For most of my thirty ninth year I was obsessed with turning the big 4-0. I tortured myself on the scale each day determined to lose 10 pounds before THE BIG DAY. I vowed to go to the gym. I promised to start a college fund for the younger boys. I made my family swear we wouldn’t celebrate, and my work friends were sworn to secrecy. Instead of acting on all my good intentions I had the extra slice of pizza, the double scoop of ice cream. And the gym, well I started many on-line applications. All in all, I was a terrible sitcom stereotype of a woman about to turn forty. The whole time my mother and father kept telling me to celebrate 40 “it’s the big day”.

As the weeks progressed and my birthday came nearer my mother’s mantra “Celebrate 40” got louder and louder. Her subtle hints, became cries for a party invitation list. I resisted.

The more I said I don’t want to make a fuss, the more determined she was that I would “celebrate 40”. Eventually I gave in, telling myself at first it was for my mother and my younger sister who had joined my parents in the quest for me to “celebrate 40”.

About a month before THE BIG DAY a funny thing happened. I started looking forward to turning 40. I stopped looking at gym websites and got myself a workout buddy. I stopped closing my eyes when I got on the scale, and focused on eating better. I picked up a birthday outfit to wear to my party. I even chased a life long dream to own a vacation home in the mountains. I cherished every hug from my boys. I laughed at the “over the hill jokes” my husband, family and friends threw at me. I celebrated LOUDLY.

I still turned 40. I still weigh more than I’d like to. I still stare at the wrinkles getting deeper on my face. But now, instead of cringing I smile. I celebrate.

Thank you family and friends for helping me celebrate, and celebrate loudly!