40 Years in the Making

Hot damn, I’m turning 40! Maybe that wasn’t what you were expecting?

I remember watching Oprah’s surprise 40th birthday party on TV in 1994 and thinking that she really had it all together. I loved seeing Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, and Aretha Franklin give her their thoughts on turning 40.

Years later, Jennifer Aniston turned 40 and I recall seeing magazines exclaiming how amazing she looked at 40 (and she did). Yoga and a healthy lifestyle were boasted about as the reason for her looking so good.

In my life, I may not look like Jennifer Aniston or have a show with famous singers giving me advice like Oprah, but I look back with awe on all that I have seen and done in my 40 years.

In my early 20s I chased my dream of being an actress, which ended up leading me to an acting and modeling conference in New York City where I walked on a catwalk as a model in a midtown hotel in a bathing suit. That was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I’m glad I did it.

I worked in the movies for a few years and met and talked to some amazing people. Among my favorites were Geoffrey Rush, Sam Raimi, Jon Bon Jovi, Gene Wilder, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Garner, Mariah Carey, and Tobey Maguire. I’ve been blessed with some fun stories from my time in film.

I’ve met amazing people over the years that have supported and guided me, even when I didn’t appreciate the guidance at the time.

Of the many lessons I’ve learned, one that resonates with me the most right now is that I’m proud of my desire to keep learning and growing. I recently started reading a book called, “MindSet,” by Carol Dweck, in which I’ve learned about the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset. In a fixed mindset, “people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits.” Whereas, in a growth mindset, “people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point.” I stay curious to keep that growth mindset going.

Even though I’ve had many fun and incredibly memorable life experiences, at times it feels like I’m just getting started. In talking with my girlfriends, I hear that the 40s are pretty great. Gladys Knight told Oprah that at 40 she “became a better person”.

Some women don’t like to share their age, and I understand that, and perhaps at another time I won’t want to share. This year though, I’m loud and proud. 40 is looking mighty fine.

I’m grateful for a marriage to a true partner, authentic friendships, a supportive and loving family, a career that challenges me to continue growing, my health, and many other things.

This is 40!

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