40 is the new 30? This sentence has continually replayed in my head since. The day after I turned 39, I started wanting the days to go backward, not forward. We all have a huge stigma around turning 40, especially for women.
I remember when I turned 35, 40 still seemed incredibly far away. All of a sudden, BAM, it’s only a few months away. Clearly, I am having a hard time processing it!
I remember when one of my uncles turned 40 when I was a young child. We put lawn signs all over his home that said, “Over the Hill! Lordy Lordy, Brian is 40!” ‘Over the hill’ is defined as being at the top of the hill and being at one’s prime, and after that, you start to descend down the hill. You are over your prime and moving into old age.
OLD AGE? How can that be possible? Some days, I feel like I turned 21 yesterday. On other days, I feel like I have lived seven lifetimes in two days.
I had always promised myself I would take a trip dedicated to ‘me’ for my 40th birthday. With three kids, a full-time job, and everything that goes along with that, a weekend trip by 40 was a necessity for me.
As we all know, vacations are not truly vacations when children are involved, and every time I have traveled with my children, I have felt more exhausted when I returned than when I started.
As I look back at my trips with friends in the past, they have involved Las Vegas (I have banned myself from going there ever again, but that’s an entirely different story), Mexico, LA, and multiple spring break trips to Florida. When I reflect on these trips, they all involved a blur of drinking, too much sun, and too many late nights. But at that time in my life (I think my last girls’ trip was my bachelorette party ten years ago), it was my preference, and my body could still handle it.
As I plan my 40th birthday trip, I want to make it memorable and relaxing. I want to spend it with those who mean the most to me (besides my kids!). When I started to think of what I wanted out of a vacation, I chose three places; Charleston, SC; Nashville, TN; and Cape Cod.
Digging further into researching all three options, Nashville was out immediately. I knew my soon-to-be 40-year-old body would not be able to keep up with the 20-something-year-olds that go there, and although Nashville was also a bucket list place for me, I think that ship has sailed due to the perception that Nashville offers partying, drinking, and more partying.
That left Cape Cod and Charleston. I felt like Cape Cod could be an ‘anytime’ trip. I wanted to do a trip that I may never take again. A once in a lifetime, 40th-birthday, kind of trip. While Cape Cod offered all of those components I was looking for in a ‘girls’ trip,’ I opted to go with Charleston.
Charleston offered the potential for a beach, shopping, world-renowned restaurants, and, most importantly, the opportunity to spend some quality time not only with some amazing girlfriends but to get to know myself again.