Today is my fortieth birthday. Don’t worry, I’m not going to complain too much. I joke about it, but I’ve long believed one shouldn’t truly complain about their birthday. Getting older is a gift denied to many.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t notice the changes…. Wiry gray hairs started showing up on the left side of my head (and only the left side of my head) several years ago. Not long after, deep creases began to appear on my forehead, undoubtedly the result of my patented “raised eyebrow eyeroll move” perfected during years of negotiations with defense attorneys trying to convince me that their terrible clients were actually “really good kids!!!”
I’ve woken up to searing pain in the middle of my back – pulled muscles or pinched nerves or who knows what, the result of…absolutely nothing.
I have come to accept that I have no idea what kids are talking about anymore. “On what”?? “On fleek!!!” “Huh???” “Nevermind.”
I realize I talk about “kids these days.”
Speaking of which, when the hell did Green Day become “Classic Rock”???
I guess the most striking thing about getting older is noticing how quickly time goes. Is it cliché to talk about how quickly time flies when you’re writing about getting older? Yes, but it’s my birthday so I get to do what I want.
One minute it’s January, the next it’s August. More concerning, I lose track of years. When I visited the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Texas A&M a couple weeks ago, I was reminded of the bonfire collapse that killed 12 students several years before. In my mind, that event had occurred about 8 or 9 years earlier. When I looked it up though, I learned it had been seventeen years.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
…said the guy who’s now 55.
I have read that women in their 40s often find the confidence that eluded them all the years before. They no longer feel the need to justify themselves or seeks others’ approval. I think it’s true. At some point, you realize you can’t make everyone happy and, in the greater scheme of things, there’s really no need to try, so you just stop worrying about it. Trust me, 25-year-old Laura would NEVER have had a blog on the internet. (Of course it helps that 40-year-old Laura gets an email as soon as someone posts a comment and she can delete anything she doesn’t like. This website ain’t a democracy, kids!)
Being 40, and having gray hair and lines on my face, also means I get a lot less uncomfortable questions. For years (YEARS!!!), I was on the receiving end of the “Are you gonna have kids?” line of questioning. That was annoying. Not the questions, but rather the assumptions that came along with the questions. Let me explain something: If a woman is in her 30’s and happily married and she and her husband don’t have kids, they may not want to have kids, or they may not be able to have kids, but in either case, you should not tell her “But kids are such a blessing…” “You’ll change your mind” nor should you ask “So when are you having kids?” as if the alternative is not even a possibility.
Seriously. Listen to me: If you say these things, you’re being an asshat.
In any case, the gray hair has helped end those questions, and it’s lovely. Actually, now we get the opposite reaction. People learn that we’re voluntarily unemployed, spending our days traveling around the country doing what we want, and, after pondering the situation for a few seconds, ask: “You must not have kids, huh?”
HA!!! Indeed… We do not.
So here we are. The Big 4-0. Getting old? I dunno. I don’t feel like it. Absent a now bum knee, I feel pretty much the same as I did when I was 25. And I’m living the life I want to live with the person I want to live it with. I am thankful every day that we’re doing what we’re doing. I appreciate the people we get to meet and the experiences we get to have and I’m thankful for the friends and family who support us. We are having a GREAT time, and if it all ends tomorrow, I have zero regrets.
Of course, hopefully it won’t end. That would still suck.
I’m just saying if it DID end…. It would be less depressing than it COULD have been.
Whatever. You know what I mean.
In any case, Happy Birthday to me.
Here’s to 40!!
Happy Birthday!!! Great post. As another woman in her 40’s (with no kids!!) I can totally relate. Age is a number. Is all about how you feel and what you do with your time. I just went to a wake for a woman in her 50’s and yes, while I joke and complain about being in my mid forties, I too, count it as a blessing. I have an amazing husband, a beautiful home, I can buy expensive martinis that I couldn’t at 25, and we are headed to Greece. Can’t complain. Though I do appreciate when I tell people my age and they say, “No way! I thought you were in your 30’s/much younger. I’d never guess 40’s!” I won’t lie, that’s still gratifying ???? Embrace your new decade and have a fabulous day! We love and miss you!!!
Yeah, I’m with you there. Every time I get carded by a waiter at a restaurant, I do a little happy dance. On the other hand, every time they don’t card me, but they card someone else, I consider stabbing them with a fork. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for the birthday wishes. It was a great day and I am more than ready to embrace it all!!
Happy Birthday Laura! The number really is insignificant (unless your siblings are using it against you, then it is all relavent ????). Age is really a state of mind. We have all read stories about the 90+ year old who still works each day at the local grocery store or the 70 year old that just ran another marathon. It’s about keeping your mind and body active, enjoying each day with family and friends while doing the things you love to do as much as possible.
I agree 100%. It’s usually pretty easy to identify why certain people age better than others. So often it’s about staying active, mentally and physically. Along with not eating tons of crap. All of which I agree with except the part about eating crap. Sometimes I really enjoy eating things that are terrible for me, so that’s where I segue into an argument about the importance of portion control! 🙂
Thanks for the birthday wishes!
Thank you!…. kind stranger. 🙂
Happy Birthday from a 65 year old with no kids living the fulltime life and loving it!
Fabulous blog entry praying I am around to read the one when you turn 50!
Thank you so much! We’re having tons of fun and loving it too, and given how much there is to see and do in this country, I think we’ll be full-timing for a good long while. Happy travels!
Happy birthday! OMG that cake is amazing – both of them! Seriously, mom is talented. I can identity with the “when are you having kids” thing. My nephew just asked me when I was having a baby. I’m 52! So it won’t stop cuz not only do you not look 40, Janet Jackson just had a baby at 52. So yeah, yay for modern medicine. Folks have no boundaries. Enjoy your birthday in the way that suits you best – no regrets, no apologies. Well at your age there may be regrets if you drink too much…????
Hmm, I was assuming it had stopped because I was looking older. Maybe it stopped because we are no longer living a “normal” lifestyle and people assume 2 unemployed people living in a bus probably wouldn’t make “the best” parents. Whatever. Assume away. Just stop asking me when I’m having kids! Also, Janet Jackson, WTH?????
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAURA! Make it a great year!
Thanks Stephanie! We miss you guys too!
I’ve always said getting older sure beats the alternative! As long as you stay active and enjoy life you will always be young in your mind and heart. There will be times your body will disagree! And yes you can have a wonderful fulfilled life without kids. You and Kevin are a testament to that. Happy Birthday ????
Thank you! This little adventure is definitely keeping us active and enjoying life. That’s for sure!!
Yay for 40s! Embrace the wiry gray hairs and the forehead lines (that’s what tweezers & bangs are for). I can’t think of a better way to spend your big birthday (except maybe sleeping? Oh how I’d love to just sleep for one day.) Enjoy your day, eat lots of icing and ice cream, drink a really yummy beer and sing as loud as you can! It’s your birthday! It’s your birthday! xoxo
I’ve been doing the tweezer thing for a while, but eventually there’s more gray hair than brown hair…keep tweezing and you end up with bald spot. See my problem???? 🙂 Anyway, thanks for the birthday wishes…now go get some sleep!!
Happy Birthday! You already have the idea–you’re living the life you want. Forty means you’re only gettin’ better! Enjoy it to the fullest, Dawn
Thank you! We’re doing our best to do this “life” thing right…. So far, so good!
Happy Birthday Laura,
Life is all about choices and aren’t we fortunate to be in a country where are choices are endless ( well, at least for now). Wait until you turn, 50, you will care even less what people think…it just get better with age. – true dat!
I hope you have a wonderful Birthday!
Ps..love the word asshat!
“Well, at least for now…” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sigh…. Ugh….
Anywho… Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the birthday wishes! And I hope you’re right. I am very much enjoying my new and improved “to hell with what anyone thinks” attitude.
Happy Birthday, I love the cake … well both cakes actually! I love my birthday and take every chance I can to celebrate it … or use it as an excuse to get what I want, you know “It’s my birthday soon can you …”. And I never really feel a year older, just very fortunate that I had another year of unbelievable experiences! Make the most of your birthday week, or month, and enjoy ????
Good plan. I just turned 40. This is no time to limit a special occasion to ONE lousy day. I’m gonna make a month of it! Maybe a whole year!! 🙂
OMG – love that birthday cake at the end. I may steal your idea and make a similar one for my daughter. Ah yes, the gray hair on the left side. Happens to the best of us ???? Wishing you a wonderful birthday!
Thank you! That cake cracks me up every time I look at it. No one said I had to actually act mature as I mature, right?
Happy Birthday! Coming from someone who also turned the big 40 last September, I wholeheartedly agree about the confidence thing. And yes, I’m so out of touch with “kids these days”. However, you are living life the way you want, although I do admit, my body is not as “spry” as it used to be either. I just don’t bounce back from sore muscles or small injuries like I did a couple of decades ago. Yep, things are now “decades” ago vs years ago. Enjoy your day!
Ugh.. “decades.” That does have a different ring to it, huh? Anyway, it doesn’t seem like 40 is treating either of us too badly, huh? Let’s hope our good fortune continues!
Happy birthday, Laura 🙂
(I wish I had my 26-year-old waistline back, but oh well — !!)
Thank you! It’s amazing how everything changes, huh? Just think of the things we’ll wish we appreciated about our bodies now at some point in the future…. Anyway, hope you’re doing well!
Happy Birthday! I’d like to think I’m responsible for at least a gray hair or two … or a part of one of those lines on your forehead. I know I was on the receiving end of a few of those trademark eye rolls! FYI – Guinness and I have our “go bags” ready … we’re still waiting for you to swing by. I have very creative ways of keeping Dixie and Guinness separate – even in a giant rolling home. #comebackandgetus
You are DEFINITELY responsible. I should name some of the damned lines after you.
Anyway, we will be back in VA in late May. You can’t come with us, but we’d love to grab a drink if you’re up for it!
Happy Birthday to you, my fourths were some of the best years. Enjoy them.
Thank you! I’m feeling pretty optimistic about them at this point!
Happy Birthday! And I do agree, the forty’s are great years! I do have kids, the youngest being 17. He and his girlfriend sputter about I “high key” this and I “low key” that….I’m asking “How do you know when you High key and when you Low key”? They think I’m old, lol. Keep having fun, you’re only as old as you let yourself act 🙂
Well now you’re making me feel even MORE out of touch. High key and low key? I’d never heard of that at all. Luckily there is urbandictionary.com. That thing is a lifesaver. 🙂
Happy Birthday…keep doing what you want, enjoy life to the fullest and who cares about the clock or calendar, all you need is the reminder it is time to move to the next amazing spot. Like the new design, and you must have cracked the code for Google my maps, me, not so much.
Thanks Jon! We’re having a great time and it looks like you are too. And don’t feel bad about the Google maps thing. Those are way more complicated than you would expect from Google. Luckily Kevin knows how to do all this fancy computer stuff. If not for him, my blog posts would be handwritten, photocopied at Kinko’s, and mailed out to friends and family via snail mail. 🙂
Happy Birthday to an awesome lady. I admire your spunk and tenacity in choosing your own road through life.
As long as you’ll put up with my kid while we have a drink when paths cross, it’s all good!
HA! Of course! We like kids, we just don’t want our own. 🙂 Owen is freaken adorable and welcome at ANY of our Happy Hours. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later!
Happy birthday! I had to smile at the kid thing because Mike and I can totally relate to that. Although it used to puzzle me since our friends, in one breath would say “Having kids is an amazing experience, you have to have kids!”, etc then in the next breath would bemoan the fact that the kids were home ALL summer and they can’t wait for school to start back up!
Hope you had a wonderful birthday and didn’t quite end up face-down in your birthday cake!
Yeah, we’ve definitely had that experience too. To each, their own, I guess. I just know we made the right decision for us. Hell, if we made a different decision, it’s unlikely we’d be doing what we’re doing. And that would just be dumb.
Anyway, thanks for the B-Day wishes. I had a great day. Austin is awesome!
Cheers to young lady who has a winning smile all the time. Love that cake at the end and I can picture you in the same scenario as you celebrated your birthday. You are still a baby yourself.
Thanks MonaLiza! I love that cake too, and yeah, I can “kinda” relate on occasion.
Happy birthday! It sounds like you are having a great time turning 40!
My husband and I are in our thirties, and nearly all of our friends are having kids right now. One of my favorite benefits of quitting our jobs and moving into a trailer is that it feels like the pressure is (at least temporarily) off!
Yeah, we have definitely noticed the conversation has changed a bit… we’re no longer asked whether we’re planning on having kids. Instead we are asked if we are ‘retired’ (because we look much younger than most other full-timers we come across). And instead of the assumption being that we SHOULD have kids or we WILL have kids, now it is that we must NOT have kids if this is what we’re doing. It’s definitely a noticeable difference.
In either case, the absence of that pressure is definitely nice. And yeah, I’m not gonna lie: turning 40, while doing this, has been pretty freaken awesome.
Happy Belated Birthday Laura!
You continue to amaze me with your talents…writing, photography, and now cake decorator! Give that handsome husband of yours a hug and I know the two of you are living a wonderful life!
I wasn’t trying to be anonymous on the earlier post Laura but just having attention to detail problems.
Thanks Gretta!! Just to be clear though, while I love taking credit wherever I can, that cake is not actually mine. I just saw the picture and it cracked me up…. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for stopping by and thank you for the good wishes! I will give the hubby a great big bear hug when he least expects it!! Hope you guys are doing well!