Well, it happened yesterday. I had a guest arrive who decided to move in permanently. I was surprised when I answered the door and there she stood. I eyed her warily, wondering how she found me. We looked at each other for a few moments, she waiting for my reaction, me, wondering how she got to my front door. There was a long pause and then we embraced like old friends. Her name? Forty. We decided I deserved her and she deserved me.

Forty is an interesting number, infinitely more interesting than thirty-nine. And, I quote, from some extremely knowledgeable internet site, “Forty is the number of trial and privation. Other negative associations for forty are:
40 years of Hebrew wandering in the desert
40 days and nights of the great flood.
40 years of Philistine dominion over Israel
40 days of Moses on Sinai
40 days of Elijah’s journey
40 days of mourning for Jacob
40 days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown, said Jonah.
40 days of Lent, the period of fasting, self-denial, and penitence traditionally observed by Christians in preparation for Easter.
40 day period of isolation in the Roman port, which survives in the word quarantine.”Christ also was in the desert for forty days and forty nights. That couldn’t have been too great of an experience either. Talk about “trial and privation!”
So, why, despite all the negative connotations associated with forty, do I feel so wonderful? This wrinkled, long-breasted, freckled, creaking body of mine has finally said, “Love me” and I feel like I’ve finally come to a place where I can unabashedly say, “Okay.” The temple in Salt Lake City took forty years to build, the same amount of time like it has taken my temple to evolve into what it is now. Its been in the arms of the man I love, borne four children, travelled the world, danced in strange places, eaten Belgian chocolate, and been sunburned by a Mediterranean sky. What more could forty ask for?
How do you feel about your age and body?

(And just for you old-timers, let us not forget that volatile year we came from: 1969- Nixon becomes president, Man lands on moon, Woodstock, Charles Manson murders, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sesame Street begins, Internet created, Judy Garland dies of overdose, 250,000 protest in Washington, death toll reaches 34,000 in Vietnam, Smothers Brothers Comedy is cancelled, Melonie is born. Whew, what a year.)


  1. wendy

    January 27, 2009

    Melonie, I love what you wrote. I turned 40 fairly recently. I admit, I wasn’t AS happy about it as you. I had always said age didn’t matter after having children because it only measured the number of dimishing childbearing years. So, finally being a mom, I thought it would be no big deal. It was more stressful than I thought.

    Anyway, as for your questions, I DO like who I’ve become. There are things I’d change about my body if I could wave a magic wand, but overall I’m happy with it. I am glad to be more mature than I was twenty years ago. I am also glad that most people are surprised when they hear I am forty.

  2. jendoop

    January 27, 2009

    Sorry I’m not going to rejoice and I’m only 35. My body feels like 75. I’m going through health issues and am more than a little upset that all of the care I have taken of my body has resulted in the destruction of my goal of running a marathon and made day to day life painful. Sometimes the years are nice and sometimes you pray that the next one will bring healing.

  3. wendy

    January 27, 2009

    p.s.–What a shame to lost Smothers Brothers. They are still among my favorite comedians.

  4. mrs couch

    January 27, 2009

    I have experienced the 40 for 9 1/2 years now. I love them and only think 50 will be even better! Got married first (and last time, hehehe) time at 49 – feel freer to be me than ever in my life. Passion is with everything – the knowledge of temporary and special and ordinary are all awesome blessingss of one!

  5. Brooke

    January 27, 2009

    melonie is born– what a year indeed!

    i feel fine about my age and most days (errrr…some days) okay about my body. but like you, when i think of what it’s done, what it has experienced, then i’m good with it. all of it: age, years, rolls, sags, everything.

  6. Emily M.

    January 27, 2009

    Melonie, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    I love who you’ve become. You are beautiful.

    So, I am a few years shy of forty, and lately I’ve been thinking of all the things I want to do before then. Like I want to get my black belt in tae kwon do (really. I am about halfway through the curriculum) and I want to write a novel (sadly, my fiction writing is bad. But I have a few years to work on it).

    Does anyone else have goals/plans like these? Did they work out?

  7. Jennie

    January 27, 2009

    I’m kind of excited about turning 40. I plan on looking utterly fabulous. I haven’t quite achieved that at 37, but I’ve got a few years to perfect myself.

    P.S.When I read this I initially thought, “She named her cat Forty?” Obviously my mental capabilities have already deserted me.

  8. dalene

    January 27, 2009

    Happy Birthday Melonie! I love this post. I have embraced my forties just as eagerly as I have embraced my scars, my grey hairs and everything I’ve learned from the all the hard knocks…and I’m not looking back.


  9. Michelle L.

    January 27, 2009

    Lovely post Melonie. And Happy Birthday!

    Emily M.– My husband turns 40 Friday and I have a year to go. And yes, I had a lot of goals/expectations before we turned 40. If you look at my mental list of goals we are absolute and total failures– but I know that’s not true. Life gave us other challenges…and I pray we have a few more years ahead of us…

  10. TJ Hirst

    January 27, 2009

    My husband turned 40 this week and I’m following in “a bit”. Although it wasn’t my day, discouraging depression for led up to his day followed by a bit of hope that the next half comes with a little more wisdom that the first.

  11. Mommom

    January 27, 2009

    My 20’s really knocked me for a loop emotionally, physically, mentally… shoot I was so ready for my thirties. I do get down, I get frustrated, we’ve had some major stuff happen in our family. I ache and there are things going on with me that I thought I still had a few years before I’d get to experience. But my thirties were still much better than my twenties.

    And I’m really looking forward to being forty soon.

  12. Sue

    January 27, 2009

    I’d have to say that the forties were good years for me, for the most part anyway.

    To answer Emily M.’s question, I was 45 when my first book was published and 47 for the second one. I also started getting my poetry published when I was in my 40’s and wrote a weekly column on parenting for Mormon-Life (Deseret Book). Also in answer to Emily, my little sister is 45 and just got her black belt. In other words, it’s never too late!

    Family-wise, two of my children went on missions and one got married while I was in my 40’s.

    So enjoy the official onset of “middle age”! Why not? =)

  13. Melonie

    January 27, 2009

    Thank you to all for your responses. You are all such amazing women to open up and share about your lives, the heartaches, struggles, and successes. I’m so grateful we have this forum! We learn from each other.

  14. Sue

    January 27, 2009

    I don’t like thinking about my age. I’m 36 and my birthday is next month. I’m not looking forward to it. It’s not that I mind turning 37 really, even though I still feel about 24, it’s just knowing that now I’m one year closer to death.

  15. Giggles

    January 27, 2009

    I turned 30 last summer and loved it. Being 30 is so much better than being 29. I can’t understand why people would want to say they are 29 forever. 30 is turning out to be a much better year for me.

    Congratulations on forty!

  16. Kay

    January 28, 2009

    I HATED turning 40, and wore black from head to toe as I went into mourning for my younger, thinner, smarter self. (This smarter person had disappeared from the planet years before mind you). O.K. the black was a bit dramatic but I wanted to make a statement that I wasn’t happy about it. I also went blonde, and have stayed blonde as I love it. I never realy accepted 40, what the heck did that number have to do with me I used to ask myself. Funnily enough 41, 42, and 43 were o.k., I didn’t mind them at all. On Friday I will be 44 and am having a mild crisis over it. I know that it is illogical but 44 seems to be so much older than 43. Maybe I am just aware of the world pressure to be constantly thin, beautiful, clever and always achieving something. Actually I probably look o.k, and I know I used to be clever as I have the degree to prove it and I LOVE being a stay at home mummy. (Being a stay at home mummy in England when your children are all schoolage is so not the done thing, the few of us that exist are seen as parasites on society, despite the fact that my husband has a good job). Is it me or is it the world? Am I too worldly? Maybe I am just neurotic!

  17. Justine

    January 28, 2009

    I, too, am coming to some sort of truce with my body the closer I get to middle age. Happy Birthday, babe, it’s so fun to be in this together.

    And I kind of get excited for my birthdays, because it means I’m one year closer to death! Eternal rest! REST, ladies, REST! I figure it’s not going to come here on earth, so I just better look forward to death so I can get some sleep! haha

  18. Sidne O'Reilly

    January 28, 2009

    Well, I am 63! I have 30 grandchildren, my husband is 70 and we are stil working. I am so grateful for my body. So grateful that I took good care of it when I was 40. Forty was a wonderful age. It felt as though I had finally grown into myself. I loved it. Just so you will know, 63 is surprizing. First of all, I never really imagined I would be 63, not that I would die or anything, it just seemed so distant, so old. Believe me, it is not! I am more involved in life in some ways than before. Can you imagin having 30 grandchildren? Twenty-six of them live within 10 minutes. I am an author, a blogger, a life coach besides wife, mother, sister and grandmother. Life is rich. Take good care of yourself, you never know what life will ask of you in twenty or so years.

  19. Melonie

    January 28, 2009

    Sidne, I looked at your webpage!!!! Wow, what a gal you are. I think I might have to contact you and get some insights into life.
    Thank you so much for being an example of having a rich and abundant life at any age.

  20. Mommom

    January 28, 2009

    Oh yeah… Before life turned side-ways the first time for me I managed to have a “mini mid-life crisis” at 26. Why? Because I was on the downhill slide to 30.

    (Remember my 30s were great and I’m excited about being 40!)

    Then, as I am in the habit of doing, I started thinking. When exactly is the middle of eternity? How can you have a mid-life crisis of something that lasts forever? Or even if you don’t know when you’re going to die – how can you know when the middle is or has been?

    I haven’t had a problem with a birthday since. Lots of other things, but not birthdays.

  21. Idahospud

    January 28, 2009

    I’ll be turning 40 in May, and I plan to do it in style! I’m throwing myself a big party with as many friends as will come, and we’re going to have an ’80s dance and watch Pretty in Pink (ir something) on the projector screen.

    Turning 30 threw me–I thought I’d be so much more mature, able, interesting, etc etc etc, but I’m looking forward to my 40s. Thanks for the post!

  22. Leslie

    January 29, 2009

    every year for me gets better, because it carries the riches of all the past and the promise of new adventures that said I can’t believe this year brings 33 for me-

  23. Jannet

    January 29, 2009

    I am turning 30 this year and I love it! My adolescent years were so rocky, I would love to just blot out that period of my memory forever. My 20’s have been spent coming to terms with all of the leftover issues, as well as dealing with the constant change that comes with college, marriage, motherhood, and growing into yourself. I can honestly say that at 29, nearly 30, I am finally at home with myself- my body, my various roles in life, and my identity as a daughter of God. I always imagined that at 30 I would have it all together adn be so much more mature or put together or something, but I still feel young and inexperienced and know I have so much more to learn about life. I am finally “getting it” and can’t wait to see what the future brings to good ol’ me!

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