Turning the big four oh!



In a couple of weeks I’ll have a phone call from mum telling me the story of the day I was born. I get it every year… Does your mum do (or has she done) that?

It goes something like this:

‘The creeks were up, as your Nana drove me across to Booleroo to the hospital. Dad was coming home from Adelaide in the truck.’ Pause. ‘It was the wettest year we’d had in ages.’

I usually nod sagely and refrain from saying: ‘I know mum, you’ve told me every year since I can remember.’ Then she adds: ‘Oh, but I’ve told you this, haven’t I?’

Uh huh! I like the story though. It’s part of who I am. I imagine my Nana Parnell hurtling my across dirt roads in the old Valiant (which maybe wasn’t old when I was born!), it splashing through creek crossings and the gum trees with rain drops dripping onto the ground. Puddles and wet ground.

I imagine them ripping up to the door of the hospital and someone helping mum out. Now I’m not sure when Dad arrived, but I know it was ‘in time’, which is no mean feat, because I was born three hours of mum going into labor. Three hours! (Anyone who tells you labor length is hereditary, well, it’s nothing but lies. My first labor lasted thirty six hours, but that’s a tale for another day!)

Can’t say I ever thought about being forty. When The Boss had his big birthday, it sort of came and went, without any fan-fair. It didn’t create any mid-life crises, that I know about, and he got on with the day as per normal.

I have to say I can’t wait to turn forty. Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration, but it doesn’t scare me or worry me the way I have heard it does to others.

My outlook is this: I’ve seen too many friends and family die through accidents or illness for an age to bother me. I’m incredibly lucky to be able to turn forty, still be enjoying my kids and be happy. I’m planning on approaching every birthday in the future this way.

There won’t be a big party either; we’ll have a quiet dinner with a few friends and I’m hoping to take wake up without a hangover. That may or may not happen!

You know, that’s not to say I don’t occasionally wonder how many years I have left – is that something you do? But it’s not something I dwell on.

I’m really keen to know how you feel about ‘big’ birthdays. Can you tell me in the comments below?


Comments 14

  1. You’re so right about enjoying every moment Fleur. I’ve always hated getting older and confesss to having had more then one meltdown/ crisis about it, especially on the big ones. But my closest friend has recently been diagnosed with a debilitating disease for which there is no cure and it’s made me realise I need to be grateful for each day I’ve been given and for having the good health to make the most of it. Happy birthday and enjoy your celebration!

  2. I will be 50 this year, Fleur…..FIFTY.
    Forty is a distant memory, and I’d probably rather be that age physically……but I’m also probably happier now. With age comes mellowness. Or maybe it’s lethargy….

  3. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have the longer you live! I didn’t want to be 25 and would’ve happily skipped straight to 26!!! I wasn’t at a stage in my life where I thought I would be. I wasn’t settled down and married with kids… Not even close seeing as I was single. Then low and behold, two weeks before my birthday I met my future hubby! Cutting my birthday cake at 25 was no longer an issue.
    My 4 oh is next April. So far I’m unfazed. Not sure what it will involve, won’t be grand by any means. A few friends and a bbq or Chinese takeaway… Don’t care really. If he makes me a coffee in the morning I’m happy

  4. ’74 was a fantastic year! Especially for weather apparently! The road to the hospital was cut due to a massive snow fall when mum went into labour.
    I have never worried about birthdays. I’ve worked for most of them and its never really worried me.
    I have a horrible feeling hubby and a “friend” of mine are planning something and I find that more terrifying!
    Have a fantastic birthday!
    After all, 40 is the new black 😉

  5. I turned 40 last year and had plans of having a BBQ and drinks with friends. Well mother nature and my Nissan patrol had other ideas. A few weeks prior to my birthday hubby and I had our home flooded in the Australia day floods in QLD. Lucky we had a highset house so only lost what was underneath including hubbys prized v8 ute. After weeks of cleaning up we decided to head off to NSW to visit family and get away for a bit. Long story short it continued to rain on our trip and then we had my patrol break down. we were stuck in a little town called Guyra NSW and it was going to take 3 weeks to rebuild the head of the patrol so we were stuck in a motel. Lucky for us the owners were very lovely people and when they heard it was my birthday the set about cooking a beautiful roast pork dinner to celebrate. It was one of the best birthdays I have had in years and the best thing is we are still friends with the motel owners and go back to visit when we can. 🙂

  6. I like my age. I will be 57 in just a few weeks. I am glad to be my age, and while I find myself looking back sometimes and wishing that I could rewind and do things differently or looking ahead and wondering what is in store (yes, even how many years I have left) in the end, I find that at this point in my life, I’m mostly content to live in the present, and to reap the joys of the right now.

  7. Turning 40 we had a party woth a few surprise guests…I didn’t want one but it was organised by the family..I know I had to swap nursing shifts at work and that tool so,e doing as I refused to…all in all as you said ,any peopek don’t get to 40. For my 50th my son surprised me by coming down from Brissie…he ,ade me wear a huge 50 badge to work…at work we held a back to the 50s day as I was the activities person..we just had a bbq with a few friends at home….enjoy your day Fleur…

      1. The gist of the story is I had a surprise party and had to change shifts at work to attend….for my 50th I was made to wear a 50s badge….yeh its no big deal, but as we have said at least we made it thus far

  8. Hi Fleur,
    I had a bit of a meltdown before I turned 29…not sure why then and not a 0-age. Since then I haven’t been bothered by birthdays. I think life after 40 has been good. In a few years I go 50, and I hope life keeps going okay.

    I love your repeat birthday story. My grandma always told me about her wedding and about her father. Two stories I’d heard over and over growing up. When she got dementia, she kept on telling those same two stories but she always asked me to help her when she forgot (always in the same places). I often wondered if she’d told me earlier so it would comfort her later in her life. It’s a lovely memory to have a story.

    Lovely post, and happy birthday for when it gets here.

    Cath xo

  9. Ah Fleur, Happy Happy Birthday, forty is a good age. Decisions made in that decade still serve me and my family well. Like Debby, I’ll be 57 in a few weeks and I’ve learned to love the body I am getting used to and the wisdom that surprises me. Crones are some of the most respected members of any sane society–that’s us !~! Embrace all that comes with that designation.

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