years old.
I remember my 21st birthday, which was 20 years ago today. Twenty years. Two decades! That milestone seemed so far ahead of me when I was a teenager, but now twenty years have passed since I became "legal". I remember having a party (my mom and sisters sent me a stripper!) and chipping a tooth on a beer bottle while drunk that night. Today, at age 41, that tooth is still chipped. I remember a few days later going out to a bar for happy hour and ordering my first legitimate drink. I ordered a Midori Collins, and felt so grown up.
41 is not a big milestone; last year was a lot of hoopla for me. Yet being well entrenched now in my 40s is certainly reason to celebrate!
I used to be scared of getting older. I couldn't imagine being over 30! I was fearful of the aging process: wrinkles, sagging skin, losing the appearance of youth. Now, at age 41, I have yet to get my first wrinkle. I am often told that I look like I'm in my early 30s....and I certainly feel that way. In fact, with all of my exercise that I have been doing, I have never looked better---even when I was 21!
A few weeks ago, Oprah had several ex-supermodels on her show. One was Paulina Porizkova, and she said something that really hit me hard:
"Aging is a privilege, not a birthright. "
I know so many people who didn't get to age. So many people who died when they were in their 50s; in their teens; in their infancies. It is not assumed that any of us will get old. So I am incredibly grateful that I am 41....and when I get those wrinkles, I hope to embrace them.
This past year has been incredible for me. In the last year, since I turned 40, I have completed 3 half marathons, 2 triathlons, and re-committed (for life, this time) to a lifetime of fitness. I helped to launch an educational foundation at my son's school, an endeavor that has been very time-consuming but well worth the effort. I have become even more comfortable in my own skin, and not only know who I am, but am learning how not to sweat the small stuff.
I am incredibly blessed; a very, very very lucky girl. I have a husband who loves me deeply; a son who delights me daily; a daughter who makes me so proud with all that she's overcome. I have a very supportive family, and feel the love of my mom, dad, step-mother, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews across the states. I have a wide network of friends, including some friends who I am extremely close to and I know I can depend on, including my very, very best friend. I have a nice house, live in beautiful San Diego, and really want for nothing.
I am excited to see what my 40s bring. I am ready!
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