Recently, I was asked if turning 40 was harder or easier than turning 30. This made me pause and wonder more what I was thinking about my 40th birthday, and I am excited to put those thoughts into words with all of you. Life is a journey and as Peter Pan says, “to live will be an awfully big adventure.” How cool I’ve now been adventuring for 40 years.
This past weekend I turned the big 4-0. We celebrated in the most low key, family way.
I don’t like surprises or having lots of eyes on me, and I just wanted to intentionally enjoy my family. The older I get, the more I want the simple things in life. It’s been the work of the last few months to get to a more sustainable, enjoyable place. The ability and gift to sit in a chair and not be wondering of what you should be doing or what needs to be done, but can rest peacefully is the hard work of coming out of an intense season.
On this birthday, I just got to play, be agenda free, and be in the moment. That was the best gift of all. To me, it showed that I had grown.
One of the biggest lies and fears I had when closing the studio was how it felt like I was going backwards. At the time, I was being asked, messaged, and emailed regularly about how to open an art studio. I processed and responded to these requests the best I could, but I always was thinking “whoa, I’m not sure. I’m still trying”.
Inwardly, I was also processing how to shut it all down. How do you quit and go back to your roots when the world pushes forward movement, position, and sees only the good?
How I Celebrated My 40th Birthday
On my day, I threw on my Halloween costume and went outside with my family. I was present all day just being with them mentally and physically. It’s in these moments that I am continually reminded I have done the RIGHT hard work.
My head and my heart were at the same place.
I’m Feeling Free on This 40th Birthday
Matt has told me several times that when he’s asked how I am doing now he responds with ‘she’s the healthiest I have ever seen her’. Wow.
We’ve now been married for over 18 years. We see each other every day and go to bed together every night. For the man, who knows me most, to say that means a lot. I’ve done some hardwork to reconnect with Erica. The Erica before all the expectations and responsibilities; and as a result, it’s made me more free.
I feel more alive.
I feel more light-hearted.
I feel more playful.
I feel more energized.
I feel more confident.
I feel more available.
I feel more content.
I feel more hopeful.
Life is a journey, and I am so thankful for every road and turn that has led me to this beautiful life that I have renewed eyes to soak in the small moments and everyday gorgeous, simplicities.
To celebrate my day, I wanted to adventure with my family. We tried to do a ropes course, but as northern Indiana would have it- most were closed already for the season. We opted to do an escape room, dinner out, and a Target run to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. While we were gone, a huge tree fell in our yard. Luckily, nothing was really hurt except the door to our fence.
We woke the next day, on my actual birthday, and had a relaxed morning of donuts and the sweetest gifts-including my fresh Target haul all wrapped up (still in the Target bag :)). We then went into the yard and climbed the tree, cut the tree, burned the tree and were literally outside all day as a family.
In Moving Forwards, I am Largely Connecting with My Roots
My day was a dream day. As a kid, I always would choose to go camping or do a hike to celebrate my birthday. Being in nature is one of my happy places. I was back doing that sort of thing with my family to celebrate.
There’s something so so satisfying about burning wood. I love it. Can you relate??
I could sit at a fire and feed it things all day long, and I got to do just that. Being outside, off devices and playful with my crew made for an amazing day.
I rescued some wood slices to use in projects and Matt made them our plates, as we cooked over the fire. It was so fun, un-rushed, and relaxing.
The gift and simplicity of a fun day to remember is what my heart longs for now.
In conclusion, turning 40 was much easier than turning 30. My 30’s were all about growing the life I now get to live. I grew kids, we fostered other kids, we moved hundreds of miles, we began a new business venture, and it was a very busy, exciting (while also exhausting) life. There was constant change.
I learned in this bridge from 39 to 40 how far I can extend myself, before I don’t feel like me. I am coming back into me, and I am here for it. I think my 40’s are going to be some of the best.
Feeling more like me is one of the best gifts.
There’s Hope in Living
If you are still in the hard years, giving your all and coming up drained, don’t give up.
There’s things you can do even now to begin a healing journey. I’ve been doing the hard work of processing my story and writing up daily habits that helped me go from overwhelm and exhaustion to a more empowered and intentional life. I can’t wait to share more, but for now…STAY IN TOUCH. In the next two weeks, I will be sharing more and have an opportunity to work with all of you. It’s more behind the scenes of my journey, but it’s really largely for helping you with yours.
My journey is not done, and wherever you are within yours, I would love to help cheer you on. We are made to do life together, with people and cheerleaders in our corner! Stay tuned and if you aren’t on my newsletter yet, jump in for this weekly goodness. This is where I will share it ALL in just a few short weeks.
Thanks for celebrating my birthday by reading this long post about where I have been, where I am now…and where we can hopefully, go together in the coming weeks. Living is an awfully, big adventure.