Today I turned 40. If you had asked me years ago what I envisioned my 40th birthday would look like I probably would have said Vegas, all the glitz, glam and excitement, the whole go big or go home mentality. However, a lot has changed over the years including what matters the most to me. The glitz and glam is really not me and never really has been. I am a real simple gal who adores slowness, experiences and moments. The past 4 days we have spent on Hornby Island was everything I could dream about having for my 40th birthday and more and completely me.

Listening to my daughter giggle and play with new friends warmed my heart and brought the biggest smiles to my face. She has such an incredible way of making friends so easily that I am in awe of, and after the year and a bit we have had where we have had limited interactions it was pretty incredible to watch special bonds be formed so easily.

It really is the simplest things that give me the most joy and I have learnt this is what I crave. Whether that was watching sunsets that lasted till 10:30pm while listening to the ocean hit the rocks or morning runs to new beaches. I loved the slow pace of island life.

For me turning 40 is just a number, it is not a restriction in terms of what or when to accomplish something. Age shouldn't define you and on that note age shouldn't be the reason why you need to do something. I guess what I am trying to say there isn't a 'normal' age to do what feels right to you. There is no such things as too late or too old. Start a family when it feels right to you - whatever way that looks like to you, complete your marathon when you want, go back to school anytime, follow your dreams whenever but don't let a number tell you that its 'normal' to do it, do it because you want to not because of the pressure you feel in regards to a certain age. Seriously if I learnt anything the last year is that there really is no such thing as 'normal'. I think we need to do better to normalize societies expectations for any of age.

So here are some of my thoughts:

Do what you love - it's never too late to do so : For me I didn't actually discover or chase my dreams till my 37th year. Not everyone understood my decision to pursue photography full time and that was ok - I often feel misunderstood as I tend to follow my heart but I know in my heart of hearts the decision I made almost 3 years ago was the best decision for myself and my family.

Stop comparing : I didn't have my little girl till I was 33 and for various reasons we have decided to not have another in terms of myself getting pregnant. My labour and first few months were traumatic and have had lasting effects mentally and emotionally on me and as a result I have struggled personally with anxiety. However, this is not to say we haven't ruled out expanding our family in other ways. I have learnt to stop comparing and start doing what feels right for our family.

Apologize to your kids: My 39th year has been unlike any other and I think I learnt more about myself than any other year- thank you COVID. I learnt that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be but I also learnt that it is ok to have your weak moments. I messed up a lot, lost my temper and in a way lost myself a bit. Whenever this happened, I would acknowledge and apologize. I am not perfect and showing my little love the behavior I expect of her when she she is having a difficult time has been a game changer. After all I have only been a parent for 6 years and so I am constantly learning every day which means sometimes I will make mistakes, I am not perfect and that is ok.

Ask why more often: Those that know me well know my obsession with the 'power of why'. I ask and start with Why in almost every area of my life. Asking why gives me a deeper understanding into the reason for doing something but also motivates me. It honestly has been my tool for making some incredible difficult decisions - like moving from Australia to Canada with no jobs lined up or quitting a stable job to focus solely on photography. My why is my purpose and has lead me on the most incredible adventures 🙂

Let go of expectation of others: one of the things I talked about a lot on a team I used to Coordinate is that you can't control others, you can only control your own actions. It took me a very long time to stop worrying about stuff I can't control and to let go in general of the expectations I have in others. In the end I can only control my actions. you do you is my motto.

As a mom I want my little love to be able to look up to her mama and know that anything is possible at whatever age you chose. I want her to enjoy the moments and cherish the memories. These past few days were ones I know she will look back on as a pretty magical childhood memory and honestly that is the best birthday present a girl can ask for. The world opened up just enough to allow us to get away to a little piece of paradise and I am so incredibly grateful to have had this time with my amazing crew, a beautiful caring sweet 6 year old and the most amazing, kind husband.

Bring on 40 - I am so ready 🙂