The year I turned 23, no one knew it was my birthday.

I was on retreat in the mountains of Colorado.  This was before cell phones and before email.  And no one on retreat knew that it was my birthday.  No one had the address, there would be no surprise cake, phone call, card or present.  I woke up and realized it was “my special day.” And it was up to me to celebrate it.

That birthday changed my own expectations of a birthday for me.  It was, perhaps, my favorite birthday (which is a story in itself).  And from the year forward, it would be up to me to choose to celebrate my birthday in a way where I celebrated life well.

I have my own birthday ritual now, a time of reflection and personal gratitude.  That makes a birthday to me.  No expectation of any presents from my husband, instead, we always invest in experiences when a birthday or holiday rolls around.

This year I am turning 40.  And while 40 sounds like a perfectly good age.  It also sounds older than I feel.  So for the first time I feel myself shrinking back from a number.  I have learned over the years that when I want to retreat, it is usually time to lean in.  See here.

So I am leaning all the way in this year.  I am celebrating every day in October.  In the month where every date will be written 10-##-10, I am going to celebrate 40 -for -40.  I am going to do 40 little things in order to look forward to and embrace this age.

Embracing this new decade with open hands!