Tag Archives: birthday wisdom

On starting my fortieth year, and fall color.

I turned 39 yesterday. It was not terribly traumatic. I got my very own key lime pie, my very own Great Harvest Bread Company baguette, and a new Barefoot Contessa cookbook. (Remember last week when I said the end of daylight savings time was making me hungry? Someone around here was listening.)  I got to go out to dinner and the movies with friends, and I received hundreds of e-mails via Facebook . A good day all around.

An old high school friend asked, in his e-mail via Facebook, if this was indeed the “big one.” I thought about what my response should be.  Should I build myself up by putting him down? (No way, I’m WAY younger than you). Should I joke about the impending doom of turning forty?  (Not yet.  I have a year’s stay of execution). Should I bury my head in the sand and pretend it will never happen? (The big one? What’s that? I intend to be 39 forever.) And then I decided to borrow some words of wisdom from my younger brother. Why don’t I just copy and paste the email HE sent me for my birthday. “Happy Birthday, old bag.
You have a BIG one next year…but don’t forget that you’re now in your 40th year of life!”

Overlooking the “old bag” comment (David, all I have to say to that is:  59-28), I do like his inadvertent positive message. Today is the first day of my 40th year on this planet. Today should be the first day of one big celebration. Next year’s “big one” could be a depressing passage into middle age, or it could be the culmination of a great year of reflection and achievement and joy. This is what I choose.

Okay – so why all the fall foliage pictures? Decidedly NOT as a metaphor for entering the autumn of my years. That really would be depressing. No, they are there because they make me happy. The foliage has been gorgeous in Philadelphia this fall. Is it the angle of the sun this time of year that makes the sky bluer, the greens greener and the trees phenomenally gorgeous?   My kids and neighbors think I’ve truly gone round the bend as I frequently park my car in the middle of the street to jump out with my camera.

I even love it when the leaves fall. They paper the streets with beauty and uncover the bones of the trees. It’s like having new sculptures installed in my neighborhood every day. And the trees unveil themselves in such perfect succession – some have been bare for weeks, others  still hang on to every leaf, waiting to make a grand entrance right before Thanksgiving.

So, I will celebrate the transition from fall to winter and I will celebrate the transition from 39 to 40.  I think I’ll start right now by making some dinner from my new cookbook. Yum.

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