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Danielle Herzog Headshot

What Does 39 Look Like?

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I turned 39 on Saturday. It feels so weird to say "39." I'm in the last year before I turn 40. I'm not sure what it is about 40 that freaks so many of us out. I think it has to do with the fact that people start saying things like:

"You don't look like you are going to be 40."

or

"You look great for almost 40."

What do those mean? How should I look? What does 39 look like?

I decided to investigate what it means for my own life.

Here's what 39 looks like to me.

I see a woman who has gray hair. Each one placed there by her children. At times she feels like pulling them out and pretending she never saw them, but then she remembers that those hairs are the ones she notices -- they are what stand out when she looks in the mirror, and in some crazy way, that comforts her.

I see a woman who has a muffin top. At times it makes her long for her bikini days and pants that hung low. But most days it reminds her of the great food she has eaten and the wonderful people she has shared those meals with.

I see a woman who writes without fear. Gone are the days of what others think. She writes because she has words to share, and perhaps some will love them and perhaps they won't. However, she keeps typing.

I see a woman who found unconditional love with a man she can't believe still loves her in her sweatpants.

I see a mother who tries and fails every day of her life. I see her love her children in a way that surpasses all sarcasm in her body.

And I see a girl, a little girl, who still dreams big and wants to leave her mark in the world.

That's what 39 looks like to me.