Breaking News: 40s are NOT the New 20s. Every time I see that hashtag, I roll my eyes.
Age has a funny way of sneaking up on you, doesn’t it? It feels like just yesterday I was celebrating my 24th birthday, fresh out of college with not a care in the world. But here I am at 44, and life looks quite different from what I had envisioned back then.
I’ve been following Tia Mowry on social media for a few years, but these days I feel as though we are long lost sisters. She embodies the essence of ‘embracing the woman you have become’ unapologetically and authentically. Her journey of self-acceptance and her openness to change have served as a reminder that life is a continuous evolution, and it’s never too late to embrace our true selves.
This year I decided to celebrate my birthday in a way that felt deeply personal and transformative, a solo wellness trip. I didn’t want to turn up at the beach—I needed peace. I wanted space to reflect on the past year and the invaluable lessons I learned at 43: Acceptance, Grace, and the true meaning of Friendships.
As I approached my 43rd birthday, I found myself standing at a crossroads. Life had thrown its fair share of curveballs my way, with a major one at 40, just when I thought it would be “the best decade ever.” The birthdays that followed were bittersweet, and I felt guilty about celebrating, but at 43 something shifted within me.
I realized that acceptance while grieving meant that it was okay to let things go. I did not have to sustain the relationships and friendships that were established prior to the death of my husband. As with any life change, you are allowed to grieve what once was.
As I walked around the resort, I noticed the leaves falling, which I took as confirmation that I was on the right path. It was time to let go of the unrealistic standards I had set for myself and embrace the person I had become. It’s more than okay for my life to look different from what I once envisioned. I learned to let go of expectations, of the need to control every aspect of my journey.
In my 44th year, I carry with me the wisdom of grace. Grace, to me, is the ability to navigate life’s challenges with elegance and kindness—both toward ourselves and others. It’s about how we handle the imperfections and adversities that inevitably come our way.
I realized that grace isn’t about avoiding mistakes or hardships but about facing them with poise and resilience. It’s a way of moving through the world with kindness, understanding, and a sense of inner peace, even in the face of life’s storms. Grace, I learned, is a choice available to each one of us.
I made the conscious decision to give myself grace. If I can extend grace to others, then why not do the same for myself? This has allowed me to release the need for control and certainty. I don’t have all the answers and that is okay. “Everything in life is figure-out-able.”
Perhaps the most heartwarming lesson of my 43rd year was the significance of friendships. Yes, you can make new friends in your 40s. I discovered that there are people in my life who genuinely want to help, support, and walk alongside me, and it’s absolutely okay to let them in.
As we grow older, our circles may change in size, but genuine friendships are not about quantity—they’re about quality. It’s not how many friends we have but how deeply we connect with them.
My solo wellness weekend allowed me to reflect on the entire year, and I even had the opportunity to write a letter to myself. I returned home to New Orleans with an overwhelming sense of peace. I felt lighter because there were some things that I left behind in Austin. Forty-four will be a great year filled with acceptance, grace and friendship.
What lessons have you learned on your journey?Leave a Comment