Birthday, Girl Power: You Are Enough, Guest Posts, Jen Pastiloff, Jen's Musings

Getting Older is Everything. Don’t Believe The Lies. A Message To Young Women on Jen Pastiloff’s Bday.

December 12, 2015

By Jen Pastiloff
For as much as I talk about telling the truth, I still get butterflies when sharing my age. My friend Michelle Filgate had an essay in Buzzfeed yesterday about how she used running to treat depression and then she got injured. She interviewed me and it said, Jen Pastiloff, 40 years old, and I sat up and had a moment where I thought how could they have gotten that wrong? I am so not 40 years old.

But I was. Yesterday.

Today, I am 41.

It mortifies my mother-in-law that I tell people how old I am. Especially here in LA, we are not “supposed to” do that.

Youth is a commodity! You’re not “supposed to” age!
I call bullshit.


I was terrified of getting older. In my 20’s I lied and said I was younger. When I was 28, I said I was 25.

I thought once I turned 30 I would be useless. Read that again: useless.
My “proof”:

1) My father cheated on my mom and I knew about it. I was about 7 years old. It f*cked me up good. This may have been when my belief that your worth was equal to looks started.

2) My beloved dad (yes, even though he did some shitty things) died when he was 38. I thought that was the end of life. 38 and out. End scene. Done.

I had a shitload of anxieties surrounding getting older, obvi. Plus, I was “trying” to be an actress. And yes, that is in quotes because if you knew me then you knew that my trying was equal to complaining about it while simultaneously waiting for someone to “discover” me while I served them Huevos Cancun with egg whites.
Here’s my message young women: it gets better! Girls: 40 (yes, I’m 41 TODAY and screw anyone that thinks I should keep that private) 40 was the BEST year of my life. So much was possible that I had never even dreamed.

I led numerous retreats around the world (2 in Italy in 2015.) I did two workshops in London. I did workshops in Dallas, NYC (4), Atlanta (2), Princeton, Philadelphia, South Dakota, Massachusetts, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Vermont, Seattle, Vancouver, My career was rewarding and fun. You hear that? FUN. (I think that we forget the importance of that word quite often.) I was the guest speaker 3 times at Canyon Ranch. My relationships all deepened- all of them, especially with women. I hung out with Hugh Jackman and drank tequila with him. I launched Girl Power: You Are Enough. This site was on fire. I got a new agent whom I adore. Every one of my workshops sold out. Lena Dunham asked me to perform onstage with her in NYC. I led TWO retreats with Lidia Yuknavitch and one with Emily Rapp. I was published in Shades of Blue, an anthology on depression, and I read my essay onstage in Hollywood in front of hundred of folks. I went to Aruba and filmed classes so I could be part of Yoga_Girl’s OneOEight TV. I took my mom to Paris. I am pregnant, and although unexpected and unplanned, and even though I thought I didn’t want kids, I am over the moon.

I could go on and on but I write all of this to give you an idea that I was not useless or worthless or any of the things I feared I would be when I got “older.” I also firmly believe that we should share our BFD’s (Big f*cking deals.)

When I worked in the restaurant I always remembered people. And what they the ordered last time they came in. And they were always blown away. Like remembering someone was such a big deal.

You know those people that play it cool? They act like they can’t quite place you? It’s as if they will seem vulnerable if they remember you. Or – heaven forbid THEY remember you and it’s not reciprocated. They will lose the upper hand.

I never worry about that – ever.

Well, it’s the same with things that happen in our lives.

Ever see people who have really big things happen and they try to make it like NO BIG DEAL, yo. I NEVER play it cool like that.

Why? Life is too short to not experience fully and go OH My GOD, THIS IS HAPPENING!! THIS IS A VERY BIG DEAL TO ME.

I guess people are afraid to look vulnerable, silly, uncool.
Not me.

Lena asked me to perform onstage in a talent show so the audience could hear my message. “They need your message,” she said.

Um. I was onstage with Sara Bareilles, Elle King, Bleachers, Kevin Devine, Rachel Antonoff, Fred Armisen & more. That’s a big deal.

 

Congrats to Elle King on her Grammy nom!

Congrats to Elle King on her Grammy nom!

It’s an honor.

It’s a beautiful thing and I say celebrate the F out of it without worrying if you seem cool or not.

All of us – when we are excited about something – we should share it!

When you remember someone – go say hello, dammit! Make yourself vulnerable.

Also, I told my yoga class something yesterday (yes, I do teach occasionally when I am in L.A.) I told them that it felt utterly natural being onstage with them all. That’s when you know you’re in it.

When you are connected.

When you are good at what you do.

Listen to that. Pay attention to that. Celebrate that.

Now – tell me below some of your BFD moments (big f*cking deals) without worrying “But what if nobody else thinks it’s s BFD?” IT DOES NOT MATTER. A BFD could be getting out of bed on a day when you’re so depressed that you wanted to die. I will read each and every comment and celebrate you as if today is your birthday. Because you, my faithful readers, are a BFD to me. And don’t forget to tell your age and to own that shit.

 

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Don’t believe the hype about getting older. If we all stop buying into the patriarchal ideas and start owning how beautiful it is and WHAT A PRIVILEGE it is to age- we will really start making leaps as women.

40 was the best year of my life.

Please, I implore you: look forward to this. Do not fear nor dread this. My birthday is today and as my gift I want you to share this post and tell me your age and your thoughts below. So much is possible!! Do not believe the lies! Hell, I’m having a baby in June! A little dude.

Also, please follow @girlpoweryouareenough and @jenpastiloff on Instagram. That is my birthday wish.

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March 13 NYC! A 90 minute class for women, girls and non-gender conforming folks (we encourage teens 16 and up) and all levels that will combine flow yoga, meditation, empowerment exercises, connection and maybe, just maybe, a dance party. This will be a class to remind you that you are enough and that you are a badass. It will be fun and empowering and you need no yoga experience: just be a human being. Let’s get into our bodies and move! Be warned: This will be more than just a basic asana class. It will be a soul-shifting, eye-opening, life-changing experience. Come see why Jen Pastiloff travels around the world and sells out every workshop she does in every city. This will be her last class before she has her baby so sign up soon. Follow her on instagram at @jenpastiloff and @girlpoweryouareenough.   Jen is also doing her signature Manifestation workshop in NY at Pure Yoga Saturday March 5th which you can sign up for here as well (click pic.)

March 13 NYC! A 90 minute class for women, girls and non-gender conforming folks (we encourage teens 16 and up) and all levels that will combine flow yoga, meditation, empowerment exercises, connection and maybe, just maybe, a dance party. This will be a class to remind you that you are enough and that you are a badass. It will be fun and empowering and you need no yoga experience: just be a human being. Let’s get into our bodies and move! Be warned: This will be more than just a basic asana class. It will be a soul-shifting, eye-opening, life-changing experience. Come see why Jen Pastiloff travels around the world and sells out every workshop she does in every city. This will be her last class before she has her baby so sign up soon. Follow her on instagram at @jenpastiloff and @girlpoweryouareenough.
Jen is also doing her signature Manifestation workshop in NY at Pure Yoga Saturday March 5th which you can sign up for here as well (click pic.)

 

Join founder Jen Pastiloff for a weekend retreat at Kripalu Center in Western Massachusetts Feb 19-21, 2016. Get ready to connect to your joy, manifest the life of your dreams, and tell the truth about who you are. This program is an excavation of the self, a deep and fun journey into questions such as: If I wasn’t afraid, what would I do? Who would I be if no one told me who I was? Jennifer Pastiloff, creator of Manifestation Yoga and author of the forthcoming Girl Power: You Are Enough, invites you beyond your comfort zone to explore what it means to be creative, human, and free—through writing, asana, and maybe a dance party or two! Jennifer’s focus is less on yoga postures and more on diving into life in all its unpredictable, messy beauty. Note Bring a journal, an open heart, and a sense of humor. Click the photo to sign up.

Join founder Jen Pastiloff for a weekend retreat at Kripalu Center in Western Massachusetts Feb 19-21, 2016.
Get ready to connect to your joy, manifest the life of your dreams, and tell the truth about who you are. This program is an excavation of the self, a deep and fun journey into questions such as: If I wasn’t afraid, what would I do? Who would I be if no one told me who I was?
Jennifer Pastiloff, creator of Manifestation Yoga and author of the forthcoming Girl Power: You Are Enough, invites you beyond your comfort zone to explore what it means to be creative, human, and free—through writing, asana, and maybe a dance party or two! Jennifer’s focus is less on yoga postures and more on diving into life in all its unpredictable, messy beauty.
Note Bring a journal, an open heart, and a sense of humor. Click the photo to sign up.

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90 Comments

  • Reply Melissa December 12, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I’m 39. And next year, just after my 40th birthday, I’m starting a Master’s Degree. I’ve told very few people, but really wanted to tell you after everything you wrote above. Thank you for reminding me that 40 could be a great year for me, too! xox

    • Reply Heather Wick December 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Hello…..my name is Heather. I will be 47 in February. …I am taking surfing lessons….it’s a bfd to me because I’ve been afraid of the ocean for a long time. My 15 year marriage recently ended and it awakened a sleeping giant, so to speak. I love my 40’s and look forward to my 50’s.

  • Reply Cortney December 12, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I’m 31. My mom died two years and 7 months ago almost to the day. She left me our home, that we shared. This morning I woke up-and was sad-as I always am when I wake up and realize she isn’t in the other room. I cooked breakfast. It was such a big deal for me I texted a picture as validation to my dear friend. She was kind and reciprocated my excitement to a degree. I’m 31, single, and always seem to be wishing for a man to allow me to love him. But I still haven’t quite learned to love myself. I’m not sure I ever will. But today I woke up and cooked for myself, by myself, and I feel content in that very small moment. It was a very big f*@&ing deal to me. Thank you for allowing me to share.

    • Reply Fanny December 12, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Courtney, it is never too late to learn and begin new things. You can love yourself, it just may sounds weird, unusual for a lot of people actually… But please believe me, one step at a time, with kindness, keep working on it. It’s a practice everyone should have. I was happy to read about your cooking!! Don’t let doubt or self judgment destroy your positive behaviors. The more you will practice self love, self compassion, the easiest it will be. I am single too, I am happy and am still learning 😉 Tones of love for the next steps Courtney!

  • Reply Emily December 12, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Happy birthday, Jen! You are a beautiful, inspiring BFD!! I am 38 years alive and I bought my first house this year with my husband. I now finally have a house of my own to write in, to raise our three children in, to grow old in together. Earlier this year, for my birthday, I splurged and bought myself an early birthday present. I took an online workshop with Lidia Yuknavitch!! And that’s how I believe I came across you. I started the year with a bang and was submitting a lot and publishing some. Then I moved, and misplaced a whole file of works in progress in the chaos. My submissions stopped and it may look like I dropped off the face of the earth, but I still have yet to arrive. It’s been a year of ideas, transition, growth and renewal. And I’m grateful for it all. I so wish I could be in Portland for your workshop with Lidia. I love the work you both do and would love to meet you in person someday. But until that opportunity arises, I will send my birthday support and friendship here!! May 41 be spectacular! Keep shining!!

  • Reply Janine December 12, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Today (12/12) is my 55TH!!!! birthday. In my head I’m still, I don’t know… 35… ? Some days are good, some days I feel every year.

  • Reply Lisa December 12, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Happy birthday! It’s my birthday too, and I’m 44. I’ve never even considered withholding my age. I can’t believe I’m 44 already, but that’s mostly because of the things I haven’t managed to accomplish yet. Strike that: the THING I haven’t accomplished, which is becoming a published author. I’ve been too busy fulfilling a bunch of other roles, especially mother lately. My second child, a beautiful little girl, was born when I was 42 (surprise!) and I want to live my dreams for her and my son. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Amber December 12, 2015 at 10:10 am

    My name is Amber and I’m a proud 43 year old woman who just signed up to hike 75 miles of the Colorado trail to raise $ for veterans struggling with PTSD, I’m developing a Yoga for Every-Body class in 2016 for people who are freaked out by yoga and yoga studios and I registered for a teacher-training for the Prison Yoga Project. I always thought my 40s would be the best time of my life. I think it’s because my mom relished that time of her life. And it’s so true! I’m not worried about what people think as much as the possibility of making a connection. I want to live every moment of my life and it took these 43 years to really get it. Thank you for what you contribute to the world. We need it!

  • Reply Sharon December 12, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I am proudly 43. I earned my years and claim every one of them. It does get better, every year, and I hope I’m around to celebrate many more.
    Happiest of Birthdays to you, Jen. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts.

  • Reply Heather December 12, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Happy birthday. I am 46. I had my first child at 17 which seriously changed my plans. I finished my BA when I was 40 BFD! I was hired to my DREAM job at 42 – Told my mom at 43 that I was finally starting to feel like the me I was supposed to be. The me I had tucked away inside for so long. BFD! I was let go from my much loved, very fun job in Aug 2015 at 46. Being unemployed has taught me more about myself then I expected. I love my 40s. I am not afraid of aging. My Gram passed away in Feb 2015 at 100. That’s my goal. Experience as much of life as I can and have lots of fun along the way. Love this piece – thank you.

  • Reply Amy December 12, 2015 at 10:31 am

    This encapsulated how I felt about turning 40. Thank you. I turned 41 in October. I wish I could go back and tell my anxiety- and depression-ridden younger self how sweet life would be.

    My BFD: I ran four half-marathons he year I was 39, the last of which was 5 days before my 40th birthday. I embraced that year like no other!

  • Reply Dayna December 12, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Happy Birthday!! I am 46, 47 in January, and I have four kids. My step daughter is 25, another daughter is 18, a son that is 13 and a son that is 4. I struggle with depression, self esteem issues and anxiety. I am going back to school. I am thinking of being a nurse and getting my BS in Nursing. I have 5 classes to take to apply to the state college near my house. I am taking statistics right now, then Chemistry, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology. Here is what I do. I tell people that I “may” be thinking of becoming a nurse. That I am going back to school but that could change at any time. This is my standard answer to what are you doing now. I realized the other day something big. I realize I tell people I’m “thinking of becoming a nurse” and that I am taking classes but “may stop if I don’t like it”, for a specific reason. I am afraid that they will tell me that I can’t do it, question why I would want to take classes or be a nurse, and basically make me doubt myself. When I told my Dad he questioned my plan. Saying he didn’t think I would be good at it. So because of that and my own low self worth, I always give myself an out, just in case I’m not smart enough, or can’t do it. So that is my big deal. I am taking classes to apply to school to get my degree in Nursing. 🙂

  • Reply Monica December 12, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Happy Birthday, Jennifer! And may you celebrate life every single day ? I read your post about pregnancy some days ago and I felt exactly the same – didn’t really think I wanted a baby, thought I was too old (I am 41 as well and the baby will arrive in April) but it just happened. now I believe that many times we know nothing about life but we just pretend we know a lot – because we studied, analyzed, lived a lot – but in the end I think we should let life do its magic – whatever that magic is for each of us and embrace the outcome with all our heart. I think we should all trust the Universe. As for being in my 40s, the problem is that many times I feel like being in my 20s, only wiser and better financially. Age is just a number and it should be like this. I read about amazing people in their 80s, who enjoy life to the fullest. Many times it is hard to stop judging or accept that others will judge you no matter what – age, financial and social ststus, race, intelligence etc – these are just reasons to make us more free. So Happy Birthday again and be free until you reach 150 and enjoy the amazing surprises of 2016 ??

  • Reply Briana MR December 12, 2015 at 10:42 am

    What great read. Thank you for this. I am one who hasn’t been afraid of telling my age, but rather, in my early 20s, I felt as though there wasn’t enough time. It left me quite sad at times. Now being 32, I don’t feel that way anymore. Quite the opposite, I was over the moon to enter my 30s. I have many BFDs, but I think the biggest most important BFD to me was entering my authentic self, which is still an ongoing process. My life has been that of an arrow; an arrow can only fly forward when pulled backwards. I believe I started this life as an arrow pulled backwards. I grew up in a very abusive home with my mother. And it wasn’t until my late 20s that I completely unravelled who I was and entered the person I was waiting for, who I was meant to be, me. The strong, gentle, loving, compassionate, bold, courageous me. It wasn’t until I held myself, all of me, every inch of me, my past and present, that I was finally free. I released the hold on my arrow, and for the first time, I flew. I left my 20s with a vigor, and a deep desire to keep ascending. And I’m not looking back. Thank you again for this wonderful piece of writing. I’m sure you have touched many people with your candor, as you have me.

  • Reply Christine December 12, 2015 at 10:55 am

    My BFD? I will be 61 this week. I’m having the adventure of a lifetime living simply on the Oregon coast, chasing through the woods and along the beaches and bluffs with my beloved. Every day something new. I let go of so many possessions this year… Weighing me down, holding me back. 41 was an excellent year, yes it was, but it gets even better… Happy birthday Sagittarius!

    • Reply Chris December 12, 2015 at 11:57 pm

      I am Christine too and will also be 61 soon. I live on the Washington coast with my beloved and love sailing and kayaking. I should have died 8 years ago from an accident I had . . . I am loving every single day I wake up and just get to BE ALIVE!!! Life is such an incredible adventure. Happy Birthday all you glorious Sagittariuses!!!!!

  • Reply Dale Sprague December 12, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I’m 55, male, an INFJ. In the last two years, I transformed my physical self, becoming fitter, stronger, more resilient and shed 70 pounds. I took up running and ran 2 1/2 marathons this year and in the process healed my lungs which had been defeated by asthma.
    In February of this year I finally fully began grieving the death of my god daughter and her brother which resulted in my best friend, their father, going to prison, and nearly killing their mother who is now my oldest friend.
    In March of this year, I raised money for a local organization, ResourcesUnite, by doing 8 45 minutes cardio kickboxing classes in one day and raised $2300 dollars with little planning or organizing. I’d never raised that much money or did that many kickboxing classes in one day.
    My emotional and spiritual transformation is still ongoing. I’ve started a blog not really knowing what I wanted to say or who I wanted to speak to, but I’m doing it. I’ve started writing which has been a dream of mine since I was sixteen just since Thanksgiving of this year. I’ve started therapy to help me deal with the demons I’ve created for myself (with a little help form others) for the past 50 years. I found out yesterday I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and I intend not let that sink me into the depression that has nipped at my heels like a mean chihuahua since the 5th grade. Instead I hope to attack it with the same determination that I attacked regaining my health and that I intend to attack my writing.
    Thank you for supporting young women to be stronger and prouder. I have 2 daughters and 2 grandaughters. I hope for a positive future for them where they ate strong, determined, and capable.

  • Reply Nicholle Gillian December 12, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Wow! Thank you! I am 35 and I literally map out a time line in my head – if I meet some one by the time I am 39 and then we date and get engaged when I am 41 I could be married by the time I am 42!! But there is a massive fault with this equation – “I”!! And age is merely a marker point to remember the day you joined this beautiful world!

  • Reply Kim December 12, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I am 48 and each year keeps getting better. For 9 years now I have been older than my mother. She tells everyone she is 39. I think that is too much pressure – trying to stay young. I try to embrace every moment. I started my own business 2 years ago and this year I surpassed my goal of doubling my sales. I would say that’s a BFD. Love this article

  • Reply Jessica Barrett December 12, 2015 at 11:15 am

    LOVE THIS. I’m turning 41 in a couple of months and I really needed to read this.

    My BFD is that I became a blogger for Huffpo this year, and was published on a few other high profile sites. I also somehow put pants on every day.

  • Reply Heather W December 12, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I REALLY needed this article. I turn 40 this month. It’s only getting better for me as well. Happy birthday!

  • Reply Caitlyn December 12, 2015 at 11:26 am

    My BFD is that 4 years ago I packed what I could fit in my little red car and drove from Southern California to Portland OR and moved in and never left. I made a life for myself here with very little help and I have so many things I never thought I would have. My BFD is that I am finally HAPPY and am learning how to be okay with being content.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I am 28 and looking forward to my 30s!

  • Reply Valerie December 12, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Jennifer! Awesome post! I love it. Getting older rocks! I am 47 and just had the best year of my life! Some of my BFD moments in my 47th year…..celebrated my kid’s journeys into adulthood (22, 21 & 17…waaah?), moved in with the love of my life, became a certified Life Coach, launched my website, and signed up for a kick ass Leadership Program in which I get to travel to Cali four times this year! Thanks for representing and being proud of how amazing your are! xo

  • Reply Olivia December 12, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Thank you and happy birthday! I am 33. When I was pregnant with my first son, I announced I was having a boy by telling people I was growing a penis. I have two BFD: I scored Elvis Costello tickets before they sold out and I’m working on a really cool phosphorous removal project fore the wastewater treatment plant in my city.
    Happy birthday again! I don’t know you, but I’m glad you were born and I’m glad you wrote this.

  • Reply Meagan December 12, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Happy Birthday to you! I turned 50 yesterday and I am thrilled to be alive & living my truth. It keeps getting better! I started the day with kayaking then finished by dancing with my friends. I am so blessed!

  • Reply Katie M December 12, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I turned 34 recently, and 33 was the best year of my life! I traveled abroad alone for the first time – to Budapest – and met myself in a way I never dreamed possible. It was a really BFD. Thanks for this space Jen. Hope to meet you and tell stories together one day!

  • Reply Kimber December 12, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Last weekend I participated in a raffle that I had organized to benefit an 11 year old boy with bone cancer. I had never done anything like this in my life, yet I got donated raffle prizes such as baseline tickets to a Diamondbacks game, as well as a player autographed football from the Arizona Cardinals. All in all we raised over $8000.00. The fact that the boy is the son of a man I’ve been in love with for years, makes this BFD even more precious to me. I’m 51, and I will celebrate that day forever!

  • Reply Angy Sander December 12, 2015 at 11:41 am

    I turned 69 in November. I had one of my best years ever. I travelled from Hong Kong to Australia, Nice, Estspona, Spain, Edinburgh Festival and Budapest. I saw friends & shows and films. I had a ball. Next year I turn 70 and I intend to continue having the time of my life. 40’s was fine, my 50’s were rocking. In my 60’s life had its up and down but life is such an adventure. Who knows what is around the corner. Make it exciting, plan trips and outings, make friends. Invite people over and accept every invitation. Be open to new experiences. Look after yourself, be kind to yourself and yes, even spoil yourself. Look after your friends and family and you will mostly be rewarded by being included and loved.

  • Reply Lynda December 12, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I am 58 years young and my horse is 29 years young (my vet says that’s like 100 in human years). I still ride her on the beach and feel like I am 12 riding my horse every time I get on her. I love your getting older post. It is a blast! The other day I was in the grocery store and a very lively little boy started a conversation with me he told me he was 5 and the asked me how old I was I told him I was 58 that was his 5 plus 8 more. His Mom was embarrassed and told him it wasn’t polite and I said that’s okay I don’t mind.

  • Reply Molly December 12, 2015 at 11:48 am

    My 50th is Wednesday, and I couldn’t be happier to reach that silver day! I grew up across the street from an eccentric woman who this me to never fear getting older; that it was high an honor and hell of a lot of FUN to get older. She celebrated her 69th (chose to celebrate the naughty year) by having an extravagant dinner with her dearest friendsand her 80th was a Mardi Gras ball. I hope I can age like Galey Coleman!

  • Reply Emillia Noordhoek December 12, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Aloha Jen,
    Happy Birthday to you! I couldn’t agree more with you I just turned 49 and I just finished a fellows program in Hawaii and have been accepted to another that is centered around running for political offices.. I don’t know I ever will run for office but I am sick old white men being assholes and not believing in reality and working to change the world for future generations… Like my son who is 28 and yours who will soon be on the blue marble with us ! Have a great day and congratulations on all your BFD stuff that you have done this year!
    Emillia

  • Reply Michelle December 12, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Hello Jen!! I came across your post today, and I have to admit, that I’ve not heard ofyou until today. Where have you been all of my life? I have a story that is too long to type right now, but I really should sometime. I’m 35 years old!!!!! I feel like I have experienced about 5 lifetimes in my 35 years. Yesterday, I achieved 1 year of sobriety. That’s not a BFD, that’s a HFD (huge fucking deal!) Thank you for sharing this!!

  • Reply Caitlin Grace December 12, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I am 53 and self published my first book this year which was such a BFD for me. I was terrified and kept putting it off because “what if nobody bought it? what if people did buy it and didn’t like it?” and on and on the old bullshit goes.
    My brother died last year, he was 56.
    A friend that I mention in the book died this year . He was 62. I am so grateful that I (a) sent him a copy of my book before he passed (he loved it) (b) told him what a great guy he was and that what he did for me years before was such a BFD to me.
    Here’s the link to my book if you are interested http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UA6K6RQ and congratulations on your pregnancy!

  • Reply Heidi December 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I too have embraced aging. This year, on the verge of turning 60 I gave up my “good” job where I was so not empowered and barely acknowledged to start a career in Real Estate! I just came back from a 4 day training class were they said the thing that was the most critical to succeeding in your business and life was to start every day with a morning ritual of keeping a gratitude journal, affirmations, inspirational reading and two hand written notes. Every morning! Before email and Facebook!! I know I am where I’m supposed to be. I am so in love with my life!! Thank you for sharing your truth!

  • Reply Julie December 12, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I’m 49. By BFD is raising my son without his father around at all and knowing each day I’m doing my best and that’s more than enough. Happy birthday, Jen!!!

  • Reply Heather December 12, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Happy fucking birthday Jen! I’m Heather and I turned 40 in October. I love where I am in life now – so thankful for the peace and happiness that exists in my life now. There’s no way I would want to go back in time and I never lie about my age however I, too, have those “am I seriously 40?!?” moments. Your words give me courage and motivation to make my voice heard. After wanting to be a writer my entire life, I finally started writing. That’s been one of the scariest things ever – talk about vulnerability! A magazine called GI Jobs published a few articles I wrote (I am a veteran and helping other vets is a cause that is near and dear to my heart). One of my essays called “Triggers” was published on this site. What kept me from writing for years was fear of failure and thinking that most likely no one cares what I have to say. So being published eight times this year is a BFD for sure for me! I bought a domain and named it “shefindspeace” because my story is in my heart and mind – shefindspeace is the perfect name because I have found peace and that is amazing to me at times because there have been times in my life when I wasn’t sure I would survive. My site isn’t where I want it yet – that will come – I am thinking that just putting the words down here will give me the courage to get it up and going. Connecting with you via social media has truly changed my life and that is a BFD for sure! Happy birthday – I hope 41 is even better for you !

  • Reply Mary Mandeville December 12, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    41 was a pretty rough year for me – diagnosed with rectal cancer and given a dicey shot, initially, at ‘making it.’ Lots of tough experiences to negotiate that year.
    Last week I turned 61, and I don’t take one single minute for granted. So many have bowed out or been taken out in the intervening years, i sometimes drop to my knees at the beauty of still being here. I fight the patriarchy’s constant barrage of messages about becoming useless as I age, but I won’t buy it. Still rocking and rolling.

  • Reply Deb Fennell December 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I am 61. I spent 3 1/2 hours walking/hiking 10 miles with my two big dogs today. Tomorrow I will be skiing at Stowe to write an article for the Stowe Reporter. I have an amazing 24 year old daughter, who I had at age 37. I have loved every age of my life and every age of my daughter’s life. I highly recommend checking out the National Senior Games Association movement http://www.nsga.com/ and Growing Bolder https://www.growingbolder.com/ if you want to see incredibly, amazing women and men, who are not letting age define them. They embrace their age!!!!

  • Reply Shelley December 12, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Wow, so much truth and vulnerability. First, thank you for sharing you, and second, Happy Fuckin Birthday!

    I am 33 years young and am blessed to say that the age game has never had an impact on me. I’ll have to call my Mother to thank her for that gift.

    After reading your words I couldn’t help but read each of the posts above mine. The results: mind blown, heart warmed, and soul empowered! Thank you for that gift.

    One piece that really resonated with me is that you’re damn right, we need to voice our BFD instead of fearing that we might sound like we’re boasting. I am one of those that always errs on the side of modesty…to a fault. So I will take the lesson on board and will attempt to tell it like it is more often.

    As for my BFDs, I’ve traveled to over 25 different countries on five continents in the past 9 years with my amazing wife. All of which we’ve paid for out of our own pockets through hard work. I paid for every dime of my college, university, and graduate school tuition (or at least me and Mr. Sam are sharing the bill right now). I am now able to refer to my wife as my wife, instead of skating around the awkward moments of coming out to every single possible customer I come in contact with in the rural village where I work in Northeast England. Oh, and I’ve been living abroad for two years, something I always assumed would remain in the fantasy category. Oh, and best of all, I truly, absolutely, and utterly, love myself. I couldn’t even think those words when I was in my early twenties let alone actually mean them. I KNOW that it only gets better with age.

  • Reply Angelique December 12, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Happy Birthday! I agree, hitting the 40 mark put my life into a new exciting gear! I started a healthy vegan cafe which has won Best Restaurant and numerous awards, left a long romance-less marriage to finally fall in the love for the first time, have met myriad amazing people, love bigger than ever, and this year I plan to teach yoga, vegan classes, do retreats, and more! I’ve never felt more beautiful inside and out. I have so much to give and can’t wait to serve the world even more! I’m proud to tell everyone I’m 44.

  • Reply Mary Lu December 12, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I am 60 in 2 days. I’m my way to a 1950s Diner and Sock Hop Birthday party being given to me. My BFD is all my friends who are partying with me and and my 17 year old Daughter . You do the math. I have a BFD everyday. I work. I am a master at my job. I am a Nurse of 35 years. Love and live it all.i have heartbreaks every year because as I age my older sibs are dying, and others too. But they are all part of the BFD and will continue to be until the ultimate BFD which will be my death. So beautiful people out there, just love all of it and live everyday as your BFD. Because it is.❤️

  • Reply Tamera December 12, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I turn 51 tomorrow and I don’t care! I can honestly say I’m completely unfazed by that number. It took me a long time to learn that lesson. I’m happy! I’m grateful for this hard earned wisdom! I bought myself a sassy new car yesterday. I know that’s not a big deal for some, but it was an utterly impractical gift to myself and I am enjoying it enormously. I love where I am in my life and I wouldn’t go back to age 25 for a million dollars. Thanks for your great post! (And congratulations on your baby!)

  • Reply Barbara Potter December 12, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I am proud to be your mom and proud to be 67. Hell yes.. Love you and Happy Birthday again.

  • Reply Victoria December 12, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Hello!

    I absolutely loved this post, and so agree that we should celebrate our successes! Getting older is something I think about a lot, having recently turned 30. Sometimes it feels like you have to achieve everything important by this age, when in reality I’m nowhere near.

    My bfd is that at the beginning of this year I finally left my full time job (where my boss has been making me miserable for years) and moved to another state to study full time for a year (up until now I’ve been studying part time on top of work, so never been able to devote myself to it as much as I would like). As a result I’ve recently graduated with an upper first class Honours in Psychology, and will be publishing my thesis in an academic journal next year! I’m so excited because both of these things will allow me to get into the postgraduate program of my choice (hopefully!), and finally achieve full registration as a psychologist (work I absolutely love). I’m also about to go and live in Malaysia for a year, to join my partner who is working over there (I leave in 2 days and am so excited for the adventure, and to be with him again).

    It feels like my 30th year is the best one of my life so far, where the past 6 years of hard work and little success have finally (finally!) come to some fruition. I feel grateful every single day, and can’t wait to see what happens next.

    So glad I found this post so we can all celebrate our successes together 🙂

  • Reply Kim December 12, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    47. BFD and a badass. BFD because I finally broke up with my abusive lover, bulimia, a relationship that lasted 28 irretrievable years, and a badass because I’m heading toward the 2nd half of my life treading pure truth instead of sifting through lies. Own it? I’ll scream it from the rooftops! Forty fucking seven. Happy birthday Jen. You’re a rock star.

  • Reply Pat December 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I’m 59 years old and that’s a BFD. I am a cancer survivor, 4 times over, and that’s a BFD. I am an artist, and that’s a BFD. I am happy and content, and that’s a BFD. My life is a BFD!!!

  • Reply Cherrimae December 12, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I adopted at 49 turned 50 about ten days later and it seems like a few people felt it was a kind of end run to wait until 45 to get the husband the house and the kid for the big 50, but you know what? Mature mom is so much more awesome than didn’t have enough fun mom. I’m 55 and would rather do this than look in a mirror and count lines in the bark. Happy birthday – here’s a gift – research every playground and activity center for twos and under now including indoor for winter. At least ten. You need them all. Promise. Cool moms share. You don’t have to have play dates with the rest.

  • Reply Mel December 12, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    After years of withholding my true self, at 50, I began putting some of my truth out there, writing a twice a month column in my local newspaper. This is a BFD! In the past I would have downplayed it, saying it’s a “little” column, “small” newspaper, or it’s “only” ever other week, but it’s not “small, little or only” anything, it’s a BIG F’ing Deal! I won 2 awards for MY column, for MY writing, better than that though, is that I have people I don’t even know stop me in town & tell me how much they like my column! So, it’s pretty cool to be a writer, a published writer! Happy Birthday to you Jen, and thanks for this piece. I hadn’t heard of you before, but am glad I did today.

  • Reply Kim alexander December 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    This was lovely. Happy birthday and Happy baby! I am 53 and just last month published my first novel, a really BFD! I will be seeing my two step kids for the holidays and they are both fantastic grown folks. Life only gets better.

  • Reply Vanessa December 12, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    My BFD is that at 35, after years of abuse by a psychopathic husband… I’m now divorced. AND!!!! Even more importantly to ME I’ve been offered my first job since leaving the Marine Corps in 2009. I’m going to be a Farm Manager for a small organic veteran-run farm focused on helping vets struggling with PTSD (like myself) find a place of calm and therapy digging in the dirt. I had not told anyone about my new job because….I don’t feel like it matters enough to anybody else. After reading your article, I’m telling the world. Because it truly is a BFD to me! After years of feeling decades older and smaller and diminished, I’m finally embracing my age. It feels good to be 35 and on the cusp of a new adventure. Thank you so much for writing this. It was exactly what I needed to read. Thank you.

  • Reply Elizabeth December 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    My BFD? I just closed “The Diary of Anne Frank” and played “Miep Gies” and it was such an honor to play her. Miep was a real person, she bought food and supplies to the Frank and Van Pels families and she lived to 100. I am 38 and I was cast to play a 25-year-old. I hope that I live to 100 because every year keeps getting better. When I was younger I felt like such a failure because I hadn’t started my acting career- I was busy having babies and holding down the fort. But guess what, ladies? ( and men!) it can happen at any time. The best stuff does not necessarily have to happen in your teens and 20s. In fact, I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.

  • Reply Nisha December 12, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Happy birthday Jennifer!
    And thank you for sharing these precious thoughts that have the potential to change the way we approach life.
    I’m turning 24 in less than a month and while I embrace adulthood, peers my age are depressed about leaving their youth. I’m trying not to let it burst my bubble as getting older means getting that much closer to my achieving my dreams and accomplishing so much BFDs like you have!
    Right now my BFD is that I have landed my dream job as a corrections officer. My father was incarcerated for abusing me as a child, and this job is allowing me to move on from my past and letting go of all the pain that I have been holding on to. Working with offeders and helping to change them in even the slightest ways towards being better human beings has been deeply fulfilling and a BFD to me.
    I wish you continued happiness and love!

  • Reply delisa December 12, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I don’t know if 40 was my best year, but it was A BFD. I got pregnant and my beautiful, awesome son was born. It was a tough time because of the hormones and depression, but my son is the best accomplishment I have to date. He will be 13 in March. So yeah, that makes me 53. BFD. I could go on, but that’s really all you asked for.

  • Reply madeline m December 12, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    50 and on. your. side.

  • Reply Cyndia December 12, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I am 57 years old. I have two children almost your age. My son is 35 and my daughter 34. I have two grandchildren that I never thought I’d have (my daughter was convinced she didn’t want kids either, and miraculously she got two in one go), and tomorrow I celebrate 23 years of marriage to the love of my life. It isn’t easy being married that long. We have fallen in and out of like and love with one another more than once but our respect for each other makes us want to keep trying to get this right.
    My BFD is that I’m a survivor. I’ve survived abuse and major surgeries and abandonment and betrayal. I was a mother for nine years before I learned to be a child myself, and learn how to play. You see, I never got a childhood. I found myself and I found joy. I still suffer from depression and too many feels, and some days it feels like broken glass is being rubbed against my skin. But I’m a survivor, dammit, and that isn’t going to break me either. I’m going to find the love, and the laughter and the beauty in it. I am a Wise Woman, a Crone. I have learned things and I hope like hell someone wants to learn from me one day.

  • Reply Donna December 12, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Happy birthday Jen! I’m 40, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to where I am, and I wouldn’t want to go back, nor alter the appearance of my years with any extraordinary measures. And I don’t give half a you-know-what as to what others think – that’s a gift you really only receive with the passing of years, or at least that was how it was in my case.

  • Reply Sally December 12, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    I just turned 46 less than 2 weeks ago. Went through the worst year of my life greeting divorced from a horrible emotionally abusive man that cheated on me multiple times and finally moved in with a woman 16 years his junior.. Lost a huge part of my confidence in myself and my work.I am a photographer and stopped working for 6 months because I thought I HAD to get a desk job. Fuck that! I and just recently was flown to L.A. for a photo shoot and am being flown to Cancun for another one in Jan. ’16. That is a BFD to me. My work seriously rocks, I rock and my 2 young children know I rock. Many more BFD’s coming my way and I deserve every single one of them!

  • Reply T December 12, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    52. It’s a number, not an identity

    Thanks for your post! Loved it.

  • Reply Rebecca Thompson December 12, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Happy Birthday, inspiring woman! I am 34 and recently quit my job in IT to become a recruiter. I took a giant pay cut and didn’t think twice. I listened to my gut and decided to stop selling my soul. Now I get to help people find jobs every day! It is natural, rewarding and challenging. I am sonorous to tell my two year old about what I do now. Lots of love and light to you and your precious boy to be.

  • Reply L December 12, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    I’m 49 years old. I went to a Christmas party tonight, it was the most fun I think I have ever had at a party. Wonderful food, great music, a highly skilled and entertaining sing along, wonderful people. Life gets better as we practice.

  • Reply Kaley December 12, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Happy birthday! I turned 30 December 1st. That’s a BFD to me! I’ve looked forward to it for a few years now. Everyone around me has made a big deal about 30 in a negative way. I told myself I wouldn’t do that. I cherish the fact I am able to get older. I told myself I would be positive and embrace this new age bracket. It feels empowering and confident on my skin. No longer scared of what’s to come. comforting. Here’s to life, birthdays, girl power and cake!

  • Reply Tota December 13, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Thank you.. I couldn’t have read this at a better time..I turn 40 in 2 days and have been dreading it. It’s supposed to be a BFD to turn 40 but feels like just another bday. My real BFD is actually proposing to my love Tammy and Geting engaged.. After being married once to a man and having 3 boys I am now finally genuinely HAPPY! Life matters for me and I am so grateful to have gotten a chance to feel love and value like I do. Me message to those who doubt, it DOES happen., the giddy butterflies, the fuzzy excitement you see in movies.. When it’s the real love, you get those feelings! They do exist!!! Thank you again for this reading? I needed it!!!!!

  • Reply Pamela W December 13, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Hi Jen! 40 was a great year for me, too! I got divorced and the best part was I got rid of an asshole mother in law.
    I’m 47 now and am featured in the January issue of NM Magazine and am nominated for Women of Influence 2016. Working in Venture Capital, there are very few women and I am trying to change that by mentoring young women and encouraging them to say fuck off more frequently without apologizing afterward.
    You rock. And do do I!!!!!

  • Reply Gillian December 13, 2015 at 9:25 am

    MAN reading these comments has been really badass!
    I am Gillian. I am 28 years old. 2015 is my big fuckin deal. 🙂

    I have to give you a brief life story… I grew up a super fun vibrant young lady. A great student, with wonderful awesome parents, I became a star runner, and I loved LOVED to draw and make collage art.
    At 18 I naively married the first boy I was ever in a relationship with. From age 18-21 I was in an emotionally / verbally / psychologically abusive relationship with this beast. I was alienated from my family and friends, I was told every day that I was not good enough, that I was wrong, that I was stupid, that I was a failure. It took a lot for me to work two jobs, and run track, and get straight A’s in college, AND pay rent for the both of us, and still stay afloat. I honestly have no idea how I did it, but I did. For a long time.

    When I finally realized I wasn’t happy, and that this relationship was hurting me and sapping my of my joy, I got out. I was terrified of this person but I got out. I haven’t spoken to him since.
    But what happened then was insane. After getting verbally assaulted for several years of your young adult life while your brain is still forming, those verbal assaults get sticky. They stick to your brain, and your soul, and every day you wake up hating yourself but you have no idea why.
    I graduated college 5 years ago TODAY ***** big fucking deal, after a shit marriage to an abusive person! My degree was a bachelor of fine arts. I became an artist. :)))))) And 5 years ago tomorrow I moved to California. And do you know what happened in the last 5 years!??!?!!?

    It is summed up in 2015.

    -I entered therapy to, once and for all, deal with the abusive self-talk that stuck to me as a result of that abusive marriage. And I, once and for all, dismissed that man and our relationship into the ether of the past. I AM HAPPY AGAIN IT’S A BIG FUCKING DEAL!!!!! :DDDDDD <— that's mega smiles.
    -I GOT MARRIED TO THE MOST WONDERFUL MAN, who, when I moved to San Francisco, I moved in a block away from and met at the neighborhood dive bar. Serendipitously…. He is my lover and my best friend. He's 46 next monday…. A reminder that age is but a number. We are 18 years apart. Everyone who meets us tells us there is so much love between us. I am thrilled.
    -My freaking amazing husband (!!!) told me early this year that I should pursue my dreams to become a full-time artist – and I quit my stupid jobs and have been working full time on my art. This is my first year back at it after 4 years, I have a studio space, and I am like WAY SUCCESSFUL SO FAR!!! BIG FUCKING DEAL! My work is showing and selling like crazy, and I have been accepted into a big art fair in LA this january. I am making the best art I have ever made and people are actually INSPIRED BY IT. I'm GIDDY!!!!! It's my big break. I am on top of the world right now.

    Sometimes I pinch myself and am like…. WHAT THE FUCK is my life right now!?!?! It's a miracle. I look at my life 7,8,9 years ago and I am just so amazed at the shit I got through, the places I've been and where I am now. I'm so insanely thankful.

    This is getting long but I am so stoked on this article and this post.

    I'm 28- I've been ready to be 30 for the past 8 years. I feel like my body is finally getting to look a little like how I picture my soul- older. I can't wait to get white hair, look like the wise old witch sorceress that I am. 🙂 I fucking love life. And when I am ancient and 100 years old, I will have written my book and I will have so much to remember, so much to look back on. I can even say now if I died tomorrow I could die happy, because I'm doing something important with my life and I've conquered the shit that dragged me down, I've stomped on it and burned it and now I'm on top of my mountain. 🙂

    WAHOO!!!!!! 😀 I love these comments and article so much.
    Thank you!!!!

  • Reply Jane December 13, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I’m 37 years old. This year has been the best year of my life.
    I’m a Gyrotonic personal trainer, and I was able to purchase my last piece of equipment for my business without a loan. This took me 10 years to complete.
    I’m also a modern dancer and choreographer. In January I was invited to show my work in NYC at Judson Church. A venue I’ve want to be in since I was 18.
    This past August I choreographed, currated and produced my first performance series entirely on my own. We not only sold out every show, but I doubled my production budget and paid all of the dancers and tech staff more than I had guaranteed them.
    I also met the most amazing man this year who is teaching me, and I am teaching him, how to love each other.
    It has been a great year. I feel hopeful and satisfied in a way I never have.
    Thank you for this post! It was so inspiring to read.

  • Reply Pauline December 13, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Hello, I just turned 49 a few weeks ago. My 40’s have been the best years of my life! I am grateful everyday to be healthy and alive!! Fourteen years ago after going thru a divorce I packed my bags and moved 3000 miles away to Southern California, living on my own for the first time in my life!! That was a big deal!!! Since then have written and published a book about my whole experience taking the negative and turning it into a positive. This next year every month up to my 50th I will be doing something special for myself to celebrate my 40’s . I am in the process of changing careers, which is a BFD right now at this point in my life! I am a Certified Divorce Life Coach and it is great to be able to help other woman thru a heart breaking time.

  • Reply Ann December 13, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I turn 51 this Wednesday, Dec 16th. I am in a great place in my life! I too had a surprise baby in my 40’s Jen, it is awesome! I call it a surprise because surprises are good. I had a bit of a transition time trying to get used to the idea of being pregnant so late in life. I imagined all that lie ahead; breastfeeding at 44, sleepless nights up with a newborn, and some day a stranger will assume I am the grandma not the mother of my son. He is in first grade now and after being home raising kids for 20 + years I am working full time outside the home, this is my BFD! I am challenged every day in my new job, I got my Masters while home with the kids, and now I am able to apply some of what I have been learning. Shine on! enjoy every minute of your pregnancy!

  • Reply Gabriela December 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I thought being divorced and single at 30 would be the worst thing I could imagine. I believed society when it told me my worth was in my just out of college looks and my ability to keep a man around. But I was wrong and so are they. I am 30, divorced, and single. I am also surrounded by real friends, in love with my career, and just bought my first home. Having finally made friends with who I am, I have more fun in more situations than I ever did in my 20s. I am not pathetic, bitter, and alone like society would have you believe. I am joyous, free, and fulfilled. Aging really is everything. Thank you for your post.

    • Reply Radhika December 14, 2015 at 8:37 am

      I hear you.. You are not alone.. I got divorced before ï touched 30 and ï was barely married for 2 yrs. But to be surrounded with people you love and actually love you back is the best thing. I am at peace and happy 🙂

  • Reply Robin T. Galt December 13, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    My BFD is that I just started a new blog in order to take my writing in a new direction. I said the F word on it for the first time a few days ago and it felt, well, fucking awesome. No more holding back. I hope I get that natural feeling of being onstage someday. I found out my dad was having an affair when I was 25 and I harbored his secret for over a year. That fucked me up real good for awhile! I think it’s time to let some of it out creatively. I am 35. Happy birthday, happy pregnancy!

  • Reply Francene December 13, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I (through my own business) just created a gluten free pecan shortbread cookie dipped in chocolate that is orgasmic. I would love to ship you some! Now that would be a huge BFD for me! Lol

  • Reply Ash December 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I’m 31. Wow. I can hardly remember being 26-30, because I was constantly pretending I was 25. I had a meltdown when I turned 10… Something about getting into double digits and never being able to go back. Also, another breakdown at 13 (and the title “teenager”), and of course again at 20 when I would never again be a teenager, and I was entering a new decade.
    Thank you for your post. I’ve lived a lot of my life anxious and in fear. I conquered a huge fear this past March-August as I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training. I originally planned to only do 100 hours because I was freaking out about actually admitting that I wanted to be a teacher (how vulnerable I’d be! What would people think if I sucked/failed?) I finally decided I’d continue & complete the full 200-hours. Again, I said, but I won’t teach (what would people say if they saw this overweight yoga teacher? I didn’t want their pity or doubt.) Well, guess what? I finished my 200 hours. I was offered teaching gigs at 3 studios. I get to share yoga and all my beautiful imperfections with new students all.the.time. I get to love them and tell them that they are worthy of all the good things in this world. I absolutely love it. I changed my life, conquered a huge fear, and it is a B.F.D.
    My B.F.D.
    ?

  • Reply Susan Black Allen December 13, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Hi! I’m 45, almost 46 and very content with my age. So much more confident and comfortable in my skin than when I was younger. Just baked three different kinds of X-mas cookies with five girls ages, 6-13, and one other mom and we are all on a sugar high! Now heading to light candles for the final night of Hanukkah. Life is complex and beautiful.

    Saw you perform in This is My Brave in L.A. I was in the Boston show. Wishing you a very happy birthday and healthy baby who loves to sleep! Mine is 13 now and she rocks!

  • Reply Jamy Bond December 13, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    I’m 47. I had a son at 41 and a daughter at 45. My forties have been awesome. The BFD of my forties has been noticing that men no longer notice me, and yet, I feel more beautiful than ever. Congrats on being pregnant, and welcome to knowing the deepest form of love allowed. You’ll know exactly what I mean the moment you see and hold your son for the first time. xoxo

  • Reply Joy December 13, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    40 has been the best year of my life, too – so far! (I’ll be 41 next month) Lots of amazing things happened for me this year, but most amazing of all is the writing of my very first song…and 41 more after that! I’m more satisfied and content than I’ve ever been, and I’m so grateful. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  • Reply Beth December 14, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Hi, I’m Beth, I turned 53 recently which sounds just awful but it’s awesome. I started taking guitar lessons in February after a lifetime of fear and excuses. Best thing I’ve ever done apart from having kids. Thanks for listening.

  • Reply Radhika December 14, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Hi.. My bday was last week 10th déc and i just turned 31. Last year was one of my worst since ï got a divorce but this year has been much better. I have travelled every month.. Either for work or for fun which ï have absolutely loved. I celebrated my bday with friends and colleagues and Guay was a BFD because ï felt so blessed and loved that people came out to be with me. I feel grateful for things that ï have experienced even if they pull me down because ï can then appreciate the good things in life. My BFD is that ï am living my life every moment each day and not too concerned with what the future may hold. Life is too short to not appreciate people and things around… Be happy.. It doesnt take much and it’s all in the mind…

  • Reply Alexandra December 15, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Jen,

    This was beautiful, filled with hope and a many hell yeahs! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and great advice. At times I reflect on my age and start to worry. Have I achieved enough? Have I done enough? Am I on the right path? Should I change careers? Why do I give a shit that people like me, or what they think (family, coworkers, connections, friends)?

    And then I read this article; to celebrate the BFD’s, and the gift you have to age. Hell, to even make it to 40 and it being an accomplishment in itself. Be proud, and love the big moments.

    Here are the majority of my BFD’s. My goal is always to top the year before in some way and to always travel to a new place each year. Thank you!

    2009- Road trip from Tampa to NYC, assistant pastry chef at 5 star steakhouse in Tampa, Florida
    2010- Traveled to California for the first time and once I returned, began to attend to the greatest University in the state of Florida, UF (Go Gators!).
    2011- Studied abroad and lived/worked/backpacked in Australia for 6 months.
    2012- Hiked 180 miles of the AT, sold my car, moved to Denver, CO.
    2013- Got a job as a truth marketer (12 out of over 1000 got picked). I got to live on a tour bus for 3 months, tour with 2 music tours and marketed to kids about the truth campaign.
    2014- Moved to NYC, hiked 600 miles across southern France/Northern Spain (completed the Camino de Santiago), backpacked around Europe for another 2 months and got out of an unhealthy 3 year on and off again relationship. After, I moved to Los Angeles, bought a car and put my video production degree to use.
    2015- Became an Associate Producer for a big NBC TV show, “I Can Do That” continuing on to work in Washington State filming for Animal Planet. I then got to travel to Hawaii with a wonderful man I have met and love.
    2016 – I’m terrified, and I don’t know what it will hold. Currently, I’m unemployed and torn between continuing in the entertainment industry, shoot a youtube travel show for the 100 year National Park Service Anniversary or move to a third world country to volunteer my time. What I want to do scares me shitless, but part of me wants to say f*ck it and go.

    Even writing that out makes me feel accomplished. Still, why must we feel so insecure due to the environments we grew up in, the examples of “love” we were given and the need to top the next best thing? Why the f*ck do I compare my success to others? Or work in a career that isn’t fulfilling my spirit/life purpose? Maybe those answers will come through in 2016. I should head to one of your workshops ASAP!

    Thank you – for this article, for letting me write before the end of the year, and for a great reminder – to enjoy the big accomplishments and shift your focus to those who do love you.

    I wish you a happy and healthy new year at the beautiful age of 41.

    Sincerely,
    Ali – 25

  • Reply Mary December 24, 2015 at 8:01 am

    just found you, & you and this post are a big fucking deal. I needed this today. Christmas has always been a source of intense stress for me bc my family and I don’t exactly click if that’s the right word. I was adopted shortly after birth and never really fit in w my adopted families’ many views on life, especially their crazy fundamentalist Christian beliefs. i just turned 40 last month, and 2015 has been one fucked up year. I lost my license to be a physician and though it sounds weird I’m happy about that after struggling w that field and sobriety (unsuccessfully) for too many years. when you have a fucked up childhood where there was no attachment to any adult, having kids sent me reeling bc of course I wanted (& did) attach to them and I think I’ve done a badass job so far w them despite everything bc fuck, they are happy. and by the time I was there age I’d been raped and abused by a neighbor and in my mind anyway was completely alone and raising myself. did I mention I decided to get into herion this year and got arrested? yeah that is so fucked up. but here’s the big fucking deal. I’m sober. legal problems are taken care of. girls are happy despite being waay to much like their mom. I have no job and zero money and probably filing bankruptcy soon. and I was about to have to drive to see my loving “family”. but I’ve just decided to stay away from them til Saturday for peace on Christmas. also I hated working all the time as a dr and was missing out on LIFE and moments w my girls and I’m not anymore. I’m going to figure out a way to do what I always wanted to do and was talked out of bc I mean I’m so smart and clearly that means I needed to be a dr. I’m somehow going to go back to school and getting my phD in ecology &/or evolution, so if I gotta work (& I actually want to very much, bc ya know, money, among other things like how I’d lose my mind as a stay at home mom) I need to be outside and observing and actually living. not dictating and doing patient charts. doctoring these days has very little to do w actual seeing and caring for patients. anyway, sorry for longn post and probably showing myself as waay to big of a fuck up to be 40. but you gotta figure it out sometime. & I think this is my year to finally live for me (& therefore my girls) & do what makes me ok. I’ve never been close to ok but maybe just maybe I can be ok. so that would be a big fucking deal for 2016 if I can pull that off. oh & have a big lottery win so I can actually go to school to realize that dream of the phD. here’s to fuck off 2015 you sucked (thanks to myself & many fuck ups). and hello 2016, I’m gonna do you right, or something close to mostly right most of the time.

  • Reply Linda December 25, 2015 at 7:11 am

    I am 59 and have loved your videos…. my workshop with you in Princeton. Thank you for spreading the words you do…. on all the issues you do. Touches all of us, at all ages. Still a work in progress here, turning off those old childhood voices that follow me around… letting go of things that no longer serve me… and inviting into my life all the things I truly long for. May this, my 60th year coming up, 2016, be a year of JOY, being truly authentic …. giving myself permission to become and fly …. and all the things I dared never to allow myself to dream of. Thanks for inspiring all of us to do this.

  • Reply Karin January 2, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    As I turned 45 in December of 2015, I reviewed the past year and my BFD’s (Big Fucking Deals) that year. I didn’t want to just dwell on the last 6 months of loss and disappointment. Or the agony of feeling my time these past 365 days mattered. Or the feeling of inadequacy of not achieving my lofty goals in life, so I tracked my 2015 calendar and these moments are the ones that stood out for me: declared and became a writer again, took 3 children’s lit classes, wrote 4 picture books and a middle-grade novel plus several short stories and poems, read lots of children’s books, did 30 days of consecutive yoga, premiered and screened a movie I produced the year prior, saw Idina Menzel live at The Hollywood Bowl, helped my dying friend (with Cancer) at medical visits and at home, helped my (blind) friend pack up her apartment (for renovation), helped two other close friends move into new homes, moved my dying friend out of his apartment and donated his belongings, lost my job of 7 years, lost a car, applied to grad school, got rejected from grad school, lost 5 people in my life to death in two months, became connected to my extended family, became closer to my family and husband’s family, reconnected with a community I lost touch with, saw Stan Lee speak live, got Invisalign, applied to a job at DreamWorks Animation and Walt Disney Studios, had lunch on the Disney and DreamWorks lots, saw Steve Martin in-person, bought a $300 evening gown, got pre-melanoma cancer mole removed, attended Women In Animation mixer, worked with Los Angeles Housing Department to secure my tenant rights to my dwelling, received reimbursement to personal damages from a flood, helped a friend with the illness and loss of his cat, organized sympathy gifts and cards for two neighbors, empowered neighbors to file a claim with LAHD to get issues corrected in apartment complex, got the hazardous debris removed by the swimming pool in my apartment complex, helped a stranger move his scooter off the road after a wreck, talked with a 95 year-old woman (stranger) in a donut shop (for 2 hours), let the meth addict “friend” go, cast and read a character (with a puppet) for a friend’s short film reading, attended a friend’s new play reading, attended many live theatre performances, critiqued them all with my husband, went to the mountains, hiked over 50 miles, had the most incredible foot massage and lots of great sex (with my husband), sold my personal items at a yard sale, expanded my humility, tried to sell my motorcycle, organized my home office, made a mess of my home office, played the piano again, sang “Let It Go” at a karaoke bar, celebrated multiple birthdays of my beautiful friends, attended two funerals and two memorials, visited New York and Ohio (twice), visited Vermont, won money, attended my first writer’s conference, had a few beach walks and lots of tea and lunches with friends, worked and completed 10 months with a life coach, did jury duty, made a new friend, went to my first Pageant of The a Masters (in Laguna Beach), looked at art, went on unemployment, listened to new and old music, lit lots of candles, prayed, decorated countless Christmas trees and wealthy people’s homes, celebrated 7 amazing years of marriage to my husband, met up with an old theater colleague, lost 10 pounds, gained 7 pounds, lost 7 pounds, gained 3 pounds, ate some incredible food, and chocolate, had my cat, Stella shaved like a lion, hung out with my 3 cats at home in the heat of summer, logged over 80 hours in my local public library and took out several books on loan, took massive amounts of photos, had epoch conversations with my BFF’s, transferred to new medical insurance, met Marianne Williamson (in the ladies room at the movie theatre), watched new and old movies, had many dinners with film colleagues, attended The Getty Museum with close friends, had a backstage tour of the conservation of paintings (at The Getty), had lunch with a friend who got fired, visited sick friends in hospitals, read and listened to The Desire Map audible book and several other self-help publications and recordings, helped a family member with her separation/divorce, rode the Los Angeles Metro (bus) for two months, further expanded my humility, shopped around for an armoire, joined Freecycle, got Amazon Prime, gave food to the homeless, donated money to homeless cats, visited an endangered cat sanctuary, visited a wolf sanctuary, attended live puppet shows, attended the ballet, saw Disney’s FROZEN on ice show, cooked some fantastic homemade meals, shared them with neighbors, drank wine, got a credit card, created debt, volunteered to be of service at a community meeting, received unexpected money, went to the Korean spa, Disneyland and bought a new car!

    • Reply Stephanie May 1, 2017 at 7:31 am

      Sounds like a year well lived!

  • Reply JK February 16, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    I wil be 45 in September and finally had the courage to leave my 20 year career “pay the bills job” after I had a migraine/panic attack/nervous breakdown. Now it’s time to pursue my passion and LIVE each day. I dumped my sorry excuse of a 5 year relationship, got real, and found the love of my life who believes in me and supports me unconditionally (he was there all the time as a friend). Life feels so exciting and happy now. Life finally feels authentic and true.

  • Reply Andrea Howell March 13, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    What a great blog! I have a good friend who celebrates SPV’s.. which are Small Personal Victories.. but I love your BFD’s! Are you kidding! Yes and always. Sometimes we need to admit that being human is freaking hard as hell. Recently I was able to be present with a man in some physical spaces and after some horrendous sexual abuse like 15 years ago- I would have thought no way. But I was present! I was safe and it was good! Holy S!! That’s a BFD for sure! REDEMPTION! Not to mention that today- in a hard hard season of healing- I got out of bed and ‘adulted’ so freakin’ well! BFD! You gotta celebrate those things…. we are all human and we’re all trying to figure this s* out.

  • Reply Elizabeth November 21, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    This is so powerful and inspiring! I also struggle with sharing my age but reading stories like this gives me confidence.

  • Reply Cara Lopez Lee December 28, 2016 at 8:30 am

    I’m 53, and I’ve always told my age, though my mom was appalled. I can see why, because I have started to experience ageism: some strangers are slower to acknowledge me and quicker to dismiss me. But lying won’t change that – they make those decisions on sight. Change is only possible if we tell the truth. One thing I love about my fifties: I waste less time on things that aren’t meaningful. The day I turned 50, it was like something in my brain turned on and said, “Okay girl, halfway point! No time for this, or that, or that. You have more important stuff to do, so get to it!”

  • Reply Stephanie May 1, 2017 at 7:30 am

    I am 45, turning 46 in two months. My 40’s have been the best yet! My Big Fucking Deal was setting out on a career I love (started my Master’s in Counseling at 40, graduated at 43) and have just been asked to join a group practice in my state listening to a very particular group of people. I cannot say more as it’s not my place to say, yet, but I am over the moon and honored. I will be teaching classes and sitting with people, listening to others, honoring their journey. Yoga is part of my self-love. It will keep me healthy while I let those I sit with, live their lives, learn their lessons, and find some peace, without my getting in their way. Showing up for others (family, friends, clients) is my Biggest Fucking Deal, EVER!

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