I turn 40 this week. Last night, my husband, my family and my friends surprised me

Caprese Salad

with a birthday celebration. They cooked for me a fantastic Italian dinner (gnocchi, pasta, caprese salad, and chocolate and fruit desserts … mmmmmm). They gave me funny cards and crazy clothes to help me with my wardrobe woes. They decorated my bedroom.

I am loved. I am thankful for my people. I am happy.

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Forty is a number full of spiritual significance. It rained for forty days and forty nights. The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years. Jesus fasted for 40 days. Lent is 40 days. The number seems to symbolize a time of preparation for a new chapter in history or a new chapter in life.

The ancient sages watched the stars for wisdom and for those stargazers, forty was important. The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years with it returning to its original point every 40 years with a 40 day regression.

I have no idea what that means for me, but I think it’s kind of cool.

English: Venus orbits the Sun at an average di...

It’s a good number, rich and full of promise, with an exciting bend in the road. I’m experiencing all the anxieties of an identity crisis, which I already experienced as a teenager, but I have enough maturity and know-how to actually navigate the storm. I’m not just being tossed on the sea. I can steer. I can act. I can engage.