I turned 40 a few weeks ago. This birthday has been a moment of celebration, of being proud of where I am in my life, of what I’ve achieved. I made some good headway on my 40 by 40 list, there was the ill-fated “half half marathon” in Orlando, everything led up to the day I turned 40 as the goal or deadline.

We held a dinner party for a few of our closest friends to celebrate and early on in the evening I had a moment. One of my friends arrived with big hugs and cheer, and in an excited voice said “So 40! So what’s next? What’s the big PLAN?”

40He was so sure that my turning 40 meant I had a vision for the next one, five or ten years, that this was not the END of a journey leading up to this milestone, but a BEGINNING for what was to come next.


I had no answer. Everything I had been working on was leading UP TO that date, but other than “more of the same,” I had no plan for what 40 and beyond would look like. To be honest, it kid of freaked me out.

So…now what? So far, 40 is awesome. But as for what’s to come, that requires some more thought. What does 40 mean to me, other than just a number on my chronological scale? What does the 40-year old Gillian do that 1-39 Gillian didn’t? What do I let go?

As I get older (did I really just type that?) it is becoming clearer each day that I want to focus on what MATTERS. My family, my friends, and making a difference. But what do each of those things look like? What does focusing on my family look like? I’m still working a crazy intense job with long hours and lots of stress. What about my friends? I hardly have time to see anyone now…how will that change? And how can I make a difference?

I feel like I’m on the edge of a major life shift…not in career, or lifestyle…but in purpose. I want to live ON PURPOSE. I want to live WITH PURPOSE.

What that means, I am still figuring out. But I’m no longer freaked out about not knowing…I’m excited.