I'm turning 40 years old this August. Apparently, when one turns 40, one is expected to celebrate in a spectacularly grandiose fashion. One is supposed to go into their fourth decade on this planet roaring like a lion, taking 40 by the horns and MAKE 40 THEIR BITCH. Or so I've been told. In fact, my husband, not one to make an event out of anything, seems to be in a tizzy over what kind of 40th birthday party to throw for me.
The truth is I haven't had a real birthday party since my 11th birthday and as far as I'm concerned, 40 is just another number. In my head, age is irrelevant. My husband and I are 15 years apart but, for me, those years are just numbers and I rarely look at him and see a person his age. To be perfectly frank, I kind of loathe the idea of celebrating my age. It's not that I'm ashamed of it, or that I don't embrace how very lucky I am to have this day. Rather, it's all the pomp and circumstance that comes along with it.
The idea that I should be clamoring for a splashy dance party with free-flowing liquor, dressed to impress and on a mission to get inebriated holds zero appeal for me. I know this is a milestone moment, a marker in my adulthood, a time to reflect on my achievements and my future goals, but for some reason, that type of celebration just doesn't sit well with me. It's not that I don't love a good glass of wine and a DJ remix and a chance to dance till I can't feel my toes, but I want my 40th celebration to reflect my life. And all of that is not even an iota of my life or who I am. That is a caricature of a woman turning 40 and not representative of me, Melissa Chapman. Yet, the idea of admitting this -- that I don't feel the need to be that stereotypical 40-year-old woman -- has thrown others for a loop. And yes, has left me the subject of criticism.
The truth is, I am a homebody. I enjoy watching marathon episodes of Portlandia and The Golden Girls. I like having my dogs around me. I enjoy listening to my son play "Fur Elise" on the piano. I like sharing a plate of steamed veggie dumplings with my daughter and listening to her tell me anything. I love my husband's salads and the special dressing he garnishes on them. I feel like I am finally at an age where I shouldn't feel the need to succumb to peer pressure. At 40, I shouldn't feel the need to inhabit a role that others expect of me. Therefore, that's how I'm going to welcome my 40th year on this planet. I'm going to celebrate it exactly as I want to -- I'm going to quiet all the outside voices and finally let mine do the talking. And It will probably seem very boring to most, and that's OK. That's what being 40 is all about -- doing what I want and living life on my own terms. Frankly, I can't wait.