23 Aug 2014
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40th Birthday, a Rite of Passage

Turning 40 should be a celebration.

40th Birthday, a Rite of Passage

Nearly 30 of us held up cutout masks of our friend’s face in front of our own faces as we waited for her to arrive.

It was a cute idea. My friend could see a bit of herself in all of us, her friends, who came out to celebrate her 40th birthday at in downtown Naperville. There was a “Surprise!” and hugs followed by chit-chatting, laughing, snacking, cocktailing and dancing.

My own 40th, a year ago, involved a girls overnight in Chicago where there also was plenty of chit-chatting, laughing, snacking, cocktailing and dancing. The weekend also included a nice dinner out in Naperville at with close friends. We ended outside on the patio at Potters, enjoying a live band.

A year earlier, I surprised my husband, Pat, with a party at home. I pulled it off by planning when he was out of the country for work and stashing supplies in a neighbor’s garage. The best part (after pulling off the surprise) was seeing friends from all parts of his life going back to grade school.

It seems the 40th birthday has become a rite of passage in these parts. I’ve heard of retro parties at roller rinks and vacations to Vegas and Cabo. And I’ve heard some say the extravaganzas are ridiculous. “Why do some adults in Naperville feel like they have to relive their college days?” I’ve heard.

I prefer to look at it as a rite of passage, a way to celebrate life and a point in time. As we head into this period of life when our kids are growing up and aren’t as demanding of our time, some of us moms are deciding what we want to be now that we’ve grown up. Others of us are evaluating where we are at in our lives and where to go from here. I’m finding that it is an interesting time, kind of a now-or-never time. A little exciting, a little scary.

Celebrating it makes sense to me. Why is it only appropriate for the younger crowd to do all the  chit-chatting, laughing, snacking, cocktailing and dancing? 

I think grownups — even of those upwards of 40 — are entitled to a little fun too.




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