Turning 40

by Rita Nguyen

In June I will be turning 40 which often shocks people who don’t know me well – thank you mom and dad for the Asian genes!!! Some of my older friends tell me that it’s pretty much a non-issue while others tell me that they were fine with it until it actually happened.  So far, I don’t have any real angst about my age. Well, rarely anyway. I did have an ex who charmingly compared parts of my body to that of a celebrity who is 15 years my junior. I lost. I guess it’s not much of a wonder why he’s an ex, huh?

In any case, I was thinking about turning 40 today. More specifically, I was thinking of turning 40 with some of my close girlfriends in Italy this summer (woohoo!). Other than using a big round number as a reason to drag my friends on a great trip, I really can’t see drowning myself in a bottle of pink bubblies. Well, yeah okay maybe I will but it won’t be in misery but rather in celebration.

I remember a conversation I had with a mentor while in my early 20’s.  She was 43, beautiful, single and by all corporate standards, wildly successful.  One night we had some drinks and she made a comment that has stayed with me for almost two decades.  She said, “I’m not sure how I got to this – in my 40’s still single and with no kids.” It was a sad and deeply personal insight into regrets of her life choices. It also scared the hell out of me.

As I face my 40’s also single and childless, I’m luckily not feeling this kind of regret. I think it comes down to being comfortable with my life. Could I have made better choices? Absolutely. I have the therapist bills to prove it too. But I’ve lived as large and bold as I know how, which isn’t always easy but definitely not dull. I remember moving back to Vancouver right before I turned 30 and thinking I needed to put down roots.  Today, I do not have that feeling. Today, I look forward to another 40 years of travels and meeting interesting people.  To learning new things and collecting more memories. To being a great auntie, sister, daughter and friend.  Those are labels I’m happy with and that’s all that really counts at the end of the day, isn’t it?

Besides, I look damn good for a middle aged lady.