I’ve had several friends and family ask me lately, “How does it feel to be turning the big 4-0?”
I laugh and say, “What’s so big about it, exactly?”
If I’m honest, turning 40 is something that I started thinking about the day I turned 39. That birthday felt a lot bigger to me.
Something about turning 39 sparked a fire inside of me—an inner calling, really, to take an honest look at my life. To explore with curiosity and compassion the parts of myself and my life that needed attention, nurturing, cleaning up, and healing.
I’m not sure of the “why” behind this call.
Perhaps it was living abroad and being outside my comfort zone for 18 months and all the gifts, challenges, and “seeing yourself” that experience offered me.
It was almost as if I had to remove myself from my safety net and let life fall apart a bit to see all of me (some of which made me proud, and some of which I was ready to let go of).
So, 39 became a year of reflection and transformation for me. It was a year of peeling back even more layers of the mud that covered my heart, my power, my essence.
It was a year of learning my deepest truth and speaking that truth.
It was a year of discovering my boundaries and honoring them.
It was a year of sitting in the inevitable discomfort that happens when we are called to expand and grow.
It was a year of clearing and creating space for the woman I was becoming.
It was a year of walking the walk.
What does that mean exactly?
Well, for me, it meant that it was a time for me to stop hiding from the work I’m meant to be doing in the world.
It meant it was time to quit chasing old beliefs and stop “should-ing all over myself” and just do the damn stuff I was inspired to do.
It meant claiming my work and being all-in without apologizing or needing validation from anyone other than myself.
It meant leaning into my faith and trusting God in ways that felt authentic to me. This meant going to an inclusive church on Sundays, smelling of Patchouli with crystals in my pockets, and meditating with my grandmother’s rosary because I wanted to.
It meant asking for more support and sisterhood so that I could more boldly stretch outside of myself without exhausting myself and my body.
It meant loving every part of myself, especially the shadow parts that I am still getting to know and understand.
It meant that it was time to do the hard and honest work of healing parts of my marriage.
Simultaneously, this also meant that it was a time to look at the ways that I was unconsciously withholding vulnerability, authenticity, and love.
It meant it was time to get back into the gym because my body was wanting to sweat more.
It meant that it was a time to get fierce around what I want in my life and make that just as important as what everyone else around me wants.
It meant it was time to put up new boundaries and create new strategies to better protect my work and my energy and to really choose myself so that I can love better, coach better, and feel better.
It meant it was time to feel my feelings on a deeper level—some feelings that I’d pushed down from years ago and honestly didn’t even know were still there until I was willing to dive deeper.
It meant having the courage to voyage into the deep, dark parts of my heart—even to the teeny tiniest little shadow hiding in the corner—and give it the time and space it needed to heal.
It meant releasing resentments I was still holding onto and practicing forgiveness, for others and myself.
It meant falling in love with the present moment more fully and shoving my future-paced, fearful mind in the passenger seat.
It meant not taking on other people’s lessons as my own.
It meant saying yes to more of what I love, and no to the things that no longer light me up.
It meant being scared but doing the thing I desired anyway.
Thirty-nine was a year of decluttering and clearing out to create space.
Space for more possibilities.
For more love. More connection. More learning. More teaching. More art. More healing. More growth. More music. More vulnerability. More allowing.
Space for a more fully embodied and imperfect me.
I am 100 percent certain that my 40s will bring their own unique mountains to climb.
I am also 100 percent certain that they will bring more joy, learning, love, adventure, discovery, and growth.
Because I’m almost 40, y’all, and that means I’ve gained this thing called wisdom—which I think just might be the sexiest part about me.
I know—and, more importantly—I trust that this is what life is all about, or at least this is what I choose for my life to be about.
It’s the dance between the light and the dark.
It’s the journey of climbing one mountain to learn what you need to learn so you can fully enjoy the view before it’s time to start climbing the next mountain.
It’s the balance of accepting who you are right now while stretching into who you want to become.
It’s taking ownership of your life but knowing there is a far greater and wiser captain at the helm.
It’s about loving yourself and filling up your cup so fully that you can love others better.
It’s about doing your part and meeting God halfway to do hers.
So, to answer that question, “How does it feel to be turning the big 4-0?”
And so f*cking grateful.