I’m *how* old?

Everyone I know who is forty years old or older tells me that one’s forties are the best decade of one’s life.  I want to tell you what I think about forty.

Even if I am only two weeks in.

Here’s my first observation about 40, even if I am only 40.04 years old:

Forty has brought me back my mojo.   “What?” You’re thinking,  “Surely H never lost her mojo! Where did it go?!  What brought it back?”  Well.  Surely you’ve noticed I haven’t posted in months.  My job has been slowly stealing my soul.  The dating pool is nonexistent. I haven’t been cooking as much as I used to (see above re: job).   Somewhere along the line over the last few years, my self-esteem took a hit, without me even really noticing.  While I thought all was well, it wasn’t until I noticed a subtle shift , an inexplicable left turn, that I realized, “Whoa. *Now* I remember me!  Everything was *not* ok, but it *will* be.”

Maybe it was my decision to go brunette.  Maybe it’s this idea that now I (surely?) should grow up a bit more.  Maybe it’s that I got tired of not being fully myself.  I don’t know, but I realized the other day, while drinking a cold-gluten free beer with a good friend, that , wow, I’ve got my mojo back.

Look out, this could be dangerous.

Here’s the second thing I’ve noticed about 40:

I still get carded.  I have no idea what the “rules” are for waitstaff, store clerks, bartenders to ask for ID.  I sure as shit know it’s *not* when a patron looks under 21 (because, HELLO?).  For alcohol, I think the rule where I live is that if you look 35 or younger the waiter/bartender/whatever has to card you.

Yep.  You read that right.  35.  When I ordered the afore-mentioned gluten-free beer, The bartender asked to see my ID.   (it was pretty adorable: Him:  “Um, can I ask to see your ID?”  Me:  “You certainly can! I’d be *happy* to show you my ID!”).  I have friends who balk at this.  They think that , if they have the balls to order a drink, they should be bothered to show ID.  Me?  I love it.  I’m quite happy that a random , total and complete stranger thinks, or even suspects, that I look 5 years younger than I am.  I’ll take that compliment thankyouverymuch (see above, re: self esteem).

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My third observation?

Nothing is really different about being 40.  Yeah, my mojo is back (watch out, I wasn’t kidding), but I have always gotten carded (I’ve said, when I don’t get carded, I must be having a really bad hair day).    While I do sense a sudden shift in my universe, I really don’t think it has anything to do with my age.

It has to do with my friends, my mindset, my objectives, some new found hobbies. I have a fantastic group of friends, they’re supportive,  they douse me with compliments and (mostly) positivity.  They challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone, to do things a little differently. My life objectives haven’t changed, but I’m slowly realizing that my time on this earth, in this existence, is finite.  I have a list of things I want , so I better get crackin’ (and, as I recently noted to one of those stellar friends, I *always* get what I want.  Always.  Some things just take a touch longer than others).  My new hobbies have molded me a bit too – and have combined friends , and stepping out of my comfort zone. We’ll see if they help me get what I want.

I suppose it could be argued that all of those things, and my perspective on them and where I am at this point in my life are directly related to being 40 – my mid-life (gulp) – and I will accept that.  I am very aware that all of the years of my life have brought me to here, to this moment in time, and to this person I have become.

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Surely, though, I am not alone in thinking that turning 40 isn’t so different from turning 16, 21, 30… They’re all life milestones, each for different reasons.  Each of them bring significant change, growth, learning , and experiences that we can’t even imagine when we’re crossing them.  The last ten years of my life changed who I was, made me more of who I am today.  In those ten years, I experienced both the greatest joys and the greatest pains of my life to now.  That said, I wouldn’t trade them, I’m grateful for them.

I like who I am at 40, and I’m really excited to see what lies ahead.

So, there’s that.  But don’t think this is where my thoughts on 40 end.   I intend to celebrate this milestone all year.  I know that I will have continued experiences this year that may *change* how I feel about 40 (don’t get me started about all the stupid negative articles about being a flipping Cougar).  So, watch this space, I’ll share more thoughts and experiences – and recipes – throughout the year.

… I’m still single, I still like to keep it hot, and I still  do appreciate all of the good things life has to offer.

And, If you haven’t, you should check out the podcast/internet talk show that I and some friends launched in 2013.  It’s still a work in progress, but I’m not too proud to plug it here.

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So, stay tuned, next time I’ll update  you on all the things being 40 means for me, and, you know, there will probably be a recipe or two.

Until then,  keep it hot.

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