The book Out of Africa by Karen Blixen begins with the line, "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills." If I wrote a book, it would begin with the line, "I turned 40 in Africa, at the foot of the Magaliesberg Range."
The emphasis on relationships over tasks or possessions, the sound of the birds in the morning before the sun rises, the inconvenience of strikes that halt public services for weeks at a time, the bougainvillea vines, the potholes, the summer thunderstorms, the too-many funerals, the beautiful singing... It is a package deal. I must take the good with the bad, emphasize the good and learn to make peace with the not-so-good.
It's the same with turning 40: looking older than I feel, knowing who I am and where I'm going, no longer being able to compete with 18-year-olds, having a bit more wisdom and experience, the joys of watching children grow up, still acting like a kid with my husband, feeling confident and free... It's a package deal. I must take the good with the bad.
I turned 40 in Africa, at the foot of the Magaliesberg Range, and I am blessed beyond imagination.