My 40th Birthday!

I reached a major milestone last Wednesday. Some people call it over the hill, some call it the new 30, I call it (in a mumbled whisper) 40. I began my fourth decade with equal parts trepidation and shock. How can I possibly be 40?!

The Husband turned 40 a few weeks before, and he had a completely opposite outlook. Look how awesome I am at 40! he kept saying. Admittedly, we are doing pretty awesome this year. We did spend the last five months in Europe.

But it’s different for women. Beauty, family, and social standards are harsher, and practically shouted at you everywhere you look. And now 40 and childless by choice? Oy vey. People have A LOT to say about that.

I got a hydrafacial the other day and told the lady I just turned 40 and she said congratulations. I thought, what an interesting response. As I pondered that while she scrubbed and suctioned my face, I realized it is worth celebrating. There are so many people who don’t make it 40, so many people who feel lost at 40, and here I am, (mostly) thriving at 40.

And my birthday was spectacular in the most London fashion. We started the day with a lunch reservation at Gymkhana. Widely considered one of the best Indian restaurants; they even received their Michelin star just eight months after opening!

We both had the lunch tasting menu. It started with a selection of pappadum and chutneys that were light and delicious. That was quickly followed by aloo chaat that was so good it nearly brought tears to my eyes. It was flavorful and spicy, cool and crunchy, and I would eat it every day if I could.

For our next course I had the beetroot chops pao and The Husband had the kasoori chicken tikka. The beetroot was fantastic, despite the fact that I hate beets. The Husband said the chicken was one of the best he’s ever had.

For the main course, I had goan prawn curry and The Husband had chicken butter masala. It came with saag maka, dal lasooni, naan, and rice. Like the previous courses, it was perfection. Hands down, this is the best meal I’ve ever had. In my life. Of any kind. So delicious that we have another reservation before we leave London next month.

They also gave me a cute little birthday dessert but thankfully did not sing to me. I really hate that. Dessert was so tasty and just the right size for us to share after eating so many courses.

After lunch, we wandered around by the Thames, until is was time for MacBeth at Shakespeare’s Globe. Every time we’ve come to London (this is our fourth time) I’ve wanted to see something at Shakespeare’s Globe but it never works out. The theater is an open air theater with standing room on the floor, but the rest of the tickets are seats. The seats are hard wooden benches (similar to pews) but you can rent a cushion and I’m so glad we did.

Because it’s open air, the comfort of the show is dependent on the weather. It was so freaking hot and there wasn’t a breeze, making it very uncomfortable. Someone on the floor actually passed out. Because it was so hot and I’m apparently less tolerant in my 40s, we left at intermission.

We ended the evening with drinks on the river, with a great view of the Tower Bridge.

Despite my hesitance to turn 40, I had a wonderful birthday. I’m glad The Husband didn’t acquiesce to my initial request to lock myself in my bedroom all day and pretend it wasn’t my birthday.

And if you are planning on coning to London, make a reservation at Gymkhana right now!

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