The exact moment – while I was writing this.
I was dreading 40 for a while. But when the clock hit midnight and it was 2020, I didn’t really care anymore. My 30s were good but some health issues kept them from being great – some new treatments are making me hopeful for my 40s. So with that frame of mind, I started planning the celebration.
My bestie Julie, who also turns 40 this month, and I were going to do a cute best friends photo shoot, complete with smash cake, matching outfits, and balloons. We talked about taking a cruise. My husband and I were planning a vacation. My birthday fell on the last day of school so I was counting on a raucous happy summer, happy birthday happy hour with my co-workers.
But alas, 2020 has had different plans for all of us, and my 40th celebrations are just one of the casualties.
After over a year of planning and prepping, I thought that being stuck at home would be a perfect time to launch my blog. I had been putting it off because I just didn’t think I could churn out the content that it needed, and I thought stay-at-home orders would give me no more excuses. But teaching from home proved to be more work than I previously anticipated, and the last thing I wanted to do after teaching from my home office all day was to continue to sit at this computer screen even longer.
So as the school year wrapped up, I thought a birthday cake would be the perfect blog post to re-engage. I read through tons of recipes prepared to create my own original one to post here. I thought about how I could decorate it for the perfect, instagrammable content.
And then I said “Fuck that” and decided to create a cake for ME.
In the blogosphere and elsewhere, there is so much pressure to “create content.” It’s rare to see people just doing something they like without trying to figure out how to turn it into a side hustle anymore. And hell, if you can do something you like and make some extra cash from it, do it!
But sometimes, just every once in a while, create some content for yourself.
I decided I was going to make an extravagant cake for myself. I had the time, and it was something I could do to celebrate when every other plan was taken away.
I wanted it to look pretty because I am worth it, not for the ‘gram (although she is going to be posted there, too, because she is gorgeous).
I wanted almond and raspberry and I didn’t have to care if anyone else liked those flavors, because I won’t see anyone to share it with besides the hubs, anyway.
I decided to make every component from scratch – raspberry preserves, macarons for decoration filled with raspberry curd, amaretto cake, and raspberry frosting.
I even remade the macarons because I didn’t like how the first batch looked.
I bought new cake pans because I wanted a certain shape and size.
I licked the beaters. I even sucked the last bit of frosting out of the frosting bag.
I stayed up late. I danced and listened to music. I experimented with new piping tips.
And I created something gorgeous. For myself.
I named her Sheila. Sheila got a photoshoot with the works. Meaning, I got out the good camera.
Then I put on my brand new sequin dress. And a crown. And false eyelashes. And poured myself a mostly-champagne mimosa for breakfast. We are getting takeout and my sister is throwing me a Zoom karaoke party tonight, but I have nowhere to go. But I can wear sequins for myself.
Whether you are a mom, crafter, teacher, seamstress, baker, writer, photographer, artist, etc., so many of us put so many beautiful things out into the world. Don’t forget to create those beautiful things in your world, as well. Make sure your labors of love are also labors of self-love. Make something just for you.
Damn, 40 feels wise.