Yes, You Should Celebrate Turning 40 (Along with Every Other Decade)

This year I am turning 40. I don’t feel 40. But then again, what is 40 supposed to feel like? I have had many people ask me about my feelings toward approaching this new decade with the assumption that I will react negatively. That is the society we live in. It views this decade with a mix of sympathy and apprehension. And that view is so deeply ingrained in our culture that it consciously–and even unconsciously–affects how we view ourselves as women getting older. Aging is simply not embraced.

I’ve read blog after blog about turning 40 and how it is the pivotal age to reinvent yourself or, worse, the beginning of a mid-life crisis. Such extremes. Can’t we appreciate and embrace the beauty that comes with age? From the failures to the triumphs. Let’s value where we have been while looking forward to the personal growth ahead.

We don’t need slogans that tell us 40 is the new 30. And we do not need surprise parties with black balloons and signs that imply we are “over the hill.” Canceled.

Change the Narrative

What if we thought differently about how we aged? What if we looked forward to what each decade does bring, instead of dreading it? We must change the narrative and reframe what turning the big 4-0 feels like.

And I am here to say that I love that I am turning 40. I have 40 years of experience to share with my three daughters. I want them to see me celebrating life. It’s my next chapter. We all know the book gets better as you read on. That’s what life should be: every day adding that much more to your story because reaching your potential does not have a date. We all will find our authentic selves along the way.

So, let’s not conform to what society tells us to think and feel about being 30, 40, or 60 years old. Celebrate you and the story you’ve created.

How I Will Embrace Turning 40

So, I will celebrate this beautiful milestone to the fullest. Embrace the changes in my mind, body, and soul. Take stock of my achievements while striving for personal growth as a woman, mom, and entrepreneur.

Embracing the Changes in My Mind

  • Remind myself that I may not be for everyone, and that is OK.
  • Journal the way I want to journal. Not because someone swears that getting up at 6:00 a.m., before the kids and husband wake, to set their intentions for the day is life-changing. Or because someone stresses the importance of ending your day with gratitude. I do not need one more responsibility, chore, or obligation. Simply put, I want to journal when I want to. Journaling is whatever YOU want it to be. If you want a schedule, make it. If you want it to be about gratitude, do it. If you want to vent about your children and husband, that’s on the table too. And if you want nothing to do with journaling, that’s also OK.
  • Meditate whenever I find time, in the shower, or while waiting in the never-ending school pickup line. It can be five minutes or 20 minutes. But just doing it when I need to find my breath, ground myself, and calm my thoughts is what works for me.
  • Celebrate the small wins. I will 100% clap for myself when I’ve gotten to all the laundry in one day, increased my IG engagement, or finished revisions on my latest manuscript. I have spent many moments waiting to be validated by someone else to make a happy moment a win. But you are the only one who needs to validate your success.
  • Read. Enough said.

Embracing the Changes in My Body

  • Increase my heart rate daily. I have one body; I will take care of it. It doesn’t mean I am running to sign up for a Lifetime Fitness membership. As a mom to three kids, my activity levels are always high. Chasing kids on the playground, sweeping up the kinetic sand four times before noon, or changing the duvet covers on all the beds. That can be enough.
  • Stretch. My neck becomes my worst enemy with one wrong sleep or one wrong bend to pick up my groceries.
  • Invest in the best sleep of my life, from the mattress to the sheets to the amount of time I devote to it. Make it luxurious. I’m not in college and do not need to sleep on a futon with the sheets my parents gave me in 1990. It’s time to make my grown-up bedroom and enjoy it.

Embracing the Changes in My Soul

  • Connect with family and friends every single week. I will not say I don’t have time. I will make the time. We only have so many moments together. And being around ones who love, support, and allow me to be my authentic self is the most valuable thing I can do for myself. Whether it’s sending a text, a meme, snail mail, or whatever, I will let them know I am thinking about them.
  • Let myself go down memory lane. We all know living in the present and practicing mindfulness has many incredible benefits to our well-being. But reminiscing is an equally powerful tool. Holding on to a happy memory effectively, allowing yourself to relive that moment and its feelings, is powerful and often underutilized.
  • Sing and dance whenever my favorite song plays. It’s good for the soul. I will not stop if my kids are embarrassed. Instead, I will show them I am unapologetically me. They will need that reminder at some point in their life.

Happy birthday to all the fabulous women turning 40–and every other decade. Your beauty lies within your journey. What are you most looking forward to as you celebrate your next birthday?

Along with life’s journeys and milestones, we as mothers grow and evolve. Rachel shares insight into the second decade of motherhood and how she is embracing life’s changes!


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