COVID19 life

Day 66: Milestone Birthday!

May 20, 2020


I’m 40 now.

This is definitely the first birthday that has me thinking deeply about meaning and legacy and mortality and beyond. It may or may not be my halfway point but . . . it’s certainly possible that it is. This calculator gives me a more optimistic 46.2 years left based on risk factors! Not too bad. But still finite. I mean, I know now what it was like to live 40 years and it just . . . didn’t feel that long.

While I know it is trite (and impossible!) to “ENJOY EVERY DAY!” — pandemic or not — I certainly don’t want to waste my limited time here. I said in my podcast episode yesterday that I didn’t really have goals for this new decade of life. But on further reflection, I just have one major goal: I don’t want to waste it.

Things that feel wasteful:

— worrying too much about what others think (especially those I do not respect)

— obsessing on outcomes that are not entirely under my control

— toooooooooo much mindless scrolling/clicking (though some is fine. I think.)

Things that never feel wasteful:

— connecting with others

— enjoying great books, delicious food, inspiring performances, and nature. (Doesn’t have to be fancy. I had a ball last night cleaning up the kitchen while listening to 1990s music because what better way to celebrate turning 40 than to play what was popular when you were a teen? Note: the sounds of Ace of Base have not aged well. But Jewel has!).

— watching, photographing, and generally paying attention to the crazy adventure that is motherhood. (By the end of this decade, the kids will be 12, 16, and 18 and we will be preparing to send A to college — assuming colleges are still a thing.)

— this blog πŸ™‚ can you imagine my future dispatches from 2054? “Well everyone, it’s my 50th blog-o-versary! I will be sending everyone who has been reading since 2004 a gift card for a free space journey!”

Today’s Plans:

. . . are not terribly exciting. No Michelin star restaurant (though Josh is determined to cook something “fancy!”). No massage (sad). Instead there will be:

— The usual Autumn Calabrese (today = Cardio Core). (Happy news – my shoulder has made it through the last 2 workouts without complaint!)

— Help with school / outside time

— Read & organize (I have to catch up on 3 days of Organize365! Should be doable though.)

— Work on blog & podcast (yes this is fun for me and worthy of birthday free time!)

— Maybe take kids in pool if weather cooperates

— “Fancy dinner”

— Bed by ~9:30 or thereabouts #thisis40

my attempt to capture this blue jay on yesterday’s walk πŸ™‚


  • Reply Sarah May 20, 2020 at 6:20 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sarah! Lovely post and ideas to aspire to; I’m 3 months behind you and appreciate the positive and realistic tone as my 4-0 approaches. Have a wonderful day!

  • Reply Amanda May 20, 2020 at 6:33 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Enjoy your day with all of its celebrations! Your list of wasteful vs not wasteful is such a great way to look at priorities. Funny to think which 90s songs have aged well and which should stay in the 90s! Same with the music of the early 2000s.

  • Reply Kristen May 20, 2020 at 6:47 am

    Happy birthday Sarah! Thank you for all you share. Truly meaningful.

    • Reply Li May 20, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Happy birthday!! Love the reflections on being mindful (avoiding wastage) of my limited time on earth!!

  • Reply Allison May 20, 2020 at 6:48 am

    Happy Birthday Sarah! Loved your podcast yesterday and sad for you that you missed out on the Inn at Little Washington this year. I live in Northern VA and the Inn has always been on my list. (I’m originally from Broward County, so I feel such a connection to your weather posts). I love your focus on worrying less about what others think (especially those you don’t respect). I struggle with this so much. I hope you have a wonderful day and that you are able to make it up this way next year!

    • Reply Nina May 20, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      Happy Birthday! Have a lovely day. Thanks for sharing on your blog. I enjoy reading it!

  • Reply Gillian May 20, 2020 at 6:55 am

    Happy Birthday Sarah!

  • Reply chelseamcatmath May 20, 2020 at 6:56 am

    Happy Birthday!!!! I also think it’s interesting what 90s songs my kids like. Son #1 was really into that Fastball song “The Way” for a few months.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 20, 2020 at 7:26 am

      I definitely have not thought of Fastball in a LOOOOOONG time πŸ™‚

  • Reply Natalie May 20, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Happy birthday Sarah! Thank you for all you do, it is so appreciated by your readers. I hope you have a wonderful day.

  • Reply Susan May 20, 2020 at 7:15 am

    Happy birthday Sarah!!! Thank you for bringing joy to all your readers!

  • Reply Andrea May 20, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Happy Birthday Sarah! I had no internet back in 2004, in Romania. But I have been reading your blog pretty much from the moment I had internet and was still in medschool. πŸ˜‚
    I love it.
    Best wishes,

  • Reply Sophia May 20, 2020 at 7:45 am

    Happy Birthday! My son recently discovered Britney Spears and it took me back

  • Reply Kate May 20, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Happy Birthday!!

  • Reply Maggie May 20, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Happy birthday, Sarah! I loved the podcast episode!

  • Reply acdalal May 20, 2020 at 8:27 am

    Happy birthday, Sarah! I really enjoyed the podcast yesterday, and your reflections on entering your 40s. I’m staring down 50 in a couple of years and the podcast got me thinking about what I’ve enjoyed about my 40s (not giving as much of a f*$^ being chief among those) and what I want my 50s to look like. I hope you enjoy your fancy dinner and I hope you get some fun and relaxation in there, too!

  • Reply JKDublin May 20, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Happy Birthday! Jewel totally holds up…I have been on a journey through Lilith Fairs of the past over the last few weeks and can add Tracy Chapman, the Indigo Girls, and Sarah McLachlan to that list πŸ˜‰ Oh, the mid-90s. Enjoy your fancy dinner!

  • Reply Maya May 20, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Happy, happy Birthday! Love your wasteful/not wasteful lists. Hope there’s lots of family pampering today and a year of fun planner activities in the upcoming year!

  • Reply Taryn May 20, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Happy Birthday Sarah! Wishing you good health and happiness in the year ahead. We should all adopt that “don’t waste it” mentality. Thanks for the wonderful blog and podcast!

  • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) May 20, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Happy, happy birthday! Have a wonderful day! I’m going to listen to that episode now πŸ™‚

    Enjoy your fancy dinner πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Erika May 20, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Happy Birthday! I’m a couple years behind but my husband is turning 40 next month and this post + the podcast are giving me some great ideas for helping him to appreciate the milestone (despite not being able to deliver his only real requested present, which is a party with his friends…). Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply gwinne May 20, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Happy Birthday!

  • Reply RKK May 20, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Happy, Happy Birthday! i turned 40 a couple of years ago and it was a huge milestone for me, and had me thinking about my legacy more.

    A while ago you mentioned tracking your workouts on Strava – thank you! I just started doing that and can’t wait for my ‘report card’ at the end of the year!

    Will be interested to hear what you think of 80DO. I am doing The Prep now (which I love) but i may do that next.

  • Reply Emma May 20, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Happy Birthday!

  • Reply Ashley May 20, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Oh my gosh laughed out loud at the space trip gift cards of the future.

    I have been so enjoying your daily blog streak. It’s been very grounding for me so I’m glad you’ve kept it up (though I do understand it will eventually be time for the streak to end!)

    Happy birthday!

  • Reply Jennifer May 20, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Happy birthday! I hope it’s a fabulous day!

  • Reply Grateful Kae May 20, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Happiest of birthdays, Sarah! Thank you for your always fun to read posts. I look forward to checking your blog everyday. You have been an inspiration to many- and you were probably the biggest inspiration to me personally in taking the leap to start my own blog, too. I relate very much to your desire to “not worry what others think”. This has always held me back in the past, and as I inch toward 40 myself (will be 37 in the fall!), I find myself really wanting to ditch that bad habit for once and for all!

  • Reply Julia May 20, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Happy birthday from Germany, Sarah! I cannot wait to read future dispatches from your blog in 2054 but for now I would like to share how much I have enjoyed reading throughout the past years and especially during Covid-19 season.

  • Reply Kathryn K. May 20, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Happy birthday, Sarah! Hope you have a great day and a wonderful coming year! Thanks for all your blogging efforts, and it’s been especially nice to get a daily post from you during this time.

  • Reply Ann May 20, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    Happy Birthday, Sarah! Love your post and perspective – enjoy celebrating today!

  • Reply Emily May 20, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Happy birthday Sarah! I hope you have a great day. I also appreciated the thoughts about mortality and not wasting days. It’s always good to remember to use our time as best we can — I should make my own lists! Looking forward to hearing about your birthday celebration today and reading in 2054. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Shelly May 20, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Happy Birthday! You have inspired me to be more intentional in my planning! I hope the day is memorable because you are focused on the things that bring you joy.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns May 20, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Happy birthday! I hope you have a special birthday despite the weird conditions we are living under. I think you totally earned a do-over in 2021. You can just turn 40 again and celebrate the way you wanted to. Hopefully by then we’ll be traveling around again?? Hopefully?

    I feel like new decades are easier to greet when you are happy with your life, which you seem to be. I had a harder time turning 30 but I was single and childless and I really wanted a life partner and children. I took until 36 to get married and 37 to have a child so I was the ‘late bloomer’ in my group of friends. But it was all worth the wait. So now I feel like 40 will be an easier new decade to greet because I feel pretty settled into my life – I like my job, where we live, who I”m married to, being a mom, etc. So now it just seems like I can focus on prioritizing and making the most of the coming years instead of wondering when things were going to fall into place for me. To be clear, I was still happy at 30 – I celebrated my freedom of being single by going to Paris by myself for a week, which was fabulous! But I just felt a bit of a hole in my life for what was missing.

    Enjoy your ‘fancy’ dinner in!!

  • Reply Elizabeth May 20, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Happy birthday, Sarah! I hope you find much joy in the little things in your celebration this year, and make it to your Michelin star dinner for 41!

  • Reply Laura May 20, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Happy birthday Sarah!! Love the blog and the podcast! Praying you have a good day and a great year!

  • Reply Mommy Attorney May 20, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Happy birthday! The first 20 years don’t count, so consider that you’ve only really lived 20 years and have more than half of your life that you control left.

  • Reply Jordan May 20, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Happy birthday Sarah! Love your blog and thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Reply Colleen Juarez May 20, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Happy Birthday Sarah!! I hope you’re having a great day and that you can get that fabulous celebration you’d planned in before your 41st birthday. I’ve been a reader since well before you had kids (think i found you years ago through Kath Eats). It’s been a pleasure following along with you here and on the podcast as you’ve entered / mastered this working mom phase of life. I can’t wait to see what the next 40+ years brings!

  • Reply Liz May 20, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    Happy Birthday! From another peds subspecialist. I’ve only been a reader for maybe the past year and can only wish someday I can be as organized as you but I love reading you blog. And I’m continuing to work on my planning and organizing skills!

  • Reply Caroline May 20, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Happy birthday Sarah! Hope you’ve enjoyed your day. Thank you for generally inspiring me to be more intentional and for providing good food for thought in your blog and the podcast. I hope you realise you make a difference in the lives of lots of your listeners!

  • Reply simplezulema May 20, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Happy Happy Cumpleanos!!!! 🧁

  • Reply Meredith May 20, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Happy birthday! As a 39 year old physician I definitely feel a lot of these same emotions about 40. Have loved reading about your life in this space for the past 10 years (!)

  • Reply torriemeidell May 20, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    Happy 40th! I love your lists! I personally still love Ace of Base, though I’ll admit I haven’t listened to much of their stuff other than what was super popular back in the day.

  • Reply Lisa May 21, 2020 at 1:34 am

    Happy birthday, Sarah! I’m turning 40 next month and appreciate following your lead in reflecting on this milestone birthday. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  • Reply Anisha May 21, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Happy Birthday!!

  • Reply jjiraffe May 21, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for this blog and your podcast. I’ve discovered them both in the last few years, and have found them helpful.

  • Reply Coco May 21, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    happy birthday!!! I’ll turn 40 this year too and I fully agree that as we age, we realise time is finite and time actually flies by.
    I love all your worth list. I’m 99% the same.
    Love the podcast. you sound the same in person as in writing. πŸ™‚

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