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Facing 40

by Melissa Brunner

One friend told me she wore black for a month. Many others say they stopped counting at 39. There's something about turning 40 that seems to strike fear in the hearts of women especially.

I'm usually not one to fuss a lot over my birthday, but I found myself mentioning this one annoyingly often. Perhaps I thought if I said it out loud enough I would really believe it. For me, it's not so much the thought that I'm 40 as it is, "How on earth did this happen?!"

I don't feel like I'm 40. How is that supposed to feel, anyway? I don't consider myself old. I don't feel like I've run out of time to do all those things that we're supposed to have written on some arbitrary list.

I do feel like I've come a long way in my life. I've had wonderful experiences professionally and I still feel challenged by my career. I've had the opportunity to travel to places I only dreamed I'd see, like Greece and Italy and Australia. I found my soulmate and best friend and, though life may not have played out exactly like the fairy tale we'd written, there's still plenty of happily in our ever after.

Turning 40 does, however, make one reflect on one's life. Every creak of the knee and crack of the back reminds me that I can't deny I'm not as young as I once was. The conclusion I reached, however, is that life is pretty good and has the potential to get even better. It's the glass-half-full scenario. You could look at the same glass as half empty, but that would cheat yourself out of enjoying all that remains. I choose not to dwell on how much of life has passed, but on all that lies ahead. That's where the focus needs to be. I'm not done yet. I may not be sure what exactly it is I have left to do, but I do know the next part of the story is only beginning!

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