It's my birthday! I'm 41 today - an age that seemed really old to me, way back when, but seems not at all old, now that I'm here.
I'm happy to be 41 because it means that I'm not 40 anymore. I hadn't thought that it would be such a big deal to be 40 because age is just a number, right? Well, yes, it is, but that number is how long a person has been alive, and it turns out that 40 is kind of a tipping point. In our youth-driven society, 40 is a demarcation point: on the one side is youth and on the other is definitely not youth. Our society clearly values youth, since there are so many products and whatnot that can make someone appear youthful or be youthful, and to be on the other side of that line is difficult.
It wasn't just that all of a sudden I was not young, but that I realized that being older meant that some of the dreams I had would be unfulfilled. When someone is young, there are lots of opportunities and dreams and doors that are available. As that person ages, those doors close, the dreams end, and the opportunities disappear. Other options appear in their place, of course, because life is continually unfolding and changing, but the youthful dreams are gone.
So I've spent the last year grieving for all those things I could have done and can't do now. It's been a long process, but I've come to accept the life I have now and the opportunities and dreams that come with it. I'm definitely happier and more content now, and I'm definitely looking forward to this next year!