This month, I will be turning the big 40. Do I run and hide under a rock and wallow in misery? Or crack the champagne and celebrate what lies ahead?

I don’t know what to think about this milestone. Some days I feel my age, even older… my body is not the way it used to be. I hear the bones cracking and feel the aches and pains when I get out of bed. Other days I feel like I’m a teenager with raging hormones and swing between awkward teen angst and super confident young woman with endless dreams.

I’ve never been big on birthdays but hitting 40 seems different. With it comes the realization that half of my life is behind me, or more even. It comes with the sense that time is running out while there is much left to experience.

I can’t lie and say that I’m not saddened by the fact that so much of my life has already passed, although I am excited about the possibilities the future brings. I don’t like the fact that I’m getting older. Aging gracefully is something that is in the back of my mind. I’m not obsessed – I mean I haven’t giving Botox a real consideration! But I wouldn’t be opposed to it in the future.

I see the wrinkles around my eyes and mouth. On the one hand I embrace those lines because they were formed after many years of laughter. On the other, seeing them in the mirror reminds me that my youth is slipping away. Why didn’t I fully enjoy my strong, healthy (toned) young body when I was 20? To have that energy at 20 along with the wisdom at 40 would be the perfect combination!

Turning the Big 40


I struggle with ‘acting my age’ and doing the things that I enjoy, which are associated with my 17-year-old self, like going to rock concerts and wearing Chuck Taylors and ripped jeans. Is there an age when I’m supposed to feel and act like a grown-up?

There is no such thing. We’re all just making our way through this thing called life. Some days I must pretend I have it together for the sake of my children but we’re all just learning as we go!

I don’t think you have to ever ‘act your age’ – you are who you are. Embrace it. Love yourself. I’m the same person essentially that I was 20 years ago, just a little wiser… and a little lumpier!

Turning 40 is a celebration of life. But it’s also a reminder of what I haven’t accomplished- yet – and the fact that time is slipping away. Looking back on my life so far, I do feel I have accomplished many of my goals – career, marriage, kids, owning a home, travel… But there is still much more to see, do and experience.

I’m coming to realize that I better start cracking on those unfinished goals. Sure there’s still plenty of time ahead. Some say life begins at 40. But life also gets busier, the kids get older and soon enough, you’ve put that goal on the back-burner again.

Now is the time to narrow it down, focus on the few things that I’m most passionate about and get them done. And have some fun in the process.

So for my 40th, I’ll likely have a nice family dinner, maybe go to a bar/lounge and keep it fairly low-key. I will likely skip the champagne and head straight for the vodka!

For those of you approaching 40 or those of you who’ve already been there done that, did you feel a sense of panic or relief? Did you embrace the Big 40 and celebrate or bury your head in the sand?



Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.


  1. nicolthepickle Reply

    Happy Birthday. I hope you have a wonderful day and year.
    When I turn 80 I want my children to rise up and call me blessed. I hope when I’m 40 I’m at least started on the journey there.

  2. I completely embraced turning 40. We had a big backyard BBQ with tons of friends and family and played the ancient soundtrack of the Top 40 hits from the week I was born. For the record, it was an awesome week in music!

    40 has been great to me, but I agree that the wisdom of 40 combined with the energy of 20 would be wonderful. Now, as I face 45 in 2 months, the passage of time is beginning to feel real. But I think I’m getting better every year. More confident and emotionally strong. It’s all up from here 🙂

    • Oh what a fun idea! A summer BBQ with family/friends and good music is a fabulous idea. You’re right, confidence and strength is something we gain with age. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Dianne / Smilenwaven Reply

    I was still good with 40. Had a huge surprise party…. One to remember! Now 50, that was another story! Happy Birthday Month! xo

  4. This was such s beautifully written post, Maria! Brought tears to my eyes. Happy Birthday! 40 is something to celebrate and be thankful for and you look amazing.

    • Thank you so much, Loukia! You’re right, it’s a time to celebrate, give thanks and embrace this new chapter. xo

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