I’m Old and Awesome :: Why Turning 40 Rocks

I’m not totally sure when it happened.  

Maybe it was when my OB used the phrase “advanced maternal age” during my second pregnancy. It might have been the time my witty Friends joke bombed at the preschool party because the other mom wasn’t old enough to watch the show.  

(insert soul dying)

Perhaps it was when my last Netflix suggestion to my offspring was met with an eye roll and the comment, “Is this another ancient looking movie from when you were little?”  

Your loss, kid. If you don’t appreciate the greatness that is Labrynth, I can’t save you. The future of humanity is bleak, y’all.

Anyway, I figured it out. I’m getting old. I’m turning 40. My 40th birthday is on the horizon, and before I remind you to respect your elders and get off my lawn, I’ve got some great news to share.  

Turning 40 TextThis age is AWESOME.  

I was thinking about all the poor whippersnappers out there who made it this far despite not experiencing Ross and Rachel’s first kiss in the coffee shop. With that kind of start to adulthood, you deserve to know that turning 40 is sort of the best thing ever. So go ahead and let that worry go. And pretend like you’ve seen The Princess Bride when I mention it, or we will have to break up.   

Looking Back

My twenties were a blur of corporate success, raising a dog, and eating at restaurants that didn’t stock crayons. I also vaguely remember talking to my husband about whatever we talked about before we had these children.  

I was consumed with career choices and getting ahead. I worried about knowing the right people, making flawless impressions, and setting up my future. It was a whirlwind decade of fun and frequently crippling uncertainties best summed up by the question, “Am I doing this right???”

Then, the thirties. Oh, my beautiful and heart wrenching thirties. I met my babies. I became a mother. All the fear and doubt and indescribable joy . . . it’s amazing I’m still alive. From picking a suburb (I bid you farewell, fancy restaurant with no chicken strips), to infertility, to a special needs diagnosis — we hit all the Big Stuff. Decisions loomed at every turn. Should I stop working? Should he go to preschool? Should we have more kids? Am I going to keep this extra skin flap around my belly? Thirties are not for the faint of heart.  

And then, like the moment I realize I’m alone in the car and can switch from Kidz Bop to Snoop Dogg, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m at peace with me. 

I feel good about myself, friends!  While it’s a shame that my neck skin seems slightly loose all of a sudden, getting older means I like me. And I can pay someone to fix the neck. I’ve heard it said before and was skeptical, but it’s not a myth! Turning 40 is magical, and I’m about to own this decade. Why? 

Exhibit A:  

I don’t care if people don’t like me.  


It’s true. I’m a lifelong people pleaser. I will always care about being nice and helping everyone I can, but it has changed into something far more healthy in the past year. I don’t wring my hands over what impression I just made on those new moms at the PTA event. I don’t say yes when I meant no, or smile when I’m actually upset. Life experience means that I’m confident in who I’ve become. If I’m at peace with God, my husband and children, I’m good. If someone doesn’t agree, that’s absolutely okay. The superfluous “someone” actually doesn’t matter. Who knew?  

40 year olds, that’s who.  

Woman chair car
Yep, that’s a potted plant and two giant plastic lawn chairs stuffed into a sports car. Yes, I did make a HUGE scene at Home Depot stuffing them into the vehicle. No, I didn’t care that everyone was staring and snickering. (Because 40.)

Exhibit B:

I’m confident in ways I never imagined. I’ve embraced my always occasionally over-the-top personality. I used to pretend to be quieter and more serene. I spent years trying to limit my sarcastic comments in a new crowd. When I’m really happy and excited about something, I tend to be a lot like Will Ferrell’s character in Elf. Or Oprah during her “Favorite Things” episodes. You get the gist. But it’s not cool to jump up and down with glee and hug everyone within arms reach all the time. Unless you are 40, at which point you realize that you’re awesome. Even if it embarrasses your kids. And possibly your husband. “YOU get a hug! And YOU get a hug!” **throws glitter and high fives**

Bottom line? I’m suddenly owning it, y’all. I’m proud of the woman I am, scars and all. I still have no idea what I’m doing half the time. My boys are nine and four, and there’s a 98 percent chance that I’m directly responsible for any and all therapy in their future. However, age really does equal wisdom.  

I forgive myself and move on when I don’t get it right the first time. I recognize my good intentions and my unending love for my family. I know that I’m imperfect, yet honor myself for doing the best I can. I’m not worried about the people who judge me. Also, I’m fully down with leggings as pants. I will freely admit that I love 90’s gangsta rap. I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I put up my Christmas decorations in November because I love them so much. If you are being a jerk, I’m probably going to tell you. If I want to chop all my hair off, I’m going to do it. Seriously, this decade is going to be my jam.

Where are my fellow old folks? Did you feel the shift in personality as you neared the Big 4-0? Crank up some old school Salt N’ Peppa and tell me your favorite thing about being in your late 30s and 40s!  

Chalna is a native Texan born with Jedi reading and writing skills and an inability to add or subtract. She’s married to her favorite pilot and has two fabulous sons, 9 and 4. Her oldest suffers from GAD and OCD, and her life’s mission is advocating for children with mental health disorders. She is a freelance writer who loves wine, carbs and Amazon. She shares life with pediatric anxiety on her blog, She Shines Her Light , and writes professionally in the middle of the night. Find her at Chalna Writes.


  1. You are writing my story! I’m fourty in a few weeks and I’m already using “I’m almost 40 and I” line to explain everything. Loving my 40’s!

    • RIGHT?!?! It’s amazing how quickly the change happens!! My big day is actually in April, and I’m already a new woman! This is clearly going to be the best decade so far. LOL!!!

  2. Sister. I LOVE, ❤️, LOVE forty. I feel like I’ve always been a “late bloomer” and people pleaser, but at 40, I feel like I’m doing what God put me on this planet to do. I don’t hide my joy or enthusiasm for life, I embrace my quirks, and make my mark on this crazy, mixed up world. I love my tribe because these people are good, honest and REAL. I accept them for who they are, and they take me, full of fluff and all. Love you!!!!

  3. Chains, you go girl!! I love the that you’re so in love with life – your life! Our culture makes a big deal out of turning 40 as if all fun is now lost and any hope of achieving dreams is gone. However, I’m a prime example that there is more to life after 40. When I turned 40, I was entering graduate school to become a counselor. College was a dream I thought was not to be mine. But with encouragement and support of a wonderful husband and my fabulous kids, I not only graduated but have been practicing as a licensed counselor for 23 years now. As long as there is breath, dreams are achievable.
    Love ya’, Meredith’s Mom

    • Thank you SO MUCH, Kaye!!!! I thought turning 30 was so traumatic, but this is AMAZING! I’m truly enjoying life so much more now that I’ve let go of the youthful insecurities that seemed to follow me everywhere. It’s good stuff!!! And I’ve got an entire group of friends who call me “Chains” because of that lovely autocorrect. LOLOLOL!!!!!

  4. Yes to all of these! I have a teen and 2 toddlers, with one in between so I get overwhelmed pretty easy but I also know that I had no clue with the first and since each kid is different, I still have pretty much no clue, but I realize that and go from there. I also teach middle school so I get to tell them in 30 years, none of this will matter and you will laugh about it!

  5. YES!!! It’s amazing how much easier it is to sit with the knowledge that I don’t have all the answers and am generally just winging it. I’m so much more apt to just do the best I can without sweating the small stuff. And at 40, I’ve decided it’s mostly ALL small stuff!! ??

  6. Sister!!! I agree 100%! My kids think I’m cray cray jamming out to 90’s on 9 in the car and dancing and singing like no one is there! I am excited to turn 40 in a couple months! We made it! Let’s celebrate our awesome lives!!!

    • ?????? I love it!!!! I’m so glad you are rocking this stage of fabulousness with me!!!! I hope you have an amazing week full of not caring what anyone thinks! ??

  7. I feel like I have finally hit my prime at 39, I turn 40 next year. I’m not stupid like I was in my 20’s, all the worse years are behind me and I’m in the best mental, physical and emotional health I’ve ever been in. Now just need to
    Find somebody special. Being older has finally Matured me where I know what I want out of relationships and I’m
    Finally ready.

    • Isn’t it AMAZING how much smarter we suddenly are?!? LOL! It’s FOR REAL!! I feel like stuff just sort of clicked into place for me during this last year in my 30’s. It’s like I re-prioritized everything – finally – the way I’m supposed to! I wish you good luck finding your person this year, Aaron! I’m sure you will have no issues since you’re 40 now, which is code for rock star. 😉

  8. I never comment on these things, but I had to. LOVE THIS! Just turned 41 and the last year has been amazing. I’ve concentrated on the more important things in life and it has been so freeing! Cut out time with negative people and stopped caring what they think. Great post! Read this through the New Orleans blog.

    • Wendee! Thank you SO MUCH for commenting! I’m so glad you loved it! I’m so glad I published the article because it’s been AMAZING to hear from all the women who also feel the huge change that I have! The peace that has come over me is a big deal. Letting go of the constant worry about what others think has been the most profound change! It’s a shame that it took this long to happen, but I’m super happy that it did! I hope you have a fabulous week in beautiful New Orleans!! 🙂

  9. YES! 30 was traumatic, but in my 30s I went back to school and became a nurse. Nearing 40 and in the few years since I’ve discovered a few things: I actually have the right to breathe and take up space in the world, I have a lot to say, and I don’t care if people don’t like me. This is the life God gave me and it’s up to me to live it to the fullest. That doesn’t include minimizing myself and my feelings to appease anyone. I’m comfortable for the first time ever. I like this!!

    • YES YES YES YES!!!! I love everything about this comment!! “This doesn’t include minimizing myself and my feelings to appease anyone”…SO WELL SAID!!! That sums it up perfectly!! I don’t know why 40-ish is the magical time that so many of us figure this out, but I’m SO GLAD that it’s a thing!!! It’s so amazing what a huge difference this single thing makes!! Thank you so much for commenting!!! I love hearing from everyone so much!!

  10. I freaked out about turning 30 and was really dreading 40. Until, just before the big day, I took a look at my life and realized how much I love it. I have a job and career and I live, a husband I’m still in love with, a stepson I adore, and more self confidence and acceptance than I’ve ever had. I do things now because they make me happy, and don’t give a darn what others think.

    • RIGHT?!? Turning 30 was so traumatic for me, too. It was scary and I felt like I should know more and be better at adulting when I hit that decade. Now, I’m fully aware that NOBODY knows exactly what they are doing. Or how to adult. LOL!

      HIGH FIVES, friend!

  11. While I totally agree that turning 40 is awesome (50 is even better), I dislike the use of the word “old” for someone entering their 40s. When life expectancy for women in the USA is 83.3 by 2030, old “may” start at 70. It most definitely does not start in the 40s or 50s or even 60s. I have seen too many people use the word old to limit what they do, both physically and mentally. A recent study found that there are a group called “super agers” that have memory and other brain function equal to those in their 20s. They did not achieve this status by using the term “old”. They embraced change and challenges, as well as kept active and increased activity instead of using “old” as an excuse. Our bodies are meant to move and when we decrease that movement, that is when our bodies start to have aches and pains. When you don’t believe in “old”, you try new challenges such as starting to run for the first time at age 53, complete two sprint triathlons in 6 weeks. At age 54, and PR in your second half marathon at age 56.
    When I turn 60 in a few years, old will still not be in my vocabulary. Reconsider your use of the word…you are in the middle of your life in a time when you can do more, not less because you are “old”.

    • ROBIN! You ROCK!!!!! I’m determined to be healthy and strong for the rest of my life and you are my hero!

      I promise you, I really and truly don’t think I’m old. My title was completely tongue-in-cheek and wholly sarcastic, as were all my referrals to being “old”. It was just a nod toward all the years that so many young adults spend thinking that 40 is the end of youth. I remember being a teenager and thinking that 40 sounded “so old”. So to my former young self – I’m old…and AWESOME! LOL!

      I absolutely love your advice and insight. I’m surprisingly much healthier now, do the the fact that I’m actually taking care of myself instead of being a stupid kid. HA! I plan to keep moving, working and getting BETTER with age! Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to comment and share that with us!!

  12. LOVE! I will be 42 in June, and I seriously feel like I’m cooler than ever! I have two teenage daughters and a five year old son…this next round through elementary school is going to be HILARIOUS! I’ll throw some glitter for you this week!

    • Girl, you BETTER throw that glitter for me!!!! YES YES YES!!!! ??????

      My youngest is 4 and I’ll be 41 when he starts kinder. And you are SO right…it is going to be HILARIOUS!!! I *already* think that half of my fellow elementary moms look 12. LOLOL!!!!

      • I feel you! My youngest (of 5) is 6 and I’m 43. I’m sure the other class moms think I’m soooo old but as you said- who cares?! My children (19 to 6 years old) keep me feeling young and Mrs. Clairol can take care of the rest! 🙂

  13. I just turned 40 last week and LOVE this. And I think I’ll make my kids watch Princess Bride today. Shared your post because it’s perfect!!

    • Kim, you TOTALLY made my day!!!! Go forth and make your kids sit through an “ancient movie” that they don’t have enough sense to realize is FABULOUS.

      THANK YOU so much for commenting!!!! It’s going to be a great Monday now! 🙂

  14. I’m 36 and still don’t feel this way at all! Will the next 4 years truly be that life-altering? Because Lord knows I need the day to come when I am at peace with the choices I make and the hoots I give about other people’s opinions!! I have 3 kids 13, 8 and 3 – and everyday I am sure that I have screwed them up for life…

    • Girl, YES! You will likely surprise yourself…I sure did! It creeps up out of nowhere, like your brain just realizes one day that you’ve been doing this for a long time now and everybody is still alive. ??? Don’t worry, my friend! You’ve got this! At least mostly, right? ?❤️?

  15. Chalna, I love ALL of this; I’m 10 years your senior (big 5-0 was in August), have two sons, 14 & 11 (one is deaf), and I embrace every bit of my “maturity” very immaturely much of the time. It just keeps getting better, sista, especially with your kind of attitude. Enjoy every moment cause it’ll get faster and faster. The achy joints will come, but stay active anyway. It’s fine to embrace a little Botox for the forehead if you so choose, wine will always be your friend (until the next morning), and the joy of your boys will always be greater than the aggravation and frustration they cause, LOL! Thanks for this awesome post… ❤️


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