TURNING forty is like turning over a new leaf. Suddenly, you're on a whole new level and expectedly grown up! In my life, I have seen people make such a big fuss about saying goodbye to 39 with special birthday cards, cakes and insanely big parties. It is a milestone, the age when actual life begins. (That's what they say.)

July is my birth month and I am turning forty this year. It would have been just like any other birthday but the whole universe has ganged up to make me feel that forty is a BIG DEAL. Hmp.

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I am feeling a bit ambiguous and rollercoaster-y about my inevitable 'maturity'.

First, I really don't feel forty most of the time. I guess it comes from working with a lot of people who are at least ten years younger than me. I am practically Jurassic but I would like to believe that I managed to stay updated, knowing what jejemons are and able to recognize and sing songs by Justin Bieber, like that's the true measure of an eternally cool uh, old person.

I just realized I've been "out of the calendar" for ten years!! Somehow, I knew I was pushing forty when I began watching my favorite MTV's on Rewind. I know that DVD's evolved from the Betamax and a few years ago, I started referring to twenty year olds as kids!

Welcoming forty should be done responsibly. I feel strongly about getting a thorough medical checkup. Being a cancer survivor (colon cancer stage 3) makes it imperative for me, but you could do it too, to know where you stand health-wise. As forty-year-olds-to-be, have that executive check up. I know it's scary but have it done anyway. And for those who haven't done this when you turned forty, it's never too late. Oh and don't forget to have your eyes checked. Presbyopia usually sets in when you turn forty. So if you've been noticing you're having difficulty reading your text messages, you may need reading glasses now. I do feel forty (or older) when my knees scream unmentionable expletives at me. I labor over getting up and moving. I hear the popping joints when I stretch. I feel old and rickety, and menopause hasn't even set in yet! :P

We cannot stop time from passing. Days will become years and every year, we ARE older. I hope you don't panic and go into a midlife crisis just by turning forty.

If you're a single woman like me, I sincerely wish you never get called a cougar if it makes you uncomfortable. Honestly, I think it's creepy. Being older and single doesn't make us predatory; we're really just not as young as we used to be and um, not married.

If you're a single guy, I hope no one assumes you are gay (not that being gay is a bad thing). That would really dampen your chances finding Ms Right because she will be thinking of you as the perfect best friend and shopping partner. Errrrr...

For those who are married, in a relationship and have children...Congratulations! You constantly remind me that if I had done the same, I would have children in college by now! Celebrate your accomplishments on the homefront and be ecstatic for finding your one true love!

Age may be just a number, but 40 should help you assess how your life has been so far. Have you done well? Have you been a good person? Have you learned well from life's lessons?

It's really more than a reason for you to spend endless hours staring at the mirror looking for crow's feet and other weird-named wrinkles on your face or assessing how much your love handles have grown over the years. It is appreciating how much your significant other still loves how you look and who you are, even when you've blown out of your known proportions or missing most of your hair. And you have mini-you's who love you unconditionally!!!

It's more than being concerned over success and financial stability; it's finding your life's passion that turns work into play despite the challenges that come with it.

More than turning a year older, think of it as being a year wiser. Now that you're turning over a new leaf, be grateful for new chances and better opportunities. Embrace it! Choose to be happy about whom you are and what you've accomplished rather than worrying about being older. Be yourself. Do what your heart desires. Laugh much and often. Be grateful. Learn to appreciate. Forty is the new thirty. Yeah! :)