Press "Enter" to skip to content

Forty: Part 1

In T minus a few days, in the middle of the middle of the night, I will be forty years old. I know it's just another day and I know it's just a number but it's still a thing. I won't g-o on a tirade about wrinkles (it's really the enduring acne that humbles me) or the softer parts of my body that don't seem to tone no matter how much exercise I don't do. It's not a crisis but it's not nothing. It is a thing. It's a lot of a thing.

I live in the house I grew up in. I am the mother of a teenager, growing ever more into her own. I live with and am continuing to build a future with a good man and mensch. Our rescued basset hound's lives are chronicled on and off the couch here.

Flash Bandicoot (age 13ish) and Miss Daisy Duke (age 10ish)

When I turned 30, I had tentative plans to rent a bouncy house but I ended up getting divorced. Now at nearly 40 and having reached the professional goals I had never really expected to reach, I am re-evaluating how I want to be in the world. One way I want to do that is through vulnerability. So in the spirit of that, here are a few photos my daughter helped me pick out and some stories about them as part of assimilating my 40 years on the planet:


In 1985 I was 5 years old. My siblings and dad and I had just moved from Butte County and my bowl cut was blonde and shaggy. My grin was (and remains) lopsided and my teeth are tiny. The shirt I am wearing is yellow and though you can't tell by the photo, it is a Garfield shirt with a caption that reads: "Cats are just little people with fur and fangs." It was my favorite shirt. I wore it with my green corduroy pants. I used to be terribly ashamed of this photo because they called me "Jessie", I didn't have pig-tails and I thought everyone assumed I was a little boy. I love this photo now, though. I mean, what a cute little kid smiling in the sun. Bless that little girl.


In 1992 I was 12. In this photo, have long blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail with a fluffy pink scrunchie. I am alone in the photo but there is a large group of us, visiting Japan in the first Mendocino to Miasa Sister-City Exchange program. I am wearing a Nature Conservancy t-shirt from my mom and I am drinking something (surely a Coke) from the unnamed fast-food chain (okay, it was McDonald's). You can't really tell from the photo but I have an unironic fanny pack on my waist which surely held my passport, some currency and definitely Burts Bees Lip Balm in a little metal tin. (One used to be able to travel internationally with such contraband.)


In 2019, I am 39 (this image is from last week.) I was at an off-leash dog-friendly beach with my two long dogs, listening to yet another My Favorite Murder podcast. I don't usually wear my hair down, preferring to wrap it tightly and twist the strays into coils fastened with bobby pins... but it's been giving me a headache to be that wound up all the time. Seems like a good time to let my hair down and bravely walk into my 40s with an open heart. And if you didn't click the link I attached to "bravely," I will introduce it again because it's the crux of the work I am interested in doing: Brene Brown: Listening to Shame.


  1. Sue September 10, 2019

    You made the sunshine in my day ! What an authentic delightful writer you are and continue to be. I love you <<<<<<>>>>>>>

  2. Kristan September 10, 2019

    You are an astounding, talented, authentic gift. Please, please keep writing. So glad to be trudging with you.

  3. Sandra Jean September 10, 2019

    Love you in all your incarnations baby girl

  4. Amber September 10, 2019

    Your my hero. I love your writing and you too. Happy Birthday friend.

  5. Donald Ownsbey September 10, 2019

    40 was the year my life began to change for the better. I stopped the intake of alcohol on a daily (hourly) basis. One thing led to another to another and I turned 67. Life is grand. I haven’t found an age yet that I like better than the age I am. I haven’t seen you at an age I like better than the age you are. Happy Birthday Girlfriend. It was great seeing you for a moment last weekend. Enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *