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Things I Bought Myself for My 40th Birthday

When I was younger, birthdays felt so stressful. I remember being anxious about turning 16, as if that was something significant, as if it was a ripe old age. It’s different now. I’m not quite 40, I still have a few more days to soak in the sunset of my 30s, but I’m close enough to know it’s not going to be a significant life event.

Still, 40 feels like a big deal, partly because 30 was so awful. Two weeks before I turned 30, my almost ex-husband finally admitted that the real reason he wanted a divorce was because he was in love with someone else, someone who, incidentally, shared my name. I didn’t do much to celebrate 30. I went to a park near Richmond, sat on a log, cried and then got bit by a goose.

This year is different. My life is different. Everything is different. And, in honor of the difference, in honor of all the growth and betterment I’ve experienced during my 30s, I decided to treat myself with a few gifts, including:

SUNSCREEN. Y’all. I told my cousin the other day that I don’t have a lot of regrets, and that’s true. But, like I told her, if I could go back in time, I’d change two things. I’d start saving for retirement earlier and I’d start wearing sunscreen with religious fervor at a much earlier age. I’m real good about it now, but I wasn’t for a lot of years. Today, I put sunscreen on as part of my morning skincare routine (Supergoop for life, y’all), and I keep a big bottle of sunscreen by my front door so it’s easy to put it on before a run or a dog walk.

A FANCY BATHING SUIT. For most of my life, I’ve rocked it in a Target bathing suit that was…fine. I’ve never understood why bathing suits couldn’t fit like my favorite pair of underwear or my favorite sports bra. They should be better. They should feel better. So, when the internet told me about Left On Friday and their bathing suits, I was like, fine, here is my money. I wanted to see if spending more on a bathing suit resulted in a better bathing suit, and also, I’m almost 40, I want a bathing suit that makes me feel like a fucking queen. So, I spent a small bundle of money on a bathing suit and, honestly, I love it. It is comfortable. The fabric is as soft as a dog’s ears and, frankly, I think I look great in it.

PLANE TICKETS. I’m going to the desert for my birthday, of course. I’m going to hit a few of my favorite places and hopefully pop through a few new places too. I’ve mostly not made a plan for this one past the first few days. I want to just be in a place that I love and take it from there.

SOCKS. I recently pulled out a pair of running socks and realized I’d been running in them for a decade. They’re a little worn along the back seam, but still perfectly fine, perfectly wearable. Still, I figured, for 40, I can get myself some new socks. I exclusively run in balegas, they’re the only socks I feel strongly about.

A TWO-PERSON CAMPING CHAIR. This is for me and Claude the dog, not another person. Claude is what they call a velcro dog, in that he would like to me attached to me at all times, except for when it is raining outside when he wants to be hiding under my bed. He and I are going to be doing quite a bit of camping in the coming months, and he needs to be able to sit next to me. Plus, a two-person camping chair sitting outside a campsite is a nice bit of misdirection for anyone noticing a woman camping alone with a cattle dog who is afraid of the the rain and the dark.

BOOKS. I don’t buy a lot of books. Mostly, I read library books on my Kindle or borrow and trade books with friends, which just makes buying new books feel like a special event. I figure turning 40 is an event worthy of book-buying, so I picked up Death Valley by Melissa Broder, which I might actually read while I’m in Death Valley, and Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak because my massage therapist has recommended it to me three times and I trust her more than most. 

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One thought on “Things I Bought Myself for My 40th Birthday

  1. All great things to treat yourself with and can’t wait to hear about your adventures in the desert. Happy early Birthday.

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