When I saw the movie “When Harry Met Sally” back in 1989 with Dawn (when she spilled about 1/2 pound of M&Ms all over the already-dirty theater floor), I had a good laugh at the scene where Meg Ryan, as Sally, was sobbing on Billy Crystal’s (as Harry) shoulder when she found out that her ex-fiance’ was newly engaged to someone else. On top of all the woes that come with that situation, she exclaimed, “And I’m gonna be forty!”

Harry looks at her, confused: “When?”

“Someday!” She cried.

Yeah. Ha ha. Very funny.

Back then, I was–let’s do the math, Nukedad–twenty-one. I couldn’t even imagine what it could be like to be in your mid-thirties and totally freak about turning forty. Luckily, I didn’t freak out in my mid-thirties. I think, if I were to give an honest assessment, I only started a slow-burn sort of freak out a couple of months ago. Freak out? Gah, I don’t even know if that’s the right term for it. I’m not going through a middle-age crisis or anything like that; I’ve touched on it here once or twice: I think I’m just pissed.

I don’t feel like what I perceive “Forty” to feel like. I feel at least ten, if not fifteen, years younger than that. But I’m not. I have rampant emotions about this whole birthday thing. Thirty? No sweat. Awesome year. Forty? Well, let’s just say that Forty and I have to get to know each other a little better before I’m totally comfortable.

Birthday #1, 1969

I’ve obviously been spending lots of time thinking about this milestone, and analyzing. And over-analyzing. I’ve discovered something. Going through the rest of my life kicking and screaming about getting older is not going to work for me. Besides the fact that it’s totally not behavior that fits a tiara-wearing gal like me, I think that I might prematurely age into a cranky old woman if I continue this nonsense. An attitude change is totally in order.

Birthday #3, 1971

So now, on this momentous occasion, I am going to take the advice I have given sooooo many times to friends of mine. I am going to count my blessings instead of my age. And I do have so many. Bear with me; here are forty of them. (Dawn: I totally started this post probably while you were sending that lovely e-mail! Great minds!) The list includes things/people I am thankful for and other things I am proud of. (and yes, eventually I will roll alot of this into one of those stupid “100 things about me” lists…)

1. My best friend who is also my husband. He’s my rock.
2. My boys. I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am.
3. My sister. Love her long time!
4. My parents. Raised me well.
5. My sweet baby doggie. She’s a devil.
6. My friends: all of em!
7. I am healthy.
8. My family is healthy.
9. I have a roof over my head, a vehicle that works 85% of the time, clothing, and food.
10. I live in a great town.
11. I have a great community at our temple.
12. I am smart.
13. I have published a book.
14. I am a successful magazine writer.
15. I am a pretty decent group fitness instructor.
16. I am a good friend.
17. I have learned to stand up for myself.
18. I know the importance of putting family first.
19. I am a good mom.
20. I am reliable.

Birthday #8, 1976

21. I care about doing my best.
22. I am not afraid to make mistakes.
23. I don’t mind being wrong.
24. Or admitting it.
25. I am an excellent baker.
26. I can put together a great spin cd.
27. I can stay calm when it matters.
28. I make friends very easily.
29. I am really good at mingling when at parties.
30. I know how to have fun doing group dances like the Electric Slide or, Taj’s favorite, the Cha Cha Slide.
31. I almost forgot…I still have 20/20 vision.
32. I live 20 minutes from one of the greatest cities in the world.
33. I have a job that gives me great flexibility.
34. I have a nice phone voice.
35. I have very nice caramel-colored eyes.
36. I feel loved everyday.
37. I can almost always laugh at myself.
38. I consider others’ feelings.
39. I am trustworthy.
40. I feel young, the majority of the time.

Birthday #40, 2008

I already have had a lovely pre-birthday couple of days which I will–of course–write about in due time. More blessings, more love. In the meantime, I’m going to roll with this birthday thing.

So, Forty? Look out, because I’m going to totally kick your a$$.