Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I don’t like to make a big fuss about my birthday every year because I’m not a fan of aging, but turning 40 is kind of a big deal. I think it’s natural when you hit certain milestones to pause, reflect, take stock of things. Am I where I expected to be at this point in my life? What’s working and what isn’t? Am I on the right path? If you asked me 10 years ago to predict where I would be right now, there’s no way I could have predicted this. I feel like the luckiest person alive. I’m not saying I’m 100% satisfied with every aspect of my life. What I need to work on the most is myself, the things I want to improve about myself. Most people who know me might laugh at the idea that I’m not 100% satisfied with myself. I tend to give the impression that I think I’m perfect. I am pretty awesome, but not without my flaws. Every new day offers the potential to be a better version of yourself, and I want to work toward being kinder, more generous, more compassionate, less petty, less insecure, less lazy. There’s a lot I need to work on, but there’s a lot I like about myself too. The very best parts about me and my life are the people in my life, and I am so incredibly grateful for them. I’m not usually this much of a cornball but old age has made me sentimental. I decided to embrace the latest version of myself by celebrating in style.

For my birth week we rented a six bedroom villa with a three person staff to cater to six couples living the good life in Puerto Vallarta. The first half of the week was party time with friends and the second half was family time, for which my mom and the kids flew in. The villa was optimally configured for sprawling out, relaxing, and lounging poolside or on the beach with a drink. Luz kept our rooms clean, Sergio prepared our daily meals, and Emilio took care of things like calling taxis and serving food and drinks. Tom bonded with Emilio so much that the day after we left Puerto Vallarta, Tom sighed, “I miss Emilio. I wonder if he’s thinking about me too.” I’m pretty sure Emilio didn’t miss having to unclog the toilet after Tom’s transgressions. I myself had a hard time adjusting to the “no toilet paper in the toilet” rule. The minor inconveniences were far outweighed by the luxuries. The villa was situated on one of the nicest beaches in Jalisco; soft sand, beautiful water, never overly-crowded. It was great to chill and hang out, which is what we did most of the time. We did go out to dinner on the night of my birthday but I was exhausted by that time. I blame Niah. She knows what she did. I perked up a little after dinner when we stopped by a salsa club to listen to live music. The following day was a bit of an accidental orgy when we all got spa treatments in a group setting. I like my friends and everything but not enough to choose to be naked in the same room with them.

Throughout the week various individuals would say to me, “All of your friends are such nice, down-to-earth, cool people!” And I would be like, “Duh.” I don’t hang out with assholes. If you’re my friend you should be proud because it means you’re definitely not a loser. I have to give a special shout out to Brian and Ariana because they’re the only friends who have been to each of my “milestone” birthday parties since I started throwing them at 30. It takes dedication and loyalty to put up with me for that long, and to travel halfway around the globe to visit me during an existential crisis. We share common interests like extravagant tasting menus and shirking parental responsibilities. The walking food tour we did together in Old Town Puerto Vallarta was fantastic because it involved both.

And just when I started to miss the kids, they showed up. Family time consisted of good food, a boat trip to Yelapa, snorkeling in freezing cold water, basking in sunny warm weather, and just appreciating our many blessings. It was perfect, and exactly how I wanted to enter my 40s.