Reflections on Turning 40!
It has been nearly four months since I turned 40 and the other day a dear friend took me out to dinner at my favorite Ethiopian restaurant Massawa. She also gave me a beautiful moss agate necklace. Coincidence, I think not. When I looked up the significance of the precious stone, moss agate, I discovered that moss agate is sometimes called the “gardener’s stone” due to its mystical properties of helping ensure a full crop. In addition to a full crop, moss agate is said to bring general abundance, success, and prosperity. I knew there was something special about life after 40! Bring it on 2017!
When I was in my 20s and I met someone age 40 or more I thought they were old. When I turned 30, I was feeling great about where I was in life but was always in pursuit of something more. Turning 40 to me always seemed to be this milestone, an age that separated the before and after of a person’s life. In a decade so much transpired in my life that when the time came for me to turn 40 I was ready for the after part of my life, the turning point.
While my time was approaching 40 I felt so emotional about it. I wanted to mark the milestone with something special but I wasn’t sure how. I wanted a party. I didn’t want a party. Then my husband wanted to surprise me with a party and the thought of not being in control troubled me. Yeah I admit it. I am somewhat of an authoritarian at times. I controlled very little being the youngest of 7 so there are moments that I get domineering. I adore my husband and knew that he would throw me an awesome party but a part of me felt compelled to be a part of the event planning because turning 40 felt so special to me. I had mixed feelings about how I wanted to celebrate. I prayed about it. I thought about it. And then it came to me. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to dance, hang out with friends and family and laugh. I wanted a celebration of my friendships and pay homage to those who helped me become the woman I am at 40. I also wanted to support a local Latino owned business. I love bringing people together so it was exciting to me to bring people together from various parts of my life to hang out, eat and drink Puerto Rican moonshine at PMD Distillery.
Despite me not wanting him to do it, my husband Chef Winston Thomas Jr. owner of In The Zone Catering, Inc. cooked quite a spread. He made a mixed green garden salad, his extra cheesy mac and cheese, veggies in a light butter sauce, spicy hot wings, flavorful bbq wings, yellow rice and my favorite, coconut shrimp. I wanted him to be able to relax and enjoy the party but had to accept the fact that he loved me so much that he wanted me to have the best of the best and that meant him cooking the entire meal. It was finger-licking good! He made the food with so much love and care and you could certainly taste it. And my cake, was made by Melody, who I grew up with at MDV Custom Cakes in Yonkers. I custom designed it with stars. It read, Cindy’s Star Studded 40th and the stars, of course, were my friends and family that were present. I had folks from every part of my life, both past and present that I was overjoyed. People danced, they networked and the place was full of so much joy. A wonderful friend, Vanessa Day even serenaded me and the crowd with her song, My Time, that was so apropos. From a week before up until I turned 40 I felt reflective and melancholy about turning 40. I asked God to help me learn the life lessons I needed to reflect on as I dive into the next phase of my life and I will share those with you.
What were my Turning 40 Reflections? I learned that as much as I try to control things, that God has a way of orchestrating life so that it all falls into place, at the right time, in the right moment. I learned that you will lose friends and most of the time, they weren’t meant to stick around anyway. I also learned that what is most important to me are things that I need to work on nurturing. Doing things that involve using my gifts, talents and abilities coupled with passion will keep me energized. Keeping away and removing toxic people from your life is essential, even when they are family. I have always been a straight shooter, a fresca, a presenta’. But in my 40th year I feel like I have a special license to tell people what’s on my mind; of course I do it with poise and grace, and it’s ok. I love being 40 and I can’t wait for this next phase in my life. Things have already been put in motion and I am so thankful to have great people in my corner. The haters – they will always be there. I don’t give them too much attention, just enough so that they could see that in spite of their hateration, I am still here, doing that damn thang, with joy and passion!
A week before turning 40 I was told I had arthritis in my lower back and leg. I could barely walk without limping a week before my soirée. I prayed and meditated. On the day of my bash, I danced and I danced and I danced, celebrating my triumphs, celebrating my failures (and there were many) and celebrating the wonderful people that showed up to share the love!