Hello 39

I turn 40 exactly 12 months from today. Sadly, this is how I’ve been viewing 39 — like it’s a non-year, simply the long meander to my forties. Because I’ve loved my thirties. It’s been an equal mix of the WORST that could have happened happening and the BEST that could have happened happening. It’s been shocking darkness and incandescent light. It’s been my decade to not only finally and fully inhabit who I am but also like who I am (it saddens me to think of how much of my 20s i disliked who I was).

But dammit, I still have three hundred and sixty six days (it’s a leap year! Bonus extra day!) left to rock the shit out of my 30s. And I fully intend to.

39 things to do before I turn the big FOUR OH!

1. Hold my own book in my hands and smell the paper
2. Go on a book tour of North America
3. Pass my driving test
4. Have sex on the morning of my 40th birthday with the man I adore

(Those are the big four (oh!) for me. Two of them will happen. One feels achieveable if i practice really hard. One feels completely impossible right now. I’ll let you guess which is which ;)

5. Meditate with some sort of regularity
6. Do a sleepover at my house with Noah
7. Adopt a kitty
8. Frame my three fave LPs from the 80s and put them on my wall
9. Watch my sister get married (August!)
10. Spend time with my auntie in the summer
11. Sit in Denise’s garden (July!)
12. Learn how to properly blow-dry my hair
13. Get a massage
14. Try acupunture
15. Take a painting class with Flora Bowley (October!)
16. Move my body more
17. Meet Ms Gabby
18. Sample some Monmouth coffee (done on Friday!)
19. Have a girlie sleepover with Elizabeth (June!)
20. Walk under the Linden trees when they bloom
21. Write more poetry
22. Drive myself to the nearest beach for lunch
23. Start writing a column for a national magazine
24. Go to Powell’s in Portland
25. Continue being an ex-smoker (three years!)
26. Spend an afternoon with Hiro
27. Go to a live comedy show
28. Burn through the last of my Polaroid stash in a blaze of glory
29. Watch more sunrises
30. Including one in Santa Barbara with Lisa
31. Dust off my Hasselblad
32. Continue juicing every day
33. Kiss a sexy boy
34. Have my first pedicure
35. Get a streak of red put in my hair (mid-life crisis)
36. Help Sas and my sister build their dreams
37. Go back to New York City
38. Plan my next tattoo 
39. Continue loving this little boy with all my heart

* * * * *

In other unrelated (but actually really quite related news, now i think about it) registration for the first ever run of Blogging from the Heart opens in an hour at 4pm GMT. I am VERY excited about this course, you guys. Like…. I might explode. Can’t wait to share it with you xo

56 responses
  1. Graciel

    it’s going to be a spectacular year, leading quite neatly up to #4 one year from today. promise. xo

  2. Lis

    Happiest of birthdays beautiful you! I am ten years ahead of you … feeling the pinch of 50 (!) approaching, so 40 sounds downright baby birdish :) My 40s have been the best period yet … so much growth, so much settling into who I am and what I really want to do with this life … I wish you much joy and adventure and love in the years ahead. Oh, and lots of cupcakes!

    I just looked up your Chinese sign – you are a strong yang water ox and should take care with your health this coming year … so orders to nurture yourself some more!
    xo Lis

  3. nova

    You always hear that __ decade is the best, but I have a friend who is 42 now and she is loving life like crazy, totally living it up. I also know ladies in their 50s who say they would never go back. It’s all in the way you frame it I suppose.

  4. Liz C.

    Happy Birthday, dear Susannah!!! May all your dreams come true this year:)

  5. Shandi

    Happy birthday! I hope that you manage to accomplish many of the above plans. :)

    I turn 30 this year and am having a little reassessment of sorts, as well.

  6. Robby

    This is a wonderful post. Happy birthday.

  7. Jill

    I might just be as excited as you are about the class (just registered: yay!), heart exploding like a volcano of love, spilling over, catching fire.

    And I’m sure you’ve already been told, but the 40s (I just turned 44 in November) are amazing. There’s a certain wisdom and ease and kindness that you develop that wasn’t there before. Wishing you the happiest of birthdays! XOXO

    P.S. I selected my hotel for the World Domination Summit in July based on the fact that it is only two blocks away from Powells Bookstore. :)

  8. jen gray

    happy birthday beautiful friend! xoxox

  9. Alicia

    Oh this is just so exciting! Happy Birthday Susannah! :)

  10. Janine

    Happy birthday <3

  11. Rae

    Happy Birthday!

  12. sara godinho

    Oh Happy Birthday! You look amazing and it’s gonna be a great year!
    About the 4 first things: I know driving feels impossible right now but you can do it!! eh eh eh eh ;-)

  13. lisa field-elliot

    happy birthday beautiful. so glad i made the list–and can’t wait to scratch that one off. xoxo

  14. Belle

    All the best to you on your birthday! I hope that your 39th year is the best EVER.

  15. Sue Weinstock

    Happy birthday Sussanah! Your post reminded me of when I was 39. I hated the idea of being 40, I had lost the love of my life at age 27. Then something shifted (luck, fortune – who knows?) and I met a fabulous man 3 months before my 40th. I went on to have my daughter at 44 and finally graduate in fine art. Your list sounds fabulous, particularly the top 4 – wishing you all the luck in the world for them happening for you!

  16. Brigindo

    Happy Birthday! I adored my thirties but I have to say I’ve been lovin’ my 40s even more and looking forward to my 50s. Hope you get through the whole list. Sounds like a great year.

  17. Jane Cornwell

    Happy Birthday Susannah!
    Cheers to you and to all you give and share with others. I just signed up for the class and really looking forward to it. Yay!

  18. Juli

    Happy Birthday, Miss Susannah! Love, love your list. What an amazing year it’s going to be! Hugs and 39-thousand good wishes..:)

  19. Amanda Chea

    Happiest of birthdays to you! Your list is wonderful and I’m sure you will find all you want and more…

  20. Nina

    Many Happy Returns of the Day! I’m working on attributing less significance to “significant” birthdays – 40 is only one after 39, after all, just like 39’s only one more than 38… Lucky kitty that gets adopted by you this year; looking forward to photos of him/her. Don’t delay on the acupuncture, it’s good stuff and the needles are not remotely like the injection kind. Hiro Nakamura?

  21. EMC

    Happy birthday! A great, exciting list.

  22. Ellen Bulterman

    Happy, Happy Birthday Susannah! I hope it’s a wonderful year full of laughter, love, and adventure.

  23. Victoria

    Happy Birthday Susannah! I know how you feel – I turn the big four-oh later this year. Since I turned 39, my father has been reminding me that I’m already in my 40th year – ouch! We might as well own our age and celebrate it. It is a ridiculous notion that younger is better.

  24. sule bak?rcan

    dear susannah,
    I hope the least expected will turn out at your door in the least appreciated of the years (39 in your case:) ) which will prove that 39 is indeed a cornerstone in your life….

  25. Mindy Meiering

    Happiest of birthdays to you! I’ve just recently discovered your wonderful blog & love this post ab out your experience of turning 39 :-)

    “It’s been my decade to not only finally and fully inhabit who I am but also like who I am (it saddens me to think of how much of my 20s i disliked who I was).”

    Yes! This could be me describing my experience in my 20’s or 30’s as well… and I am so grateful that I was able to reach a place of love and greater self-acceptance in my 30’s.

    So far, 40 has been fabulous (2 months into it!) and I am embracing this decade with more intention and aliveness than ever before.



  26. Clare Mulvany

    Happy Birthday Susannah- hope you enjoy the year ahead as all those dreams unfold

  27. Brandy M.

    Happy Birthday Miss Susannah! I hope you have a fabulous day!! I can’t wait to see a photo of the pink streak in your hair, as well as your new tattoo once you get it!

    Have you never been to Powell’s? I live 20-25 minutes from there. It’s so amazing!! I love how you can get new OR used books there, and it’s larger and more interesting than any other bookstore I’ve ever been to.

    Happy happy day to you!


  28. Nathalie

    Happy birthday then gorgeous lady! you’ve been really inspiring in the past 3 years I’ve been reading your blog and I’m sure you’ll be even more in the next. I think it’s great to put yourself out there and want to reconnect with the big L (damn, hate that phrase). We’ll all send good vibes for it. (however I’ll warn you: he may not like wearing curduroy and love taking digital pics with a Nikon (or a Canon, depending on which side you’re on)). ;-)

  29. michelle gd

    happy, happy birthday to you, susannah! i turned 40 this past summer..i don’t know, it didn’t really freak me out like it’s supposedly “supposed” to. i had the most beautiful day hiking with my family in the mountains. and the next day, life continued…
    you have done incredibly well up to this point. i’m quite confident you’ll continue down your present path. you rock it!
    love xo

  30. natalea

    well 39 likes wonderful on you and I though I am a few years behind you I am told by many that 40’s are where it’s at! (i’m hoping they are correct!)…you are more-than-fabulous now so I can imagine that things are only going to get better! lovely list. wishing you a happy happy year, xo natalea

  31. Angela

    Happy birthday!

    I need to buck up and enjoy the rest of my thirties, somehow. Thirty-seven is just over two months away, and I only just got used to being thirty-six. The past few years have sucked, to put it mildly.

  32. Galina

    Happy Birthday, Susannah!
    It’s just getting better every year! :)

  33. Maria

    Happy Birthday, Susannah! You’re going a very beautiful way. Thank you for our honesty and braveness and unbelievable warmth. It’s always a hard work to tell the truth, and moreover to tell the truth to yourself. Reading your blog is like talking to a friend, understanding and encouraging. Let all your list come true within the coming year! And let your imagination give you more and more exciting ideas to fulfil.

    S Dnem Rozhdeniya! (Happy Birthday in Russian :)

    P.S. Yesterday I joined your Blogging from the Heart class. That’s my first e-course experience and I believe that will be great.

    P.P.S. My friends say I have some abilities to predict future. So, let me have a look at my magic cristal (it’s 20 degrees below zero in Moscow, a lot of cristals outside). I can see the most impossible things are not actually impossible. Cristals would bet on no. 4…

  34. Dorothy Lemoult

    Happy birthday Susannah!
    I have no doubt you’ll achieve all this and more!

  35. Barbara

    happy belated birthday Susannah!! I can so relate…i will be 39 in april and I am also only thinking of my turing 40..
    I also like me more in my 30s than in my 20s..
    love your list…it makes me want to make one, too.
    Best wishes for you!

  36. Phoe

    Happy birthday! I wish you all the sparkle you need to have an awesome 39th year.

  37. alexis

    Happy Birthday!

  38. Laura M.

    Happy Birthday, Susannah! I turned 40 last May, and it did mess with my head a little bit. But I made a list over New Year’s of things I was ok with about myself, and my age was one of them (good thing, too, since I can’t change it!). You have so many wonderful things planned that I’ll be you’ll be too busy to even notice. And even if you do, that’s ok. You are amazing and the world is lucky to have you!

  39. Christine

    Happy Happy Birthday to you a day late…..this is going to be a big year for you – enjoy!

  40. Amberlea

    Happy Birthday!
    I have been happily reading your blog since the New Year when I found and completed your Unravelling Workbook, and have been so inspired and empowered by your words. I just wanted to say thank you!

  41. Maria-Louisa

    Happy Bday one day closer to your big 4 ;)
    Like your list. Sound like a very interesting year – Good luck.

  42. Christian

    What a great post! Have a wonderful birthday and an even better year!! Make it a great one!

  43. Kathryn

    A late happy birthday, Susannah!
    Hope you cross off all the things on your list by your next special day. I also hope you’re keeping warm! Europe is so cold, here in Aus, I can’t imagine it.

  44. Josephine

    Have fun working through that list! Should be a cracker of a year!

  45. angela vular

    Happy Happy Birthday! Great list. I’ve been thinking about making one but it would be much longer than yours! Yikes! Have a great day.

  46. nadine

    happy birthday xx hope it was wonderful xx

  47. elizabeth

    that’s a beautiful year rolling out in front of you– and a great mani/pedi shop is around the corner for me so whether it is your first or one of many you have in the year ahead– I will take you there when you are HERE.

    happiest birthday wishes to YOU<–!

    xoxo, e

  48. sas

    love the plans you have for you!
    bring on the sexy toes (and boys).

  49. Hannah Marcotti

    Happy Birthday Love! xo

  50. lionsze

    Let’s work on the driving test bit together! I have been putting it off for sooooooo long.

    Go to this in the summer for live comedy!

    London Flickr Meet Up group does an All Nighter every year (at the weekend of the shortest night in the summer) – come join us and watch sunrise!

  51. Kathryn

    Hope you cross off everything on your list, Susannah, and that you had a great birthday!

    (I thought I’d posted a comment already but I can’t see it, if I have, sorry for posting again but I wanted to make sure I wished you a happy birthday! :)

  52. Robin

    This year I got a streak of red and purple for my hair and I’m 55! I love it! Have a wonderful year! Hope we see this list updated time to time! xoxo gotham girl nyc

  53. denise

    okay, but can we sit in my garden AND have your first pedi in July?? i. love. you.

  54. Jessica

    When you said “It’s been shocking darkness and incandescent light” tears instantly sprung to my eyes and my throat closed up in recognition. I relate to what you said about your thirties and I love your list of 39 things. If you’re needing a partner in crime for you trip to Powell’s just let me know – I’d also be happy to help you cross a few more things off your list while you’re in town…maybe a pedicure and another tattoo?


  55. maria

    Glad you got to sample Monmouth Coffee – isn’t it just the best???

  56. Catherine Just

    Deep happiness and belated birthday wishes to one of the most inspiring, talented, authentic, funny, generous and thoughtful people I’ve never met! ok I’ve sort of met you when I did that interview with you. But hope to REALLY meet you and hear all about your list shrinking as you cross things off. You deserve all of them – especially the top 4 and that one you think it impossible! xoxox

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