Yesterday, I turned 40-years-old.
When it comes to celebrating my birthday, I’ve always been a bit of a brat.
I can remember that, in the weeks leading up to my 21st birthday, I begged my family to throw me a surprise party. As my birthday got closer, and it didn’t seem like a surprise party was coming, I started whining and complaining – like a lot.
Unbeknownst to me, my sister had been planning a huge surprise party the whole time. I remember walking in the house, seeing all my friends and family, and my brother saying loudly, “Here’s your party, you ungrateful brat.”
Unfortunately, Warren hasn’t had it much easier. For the first five or so years of our marriage, he felt an enormous amount of pressure to “get it right” on my birthday. No matter how hard he tried, I still ended up crying most years.
I hear you judging me over there and I don’t blame you.
Like I said, total brat.
Somewhere along the way, I finally lowered my expectations to a reasonable level.
This year, I noticed an even greater reduction in my unrealistic expectations. After a year of quarantine and social distancing, I found myself feeling so satisfied by the smallest of things. Have you felt this shift as well?
Maybe a better way of describing it is to say that the seemingly “small things” have become more meaningful than the more extravagant things I used to enjoy.
As I turned 40, I felt zero desire for a party or an expensive dinner, or a big gift. Warren, instead, surprised me with simple things like a virtual breakfast with my mom, a zoom tea date with my sister, a walk through a botanical garden with Lucy.
It could not have been more perfect.
I’m sure that some of this desire for simpler things is a result of the pandemic. A less hectic life is something I think many of us have begun to embrace this past year.
But I also think (and hope) this is a side benefit of getting older. I’ve heard many women speak about their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s as the happiest, most content years of their lives.
As I head into my next 40 years, I’m probably most excited about the opportunity to continue becoming my truest self – enjoying the things and people who matter most to me and finding joy in such simple pleasures.
How about you? Have you noticed any changes in how you think about getting older?
If you want to share, I’d love to hear about it!
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