Making friends with forty!

Last September 11th, I turned 40! I’m not one to get all hung up on ages….really, I’m not. Only one other year hit me hard (my 25th), but 40 loomed over me like this huge, thick, black cloud. Hubby had the fun of hitting it first (just 9 months prior). This 40 thing is going to be “no fun.” So 9 months prior I started mentally preparing myself and talking about it. 6 months prior I began to feel like I wasn’t going down without a fight, and the summer before I started challenging and stretching myself.

By the time September 11th actually rolled around, I was ready for the face-off. And what a welcome surprise….I found out that morning….I had made friends with 40. It was liberating….a huge weight hanging over my head was lifted, and I was free. I’m not exactly sure what transpired over the course of that year, only that I know I’ve always been one for advance preparations. Think that stuck with me from the Girls Scouts motto “be prepared.” And to be quite honest….I was relieved. Battling the inevitable is quite fatiguing.

I woke up that morning excited about all the plans for the day. I had decided a couple weeks prior that any use of a babysitter by my mom would be used for hubby and I to do something out of the ordinary….not just a dinner out. And then proceeded to search my mind as to what I’d like to do…what is something I’ve always wanted to do. So I woke up like a kid on Christmas morning knowing that we were going kayaking for the first time. I was thrilled!! I had been wanting to do this forever.

We live just about 3 miles from the ocean, and have the opportunity to kayak in the intracoastal waterway, and even a small island we’d be able to stop and explore. How cool is that? I did find it interesting that off and on the week prior hubby kept trying to coerce me convince me to go kayaking in the river (with the gators?? I don’t think so!!). I wanted to be able to swim if I got hot, and I’d much rather swim with sharks than gators….not that many sharks (if any) make their way into the intracoastal.

We had an amazing time!! I’ve found a sport that really spoke to my soul on so many levels. The quiet of the morning, being on the water, tuning into nature…it was sheer bliss. Though we were out for probably only 3 hours, I lost all track of time. Surprisingly the rowing was not hard, of course we were tandem and that may have had something to do with it. 🙂

The beauty of the light reflecting on the water, the salty air, the riding of the waves that would come periodically…it was just what I needed. We kayaked in a preserve area where motored boats are not allowed to travel, and I was in heaven. I vowed to do this one more time before the holidays rolled around and the water got too cold. We all know life happened, and that didn’t happen. I vowed to get out there with a girlfriend, or three….and that hasn’t happened yet either. Maybe this will be the summer for that, and you know I was excited to get out there with my brother last month.

By the time we got home I felt sun-kissed and refreshed, and the thrill began to mount for my upcoming birthday night. I know I am ‘blessed beyond measure’ with the friends in my life. A group of friends were taking me out to dinner, and had left it to me to plan my birthday celebration….even down to choice of the restaurant. And I’m sure you know for a foodie what fun that can be.

A couple weeks prior I started researching online, and was reminded that another blessing for me is that my birthday just happens to fall in the month of Flavor Palm Beach. Oh my…life can’t get any better than this. Flavor Palm Beach is a month long foodie’s dream. Participating upscale restaurants agree to fixed price 3 course meals. Lunch is $20 and dinner is $30. The only hard part is deciding which one. I know many foodies take advantage and visit several over the month…but in my season of life (homeschool mom of 3 girls) and with my budget…I get one pick. My friends will attest that some decisions for me are easy (the hard ones?), but others are maddening (the small ones?) Either way…I finally narrowed it down to one…..III Forks Steakhouse.

The other neat thing about Flavor Palm Beach is that the menus are published online ahead of time. I loved that, but at the same time it added to the decision making. I like this main course, but that dessert….oh choices.

Coordinating how we could all ride together was another fun task, but in the end….as things frequently do…it all worked out. My limo minivan arrived…full of super good friends, and whisked me away to dinner. And being a person who even appreciates the small things…I enjoyed the drive there, laughing, talking, connecting….something all women need. I tend to lean toward one-on-one encounters with friends…intimate talks and quality time. 

But during my 40th year, I’m realizing there is still a 13 year old girl in there that relishes “slumber parties and girl talk.” Who knew? Something about that night made me feel like I was 13 again….maybe the fact that we were all there. One night (as busy moms with full family lives), that we were all able to get out at the same time….almost like as kids depending on a ride to the skating rink and friends getting permission to get out of the house.

You know we can do it more often, but life gets in the way….and fun, full and wonderful life….but that just made it even more special, and maybe that was part of the magic of the night. These friends chose to spend it with ME. And it didn’t go unnoticed on my part, hubbies at home in place to watch the kids (in some families up to 4!), another hubby that called ahead and arranged for us to bring our own wine and then supplied the wine, yes…I felt taken care of that night. Pampered…Oh I am blessed indeed!!

After an incredible dinner and a sinful dessert, we piled back into the limo minivan, and headed over to a place on the water….a place that used to be a prime night spot back in it’s hey day (when we were in college), but now allowed the quiet to be able to talk and sit by the water outside. And talk we did…as women do….as girls do…until the clock struck midnight, and the ball ended. Ahh…my love tank was full! Thanks for a memorable and fun evening my friends!!

Check out my new pink ride…..

And my birthday flowers….I love flowers!!

** Special thanks to my friend Tracey for supplying me with the pictures from our evening!

For you guys ~ did you have a birthday that was especially hard for you? How did you turn things around? If you’ve celebrated 40, what was your experience? Good, bad or indifferent? Any special plans for milestone birthdays?

My 40th year and future birthday plans ~ This Sunday I will turn 41! I seem to be indifferent this year, though I still want to make it memorable. I managed to celebrate my whole 40th year by pushing myself out of my comfort zone and doing things I wouldn’t normally do and doing fun & exciting things. This would be a post in and of itself but involved

~ Disney with my friend Donna and her family (and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival)
~ Conquering my fear of Splash Mountain by riding it my oldest daughter
~ Taking the “Read the Bible in 90 days challenge” and finishing it sooner (life-changing experience!!)
~ Attending Food Blog Forum in Orlando and meeting many new foodie friends
~ Taking my 3 girls on a 2 week family vacation (including our family reunion) without hubby (he had to work) which involved a road trip (12 hours each way)
~ Taking a trip with my friend Donna to her family’s beach house in Cape Carteret, North Carolina & exploring beaches of my youth (Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach)
~ Making peace with my 12 year old daughter being away from home for the first time (her first mission trip & no contact for 5 days!!)
~ Celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday with her
~ Quality time kayaking with my brother
~ Trying out a rock climbing wall

and many more!! Some of these I need to do a post on…..too many experiences and too little time to post.

Make sure you get out there and ENJOY life, celebrate in all the ways that matter to you! Me? I’m going to make that slumber party happen one day. Doesn’t matter if you’re 13, 30 or 40…sometimes we just want to be girls, right? Plan and make goals to last your entire year, and you’ll ring in your next birthday with excitement instead of dread!

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8 Responses to Making friends with forty!

  1. Bibi says:

    I turned 40 two years ago and honestly ever since then I love my life….I have way more fun then I ever did….I enjoy more things then I ever did…..I look better then I ever did….turning 40 for me was a gift that keeps on giving.
    Bibi recently posted..Diner Style Strawberry Shortcake

  2. Viveca says:

    Great story…I love how you write. I also enjoyed the pictures. Glad you can move past 40 in a few days. Guess how it feels to turn 60? At least I feel more alive than I did in my 40s. The 40s weren’t my best years due to my ill health at that time.

    Age is just a number. Our lives are made up of numbers. Sometimes our minds attach too much significance to numbers.

  3. Happy Birthday Denise. Sounds like you had a wonderful year. Hope the best is yet to come!
    Roxana GreenGirl recently posted..It’s party time!

  4. Aggie says:

    Happy birthday to you Denise! You have such a great spirit and attitude. I love it.
    Hope your day is filled with many blessings!! I am happy to have met you this year!! xoxo
    Aggie recently posted..A Special Birthday and a Side of Fries

  5. 5o was hard for me, but your rocking the 40’s. You look great! And I love the new bike. I have been looking at cruisers and trying to convince the hubby I need a new bike.:)

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