I turned 40 years old this month. Gosh, that feels like such a significant number when heard in the context of “over the hill”. In my teens, the big 40 felt like such a far distance away. I had my vision of where I wanted my life to go and what I’d be doing. The dream I had for myself was to finish medical school and be serving the Peace Corps on assignment in Africa, somewhere.  In between my life in Africa, I wanted to pursue music composition, art, literature and climb mountains.

Food, gardening, cooking, photography and blogging were never on the list. In fact, blogging and internet never existed back then. Cell phones—what?

I never reached the shores of Africa (yet), nor did I ever accept my acceptance to Yale. Writing a Broadway musical never happened and I’m so currently out of shape that even hiking up my local trails is traumatic on my lungs. Now my days consist of photographing client work with Todd, plenty of traveling, coming home to two very happy dogs, writing our food blog and digging in the garden dirt.

Though I’m far from my high school graduation goal list, I’ve never felt more successful, content, balanced, happy, in love and most importantly, young than I do this month.

I’ve had my fair share of challenges and struggles, but this 40-year-old-over-the-hill thing feels like just the beginning for me. If  anyone were to tell me that I have now reached the pinnacle of my life, I’d say that they’re far from right.  All the mistakes and failures I’ve experienced during my thirties made me even more ready for my fourties. This next decade of wisdom, new beginnings, friendships, love and calmness is really what I’ve been yearning for.

The one consistent dream I had when I was in high school and that am still living today is that I’m pursuing what I love, what makes me happy and with the people that matter most to me. I’m reminded of this every day when I wake up, do my daily work and connect with all of you.

Thank you all for making my life so complete and making my turn to 40 so exciting.

happy days. xoxo

-diane

So much of what makes me happy is seeing other people doing what they love so well. These are some of my happy finds that keep me young in mind and spirit:

Sweet Jennie’s yummy brown butter pumpkin seed cookies remind me that Halloween is around the corner.

and other sweet Jenny has a new cookbook out! and a new baby boy. Talk about busy.

and so do the beautifully humble trio of Veronica, Vangie & Yvette ! I mean a cookbook, not a baby.

Jessica’s brussels sprouts breakfast hash topped with fried egg is omg

These funny frankenstein cookies are ridiculously cute

This grilled turkey and brie cranwich recipe and photo is killer. Again, omg.

Kristen has a gorgeous new blog design. It’s beautiful and happy place.

And finally, everything that Bakerella makes keeps me young and smiling. Here’s the cookbook promo that Todd and I produced for her new Cake Pop Holidays Cookbook. Isn’t Angie and her cake pops just the cutest thing ever?! Has anyone made a cake pop of her “dork wave” yet? I’ll buy the first 4 dozen.

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