Today I turn forty-nine, and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that. I enjoy my birthday but each one that passes makes me more introspective; I guess that’s normal. I’m a year away from the big FIVE-OH and yet, as much as that thought tortures me I still feel like I’m in my twenties in a lot of ways.

My friend Vikki, who is only thirty-seven days older than I am and so I consider her a birthday twin, always seems to be in my head when she writes her yearly birthday post. We are kindred spirits in a lot of ways and you should read her forty-ninth birthday post because most of it applies to me, too. Go ahead; I’ll wait.

Here’s how I’m seeing myself at forty-nine.

I know the value of relationships: I am more appreciative of my family and friends than ever before, and I cling onto them tightly (Wait, am I squeezing too hard? Sorry, not sorry!). I have no problem standing up for myself and what I want or need. I have opinions and I’m not afraid to share them, but I try not to share unless it’s clear that the person I’m with wants to hear. I am mostly comfortable in my own skin. I have learned hard lessons in my life and use the knowledge I gained from them to guide me. I don’t mind being wrong and own it when I am. I’m a good listener. I’m a great friend. I can’t stand drama and stay far away from it as much as I can. Although I mostly hate big change, I’m attempting to step out of my box as much as possible because I know that “variety is the very spice of life”, as poet William Cowper said. I take time to appreciate the little things because I know everything can be snatched out from under me in a flash. My health goals are more about how I feel and my overall well-being rather than specific body goals. I am happy in this life that Jim and I have created together, and so very proud of our sons, who are amazing humans and I can’t believe they in their twenties because it was just yesterday when I was in my twenties. I feel old when I think about the number of years I’ve been alive and those grown men I helped raise but quickly redirect to thoughts of how young I generally feel at any other given moment. I think as long as I am living my best life as much as I possibly can, the actual number is inconsequential.

I started my forty-ninth birthday at the gym, boxing like a badass and accompanied by a playlist called “Unholy Beast”. my hair is doing that cute little flip that I can never create on purpose, and my hot husband is taking me out to dinner tonight so I’ve gotta say, this year is looking pretty great already.