Hello 40

Today I turn 40.

How did that happen? I can blink and picture myself on my 30th birthday tipsy and laughing at party with my 50 closest pals, thinking forty sounded so far away. It’s amazing where life can take you and how quickly time passes the older you get.

My thirties taught me a lot about risk and faith and trusting myself and being brave. They taught me I am stronger than I thought and that being strong doesn’t mean being hardened to life, to being vulnerable, or feeling all the feelings. In fact, doing all of those things makes you strong. During the past decade I have made peace with parts of myself and parts of my life that I always wrestled with- my relationship with my father being the biggest one. I packed up my entire life in Santa Cruz, CA to move to Seattle where I knew 3 people and didn’t have a job and in that leap of faith, I got to experience living in a big city, being a single woman in a hip part of town, going on some good and some (very) bad dates that eventually led me to Mr. Darcy, and finding a life I wouldn’t trade with anyone.

In my 30′s I not only found my person, I found myself. I found a woman I am proud to be. Ten years ago I was in therapy writing out lists of qualities I liked about myself (the list was short and difficult to write) and a list of qualities I’d like to possess- the woman I’d like to be. It’s safe to say that I’ve spent the last ten years becoming that woman I dreamed of but didn’t think was possible. I’m imperfect but my flaws give color to my character and I’m okay with that. I make mistakes but I no longer shy away from trying out of fear of failing because I know that the attempt is sometimes as meaningful as the success. I no longer feel like I have to constantly be doing something, to be busy, to have plans. I don’t strive to multitask every aspect of my life. I relish in a day with nothing on my calendar. Who? Me? YES ME. I don’t give everything I have to everyone I know because I have finally learned that I don’t have to prove my worth, that I don’t have to be everyone’s friend, that (and this is a big one) people don’t need rescuing. I’ve retired my cape.

I’ve gotten more and more okay with people not liking me. I’m still flummoxed when it happens but, fuck it, that’s life and it doesn’t mean I am a bad person just because someone doesn’t find me delightful. I’ve learned that you can be hurt or hurt someone and repair the relationship if you’re both honest. That fighting doesn’t mean the end. That the people meant to stick around will stick it out with you even when it gets messy. I’m grateful to all the people who have lead me here, even the ones who broke my heart or made me cry, because all of it shaped me. I can now write a list about all the things I like about myself. I wish I could call up my therapist from when I was 30 and having a mini nervous breakdown, falling apart in her office on a weekly basis, and read her my new list. I’d like to say thank you to her for helping me when I felt like no one could.

And thank you to YOU. Ten years ago I didn’t know what a blog was but now I can’t imagine my life without this space and without all of you. I appreciate you reading, commenting, and supporting me through the years. You’ve cried and laughed with me. Today, let’s celebrate! I’m forty, damn it! In honor of my birthday and my journey to self-acceptance, I want to hear from you- what’s something you really like about yourself? And if you feel like it, what’s something you like about me? Let’s blow up my comment section with a lovefest, okay?

Here, I’ll start: I  like my honesty and my sense of humor. I really like that you show up for me.

Your turn. . .

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49 thoughts on “Hello 40

  1. I’ve been reading this blog throughout a large chunk of your 30s and whether you shared something funny or dark or neurotic or happy, I always knew there was a real honest loving sexy and ALIVE person on the other side — someone who enjoyed life, the ups and downs. I expect your 40s to be even more fulfilling and exciting to hear about. Keep taking us along on your journey.

  2. Happy Birthday Sizz!
    Today I like my biceps (I’ve been hitting the iron lately) and my thirst for knowledge. I just want to learn things, all the time! I like that about me.

  3. What do I like about you? Where to begin?!

    1. You are thoughtful.
    2. You are compassionate.
    3. You are willing to help out someone you’ve never met in person, who was struggling immensely.
    4. You are hilarious.
    5. You are beautiful (inside and out).
    6. You are a great writer.
    7. You are an eloquent writer.
    8. You are passionate.
    9. You are honest.
    10. You are raw (not in the pervert way, but maybe).
    11. You are inspiring.
    12. You have a great smile.
    13. You are brutally honest (especially about yourself) in the best way possible (one of the things that inspires me).
    14. You continually work on yourself to become a better person (also inspiring).
    15. You are not OK with mediocre.
    16. You are Sizzle.

    Happy Birthday, friend. Lots of love to you today, and always.

  4. I love your honesty. . . as painful as it can be sometimes. I’ve read you for years because you are honest and genuine, and a great role model for folks like me who don’t think we can make it through some rough stuff!

    Me? Gosh, I guess I love the fact that I finally found my spine and left an abusive relationship. It took every ounce of strength I had, and I am proud of me for taking that step. (I wont mention how long it took (28 years) and how I dog myself for not leaving sooner.)

    Happy Birthday, Sizzle. The best is yet to come!

  5. You are one of my favorite people that I found through blogging. You aren’t a “blog friend” – you are a true friend. I can count on you to listen, to laugh – loudly – and to just be there for me. I truly enjoy your company and I sorely miss you. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR FRIEND.

  6. Such an awesome tribute to yourself on a very deserving day. Happy birthday, Sizzle! I think something you said in this post reflects one of the many things I like about you: “I’m imperfect but my flaws give color to my character and I’m okay with that.” I love your imperfections; they make you beautiful. Can I copy your likes for myself? Seriously, I do like my own honesty and sense of humor … it’s probably why I also appreciate and respect you. =)

  7. I like that you share your life with us. Good or Bad it’s you and that is wonderful. I am super happy for you that you are so much more accepting of the awesome that you are than you were when I started reading.
    I like that I finally joined the choir and am so much happier for it :)

  8. I like the way there is always something universal in the personal when you blog. You are our Everyman and Everywoman.

  9. Happy 40th birthday my friend!!! I’d give you 40 spanks if you were here in my office. LOL It’s so easy to think of a hundred things I like about you but it can be summed up like this- the sizzle of you. You are amazing, kind, funny, gorgeous and so many other things that just make you Sizzle. I thank you for being Sizzle!

  10. I love that you always tell me the truth, even if I don’t want to hear it. I love that I’ve learned not to fear change and find joy in the possibilities.
    Couldn’t love you more sister! xoxo

  11. I started my first blog 10 years ago, and must’ve started reading you soon after you began blogging. I know it was before the first TequilaCon. When I got fed up with the drama and artifice and left the blogging community, yours was one of the few blogs I kept reading, because you were real. Now we keep in touch mostly through Twitter and FB, but I still think of you as a sort of honorary niece.

    One of the many things I love about you is your innate fashion flair. That is NOT shallow, because you shine as a beacon of inspiration to curvy girls everywhere. You give us confidence that YES, we can be pretty, classy, trendy, sexy. This is why “What would Sizzle do?” has become an outfit catchphrase in my lexicon. For serious.

    I also love that you are an excellent cat mom.

    About myself, I like that I not only survived cancer, but am a better person for the battle. I’m 60, and only just starting to blossom.

    Here’s to a glorious future!

  12. Happy 40th Birthday lady! I have only gotten to know you recently at work, but I think you are just fantastic. You have an absolute sparkle and you make coming to work much more fun. I love your unique sense of humor, sweet smile and awesome fashion sense. I really look forward to getting to know you better! I hope this is your best year ever! xo

    Something I like about myself – that i am a reliable and considerate friend.

  13. I’ve been following you for a long time and it surprises me how similar we are in how we try and go about in this world. You’re blogs have made me laugh and cry and i’m always rooting for you!!
    What i like about you: How your experiences and the ways you go about them make me feel like I’m not alone in how crazy life can be. And you’re goddamn funny. (And i have the same trucker mouth)
    What i like about myself: That i’m funny as hell, curvy and beautiful and the best friend anyone can have.
    Happy Birthday Sizzle!!!

  14. My dear Ms. Sizzle –

    You are 40. Not only are you 40, you are also perfect and amazing in all of your imperfections. They are, in fact, what make you perfect. You fall, yes. You struggle, sometimes with pain that I wouldn’t wish on anyone (ahem, cancer!!). You have ups and downs, rights and lefts, you move forward three steps and fall back one or two occasionally…and yet, you ALWAYS get up again.

    What’s even more inspiring is that you do all of this publicly. You don’t hide your mistakes or your doubt. You come right out with it. Witness post on loving body: bold, riveting, and something that we don’t hear a whole lot. What do we usually hear? “I’m not good enough and I never will be.” What do we get from you, O Sizzle-liscious? “I’m over this B.S. I’m loving myself and that’s that.” Your boldness gives courage to others to say the same thing – to reject the madness and the self-loathing and to step into something so outrageous that we don’t even have a name for it.

    For 15 years now, I’ve been watching you grow and bloom. I love you more than ever before. Like a really stellar cup of tea, or bottle of wine, you get more complex and ever more interesting with age. Your overtones of oak and chocolate – your raspberry notes – they are so much cooler than the grape juice of our early twenties. You are an inspiring to so many women NOT because you are a model of nothing-ever-wrong, but precisely because things do go wrong. What makes you distinct is that you don’t get stopped. Whether it’s moving forward in your career, being a better friend, setting healthy boundaries, throwing the awesomest wedding of the year just a few weeks after laughing at disaster (ahem, cancer!), you are there, doing your thing. One foot in front of the other.

    And we are all better and brighter for it.

    I love you, and I am so very proud of everything you are – to all of us, and to yourself.

    Happy Birthday, my dear friend.

    Love,
    Bird

  15. Happy Birthday!! I hope it’s a great one.
    What I like about you? Your willingness to open up and share your struggles no matter how hard they are. What I like about me? That I can be both determined and strong, as well as kind and empathetic.

  16. I love that you always find ways to be there for me, that you can make me laugh even when you don’t think it’s funny and that you always strive.

  17. Something I love about you is that you know who you are and you are always wanting to learn that even more. Something I love about me is that I have made myself open to learning this, too!
    Happy, happy birthday, lady! xoxo

  18. I adore my directness and I love how positive/funny you are (and that it is never in an annoying way!).

  19. Happy, happy birthday! I am becoming more fearless as I grow older (I turned 40 in February) and this is a very good thing that I am liking about myself these days. A couple of things I like about you is that you tell it like it is and also that you are very open with your feelings on your blog. So glad I came across your blog when I did :)

  20. happiest of birthdays miss sizzle! xo although we’ve only met once (or twice) i’ve been reading your blog so long, i feel like your caring spirit is one of the best things about you!

    as for me, i love my sense of humor and my crazy curly hair. both big parts of me that i love to claim :)

    hope you have the most lovely day!

  21. Happy Birthday, dear sweet, young Shaunessy. I love your smile and your laugh and your passion and your abiliy to do amazing things and your overall fabulousness. I like that you are asking us to think about what we like about ourselves. I like my sense of curiousity and adventure that keeps me learning and traveling. I like my sappy self and freely admit that I cry at the Hallmark commercials. I like that I don’t quite look my age, or act it either.

  22. Happy birthday, Sizzle. You’re the best version of a 40-year old woman that I can think of.
    What I like about you? That you don’t give up.
    What I like about me? That I don’t give up on other people.

  23. I think you and I both genuinely care when we ask people the basic questions like “How are you?” and I like that about both of us.

  24. You share your heart so generously here. It is inspiring. Next week I turn 35 and as I read your post today, I hope that my 30′s help me grow and let go as much as yours have for you. Because 35 terrifies me much more than 30 ever did!

  25. I love how genuine you are. I love that you fight for people and you fight for YOU. I love how your sincerity and kindness shine through the computer screen. I love how big your heart is. I love how you don’t even pretend to be perfect. I love how real you are.

    I hope you have the happiest of birthdays today, Sizz. You deserve sunshine and chocolate and all the happy. xoxo

  26. I’ve been reading since the beginning and have really enjoyed watching your journey. I couldn’t be happier for you and everything the future holds. I’m almost 3 years into my 40′s and so far so good. Definitely not as scary as I had imagined it to be. I love that no matter what, you always return to center and are able to reflect on the good you have in your life. Happy 40th my friend!

    As for me… I’m pretty happy about where I’m at in my professional world and even more proud of my strong work ethic. Now if I could just win the lottery so I could spend more time with my family, friends and enjoying my hobbies.

  27. The list of what is so lovable about you is soooo long, dear cousin! I’m glad you’re finally realizing what we’ve all known for as long as anyone’s known you. I’ll keep it to my most favorite: you have so much love in your heart and I love that we’re related. :)

    In the spirit of lists, my favorite thing about me is that I am confident I can do anything I truely set my mind to.

  28. Happy Birthday!! You have so much to celebrate this year! I just know you’re going to make 40 your bitch! :-) Your determination is something to be proud of for sure. You’ve gone after and achieved (and even defeated) very important life events! I admire that! Thank you for sharing your journey. I look forward to seeing what the next 10 years bring.

    I love my sense of humor. I try hard to look at life with humor. The past 10 years for me have also had some challenges, but I know I can still laugh (and sometimes snort) to get me through.

    xoxoxo Beth

  29. Happy, happy birthday!! Here’s to your 40s!
    Let’s see, something I like about you is your spirit. It’s hard to put into words, but your spirit just radiates out.
    Something I like about me is that I tend to believe the best of people until proven otherwise.

  30. I hope the next decade puts the last one to shame. Happiest Birthday, sister. I want to make a joke and say that the thing I like about myself is my taste in blogger friends. ;) What I like about you is that you’re courageous enough to be vulnerable – you put yourself out there and it’s awesome. And I love your fashion sense and fashion posts. And I love you for meeting me for lunch on the fly when I was in Seattle. You are funny and smart and awesome. And you’re only going to get more funny, smart and awesome. Right now the thing I like best about myself is that I’m committed to trying to see the good in people. I feel like the world needs that right now.

  31. One thing I love about you — no matter what is going on in your life, you are always available and loving and supportive to your friends, online and in person. No matter what.
    One thing I like about me — I care deeply about animals and improving their lives. In my early 30s I cared too, but it didn’t spur me to action. Now I’m in motion.
    xo from dc

  32. Happy Birth-Day! A bit late, I’m just showing up for the party. :) What I like about you? Your honesty, humor, thoughfulness. And I think you’re quite a beautiful young woman. Congrats on 40!! Just wait until 60. THAT will really blow your mind. I kept thinking, wasn’t I just 18?

  33. I’m way late to the party, but I want to wish you the happiest of birthdays anyway. I love this reflection on your past 10 years — you truly have much to celebrate! I love your spirit and how genuine your writing is here. I feel like if we were in the same place at the same time, we’d be wonderful in-real-life friends. As for myself, I love the life I’ve managed to build. Sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit for the blessings I have. Like you, I went through a few bumpy patches to get here, but I’m absolutely glad that I made it.

  34. I love this post! And I am REALLY sorry it is taking me so damn long to respond and wish you a very freaking belated happy birthday!

    I have so many friends now (in their late 20s and early 30s) trying to prove their worth and it makes me nuts. BE YOU, people. JUST. BE. YOU. You are fine how you are! (unless you’re a total dick)

    I love who you are now. And I could make a long list of things I like about you – but #1 is how you put your heart and soul in to things and aren’t afraid to speak your mind. Your sense of humor. Your style!

    I like that I am generous, but say no to things I don’t want to do, not matter how pressured I am. I so want to write about that on my blog, but it’s other bloggers (sometimes) doing the pressuring, so I can’t ;)

  35. There are so many things I adore about you. I think one of your best qualities is how open and supportive you are of us, your friends. You are so easy to be with, laugh with, and love! You are incredibly special, I wish I could see you more often! Happy Happy Birthday!

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