The Big 4-0!

Novelty candles may be used.Image via Wikipedia

Happy birthday to me!

I have officially entered my 40s. And life has not come to a screeching halt.

I have approached this birthday with a little bit of trepidation. Somehow crossing 40 seems like a real threshold. In one’s 30s one is still a “young adult”, so to speak. If you’re in your 30s, you’re considered too young to run for major public office, usually. You’re not experienced enough.

But lots of people in their 40s can run, because when you’re 40, you have all the experience you need. You’re not “too young” anymore. I kind of liked being “too young” for a lot of things.

Nevertheless, I don’t really mind not being young anymore, primarily because I didn’t particularly enjoy my younger years. With each passing year I have become more at peace, more fulfilled, and happier. As a teen I was so focused on finding a boyfriend or finding people to love me. In university I was tortured by the quesiton, “will I ever get married?” Once I did marry, I was worried that we’d never work out our problems. And then, as I began having babies, I was exhausted, I was worried about their health, I wondered at times who I was.

Here’s me at 26, sharing some of my special days with my son before he left us:

And here’s me two weeks ago, with no makeup, at a youth retreat with my kids:

Now I sleep all I want (primarily because my oldest is not yet old enough to drive. I hear sleepless nights begin again with the advent of a driver’s license). I truly enjoy my children. I love my husband. I have found my niche in life. I’m no longer insecure about relationships, or about who I am, or about my calling. I’m more at peace with just being me.

I have been told, too, by countless people that the 40s is way better than the 30s, because you’re far more confident, and I do believe that. I’m also relatively healthy, so I don’t see any reason necessarily why I should not be just as active in the next decade. So it’s not like I’m getting “old”.

I did a bit of a shock last week while visiting another church to speak. On the wall was a poster for their seniors’ group, which they called “50 plus”. And I thought, “I’m only 10 years away from being a senior!” That was weird.

But then it hit me: when I’m 50, I’ll likely have grandchildren. And I am so looking forward to grandchildren. At 50, Rebecca will be 26. Katie will be 24. Those will be fun years.

I think you hit an age where you stop measuring yourself by the years that you have passed, and you start measuring yourself by how old your children are, and what stage of life you’re at. I’m looking forward to the Grandma days. I’m looking forward to the days when my husband can cut back from work a bit, and we can go overseas for a bit more of an extended time to do some ministry work. I’m looking forward to having more time to devote to speaking.

Perhaps we’re scared of getting old because we’re really scared of dying. I don’t think about that much. I figure when my time is up it’s up, and God’s waiting for me. I’m more scared of slowly deteriorating, as I watched some of my grandparents do, but perhaps that’s just another period of one’s life when one learns grace and patience.

So today I am celebrating 40. I am confident. I am happy. I so love my family, and I’m grateful that God has given me so many to love. And life is good.


  1. Kim Kaberle says:

    >Happy 40th Birthday Sheila. Great article. I am in my 50s and have grandkids. It is wonderful!!!!

  2. Terry @ Breathing Grace says:

    >Happy Birthday Sheila! May you be blessed with many more happy, healthy, and prosperous years ahead.

    I agree with your thoughts wholeheartedly. I will be 39 in a couple of months. When younger people ask me how I feel about gowing older I often say,

    "Except maybe for the body, you couldn't pay me to be 21 again!"

    And I mean that!

  3. Teri Lynne Underwood says:

    >Love it! I'll be 39 in October … and I feel much the way you do. I've really tried to enjoy every season of life … but I have to say, the older I get – and the older my daughter gets – the easier it seems to be!! :)

    Happy Birthday, my friend!

  4. >You're still a baby, Sheila!
    Here's what my son-in-law John did for my daughter's 40th in CA 5 years ago:
    He organized a conference call with about 15 of Mel's relatives and friends all over the UsA and Canada and we each said what Melanie meant to us. Everyone cried, my sister wrote and read a poem and Melenie felt really great about turning 40! (plus she streaked her hair, lost weight and looked absolutely gorgeous).
    Since then she really doesn't want Bday parties but this summer when she, John and 4 daughters come up to Canada we are planning to surprise her for her 45th ( Dec 20, 2010 – don't tell her now) with a big cake during our Wood Cousins Picnic in a park in Toronto. I will also invite her cousin on Wendal's (Carkner) side to be there,too, since he turns 45 on October 10 2010.
    Wish you were going to be at WAFC2 this year!
    QDA (que Deus abencoe – God bless in Portuguese)

  5. >Happy birthday Sheila! I'll be joining you in the 40 group this year. Not concerned about it at all, in fact I'm a wee bit excited!

  6. Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom says:

    >Happy Birthday, Sheila! May God bless you & your ministry in this new decade and new season of your life.

    I'll be joining you at the end of the year. I'm working on the confidence thing still, but I'm definitely ready to leave behind all the troubles of my 30s!

  7. >happy birthday!!

  8. >Happy Birthday!
    I must say that I'm not "afraid" of getting older either. I'm currently 25 and starting out my family and marriage and business etc. It's a great point in my life to be at. But I thought that a few years ago as well. I think that life just gets better and better as the years go by. If life is this great at 25, I can't even imagine how amazing it can be at age 40! It's got to be amazing to spend that much time with the people that you love!

  9. Kristine says:

    >Happy Birthday and welcome to some of the best years of your life 😀 I LOVE being in my forties!

  10. tgmagazine says:

    >Welcome to the 40s! I've been here a short time – so far so good! Have a blessed birthday and an awesome entrance into the 40s. Heather

  11. >Happy 40th – I'll be joining you in October!!!

  12. Nathalie S. Roths says:

    >Sheila, Happy birthday to you! :-)

    Turning 40 is always a shocker (gone through that 2 years ago). My dad often said that women are at their best between the age of 35 and 45. :-)

    Enjoy being 40! :-)

  13. Herding Grasshoppers says:

    >Happy Birthday, and welcome to the 40's 😀


  14. Quiet-Mom says:

    >Happy Birthday young lady! 😉

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