The day before I turned the big 4-0 and on a whim, I asked my friends for their last words of advice. It's not that I was really freaking out, but this big birthday did seem to give me... pause. It was causing me reflect on what the decade ahead represents. My 20th birthday was carefree and all about the future. My 30th birthday was also about the future, but with a twinge of "wow, does this mean I'm a grown up now?"
My 40th, well, I know I'm a grownup now -- married, with a house and kids, a job and a company. The milestones that I had looked forward to most of my life are now crossed. So what's next? What am I supposed to look forward to in this next decade?
Despite the uncertainty, my friends shared advice that was overwhelmingly positive.
Here are 10 of the fantastic--and wise -- words/stories/pieces of advice that they shared with me:
1. When I turned 40, my youngest told me, "Mom, I've been 4 and I've been 0, it's really no big deal!"
2. I am more comfortable in my own skin, calmer about the challenges I face and able to function better in my relationships in my personal and professional life. I also look a hell of a lot better because I have more money than I did at 20!
3. It's a great excuse to celebrate/splurge! Embrace it and take a trip or throw a fun party. Do something that you have been waiting for a reason to do.
4. Forty is just a number. You should celebrate the journey these years have brought you -- the love, the family and friends.
5. Enjoy each year because they go by faster and faster.
6. I have LOVED my 40s so far. Pretty much unequivocally. Overall, I'm calmer, more centered, have better priorities and a truer sense of what matters most at any given moment. I also take better care of myself and trust my gut more.
7. Your 40s are when you just get in stride.
8. Prepare to get hit on like never before.
9. I'll share the great gem my mom gave me: "My 40s were great; it was the decade in which I knew myself best (to date), and cared what others thought of me least (to date). The combination of those two led to a great sense of freedom to just be me."
10. Just go for it! Life after 40 just keeps getting better with experience.
The overarching message is that our 40s are about being more at peace with who we are today. These years are not about big pre-set milestones anymore, but about what we make of our lives in the truest way possible.
So I'm going to embrace it. I'm going to think big. I'm going to enjoy it. 40 is definitely not going to hold me back, but instead be freeing in a way. Bring it on.