Reflections on Turning Forty

Wednesday was my birthday, and I turned forty. The big 4-0. I remember when my dad turned forty, when I was just a kid, and we decorated the house in black garlands and grim reapers and had signs declaring “Over the Hill.” Forty doesn’t mean that anymore. It’s the new 30. Or something. But it definitely feels like a change. I don’t feel “young” anymore, not in the sense that I’m a “kid” or a “young adult.” I feel solidly “adult.” There are some things that I haven’t accomplished by now that I had wanted to, and I’m giving myself time to process and accept that. There are things I’ve done that I never imagined I could do, certainly not this early in my life, and I’m celebrating those achievements.

The cake.

My parents, who live 12 hours away, drove across the country to surprise me with cake. I realize there are some problems with that during a pandemic, but it was an incredible gesture. We sat on my back deck in our face masks and spent a really lovely afternoon. I even tried to blow the candles on the cake out while wearing my face mask, which of course doesn’t work because the whole point of a face mask is to prevent people’s breath from coming out!

One of my oldest friends called and left messages twice and sent a bouquet of flowers in the fanciest box I’ve ever seen. She’d had the florist create a bouquet of flowers native to my state.

The bouquet.

I think it’s fitting that tomorrow I give my first reading from The Holiday Detour, and in less than a month, the book is officially released. I was able to give my parents a copy while they were here. (Dad texted me that same night with a page update and some comments on what he had already read.) And it all contributes to me feeling settled, content, proud of what lies behind me but also with a clear vision for how great the things that lie ahead will be.

The Holiday Detour is available for preorder, and you can catch me reading from it on a panel with Radclyffe, Andrews and Austin, Angie Williams, and Barbara Ann Wright at 6pm EDT on Saturday.

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