I turned 40 today.

I turned 40 today. It seems weird to say that. I don’t feel 40. What does 40 feel like exactly? I don’t feel like what I thought 40 would feel like when I was younger. It just feels like another day.

I had plans at 38 to do a “Road to 40” series starting on my 39th birthday. It seemed like a fabulous idea and I still think it was. Then March 13, 2020 came, and I realized things might be a little different. My world started to close down just a week before my 39th birthday. It started with Disneyland closing then the grocery stores and the mad dash for toilet paper. Then came the cancellation of non-essential medical care which meant our pending round of IVF would be postponed. Then the question of whether or not my marriage would make it and our pseudo-separation made the pandemic isolation feel even more intense. Then the thousand and thousands and thousands of deaths.  And on top of all of this has been our continued and heightened fight for racial equality and justice. My anxiety was tested in ways I still can’t fathom. I stopped going outside. I stopped getting dressed. I stopped exercising and walking and enjoying Southern California. I felt lost and hopeless. I didn’t feel like documenting a Road to 40 anymore. My entire 39th year was spent in a pandemic and I was just trying to survive.

We have all been trying to survive. 

Then the days got easier. We readied ourselves to move back to the east coast. We found out we were going to be able to have fertility treatments after all. We drove across the country in a pandemic and broke down a few times along the way. I saw some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and had an experience I’ll never forget. I finally saw my mom and I cried because the pandemic made me fear flying. I spent time with my nieces and nephew at the home I grew up in. I fished and played outside and learned all sorts of schoolyard games and watched movies and made videos and learned that I’m the best auntie ever. I got so much sun and fresh air. I was poked a hundred times with injections full of hormones (but totally worth it). I was hugged and hugged and hugged. I was fulfilled.

My 39th year wasn’t what I expected but it was what I needed. I have a very different perspective on life. My marriage is the best it has every been. I still don’t have children of my own, but I have an amazing relationship with my nieces and nephew. I talk to my mom daily. I’ve become pretty darn good at quilting. I’m quieter and still miss my dad like crazy.

I have had an amazingly full life. I could write a book and still not cover everything. My 39th year wasn’t what I thought I wanted but I’m so thankful for what I’ve learned. I’m not making goals for this new year of life. I’m just striving to do my best and show up for myself. I’m giving myself grace. Cheers to a new year.

Happy 40th.

Love always, Monica

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