Turning 40

Me'Shell Baylor MSHS
4 min readApr 26, 2021

Reflecting on Four Decades of Life’s Bliss

(Image taken by Meshell Baylor)

W. B. Pitkin best said “Life begins at forty.” I was sitting in my patio drinking wine by the fire and I could not believe that I actually turned 40 years old. Number one I still feel like the same old girl rushing to class with her books in her arms, I still feel like the same woman who had 4 beautiful babies as if it were yesterday but 40 is a symbolism of transcendence.

Turning 40 represents a new transition in life. With more than two decades of living life as an adult, the abundance of life lessons learned and experiences give you clarity. In the last couple of days I thought about so much that has occurred within my life. One of my great professors Dr. D Henson called it a “reflection period”. A reflection period is a transition into an age of clarity reflecting back on life’s milestones within yourself.

On my 40th birthday I took a minute while driving with my mother to pray and thank God for reaching age 40. We drove to a spa called EL Marie in Torrance. I was greeted in love with some of my closest friends; we sat drank mimosas and begin our pampering session. It is a blessing to see women of every age range, color and ethnicity in one room sharing their life, joys and stories. The day ended with a private dinner and a prayer facilitated by my good friend and colleague from graduate school, I went home fulfilled said a prayer of thanks and went to bed.

(Self taken images by Meshell Baylor)

The next day I was up for a 5 am hike with a girlfriend whom I known for years. We took a hike up to the Palos Verdes Hiking Ocean Trail, and threw rocks into the water. For each rock we had to give words of affirmations to represent it, I picked up a white colored rock and threw it in the ocean saying the following.

Rock #1. I accept the things I cannot change

Rock #2. I am so grateful to be alive and to have my family

Rock #3. I will never give up on my dreams and ambitions

Rock #4. Continue to make lemonade when life gives you lemons.

Rock #5. A piece of chocolate will not break the scale

Rock #6 Your as young as you feel and age is nothing but a number!

Rock #7.For every milestone or accomplishment pat yourself on the back

Rock #8. Life goes on continue to move forward

Rock #9. People come into your life for a reason, lifetime or a season don’t get bent out of shape if they ghost you.

Rock #10. Only a handful of people will truly, unequivocally , genuinely care about you. It pays to know who they are. After throwing rocks we hiked backed up the cliff and shared a laugh and embrace.

Day 3 of my 40th birthday adventure I was kidnapped by two of my best gal pals to the Romance and Dance pole dancing class. Women of color in every age in shorts and heels taking pole dancing class.

The nervous mom in me began to gaze at the door ready to run for the hills but since it was my birthday I stayed. I learned how to strut around the pole, dance exotically and last but not least swing from a pole like Tarzan. At the end of class I was given a happy birthday dance by the instructor and greeted with hugs. The next morning I felt like I was hit by a train every inch of body was in agony but like they say no pain no gain.

What I took from that experience was two things #1. pole dancers deserve an academy award for their outstanding talent in upper body strengthen and #2. age is nothing but a number my instructor was age 47 swinging from the pink pole like an Olympic gold medalist. I closed out my last night of my birthday with my four beautiful children watching the premiere of Mortal Kombat on HBO MAX.

40 represent a sense of awakening to new experiences and opportunities. We can reflect on the past but keep our eyes toward the future. As we as women hit a certain age within our lives; remember each transition of age represents a certain meaning in life, be receptive to embracing it with open arms and when you feel like you need a little encouragement look in the mirror wink one time at yourself and say not bad for my age !

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Me'Shell Baylor MSHS

Author of I’m A Little Big Brother 2016 editor’s choice LA Parent Magazine for Entering the World of Oz with Justin Author of poem To All the mothers!