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17 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday

As a woman, your forties is when you REALLY start to blossom! These meaningful 40th birthday ideas are about more than celebrating one night – or even one year. They’re about honoring and respecting who you are in your fortieth decade of life.

How will you make your 40th birthday meaningful? This isn’t your typical list of 40th birthday celebration ideas. Here you’ll discover meaningful ways to explore, love, and be yourself as a beautiful, sensual, fulfilled forty year old woman.

When I celebrated my fortieth birthday almost a decade ago, I was looking for meaningful, creative ways to honor my forties. I didn’t just want to have a typical 40th birthday celebration. I knew turning 40 was a big deal, and I wanted to celebrate with gratitude and excitement about my next forty years of life.


I hope my ideas show you how to celebrate and enter into your forties in meaningful ways. I hope you create memories that will bring you a sense of warmth and love for the rest of your life. These tips will help you remember that turning 40 isn’t just about finding the best 40th birthday gift and celebration ideas – though that’s part of it! But, just like a happy marriage isn’t just about the wedding ceremony, turning forty isn’t just about celebrating a great night or event.

In this article, you’ll find a variety of tips and suggestions for celebrating a fortieth birthday in meaningful and joyful ways. 

Unforgettable Ideas for Celebrating Your 40th Birthday

This list of 40th birthday celebration ideas isn’t about partying it up or trying to forget that you’re turning forty. Rather, I encourage you to live from your heart and soul, and blossom into the woman you were meant to be!

1. Give yourself the gift you really want

40th birthday celebration ideas
My 40th birthday celebration in Jamaica

What do you really want out of life? If you could have or do anything as a 40 year old woman, what would you create?

Maybe you need to be part of a good, strong, healthy group of women. Here’s an interesting way to celebrate your 40th birthday from bestselling author Alice Walker: 

“Begin a circle of women. Meet regularly. Don’t have an agenda. Get together simply to Be together. Eat, drink, be merry. Dance if you feel like it. Lie about on cushions. Tell stories. Share secrets. Teach each other how to garden, how to build fires. But definitely do not ‘plan’ what you are going to discuss or do. Whatever work needs to be done will be done without your trying to make it happen.”

2. Make an effort to make your forties an unforgettable decade of life

Maybe your 40th birthday means it’s time to celebrate an unexpected stage of freedom. Maybe you’re rebuilding after a loss, divorce, empty nest, unexpected career change or a life-altering health diagnosis. A stressful life event (or two, or three) is a normal, expected part of being a forty year old woman. Give yourself the gift of acceptance and flow. Know that a perfect life doesn’t exist, but a perfectly happy 40 year old woman can exist (if her source of joy, peace, and freedom is from her relationship with God).

For some women, the best 40th birthday idea is to jump into adventurous female friendships. It’s harder to make good friends in your forties; don’t get down on yourself if you don’t have close friends to celebrate your birthday with. Instead, make it a goal to make good friends this year — and for the next forty years of your life. Decide that you won’t get caught without friends on your 41st birthday, and you won’t be celebrating alone.


3. Be open to unusual 40th birthday ideas (that can become unforgettable!)

Growing Forward She Blossoms Laurie Pawlik

My 47th birthday celebration was a two-week road trip to California, for a Christian Writer’s Conference. It was a brilliant idea because I met a literary agent and got a book contract to write Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back.

See how unforgettable a simple road trip to a conference can be? This isn’t a 40th birthday celebration idea you can plan. Rather, you have to be open to the possibilities and try new things. Don’t expect to have an unforgettable experience on your 40th birthday or even in your fortieth year. Rather, just be open to being surprised.

4. Pay attention to who and what brings you joy, peace and love

This is the most important gift you can give yourself: notice who fills you up with life and energy, and who drains your spirit and soul. Spend time with women who uplift you and help you be your best self.

These ideas for celebrating your fortieth birthday are more emotional than practical. They involve experiences, not just parties and gifts — though I included gifts because part of turning 40 is knowing when and how to treat yourself well.

I didn’t celebrate my 40th birthday by throwing a big birthday bash, taking an exotic vacation (though I did get a few “Happy 40th Birthday!” hugs in Jamaica last week even though my birthday had passed). Choose ideas and celebrations for your 40th birthday that help you be more kind and gentle with yourself. Look fro ways to make your life more meaningful and beautiful. I turned 40 several years ago and it’s been the best decade of my life. I look forward to celebrating my 50th birthday in less than a year, and I have a feeling it’ll be unforgettable 🙂

5. Treat yourself to a luxurious 40th birthday handbag

40th birthday celebration ideas

Anuschka’s Genuine Leather Hand Painted Bags are one of my favorite 40th birthday gift ideas. A purse that is beautiful and artistic is a creative way to celebrate a milestone in life! Anuschka’s bags and wallets are colorful, hand-painted, durable, and gorgeous.

While I’m not a believer in the idea that possessions and stuff make us happy (they don’t), I do believe God created us to enjoy art, creativity, and beauty. So, I encourage you to celebrate your 40th birthday by getting rid of old things that don’t lift your spirits, and surround yourself with beauty, joy, and light.

On a more serious note, our forties start bringing health issues and concerns. If you’re dealing with a health problem that involves surgery, read 17 Gift Ideas to Help With Healing and Recovery After Surgery.

5. Declutter and surround yourself with simple beauty

Look around your home and work environment. How do you feel about what you see? Are you surrounded with color, beauty, simplicity, and things that make you feel good?

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing isn’t exactly an exciting 40th birthday gift idea, but it is unforgettable. You’ll never be happy or free if you’re buried under a pile of crap. Make it a point to declutter and organize your life so that you can actually be free and happy as a forty year old woman. Getting organized can change your life. And if you’re searching for things to do on your 40th birthday, this will be the gift that gives all year long 🙂

6. Accept what you can’t change about your life

My husband Bruce and I can’t have kids, and I don’t want to try fertility treatments. Neither of us are keen on adoption. Now that I’m almost 50 I’ve accepted that we are a childless couple. I did pray for a miracle and I did want children, but I learned how to let go and surrender to God’s wise and loving will for my life. I’ve accepted and even embraced my life exactly the way it is…and it’s best gift I could ever get on any birthday.

Surrender to your life as it is. Change what you can. This may not be the most exciting 40th birthday celebration or idea, but it will change your life in deep and fulfilling ways! Learn how to love yourself. Better yet, learn how to love God even if you think He let you down. This is the best 40th birthday gift you could give yourself.

7. Heal from past wounds

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life is one of the best ways to let go of the past and heal from old wounds. This idea isn’t exactly an exciting gift for celebrating your 40th birthday, but it will change your life forever.

Writing in my journal is one of the healthiest things I’ve ever done for myself. I’m more centred spiritually and emotionally, more grounded, and more in touch with God. I really did start to Blossom after I turned 40 – and that’s one of the best 40th birthday celebrations I could ever ask for!

8. Write the story of your life (even though it’s only your 40th birthday!)

40th birthday celebration ideas

Where are you on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely spiritually and emotionally healthy? If you’re struggling with depression, loneliness, or existential angst, consider journaling as a way to learn why you’re so sad and how to get healthy. Learn more about yourself, your life, and your relationship with God.

Get The Mindful Life Journal: Seven Minutes a Day for a Better, More Meaningful Life and a Classic Retro Vintage Leather Diary & Journal – or some other type of journal – and start writing your thoughts, emotions, experiences. This will help you let go of the past and heal from old wounds.

9. Refuse to be your own biggest critic

If you’ve been too busy to breathe for the past few years, here’s an unforgettable 40th birthday idea: start slowing down. Declutter your life. Focus on what really makes you happy, healthy, and whole. Give yourself the gift of freedom and peace. Start spending time with people you love, respect, and admire.

For example, I’m tired of beating myself up for saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, and making mistakes. I’m tired of criticizing myself! What happened yesterday – and 10 years ago, 20 years ago – is done. It’s over. Instead of flagellating myself for my mistakes, I now focus on the freedom and forgiveness I have in Jesus Christ. Instead of wishing certain people were in my life, I’m trust that God put them here for a purpose.

This is one of the best 40th birthday celebrations and gifts you could give yourself: focus on God. He created you, He loves you, and He is always whispering your name. Look up, and meet His gaze. Walking with Jesus is the absolute best and most unforgettable way to celebrate turning forty – even if you’ve been dreading this birthday.

10. Take good care of your 40 year old body

What does your body need? Is your neck sore, your body tired, your muscles flabby? Now is the time to make changes in your physical health. Don’t keep putting it off — yoga is a fantastic, healthy way to get your body long and lean.

I go for an hour-long walk/run most mornings and listen to sermons about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit on various podcasts. My treadmill is for checking email and setting myself up for my workday (I’m a full-time writer, and I walk for 30 or 60 minutes at the beginning of the day).

Get something like Ageless with Kathy Smith: Total Body Turnaround if you need an encouraging external motivation. A regular, healthy exercise routine is essential for a healthy body, mind, and heart. This isn’t exactly an unforgettable way to celebrate your 40th birthday, but it will change how you spend the rest of your life.

11. Try something wild and wonderful on your 40th birthday

Here’s one of the most interesting 40th birthday celebration ideas from a reader:

“I’m going to spend my 40th birthday racing exotic cars in Vegas, then flying to Mexico for a week, lying on the beach, golfing on perfect turf, going to see Mayan ruins, racing dune buggies in the sand, scuba diving, and planning my new business idea,” says Shannon on How to Create Something New in Your Life. “Forty is not old….you’re as young as you feel. IF you wanna go get all responsible for your 40th birthday….go ahead…..or you can embrace the fact that you’ve only lived 1/3 of your adult life and have plenty more to go!”

12. Get out of town – my favorite way to celebrate any birthday!

Unforgettable 40th birthday celebration ideas
Creative Ways to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday

If you’re celebrating your 40th birthday with a trip, treat yourself to a Compression Packing Cubes Set. This is much better than a gift set of luggage, no matter when your fortieth birthday surprise trip is!

I always try to leave home on my birthday because I love exploring and traveling. If you’re a homebody, don’t push yourself to leave home for an “unforgettable idea for my 40th birthday.” It’ll disappoint you because you need to do what you love to do. But if you haven’t gone on vacation for awhile and you love to travel, then seriously consider going away for your birthday this year.

13. Think about how you want to spend your next 40 birthdays

Now that I’m in my late forties, I’m finally starting to put money away for my retirement. Better late than never! Every time I put $500 or $1,000 into my RRSPs, I visualize my future vacations. I used to think putting money away for retirement was a meaningless chore, but now I see it as taking care of my future self. Same with decluttering and spending my time the way I want. I feel good when I’m surrounded by space and simplicity, when I choose to do things I love, and when I take care of my present and future self.

So, for me the thing to do throughout my forties (birthday or not) is to take good care of my future, my environment, the people I love, and my emotional and physical health. Now that I’m 47, I’m finally learning how to set myself up for success and happiness. Those are my little birthday gifts and tips to myself.

14. Take music lessons – or join a choir

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar – or any musical instrument – what better time than now? Or, consider joining a church or community choir. Music will bring joy and laughter into your life, and help you learn not to take yourself so seriously.

I played the flute in high school, and have always wanted to re-learn it. I loved the rehearsals, concerts, and feeling of being part of an orchestra! So I bought myself a flute a few weeks ago, and am working my way through a self-instruction beginners flute book. It feels so good to play, to learn and practice, to hear my musical skills improving. It’s also very healthy to learn to play a musical instrument! For me, joining a band is one of the most meaningful things to do when I turned 40.

15. March to your own drum for your 40th birthday

A few years ago I worked at a social service organization, and I was the oldest counselor there. The rest of my coworkers were in their 20s. They were nice, but I was old enough to be their mother! Some of our work activities and events highlighted how my age.

40th birthday celebration gifts ideas

For example, we had a birthday celebration bowling event, and we were all asked to dress up in Fiesta costumes. I couldn’t think of anything I’d dislike more! I’m a quiet, introverted, introspective writer. The thought of bowling in a Mexican or Fiesta costume with in a loud bowling alley with lots of young people makes me want to crawl under my bed with my dog.

So, my gift to myself was not to go. I was one of the only employees who didn’t attend the birthday celebration, and a wee part of me felt bad. But I just couldn’t do it…and so I allowed myself to march to my own drum. This is my ongoing 40th birthday celebration gift to myself! The idea is that if I can’t show up wholeheartedly, I won’t show up at all. I feel like I’ve earned the right to give myself permission not to attend events that make me feel tired and unhappy.

16. Say “Meeeoowww” and Blossom like a CAT

I recently spent 5 or 6 days wandering around Los Angeles, meowing like a cat. It wasn’t a 40th birthday celebration idea; it was an experiment in acceptance and non-judgment.)

“Meeeoww!” said I out loud every time I caught myself judging a person, place, or thing. For example, some areas of some Hollywood streets are smellier than others. When I found myself wrinkling my nose and wondering how the glamorous men and women of LA could stand the disgusting smell of old urine baked into the sidewalk, I would let a big loud “meeeeoww!” leap from my lips. Even if people were nearby.

Why meow? Because that’s what cats do. And I am becoming more catlike, like a pussy willow Blossoming into a flexible reed that may bend but won’t be broken by the winds of time or happenstance.

And because fighting stuff takes energy. More specifically: trying to fight the past, or stuff I can’t change, or my regrets and mistakes, is draining the positive energy, joy, peace, and freedom from my life.

CAT is Curious Accepting Trusting

When I find myself judging myself or others, I say “meeeeoww” and remind myself that my energy and time is best spent being Curious, Accepting, and Trusting. This isn’t just a 40th birthday celebration idea; it’s how we should live our lives.

Curious

Instead of assuming I know everything, I ask myself questions.

“Why are some streets so smelly? Maybe because people and dogs pee outside, and there’s been a drought in LA for 5 years, and they’re not wasting water washing the streets.”

When you find yourself judging yourself or others, ask yourself a few gentle questions. Who is this person you’re criticizing, what do you know about her, where has she been, what has she experienced, and why are you assuming you know better? Are you sure your way is better?

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but satisfaction brought her back.

Accepting

how to celebrate 40th birthday

Be gentle with yourself and the person, place or thing. Let go of your expectations, your “shoulds”, and your assumptions that you know better. Adopt an open mind and heart.

When you find yourself criticizing yourself or others, remind yourself how much time and energy you’re wasting on your own unrealistic and ignorant expectations. Instead of fighting reality (yes, some streets and people and situations are super stinky), just allow the thing to be. It has as much right to exist as you do. Who are you to say something should not be what it is? You may be forty, but you don’t know everything.

Trusting

Everything Belongs, even if you can’t see why or how. Everything Belongs, even if you didn’t put it there.

There is a reason your life is unfolding this way. There is a reason you chose to take that action, say those words, or go down that street. Trust God that even if you don’t know why something happened, it is there because it is supposed to be.

My 40 year old birthday girl, you don’t have all the answers. Worse – your unmet, unfulfilled expectations are tripping you up and bringing you down. Your expectations are wasting your time and energy. Your “shoulds” are distracting you from the peace, joy, and freedom that being catlike offers.

So, say “meeeoowww” out loud when you beat yourself up for this or judge her for that. Memorize and recite CAT to yourself – and I guarantee you will be surprised at how quickly your judgements and criticisms fade away! Peace and joy will be yours, you precious little kitty cat.

Meeeooowwww and Blossom. Out loud. Boldly.

17. Live for today

40th Birthday Ideas for Women

Wear a pendant that reminds you to learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow. A visual reminder or symbol to “learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow” is priceless. What better gift could you give yourself, than to live in the moment and cherish every second you have?

I love being forty. The best way to celebrate any birthday in your 40s is to be kind to yourself, surround yourself with beauty and creativity, and stay connected to your heart and soul. What about you – how will you celebrate turning forty? I hope this article has given you a few 40th birthday celebration ideas.

May your 40th birthday bring joyful memories, countless blessings, and peaceful thoughts. May you look up and return the gaze of God, and may your life be filled with the joy and peace that surpasses all understanding.

Happy Birthday.

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58 thoughts on “17 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday”

  1. Thank you for this! I’m turning 40 tomorrow and it’s been bittersweet getting older. I’m really trying to embrace it. I know it’s a blessing, it’s just hard to accept sometimes. I’m also accepting that it’s likely I’ll never be a mother to children of my own. For whatever reason, being parents may not be part of our future. I’ve cried many times because I wish I could give my husband a child of our own. Fertility options are too expensive. I adore my fur babies and being a second mom to many of my students…and maybe that’s part of God’s bigger purpose for my life. Thank you for reminding me how exciting getting older can be if you embrace it. The 40’s are going to be great! ❤️

  2. Pingback: 7 Ways to Be Happier on Your Birthday After a Breakup ⋆ How Love Blossoms

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing and creating this beautiful list of things at the age of 40 or going to ve, to think about and do for myself. Also thank you so much for sharing number 6 and how you too can’t have children and did not try fertility . I am exactly the same and I prayed several times and asked God for a miracle. I really wanted to be a mom a parent and to be able especially to share the love 80 Jesus and to teach my own child about the Lord. But just was not some thing that ever did happen and I didn’t pursue fertility or adoption. We did talk about these choices, my husband and I but never went forward with any. Now I’ll be 40 on September 27th and I was looking for unique 40 birthday celebration ideas when I came across your page. You really touched me when you shared this personally about yourself . I thank you for this. I know God directed me here. As soon as I read what you wrote in number six I just became emotional and felt a connection . I wanted to share this with you. Thank you again and have a blessed day .

  5. Thank you so much for this article, it has really opened my eyes to what being 40 is all about. Much appreciated. Meow.

  6. Turning 40 next month and IDK how I am supposed to feel or am I even supposed to feel a certain way. Pressures from friends added tot he pressure, which I have consciously made sure I don’t dwell on. Deep down I think I am a bit antsy about it because I am not where I hoped I would be by 40. I have regrets, pain, disappointments and accomplishments I haven’t fulfilled. My friendships have changed and my relationship life has been one let down after another. I feel my biggest downer at this point in my life is my professional life. I feel I never reached my potential and that has affected my long term goals. I am hoping as I turn 40 I can find a happy middle ground to where my life is generally stable and has foreseeable long-term structure. I think all these “worries” have dragged me into a state of depression as I just am not happy with where my life is and at 40 I truly hoped I would have been in a different place in life. Thank you for your article- this is a good starting point for me to change my perspective this year. I believe its not over until God says it is. 40 is simply another number added to my ID but my soul is who it always has been.

  7. I’m turning 40 and experiencing my first birthday as a widow. Grieving on your birthday changes everything. I feel undesirable, sad and lonely. My husband and I were married for 22 years and we celebrated his 40th birthday with a cruise to the Bahamas, five years ago. I am feeling so much sadness but he’s been gone for almost 10 months and it is better now. His absence is palpable but I’m also feeling a sense of accomplishment. I’m still here, I’m turning 40, and my life isn’t over yet!

    I know my husband would want me to have a happy birthday, eat lots of cake and even raise a glass to his life. My pieces are slowly coming together and I know I’ll survive this birthday. Thank you for letting me share!

    1. I’m intrigued to know what you did for your 40th?

      It is mine in September, I have just broken up with my 7yr long partner, we have a 15mth old Son and had San Francisco booked, but safe to say I wont be going now.

      I hope you a healing well!

  8. Thank you so much for this article. I’m turning 40 tomorrow This brought tears to my eyes, sad&happy tears. For beating myself up, losing friends and relationships along the way, and losing my Dad last july. its, time indeed, to learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow. I don’t know what tomorrow brings and can’t help sometimes not to be scared. But thank you, for reminding me about God’s power and grace, and to trust Him as His daughter. (daughter of the King). Thanks so much for such a wonderful reminder. Made me feel way better. Thank you & Godbless you😀💕

  9. Laurie

    This is the second time I’ve come across this, so inspiring. I will be turning 40 July 17th of this year and just had no idea what to do I’ve lost alot of my friends last year. Now I’m pretty much a loner I do know this is my year to create memories and to be the best me. Im going to definitely take these tips and fly might add a few more things but take my time.

    Thank you & God bless😊

  10. Thank you for your awesome and wonderful comments! If any woman is looking for creative ways to celebrate her 40th birthday, she need only read through your comments. She’ll be inspired and encouraged live life fully before she even turns 40.

    Nina Simone, is that your real name?

    Happy 40th birthday, and may the gift and joy of the Holy Spirit strong and clear in your life. And may you Blossom into the woman God created you to be!

    Blessings,

    Laurie

  11. This was very needed article and relevant to what my goals are for my 40th. To begin my next 40 years more joyful, relaxed and at peace

  12. I’ve been looking for ideas, trying to plan a small chic cocktail for my 40th and wanting to celebrate, yet I didn’t feel deeply convicted about any of the ideas my sisters and friends suggested. Not until I came across your article was I reminder of what I needed to do. Thank you for being that audible voice through which the Lord Himself has made known to me. I will give celebrate my 40th giving all praise and glory to God and in doing so, bringing others to know Him.

  13. Thank you so much for your comments! It’s awesome to hear from such vibrant, interesting, creative women who are embracing their 40th birthdays. Awesome, Blossom. 🙂
    Soon I’ll have to write an article for my next milestone birthday…50! Yikes.

  14. I just googled “what should I do on my 40th bday?” and yours was the first link. It is a blessing from our wonderful Lord & Savior because it affirmed what I’m already doing/thinking: reflecting, being intentional about my relationships (the cheerleaders, the challengers & God) and being intentional about the dreams and desires of my heart. So, thank you! 40 brings me the wisdom, courage and grace that I sometimes overlooked in my 30’s. Happy bday 40 yr olds!

  15. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I turn 40 later this week & I have no idea what I want to do. I struggle with so much you have shared here.. specifically #3 which brought on a flood of tears as it really connected with me! I also was going to organize/declutter my office & workout room today with intentions exactly as you shared here. Your post has REALLY helped me to re-center myself – Most importantly focus on my relationship with Jesus & tune in to my Holy Spirit (more church, podcast sermons, be more open to His love & take action); Journal more, even when it’s hard.. This one is difficult for me because I either forget to do it & other times it’s like I’m writing a book. I need to also focus on dropping my walls which has over the years gotten much worse, keeping me from having close relationships (w/ the exception of my amazing husband). I have tons of acquaintances but I need to learn how to create a sustainable friendship. Lastly, focus on my health with more exercise & incorporating healthy foods; for my birthday getting a healthy cookbook for my nuwave & a new workout outfit. I cant thank you enough for this article & look forward to subscribing to read more about what you have to say! * Ideas I also had for my 40th was: to give at least 40 hugs/ high fives documented with “Selfies” for fun; take my husband to my favorite places around town & somehow make like a scavenger hunt style out of it (having a meal, buying a book, getting a plant/flower) with pictures; and my last idea was to sit down & write letters to family, acquaintances, old friends, sharing there positive impact on me & how much I appreciate them & try to MAIL them the letters (who doesn’t love getting mail). Thank you again.. I had a lot of feedback so if you read this much then Thank You & God Bless! ❤

  16. I’ll be celebrating my 50th birthday in three years! I’ll have to write another article, and find even more creative ways to celebrate and honor a milestone birthday. Turning 40 wasn’t a big deal to me… But I have a feeling that turning 50 will be something special. Happy birthday to all the 40-year-old women reading this! May you Blossom into the woman God created you to be, and may you be free to be authentic, joyful, and secure in your place in this world.

    1. I agree completely! I was looking for some fun activities I could do for my upcoming 40th. This list just made me sad. Lol

  17. May all women who are turning forty find a renewed peace, joy, hope, and inspiration in their lives. May the 40th birthday be about more than a celebration…may it be the turning over of a new leaf, a fresh start, and a fresh hope for life!

    Happy Birthday to all women who are celebrating their 40th birthdays. May you find creative ways to celebrate your day, and your life 🙂

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  18. Finding meaningful ways to celebrate your 40th birthday makes it much easier to turn 40. Thank you! Also it helps to surround yourself with women friends who are over forty, who are happy and successful and healthy. I’m 49 now, and need tips for making a 50th birthday meaningful 🙂

  19. Aloha Luana,

    Thank you for being here – and happy birthday! Turning 40 is awesome. I’m 44 now, and I am 100% sure life gets better as I get older, because I feel wiser, more centred, and more focused.

    I know how you feel about starting a blog — I struggle with feeling like I have nothing to offer, as well. I wrote myself a note, and it’s right here new to my computer: “You just need to show up. It’s as simple as sharing what you experience. Trust that God will reach out to people through you. Be a bridge, a conduit. Your gift is writing, sharing, healing, inspiring, encouraging, and even healing.”

    I read that every time I get discouraged by blog traffic, income, or even getting older.

    If you start a blog, come back and share the link. I’ll come visit! 🙂

    In peace and passion,
    Laurie

  20. Aloha Laurie,

    Luana from the Big Island of Hawai’i. Thank you for writing your thoughts and suggestions. I will be turning forty in five days and I can’t describe how blah I’ve been feeling about it. Not so much the aging but the celebration part. Many of my friends and family live across the ocean which makes it very unlikely for me to plan the type of event I would dream to have. So when I read your post about “accepting what I can’t change in my life” really hit home for me. What I can’t change is depressing me. Therefore, your other suggestions of giving myself meaningful gifts is perfect! I have always wanted to blog but keep putting it off thinking I have nothing valuable to offer. But reading your blog gives me hope and makes me believe that I may never know who I may impact or encourage or even enlighten…if I never take on the challenge!

    Once again thank you so much!
    Luana

  21. Hello Sasha,

    I’m glad you liked these ideas! I’m definitely more of a introvert, so I prefer the quiet, meaningful, reflective celebrations. It’s nice to meet a kindred spirit 🙂

    One of the best parts of turning 40 is knowing ourselves well enough to know how best to celebrate our birthday.

    In peace and passion,
    Laurie

  22. I can’t thank you enough for these creative things to do for your fortieth birthday. Everyone seems to be doing “party extravaganzas,” and that’s just not in my cards. I wanted to do something quiet, reflective and more meaningful (to me). I really love what you’ve written here! Thanks again. 🙂

  23. Dear Angela,

    May 40 be the year that you don’t worry about pleasing everybody! That’s the best way to celebrate your fortieth birthday: connect with your true self, and figure out what you really want in your life.

    What would you plan for your 40th birthday if money, time, and people were no object? Let your imagination go crazy – because even if you can’t do that thing for your 40th, you might be able to work towards it for 41, or 45! Start dreaming big for your life, and then break those dreams down into little achievable goals. One of my dreams is to go on a cruise….you’ve just inspired me to start researching the cost of cruises, so I have something to save up for and look forward to 🙂

    May this 40th birthday be a blessing to you. May it be fun and interesting, and may you find the freedom to not worry about pleasing others. May you find peace in yourself, and allow yourself to fill your life with the things that mean most to you. May you be free of self-judgement, self-incrimination, and self-consciousness. May you be a free spirit!

    In peace and passion,
    Laurie

  24. I am 40 in 2 weeks and I am feeling very anxious. I am a mom of 4 beautiful daughter’s. They are planning to take me out to Solihull and I’m looking forward to it. So why am I dreading getting older? X there’s lots of things I still want to do, but don’t have the finances. I have moved away from family and friends so have nothing planned for my actual birthday. I wanted to go for a meal but that seems too much trouble to organise and please everyone. So I haven’t done it yet.what shall I do? Xxxxx

  25. Hi everyone, thank you for your thoughts, ideas and support. My 40th is in less than 6 weeks and I have been dreading it for more than a year. I know that sounds like a waste of a year but honestly, that’s how I feel. I’ve asked friends in their 40s how they accepted it and they said it was no problem. That didn’t help me so I turned to support online. Your ideas, your reflections, your humor and your experiencing similar fears makes me feel less alone. I think once I reach 40 I will feel okayish, but the waiting part is hard. Thank Heavens for online tips about accepting these milestones!

  26. Thanks for your comments! I love being 40, even though it is a huge milestone in a woman’s life. If you’re nervous or depressed about turning forty, find ways to celebrate with people you love.

  27. I am so happy I stumbled across this page, tomorrow is my 40th birthday and I been really down in the dumps over it. As I looked back over my life all I could see my was what I have NOT done instead of what I have done and what still awaites me. I have no children but was blessed with raising my husbands granson for the first 6 years of his life till his mother sued us for cousidity this past summer. The loss was too much for my husband (who was not in good health) and he died 3 weeks later in his sleep. At that point I thought I had lost everything. I have slowely put some pieace of my life back together and have tried to start over but with my 40th approching I just felt like I was going nowhere fast. I found your page I must say it has made me look at things very differntly thank you so much for writing it!

  28. Poppy,

    Your fortieth birthday sounds wonderful! Full of self-care, things you love, relaxation, and fulfillment. I love it, and think we should have a “40th birthday” every month. A day of pampering and self-love 🙂

  29. I love the fact that 40 gives you a licence to truly be you and thus your celebration should be true to who you are! I find putting on parties quite stressful and not that enjoyable [except fairy parties, which I convene and perform] so I am going to have a private yoga lesson under the trees, followed by cake with my daughters and husband and a pedicure with my children [to allow some good reading and bonding time]. The day will conclude with a nice dinner with family and a few friends. Low key, introspective but encompasses who that I am!

  30. Hi Faith,

    What’s your favorite thing in the world? That’s the way to spend your 40th birthday!

    My favorite things are travel, road trips, my dog, my husband, blogging, and living in other places for short periods. So….my ideal way of celebrating my fortieth (or ANY birthday) would be to pack up my dog, laptop, husband, and car. I’d go live in Whistler or somewhere beautiful for a month, and explore the area while blogging.

    The best way to celebrate your birthday is to do whatever makes you most happy. If you can’t afford it, then you need to cheat. For example, if your dream is to spend your 40th birthday in Venice, Italy but you can’t afford it, then maybe you could throw a party with an Italian theme??

  31. i missed my 4oth birthday , couldn’t celebrate it.now 2 yrs. later wanted to know if anyone had any ideas what would be a really amazing idea to make up for this.my birthday is coming up in late dec.

  32. I love being 42, and I don’t fear birthdays at all. I’d never hide my age, either.

    But I’ve only had one really good birthday in my life, in Africa. The rest have been ho-hum…I need to start reading my own articles and taking my own advice about how to celebrate birthdays better!

  33. There has never been a better time in our entire history to turn your life around at the age of 40. Women need to spread their wings and fly; to do that we need to create our own independence and it all starts with a makeover as part of the 40th birthday celebrations. The new person will feel confident and inspired; the new you will be determined and debt free; by the time you are 45 you will be in flying.

  34. Hi all, I will be celebrating my 40th b’day in December.. Very much feels and look a lot younger. I have two boys,9 and 6. and this year means so much to me and my family.. I do not know that to do,should I throw a party inviting forty persons, or just best friends. I want it to be extra special, but not mess. will appreciate any one input. I do not want it to just be another day. Than you..

  35. I loved your article. I will be 40 in Feb 2013, we cannot have children either, the IVF route is also something we do not want to do, the procedure is complicated and the success rate low, so we have embraced it. Children are not meant for us in this life, may be they will be in the next. For this life, we shall enjoy being child free, and enjoy the things other people give up. I am also studying for my masters next year and loving this newfound life. Thank youfor your beautiful thoughts.

  36. I will be turning 40 on Oct 2, I guess I feel as though I am more mature and I am ready to figure out who I am and start a new chapter my kids are grown now its time to start living for me again!!!

  37. Hello Yoya1068,

    How about a trip to a destination you’ve always dreamed about? I’d go to Vietnam or Bora Bora 🙂

    Turning 40 is a big deal, and should be celebrated with something meaningful and exciting. Not necessarily a material possession (though who wouldn’t be excited about a new car or house or iPad??), but something that makes you feel good and happy to be alive.

    I hope you come back and tell us how you celebrated your fortieth birthday!

    All good things,
    Laurie

  38. Well, I will be 40 on Oct. 8th and I am truly looking forward to celebrating it. I feel extremely young, have 1 adopted daughter who is 23 now and two boys of my own (14,12) and I feel as though I have grown up with them. Although, I am waiting anxiously for my birthday, I still don’t know what to do. I feel as though I shouldn’t let this birthday go by just lume that. I don’t know but it just feels different.
    I have accimplished a lot in my life so far. Married young, had my children, went to college, own a business, am in the Coast Guard of the United States, but I feel like I should celebrate my life.
    Hopefully something to comes to mind…
    Happy Birthday to all!

  39. Cheers for the fun, exciting ways to celebrate your fortieth birthday, Rob!

    I’m test driving a Mini Cooper tonight. I test drove one earlier today and LOVED it. If you’re turning 40, I think you should buy yourself a fun, zippy, exciting little car. After all, you only live once….

    I want to put your tips for the 40th birthday in the article itself! They really are too good to get lost in the comments section 🙂

  40. LOFL….where is the “Buy a fast car” or “Live to excess” or “Spend a weekend in Bangcock”? I dont know about you hippies, but I’m going to spend my 40th racing exotic cars in vegas, then flying to mexico for a week, lying on the beach, golfing on perfect turf, going to see mayan ruins, racing dune buggies in the sand, scuba diving, and chasing around my 26 year old wife.

    40 is not old….you’re as young as you feel. IF you wanna go get all responsible for your 40th birthday….go ahead…..or you can embrace the fact that you’ve only lived 1/3 of your adult life to date and have plenty more to go around.

  41. Kelly,

    Thank you for your comment, and for sharing my tips for turning 40 on your Facebook page! Very sweet of you 🙂

    Yes, life is like a book with chapters, isn’t it? Sometimes I even think my life is actually a series of books. For instance, I’m in the Book of Marriage right now – I didn’t get married until I was 35, and I feel like I lived so much before I got married! Maybe that’s why I was happy to celebrate my 40th birthday.

    And, when I was 27 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and didn’t think I’d see my 30th birthday. So turning 40 is a gift!

    I wish you all the best as you turn 40 and celebrate your anniversary in August. And I’m happy to hear you have a little ‘un who is turning 4 in July 🙂

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  42. Oops. NOT my 21st wedding, I meant to say “wedding anniversary”. While turning 40 doesn’t make me feel old, I am quite certain that being married that many times would do the trick!

  43. Love your blog and I shared the link on my fb page. I turn 40 on August 25 and celebrate my 21st wedding on the 3rd. (August is a big month for me.) We also have a son turning 4 in July so I feel very much like my life is a book and each chapter approx 18 years. First chapter childhood, 2nd chapter marriage, third chapter parenthood. When my son graduates and moves out we will be experiencing empty nest/husband’s retirement, and if the good Lord be willing….I can enjoy some golden years chapters RV’ing with the hubby and spoiling grandchildren after that!

  44. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    If you’re worried about turning 40 – or you hate the idea of aging – maybe you should think about why it’s so stressful for you. What associations do you have with your 40th birthday (or being in your forties) that are negative? What negative associations do you have with aging?

    Since you can’t fight age, you might as well learn to embrace it 🙂 I embrace it by focusing on the wisdom, strength, and courage I’ve gained over the years. I was a dumb 20 year old, and wouldn’t want to be that young again!

  45. I’m turning 40 in 2 weeks, and I’m dreading it. I’m one of those people who thinks forty is old, and I don’t want to celebrate that birthday. Got any tips for turning 40 for someone who hates aging???

  46. I LOVE my 40’s! I’m just extremely frustrated with all my friends calling themselves old. What an insult to the truly elderly! Myself, I was hit in the mouth with a bungee cord on my 40th birthday and spent the day looking like pouty lip injections gone bad….But back to enjoying my 40’s- I’m having tons of fun and hopefully leaving an impression on my own children so that they will NOT be calling themselves old when they reach middle age.