Balancing Act: Celebrating 40th Birthday With a 10-Year To Do List

By Heidi Stevens
Chicago Tribune.


My friends have started turning 40. Some of them started years ago and have moved on beautifully to turning 45, 50 and 55.

This group is different. These are the friends I grew up with. These are the friends I graduated with. These are the friends whose 40th birthdays mean my 40th birthday is fast approaching.

My calendar is populated with surprise 40th birthday parties and reminders to compile 40th birthday toasts and prompts to contribute to 40th birthday memory books.

All of which has me taking stock of the knowledge I’ve gleaned from these four decades on Earth. Decades filled with love and loss and leggings, which have come in and out of fashion a half-dozen times since I began dressing myself.

I like to read the various collections of wisdom that make their way around the Internet. “What You Learn in Your 40s,” by author Pamela Druckerman, recently spent several days on The New York Times most-emailed list. I admire the unequivocal advice, delivered from a remove that suggests both worldliness and closure. (From Druckerman: “There are no soul mates.” “Never suggest lunch with people you don’t want to have lunch with.” “Forgive your exes.”)

But I’m always left thinking, I don’t know much.

I figure if I make a list of the things I don’t know, maybe I can methodically check off items over the next few years. Maybe I can write that other kind of list, profound insights and sage instructions, by my 50th birthday.

Maybe you’ll read my list and feel inspired to send me a list of things you don’t know. I’d love to read it.

Meanwhile, here is a collection of some, but certainly not all, of the things I don’t know:

How to use Instagram.

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