A little over ten years ago I anticipated my 30th birthday with such ambivalence. The impression I got of most thirty year olds was that they had stopped messing around and were beginning to settle down. My twenties were bumpy and although there was a sense of adventure surrounding them I wasn't exactly pining for more twenty-somethings drama. I wasn't quite ready to grow up though either. Sure I wanted to find my future husband, get married and have kids but at the time it just felt so far from what my twenties were about that it was hard to fathom.
When I was 29 I met my husband. I didn't know for sure but I had hoped then that I could stop looking, when we started dating. My friends threw me a party and we went away, just me and three girlfriends. I remember it being so much fun and I felt so loved by the three of them. To this day those friends are still so important to me. Over the course of my thirties I did indeed get married, get pregnant (not exactly in that order) and went on to having two amazing children. My thirties have given me everything that I hoped they would and so saying goodbye to them is less ambivalent and more bittersweet.
I've heard that forty brings contentment. I feel pretty content. I definitely gave up a career when I had kids but I don't miss it at all right now. I know it will be there in a few years and I know my kids won't. Time with them is fleeting and I will be twiddling my fingers wondering what to do in no time. For now, other than my son waking up too early every day and my daughter whining a bit too much, things are going pretty swimmingly. On my fortieth birthday my husband took me away for a night. It was the first time in six years that we went away together overnight. I don't think I realized how badly I needed it until we got there.
It took me so little time to pack my own bag, after packing for three all the time. We went to Laguna Beach, and it was so beautiful. Our hotel room looked out right over the ocean. We had no set nap time, school, pickup or anywhere else to be. We hung out and read, went out to lunch, went to the beach, the only schedule was a late dinner reservation. He and I had longer conversations since no one interrupted us, we were affectionate, and when we weren't looking out on the ocean and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude we were laughing. That was pretty much all we did. It was perfect.
The next day he surprised me and had over 20 friends out to celebrate. My birthday lasted all weekend and it was so much fun. I couldn't have asked for anything more. I was pretty tired by Monday, and I forgot to put my drivers license back in my purse from the clutch I used at my party. When I went to buy beer at the grocery store the cashier asked for my ID. When I couldn't find it it he took the beer back and said I couldn't buy it. Hello forty! I was also told by some random woman that forty is young and that for women they are in their sexual prime so Happy birthday to me! In the same day I saw a black cat that afternoon that was about to cross my path but when he saw me, he turned and went the other way, so maybe forty will be pretty lucky after all.