Technically, I haven't turned 40 yet. It's about a month away, and while I am super excited about my little celebration that I am planning and seeing some of my family from the west coast, I'm also like WHOA WAIT A SECOND. Because yes I am in fact turning 40, and the time you are the coolest about turning 40 is right up until it gets close.
Probably up until like three months ago I had zero problem with turning 40. Age is just a number, etc. Unless that number is FORTY. The thing is, against all of what I thought made up the fiber of my being, 40 sounds "old" to me, still. Partly because I still feel like I'm 23 half the time and partly because that 23 year old thought I would be WAY more "adult" than I am now.
Case in point? I have still never changed a tire on my own and have no idea how to. I sometimes need more than two email reminders about paying my online electric bill on time. I have legit never used an outdoor grill, ever. I make my 10 year old kill spiders for me. I only started using "wrinkle stuff" this year because I was like oh crap I had better get on that. I might be too late? I don't know, because all the stuff I thought I would know by the time I was 40? Nope, still don't know most of it.
I suppose I can count myself as lucky that growing up, all of the adults in my life seemed like they pretty much had it together. They went to work every day and mowed their lawns and made sure there was milk in the fridge and clean clothes in the drawers and didn't seem to complain about being tired, like, ever (related point here: I am always tired, or, like 80% of the time "tired" could explain my current state). These adults could also make a lot of meals without using google, or needing to find out how many minutes they should be boiling eggs for to make hard boiled eggs (seriously why can I not remember that ever? Is it 8 minutes? Twelve?). I mean, hell, they did ALL of those things without googling it. Create a costume for a school event? No google. No Pinterest. NO AMAZON PRIME (related: I once wore a mop wig to school for a costume, truth). Find the location of a travel swim meet? Try a PAPER MAP. Yeah. Paper map. No google. Like unfold that bad boy and hope for the best.
Anyway, I guess I kind of expected to be more adult than I am at this point. Maybe it's a good thing I still feel youthful/23/like I don't know anything? Who knows. I guess I need to just accept that I am reaching a milestone without having a "list" checked off, I mean, it's not a scavenger hunt. You don't need to arrive at 40 knowing how to do certain things or having done certain things, you still get to be 40, and that's if you're lucky. I need to let go of the idea that a milestone age would mean that I wasn't a work in progress still.
I also didn't realize that becoming 40 would include so much letting go of stuff. Letting go of crappy friendships and overcommitting and feeling bad about it. Letting go of aspects of my personality that were totally intentionally fake and were used in that way to cover up my awkward shyness and insecurities. Letting go of who I thought I would "be" and just being who I "am". And also being who I want to be, not who I think I should be, or who I think someone else wants me to be. Letting go of the idea that as an adult you don't still make mistakes or do something stupid. Mostly, the best part? Letting go of giving a crap what other people think. About anything.
Feeling like I still don't know anything at 40 is liberating because it gives me the drive to keep learning, and to keep moving forward and trying to be a better person, a better parent, a better human being. Giving myself a break. Giving other people a break (especially younger people because I definitely know WAY MORE than I did at 23 though for real). I also want to use this milestone to love the body I am in more and treat it the best I can (while still including cake) and loving the people that are with me and treating them the best I can (while still giving myself, and them, a break, we all make mistakes. Sometimes with hardboiled eggs).
40 is just a mile marker in this insane marathon of life, and up ahead I can take a quick break, drink some water, think back at how far I have come and how far I can still go. And really, who ever said "over the hill" was a bad thing? Have you ever ran up a hill? Going over the other side is WAY BETTER. Like over the hill YES PLEASE. Take a breather and take it all in and find the new energy to keep going in the direction you want. Maybe try some new wrinkle cream or write a novel or cook a steak on a grill. You never know. You just never know it all.