Today is my 40th birthday. That means that I’ve been humming “I’m Glad That I’m Not Young Anymore” from the musical Gigi. I’m sharing four of the reasons why I actually am glad not be young anymore. One for each decade I’ve been alive!

1. With age comes wisdom… or at least a little more of it than I had two decades ago.

It is funny just how much you can think you have life all figured out when you’re 20. It’s even funnier when you start to realize that you had no clue back then! At 40, I know that I don’t have much of anything figured out. And that’s OK. I’ve still learned a few things over the years, and that means that I’ve made progress. I don’t have to have everything figured out, but I am glad that I at least have a few more things figured out than I used to.

2. I’ve finally made peace with being myself… sort of.

I’m weird. I don’t fit into anyone’s box. I spent so much time trying to stifle all of the things that made me, me. I wanted so badly to fit the mold of what “everyone” said that I should be, that I was willing to make myself absolutely miserable doing it. It’s embarrassing how long it took me to figure out that God never wanted me to be a carbon copy of anyone else. It wasn’t a mistake that I was created weird. It was on purpose. I’ve mostly made peace with the whole being weird thing, and now I’m working on figuring out how to become the kind of weird person that God had in mind for me to be.

3. I have a much better grasp of what healthy relationships look like… and what they don’t.

This sounds sort of obvious, but it’s really not. When you’re in an unhealthy relationship, it’s harder than you’d think to recognize it as that. Even after you’re out of that situation, it can take a very long time to come to terms with the reality of what was. It was (and still is) a rough thing to grapple with, but it makes me appreciate the good relationships in my life even more. Even better is the chance to break cycles and make things different for the next generation. As a very wise person once told me, “It can stop with you.”

4. My life didn’t go as planned… and that’s a good thing.

I had big plans, and big dreams. Today, I’m not a rocket scientist, and I’m not living alone in a cabin in the woods. Nothing went according to plan, starting with the moment when I took a risk and told Aaron that, “I think I sort of, maybe love you.” It’s been one crazy ride, and I’ve ended up in places where I never thought I’d be. While I may look wistfully at the pretty airplanes from time to time, I wouldn’t trade this crazy life for what I used to think I wanted. Turns out it was a good thing that nothing went according to my original plan. I’d hate to have missed out on these past 20 years with Aaron, not to mention the four geeklings we have. My life is far from dull!

Admittedly, I’m not overly fond of some of these aches and pains that crop up more regularly than they used to. I’m typing this with my knee propped up on a pillow with ice because I hurt it while… walking across the kitchen. Yup. No fall, no athletic injury, just… walking. On the plus side, the geeklings have been offering to get me anything I need, and even did the cooking! Maybe there’s a plus side to everything. In any case, maybe turning 40 isn’t the worst thing after all.