To Celebrate 40 {and because life is too short}

I turn 40 in a little over three months.

I don’t know what I thought I would feel…but I am completely fine with it.

Growing up I heard horror stories of women turning 40.  Seriously, I thought it was full of doom and despair.

What do I have to be afraid of?

It doesn’t matter that I am turning 40 because inside I still think I am a hot 24:-)

Heck, if you stay away from mirrors you can TOTALLY live in that reality.

I am happy with my life and the life Kelly and I have created.

I have had experiences and opportunities that I never dreamed would come my way.

More importantly than anything else I have three children that I always deeply wanted and a marriage that has been worth all the work.

But, when you turn 40 you get to ask for things and maybe do something crazy awesome just because.

So, I asked.

In the summer of 2010 I spent two weeks in France.

It was incredible.

Something was missing though… Kelly.

Kelly is my best friend.

It is hard to experience something as crazy beautiful as Paris and not have your best friend with you.

I promised myself that the next time I went to France that Kelly would be with me.

So, he will be.

Even though my birthday is in May it worked out better with our schedules to go in September.

I will spend a week in Paris with my main squeeze and then head to a little cottage in the countryside with my friend Tracey.

{if you want to learn more about the cottage go HERE}

Not too shabby.

The first part of the trip is all fun and the second part of the trip is work and fun.

The next time I go to Paris I am taking my children.

The whole city is set up for families and my children would be in heaven.

I better start saving my pennies because I want them to love France as much as I do.

p.s.  Mom, would you stay with the kids when we go to Paris?  Maybe I should have asked you privately first.

If you have turned 40 how did you handle it? Was it hard or easier than you thought?

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  1. cathy

    Oh that sounds like a truly fabulous way to celebrate turning 40… I had a week at my favourite spot at the coast with my gorgeous family and like you I definitely still feel about 25 in my heart (sometimes even 20 lol)…. I turn 46 next month and I am enjoying life with my beautiful family so I couldn’t be happier…. I went to France and Italy with my family at the end of 2010 and it was truly life altering and we will hopefully go back to europe at the end of 2013 when my son finishes school….Thank you as always for sharing….Blessings xo

  2. Janine

    Hi Jeanne,

    Isn’t 40 the new 30??? So there’s nothing to worry about!!!
    I “only” turned 30 last year but I do hope to be in a place where you are right now when I turn 40.

  3. Kat

    Wow that looks like a fabulous way to celebrate your big milestone b’day!
    Good on you I say!!
    I went to Paris with my hubby almost 11 years ago now, sigh.
    That was before our four gorgeous children and I would so dearly love to go back one day.
    I will be 40 in April. (are you a fellow Taurean too? We are fabulous people.)
    I am planning a big party – cocktail style dress, platters of food and drinks and lots of dancing with friends and family.
    I agree, life is too short!
    On my actual b’day I will have morning tea or lunch with my dear Sister, who is flying home with my little niece and a big family dinner with hubby, kids and extended family that night.
    I hope your b’day is everything you have dreamed and more.

  4. stacey

    that is a wonderful way to celebrate turning 40! I too feel a lot younger. Oh and those mirrors and lighting…. gosh they can be down right mean sometimes. lol. I saw 40 three years ago. I was completely fine with it. What I really wanted to do was go on an art retreat with some of the special women in my life. It didn’t happen but I know it will happen one day. I was lucky enough to have all my family around me, my husband cooked and planned and I just had to show up and enjoy. (my mom even surprised me…. she lives 9 hours from here.) I agree I would definitely want to be sharing an experience like Paris with my husband. We went to Europe 4 years ago. My husband was born there. We took our three kids and I even got to see the little village where my husband spent the first 8 years of his life. It was the most incredible and very special trip. Enjoy every moment and save your pennies to bring your children, but be prepared they will love it and they will want to go back!

  5. paige

    oh my gosh, that sounds wonderful!!!!!
    & surely your mom won’t be able to turn you down with this large audience following right?
    way to leverage the blog misssy!

    ps, i’m one of those people who loved highschool, so besides those years, my 40’s have been my favorite!!! xoxo

  6. Lisa Johnson

    I am so excited for you to be celebrating 40 with a trip to France. I went to Paris for a week when I was 40 and loved every minute of it. I didn’t go with my husband and he stayed home with the kids. I invited my Dad to go with me and we had such an amazing time together. Whenever I see him now, which is about once a year as he lives in Southern California, I always say, “remember when we went to Paris?” and he says, “when are we going back?” I would love to go back and stay at that adorable cottage with some girlfriends and hit all the Brocantes and other places mentioned on the website. Unfortunately we have to pay for college starting this year so I’m not sure I’ll be able to swing it anytime in the near future. Anyway, I know you and Kelly will have a fabulous time and September will be here before you know it. Love and miss you!

  7. Mikal

    What a wonderful way to bring in that special birthday! The building excitement unti September will keep you on Cloud 9!

    I have LOVED my 40’s, and now that 48 is looming around the corner, I’m inspired to have a great trip for 50! I have always told my sweetie I wanted a Harley Davidson motorcycle – I think he’d rather send me on a trip! LOL

  8. 1 Funky Woman

    Paris with your main squeeze sounds heavenly! I turned 40 in August and I was suppose to go to Paris with my sister but it turned out she was close to giving birth. My nephew was worth me missing out on that trip but I do plan on going someday! Can’t wait to hear all about it when the time comes! Funny, I remember thinking 40 was old when I was younger. Now I love it and love saying I am 40!


  9. teresa sheeley

    I think it is so wonderful that you get to enjoy France with your hubby. 🙂 And the little cottage doesn’t look too shabby either!!

    So my 40th experience may sound sad, but it really was joyous. I was in the hospital and near death so I was told at the time; and while laying in my hospital bed, I had poured my heart out in a conversation with God, it was just me and Him in the still quiet of the night {well as quiet as a hospital gets anyway}; so even though I was ill; I experienced a wonderful coming to Christ moment!! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 🙂 Now I will be 50 in August and I am totally excited about it!!!

  10. Lillian (Unstitched)

    Wow, Jeanne, that sounds wonderful! That really is a wonderful way to celebrate the turning of another decade…how very lovely 🙂 I’m already looking forward to September for you – can’t wait to hear about your experience! Happy early Birthday 😉

  11. Laurie

    I am currently in the last year of my forties (ok so that means I’m 49,it just sounds gentler stated that way)! Looking back, the forties will be remembered as my best decade yet! New found confidence and creativity have been recent companions. Letting go of the small stuff seems to be another benefit of the 40’s. Feeling grounded another. Embrace it! Going to France with your husband will be a great kick off to all the benefits of turning 40!!!

  12. Veronica

    Oh là là! You lucky girl! Paris is my favourite city in the world!! So, so beautiful. I was there 5 years ago – also in September. 40? Well I can tell you it really doesn’t feel much different to 39, 29 or hey, even 19! I will be 43 in April. Obviously the mirror (and old photos) tells you you’ve got older, but it happens to everyone and one has to simply get over it and simply enjoy every day! Bon Voyage!!

  13. Bethany

    I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I had the most wonderful 40th birthday celebration away from my husband and kids–sharing it with my mother and sister in Sante Fe (I live in the midwest), one of my most favorite places to visit. We had a blast–margaritas, margaritas, margaritas and shopping! About 5 years ago I told my husband that I wanted a trip to Scandinavia for my 50th. He was excited about this too–my oldest son should be out of college by then, but he appears to be doing the 5 year plan. Oh well! I have the same attitude–you only live once and we’re going–I’ve done too much research! Have a wonderful, wonderful time!!

  14. Alissa

    wow! looks like a great way to spend your birthday. i have never been over seas…but france would be a place i would like to visit. i still have a couple of years before i turn 40…maybe i should start saving my pennies!

  15. lisa

    That sounds fantastic. I am sure you will have an amazing time. Having past the 40 YO milestone, I can honestly say it really gets better every year. I believe you really come into your own in your late 30’s/Early 40’s. Enjoy your trip and the journey.

  16. Jennifer

    Oh how fun…I love this post. I am feeling some of these same feelings you are, Jeanne. I turn 40 in May and can’t believe it. I don’t feel 40!! My hubby and I are headed to Santa Fe to celebrate this milestone birthday and our 10 year anniversary, so I am really looking forward to that. How exciting for you and your hubby to be able to spend your special birthday in Paris. What a special way to embark into this new stage of life—your 40’s—you look wonderful my friend and definitely don’t look like you should be turning 40. Have a wonderful trip!

  17. Lori

    I thought I would be devastated when I turned 40 but it was great. Like you I was happy where I was in my life ~ content. Is there still a lot of things I want to do ~ yes ~ but my 40’s have been wonderful. I think you are going to love them and yahoo about your trip ~ Paris is for lovers after all…

  18. meg duerksen

    40 is soooo far away for me.
    ha ha ha
    i felt the same way about africa. i was missing craig.
    it was hard to be there alone.
    your trip sounds amazing.

    now….im going to read about ALT.

  19. estelle

    Your plan sounds amazing, Jeanne. Good for you. I cannot wait to hear all about both adventures. I can’t remember if I told you about this at Alt but my four best friends and I have been planning (and saving) for the past 6 years for our 4oth and we will be headed for a week in Paris. We talk about it all the time as if it’s happening next month and it honestly makes me so happy every time I think about it. Three of us were there together in college for a couple of days and the other two have never been. Oh jeez, I could go on for hours about this. Bottom line: I hope you share loads of photos and tips and stories. So happy for you. Oh, and the whole idea was for us to have something really over-the-top amazing to look forward to for our 40th so it would not feel one bit depressing.

  20. Sheila R

    40 was spent with my twin sister, surrounded by our parents, our younger sister and all our families aboard a 7 day Disney Cruise! It was 5 years ago, but it was one of the best birthdays ever. I was at peace with 40, it has only hit me when I turned 45 a few months ago, that it sounds too old… I just don’t feel that old (I feel like a teenager – must be because I have 2 in my household!). What a wonderful trip that you have planned! Enjoy!

  21. Lynne B

    40 is awesome! I am 43 and I LOVE this stage of my life! This may sound ‘snoody’ but I travel for a living so when it’s time for me to celebrate milestones the most exotic thing I want to do is to stay home. For my 40th birthday my love prepared all my favourite foods with his own hands and he lit the patio with candlelight and we dined and listened to music all evening. It was glorious and so perfect. But now you’ve got me thinking about Paris, maybe that’ll be a good 44th birthday present. My honey turned 50 this year and we are actually thinking of going to Machu Picchu.

  22. Brandi {not your average ordinary}

    What an incredibly charming cottage!! That’s the way to celebrate a big birthday if you ask me. But honestly, I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t matter how old you are, only how old you feel. And if you feel 24, that’s awesome! Even better, you TOTALLY don’t look like you’ll be turning 40 soon. You look so much younger than that.

  23. sherry hicks

    I loved 40 I have no problem with age, I am now 47 and I can tell you I enjoy life now even more than my 20’s I have no fear of any of my years, I also think that with the hairstyles we have now way of dressing etc. it makes fourty look more like 30 from our parents days. (I still feel 26)
    Happy Birthday and I know it will be alot more fun in Paris with your man this time!!! Still enjoying looking at ecourse in between my projects, still wearing your designs and loving them!

  24. Pingback: Friday Photo Party | Paper Art Scene

  25. Pineplace

    I too will be going to Paris this year, in April, with my daughter{my only daughter}. And I will be turning 40 also, for me it happens in September. I had reservations about going for the first time without my husband, who is also my best friend. I enjoyed your post because I realized I can make it back there with him and still enjoy the fabulous time and memories I will make with my daughter this year. Maybe for my 50th I can go with him…no wait, 45th. That sounds not so far away! I have yet to plan what I would like to do for my 40th but I think I would like to spend it doing 40 acts of kindness…we’ll see how life is when I get there. {I just realized we should switch our trips and then we would each be nearer to our actual birthdays!) You are such a great example and inspiration…thank you for your blog.

  26. Kelly Aubert

    I just turned 40 in December. It freaked me out because I thought I was turning 39!! My Dad corrected me and I have to tell you that it ruined my whole day! Lol! I think it freaked me out because I seriously was unaware of my age!!! 🙂 I didn’t even believe him at first – he made me take out my calculator! hahahaha! Hugs to you! You are beautiful!

  27. cathy

    WOW – CONGRATS ON TURNNG 40! It only gets better. I went to Paris in 2010 as well and fell in love all over again – and I did go with my squeeze so it was great. I plan on going back there again very soon. By the way I heard something great on getting older – it was from all people Steven Tyler he said “Wow, I am too old to feel so young!
    Happy B day soon

  28. Suzen

    OK this is something I actually have some expertise about. I am 62, tipping into 63. Forty was not a biggie for me. Personally, I think 40 for women is their prime, looking good, having some perspective and still a lot to look forward to. 50 was ok, didn’t think much about it. 60, however, was a problem for me. At 60 I began to really see that I have very little time left, and I know now how fast it can whip by. My concern now is to take really good care of myself so that I can have the end of my life is good health and enjoy it. Good for you that you are already taking good care of your health and that you really know how much you have! Happy Birthday, and many more to come! XOXO Suzen

  29. Sandy

    40 is Fabulous!! I turned 40 in 2011 and will be 41 soon. I am fine with it. Life is too short to worry about that. I am happy where I am at. Have a great husband and 2 beautiful boys. Life will only get better from here! At 40 I decided to do more things for myself, like taking online art classes (taking yours now! :0)….). And enjoy life. Life is beautiful!! Enjoy turning 40 Jeanne!! Can’t wait to see what adventures you will be having in France this year. Bring us back something great!

  30. sharon - my french country home

    Dear Jeanne, I am SO looking forward to welcoming you and Tracey to our cottage in September. We shall have such fun I have got some amzing addresses to show you, and the more I see of your beautiful blog and of Tracey’s fantastic pictures the more impatient I become! I’m so sorry I didn’t see your post yesterday, I’m away from home this week with limited access to internet.
    Thank you for showing the cottage

  31. ludid

    hi jeanne,
    what an amazing way to welcome 40. i haven’t turned 40 yet. because i feel that my creative life has truly replaced any negative thoughts about aging and other things, i know that turning 40 will be all about celebrating. perhaps a trip like this might be just the ticket.
    best wishes.

  32. sharon from farm and fru fru

    40. oh how i hated it. i didn’t think it would bother me but it did. just the thought. then….i had a little talk with myself, pulled up the big girl panties and got on with it….and you know what happened? i FINALLY realized that i LOVED it….why? because i was finally grown up….a grown up….i began to say to myself “i don’t have to (fill in the blank)…i’m 40. i can say no. i’m 40. grown. no one can tell me what i must, should do. i haven’t looked back. 50 was a breeze. 55…FREE SENIOR DRINKS! i can’t even believe i could be 55. impossible….i cannot be a day over 23. but 40 was the biggie for me…the turning point….and why look back now? it’s all good.

  33. pam

    Sounds wonderful! I am about to do the same thing with Italy – this time with the girls and then later with my hubby! I have a friend who moved to France 10 years ago and we have never had the chance to go. That is next on my list!

  34. cathi

    I am turning 55 in a few months, and I have to tell you that each year gets better and better. I am enjoying life to the fullest more than I ever have and I, too feel like I am in my 20’s still (physically, as long as a mirror isn’t around…haha) Your 40’s and 50’s truly will be the best, as you know what you want out of life at this point, you feel confident in asking the universe for it and comfortable in your skin – it’s taken me this long, but I love it and try to enjoy each and every moment that comes my way. Alot of people (several of my girlfriends)didn’t have that privilege of getting older. Happy weekend to you and I will join the linky things next week with my photos! xxoo

  35. Shelley

    Yeah! for You and celebrating 40 in a big way! I too grew up thinking 40 was a dreadful time of life. But as I came nearer to that age (last year) I got excited. Life was just really starting to kick it up. I threw myself a huge dance party. It was so much fun! I think every point of the timeline of life has something great to offer. You can never run out of new things to learn, experience or enjoy.

  36. susan

    sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate 40! i turned 40 a few years ago it wasn’t so bad i’m in a good place, it’s just a number after all. have a great weekend! susan

  37. Paula

    I want to assure you that you have nothing to fear. Turning 40 was the best thing to happen to me! I am now in my mid forties and it has been an absolutely inspiring journey to say the least. It has also been very challenging at times, as I came more fully into my own and really learned to get real and honest with myself and really own my stuff, and at times there were definitely tears, but all in all it has been the most empowering and exciting time of my life!! For me I feel that I am definitely coming into my own and really getting to know who I am – the real me, and what I am really about. Things you thought were so important or the quote on quote right thing to do with your life, I discovered were not so important, you definitely find out what really matters to you and how you want to spend your time and energy on. For me it’s been a time for cleaning house in my personal relationships (big time!), my career direction (so freeing!), etc. For me I would describe it as… it is like removing layers and layers of beautiful old wall paper and as you go from one layer to the next, remember there’s nothing wrong with the layers you are removing, they have served their purpose but now it’s simply time to remove them and to unearth all the other beautiful layers that have been hidden deep within to be exposed and show you their magic – i.e. a much deeper level of yourself. It can be a process of slowly going deeper within yourself and discovering so many more amazing things about yourself. For me there has been this quiet knowing and peacefulness within myself. Things in my life I would put up with before, I no longer will and there is such freedom in letting go of who we think we should be or are expected to be – whether it’s been self imposed, or comes from our parent’s expectations (we are still hanging onto) or society in general. There are also moments of feeling like a completely blank canvas and thinking I thought I had all or some of the answers for my life(so to speak),and thinking to myself – now I don’t know if I know anything about myself. In other words, what I thought was working or had hoped would work out for life, no longer does and having to release all of that, the expectations, the dream, etc. In order to make room for new dreams and new opportunities to come into my life. It’s definitely a time of coming into your own and really getting solid or more solid (as life is a process/journey as to finding out who you are and what you stand for and how you really wish to live your life). I became much more self assured and gained such clarity as to what I want for my life. I discovered that I would no longer sit back and settle! For some it can be a complete re-birth, a total cleansing, it can be a very magical time if you allow things to unfold and to give yourself permission that you don’t have to have all the answers and just “be” with the moment. All I can say is have fun with turning 40 and be open to more incredible and amazing growth and opportunities in your life and I encourage you to fully embrace the journey. You definitely won’t be sorry!

  38. Elaine

    ooh Jeanne Turning 40 welcome to the forty’s embrace it i know you will :)) & France is a wonderful place to celebrate I look forward in hearing all about it :))))
    When I turned forty I did a bollywood theme I posted on my blog about it (I was Exquisite accessories then)it was wonderful I even choreographed a bollywood dance for my daughter, sister, niece, friend & me to perform to our guests as a suprise no one new, it was great they all loved it & it was a great night to remember.
    Just got to match it for my 50th tee hee have a great weekend 🙂

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