A blogger looks at 40.

I'll be 40 in two weeks. 

I typically approach my birthdays in a thoughtful and celebratory way, and this year is no different. But there is something different about birthdays that have a "0" on the end. 

I remember turning 10, and how that meant saying goodbye to single digits. 

I remember turning 20, and how I felt melancholy about losing the “teen” at the end of my number. 

And 30. Maybe that’s when I finally felt like an adult? It's definitely when I began to shed a whole bunch of internal weights that had determined a lot of my steps in my 20s. 

My 30s have not been as much about reinventing myself as it has been about becoming more like my actual self.

Now, two weeks away from 40, I’m at a place where I’m ready to apply what I know. I mean really apply it. In this season, it feels vital to live it out. 

What does that even mean? That’s what I’ve been thinking about and moving towards during the past couple of months as this blog sat silent.

This summer, I saw new things. I visited Chicago for the first time.

The fabulous Melisa Wells gave me the grand tour. Love her. 

The fabulous Melisa Wells gave me the grand tour. Love her. 

Where am I?

Where am I?

The Bean totally tripped me out. And everywhere I went, I felt myself being drawn into all of Chicago's curves and lines. 

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And, I spent a lot of time staring out my hotel window. It doesn’t matter where I go, this kind of view—up high, looking out—always lifts me up and settles me. 

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Later, my family and I spent a week at the lake. And I soaked in the images, as I do. 

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And the entire time, my eye was on the calendar. That date in August, circled in my mind. The day when my middle child went to kindergarten. The day he walked into a big school, alongside his brother, my oldest child, my first baby. I imagined this scene for years, before it ever happened.

Then, in early September, I sent my daughter off to preschool. Three days a week, for only three hours. Just like last year. But still, her walking away signaled the shift. 

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It’s time to embrace the new season, and everything I hope it will be. 

All along, behind the scenes, I’ve been writing, and sketching, and brainstorming and planning. I’ve been moving, living, doing all of the things the day requires. 

But internally, I’ve been pausing. I made myself do it, even though I was ready to launch back into this blogging space with all my refreshed ideas. I knew that it was important to simmer down and breathe through this transition. 

Yesterday, I was driving and listening to Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant talk about something that felt perfect for where I am right now. I went home, found the segment online and wrote down what Iyanla said, word for word:

It doesn’t matter what it is, here’s the lesson:

When you find yourself in a new situation, everything that requires healing is going to rush to the surface.

And if you don’t a take a minute to breathe, to gather yourself, to pray, you will do what you’ve always done. So you gotta be clear enough, grounded enough, centered enough to say, ‘How am I going to handle it this time?’

So the lesson is, Pause. Okay?

We go from being 20 to 30 without a pause. 30 to 40 without a pause…

Pause, Boo. Take a breath.
— Iyanla Vanzant

And that makes so much sense to me. Because here, at 40, I know the parts of me that are weak, and insecure. I know my traps and the places I get stuck. I’m intimate with the things that drag me down. Even though I’ve done a lot of inner work over the past decade—a lot of inner work—the work has also made me clear about what trips me up mentally and emotionally. 

So I'm approaching 40 like this: Grounded. Centered. Breathing. I’m in a good place. 

Because y’all! I’m about to turn 40! 

What an amazing gift it is. 

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