Becoming Buddhist

Attempting to Live a More Mindful Life

Meditating on Forty, and So Many Other Things

7 Comments

I meant to blog last week, when I had the great fortune/misfortune of turning forty.

The truth is, 40, so far, feels great. When I turned 39, all I could think about was aging, death, and my lack of success at baby-making and publishing. Then again, I was grappling with Shirley. This year, though, my birthday felt different: what a celebration, I thought, of having lived forty long years (the life span of the camel, hippo, and rhino, according to this handy website). I went for a long, beautiful walk in the Berkeley hills with a new friend, had lunch with two old friends, had a pedicure all by my own damn self, then took Marc to community meditation before cocktails and dinner. L. brought me chocolates. One friend brought wine; another, cake. What bounty, I thought, and what good fortune.

Well, this was 35, but you get the idea.

Well, this was 35, but you get the idea.

A friend told me a while ago that she was looking forward to forty because at forty, our expectations change. “You spend your thirties trying to please other people,” she said. “At forty, you can do whatever the hell you want.”

Another friend who reached forty a few years ago said she thinks her anxiety is better in her forties. (Let’s hope my experience is similar.)

My mom told me she wished she’d looked as good as I do at forty. (Wow! Thanks, Mom. Actually she doesn’t know this blog exists, but I am thanking her in the universe.)

Of course, my old eggs aren’t exactly crowing over the birthday, and I noticed when I made an appointment at a new fertility clinic that past 38, there are no money-back guarantees (ha! What a concept). So that was sobering.

But on the other hand I learned that Alice Munro didn’t publish her first book until she was 37, which is pretty close to 40, right?

And, best of all, I’m going away for the weekend with Marc. Where I plan to get a massage. And eat $1 oysters from a raw bar. And walk on the beach. And sleep a lot. And make out. And meditate.

And reflect on where my life is going, and where it has been.

Blessings, peeps.

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Author: becomingbuddhist

I am a writer, teacher, and mother living in Northern California. Recently I decided to try an experiment in living more mindfully. This blog is my testimonial.

7 thoughts on “Meditating on Forty, and So Many Other Things

  1. Here’s to the next 40 years of living a full and dynamic life.. Happy birthday!

  2. Happy, happy, happy birthday to you! Isn’t it interesting the significance we place on numbers? I turned 39 this year and felt exactly how you described on your 39th. Anyway, I hope you enjoy your massage and oysters and making out! Lucky girl!

  3. Wonderful – I hope you had a beautiful birthday.

    It is a funny time…I had many of the same feelings as you when turning 40 – a bit of new life as opposed to anxiety about how much had passed. Now that forty-one has arrived (a month ago), it hasn’t gone back to the feeling of 39, yet it all feels a little bit less fresh. But then, I suppose it is. I need fewer gifts now, at least those wrapped in packages…

    Be well, friend~

    • Thank you. It’s always nice to hear from you. I was thinking today, actually, about gifts, and how many this year were nice things to eat, nice words, meals out, massages–all lovely things that don’t clutter up the mind or the space. My blog community is a gift, as well.

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