Yesterday I celebrated my tenth birthday, and today I am relishing in the fact that I AM 40!

I’ve never really been caught up in the aging process, or gotten worked up about getting older. Maybe it has something to do with having a leap year birthday which keeps me perpetually young at heart, or maybe it’s because I still feel like a teenager inside (only much, much, wiser).

Admittedly, there are times when I am definitely feeling my age. I hear the words of my mother coming out of my mouth — “I will always love you, but I’m not liking you very much right now” — as I speak to my growing children, and I wonder when I became as old as she was when she used to say those exact same words to me. The ache in my bones, and perpetual flab around my 40-year-old belly are also an ongoing reminder that I am not as young and spry as I used to be. And the tripled amount of time that it takes to lose weight or get in shape, added to the fact that it takes only a weekend to gain that weight back or to proclaim oneself out of shape, also drive the fact that I am, in fact, aging home all too well.

But in other ways I really am as excited, and as full of wonder and anticipation (and often just as moody), about what the future will bring, as the teenaged self buried deep within me.

By now, if you’ve been following this blog, you all know about my ongoing evolvement as a mom, and as a person. I have begun to delve deep into my spiritual self and beliefs. I have begun, though slowly, to understand this body that I have now found myself living in and with, and how the athlete I am now, is a far cry from the one I was in high school and college. And that is all OK and normal. I have looked back at my earlier parenting style(s), and I have begun to understand what used to make me tick, and what I liked and didn’t like about myself as a mom (throwing out those parenting books that always make you feel guilty was a good place to start in order to get to this place). And I am really struggling and trying to understand what happened to that passion that used to exist between my husband and I, though it occasionally reignites between us, while excepting the new closeness we’ve experienced as we grow old and parent together.

During this Renaissance I also have been connecting with other women — artists, fellow moms, clergy, writers, etc. — all of whom have contributed greatly to my growth, and I am planning to start featuring interviews with them as part of this blog. So stay tuned for that …

I’ve also been searching the Internet for stories of women who became famous, and/or followed their dreams and found their lifelong careers in their 40s.

On Sam Greenspan’s 11 Points blog, the author of  11 Points Guide to Hooking Up, wrote a July 2009 post listing 11 people who changed careers in their 30s, most of whom made it big by their 40s.

Martha Stewart and Julia Child made that list at #3 and #5. Greenspan writes:

“Martha Stewart, stockbroker. When she was 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker, no doubt learning all about finance and the ethics involved therein. Two years later she and her husband purchased a beat-down farmhouse in Connecticut… she led the restoration… transitioned into a domestic lifestyle… and parlayed that into her evil, evil career.” and

“Julia Child, government spy.Absolutely the wrong career. At age 30, Child wasn’t cooking… she was working for the U.S. government as a spy. She went on clandestine missions to China and Sri Lanka(which, at the time, was called Ceylon) to get intelligence documents to agents in the field. She didn’t enter cooking school until age 36.

How it took until now to make a movie about her life (it comes out in like a week, with Meryl Streep) is mind blowing. They made a movie about the life of MC Hammer. They made a sitcom out of the Geico cavemen. I mean… someone bought the rights to make a movie out of “Where’s Waldo?” You’re telling me Waldo’s more interesting than female spy-turned-TV cooking superstar? It’s “Alias” meets “Top Chef”! Just because Waldo traveled to a bunch of exotic places where he managed to mingle with lots of other people wearing deceptive red-and-white striped shirts doesn’t make him movie-worthy.”

During my own research I found references to actress Bea Arthur, writer/poet Margaret Atwood and famous missionary and philanthropist Mother Theresa as people whose names became recognizable only after their 40th birthdays. An article on ehow.com, “How to Become Famous After 40,” actually gives readers a humorous guide to the process of changing things up in one’s 40s and becoming famous while your at it. Others in the 40 and over crowd — Kelly Preston, Uma Thurman, Madonna, Jane Seymour, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore, to name a few — are having babies, some for the first time, and why not, aren’t our 40s supposed to be a woman’s sexual prime, our sexual “awakening” one might say, tying this stage of our life right back to our own Renaissance.

But I’m not looking for fame in my 40s, simply happiness, and a better understanding of who I am in all my varied life roles, and I seem to be well on my way. Here’s hoping! Now what about you?

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