30 by 40

Overheard across the blogosphere:

Reader 1:  What’s Susan up to now with this “30 by 40” bit?

Reader 2:  I think it’s another one of Susan’s blogging gimmicks. You know how she is.

Reader 3:  Yeah, I think you’re right, Reader 2. For chrissake the woman ate goat and jumped out of a plane just to increase her page views.

Reader 2:  That’s a little harsh, Reader 3. Honestly, I think she just did those things because she’s a little [does the cookoo sign], whacked in the head.

Reader 1:  I think it might have something to do with her turning 40 this month.

Reader 3:  Maybe.  Like I said…[does the cookoo sign]

Before now I have never, ever, EVER made a big deal about my birthday — you may not believe that, but it’s true. Thirty came and went with barely a peep from me, but turning 40 at the end of this month seems different — in a good way — and I want to take advantage of it.

So, in honor of the whole “40 is the new 30” thing, and because there are 30 more days to go before I turn 40 30 (in spirit!) again, I am asking for your advice on how to make the next 40 years even better than the first.

I wasn’t planning to add my own advice, especially since I often ignore it, but I received something in the mail yesterday out of the blue that made me think of one:

I received a package from one of my Chicago travelmates and friends. It included the DVD of Waitress, which she had been telling us about (only she had seen it), and a note.

“…I know it is not easy to make time to travel and be away from home…but, oh so good to touch base with intelligent, soulful and multidimensional women!…I am grateful for our intimate conversations over ‘Lonely Chicago Pie’ and hope you each know that who you are and what you have to say and what happens in your lives MATTERS to someone…”

Tip #1: Always make time for friends — and never forget how important they are in your life…or you are in their’s.

That’s a tip I know I’ll continue to follow. My goal (always a Virgo, always a goal) is to get at least 30, preferably 40, of yours to live by — humorous, serious, whatever. You don’t need to be 40 or over 40 to give them, or even 30, or… Before I confuse myself with numbers even more

What are your words of wisdom?


21 thoughts on “30 by 40

  1. Never forget your past accomplishments when taking on new challenges. You were successful then, you can do it again! Hey, I’m a Virgo, too. You’re right about that whole goal thing.

  2. The “Dumb Guy Principle.” I don’t remember which website featured this theory, but it basically goes like this: Whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish, be encouraged by the fact that somewhere, someone dumber than you has figured it out.

  3. I have two –

    * Find time each week to take care of you with the love and care you give to easily and freely to others. Virgo’s are the mothers of the earth but often forget to nurture themselves! (I am a Virgo too!
    * Exercise!!! (And don’t forget that good sex counts as exercise)

  4. Give your body grace. Seems like things you always took for granted start to… change after 40. Instead of bemoaning how things used to be, shoot for mustering up appreciation of how things are now.

    One I heard recently (paraphrased): You will never be younger than you are today.

    I’ve been loving my 40s. But as I approach 50 (~16.5 months to go, but who’s counting?) I’m getting freaked out a little.

  5. Happy Birthday Month Susan! I think you’ll really enjoy your forties. It’s the decade where you start understanding what makes you happy and that it’s your responsibility to do it. Being knee-deep into my forties (okay, mid-thigh, nearing waist-deep) I have learned that my self-care and sanity require three little things on a regular basis:

    A creative outlet.
    Restorative stillness.
    Organized surroundings.

  6. My tip: You won’t need tips because you won’t believe you’re actually 40. You’ll still be the you you always have been inside. Only now, you’ll enjoy it more!

  7. Happy almost birthday! (And can I just say…WOW! You look YOUNG! I never would have guessed you were turning 40. Honestly, I thought you were 35 tops.)

    I love your tip. It’s so very true. Friends are the most important thing for sanity! On a similar (ish) note, the one thing I have really learned in life:

    Don’t bother with people that you don’t care about. What they think about you doesn’t matter. What you think about them doesn’t matter. What matters are *your* people: family and friends. And you can be as selective about those definitions as you want.

  8. Okay … so maybe this isn’t great advise — it’s not great wisdom here, but it’s served me well when making tough decisions in my life.

    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

    Hope it serves you well, Susan … happy birthday. I’ve already turned 40 (er 41) and there are times when I’m really okay with being the ‘old lady’ of the office, it’s given me a freedom that I never had before. I spew advise to the young men I work with … about women and life and I tell them that it is my right as a mother and an older woman to advise. So there that!

  9. Not tips … I have quotes from my absolute favorite writer – Anais Nin; her diaries enabled me to write from my heart, not from my mind. I have a love of writing because Ms. Nin was a loving graceful spririt that wrote purely about living without hesitation.

    My favorite quote: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

    Here are some of her more notable quotes:

    Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

    I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.

    If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.

    It’s all right for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all.

    Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.

    Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.

    My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.

    The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.

    There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.

    We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

    When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others.


  10. curt says:

    as for tips — well, I don’t think that I have much to offer, other than the usual or contrived or hallmark-y type of stuff. so, I’ll spare ya that.

    all I can say is — as you know, I’ll be 40 right after you. and, the thing that pops into my mind whenever self-doubt, sadness or any of that other crap gets in my way is to be happy that I am here.

    and, I am.

    that all being said — me and you need to get a drink or two for our bdays. perhaps some of the neighbors (and soon-to-be-former neighbor) would like to join us. AND, maybe, we could meet the newbie……

  11. T says:

    Happy soon-to-be 40th! I’m right there behind you sister. (December 2009)

    My tip?

    Don’t take life or yourself so seriously!

    You seem to be better about this than I. Maybe you need to be giving me the tips!

  12. A yoga tip: Stand on your head, it reverses the aging process.

    A writing tip: Never stop.

    A friendship tip: Think kindly of those you care for. They will feel it.

    A parenting tip: Always enjoy one cool new thing your kids are into. Or in your case, be cooler than your kids…I still can’t believe you jumped out of that plane.

    For yourself: Experience a new appreciation for something everyday.

    A lovers tip: Accept no less than what you have to offer.

    Come to Nova Scotia and we’ll bar hop in downtown Halifax like we’re 19 again. Of course, we’ll feel like 50 the next day. Happy Birthday month Susan!

  13. i feel that 40 is a really great age to date women in this day and age.

    I can only speak from my experience but women in their late 30’s to 40’s have been the most stable and fulfilling relationships that i have had.

    i dont know why, but i have a couple of theories.

    anyway point being, no women should feel bad about turning 40

    40 can be very very sexy


  14. Take the expression ‘middle-aged’ out of your vocabulary. My husband’s brother hit middle age at 10 (he died suddenly at 20). His aunt is nearly 104 (and counting), so we’re not quite sure when she did.

    Congratulations, Susan. Forty is a glamorous age!

  15. I’m a bit behind on things, as you can tell by my lack of posting in the last 2 weeks, but can I just interject here and say:


    And I’m not just talking the “40 is sexy”/”sex is good exercise” advice either, although who am I to argue with those?

    I’ve been reading your comments along the way, so thank you and keep them coming. One of these days they may stick, too!

    PS. Does using “rock” as a verb make one young?

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