40 things I’m thankful for at 40 – Part 1

40th birthday cake I’m 40 yall! And I‘m grateful for more things in my life than I can count. But in honor of my 40th birthday, I thought I’d list (in no particular order) just 40 things I’ve been thankful for over the past 40 years…

1. I was raised to believe in God, and I’m grateful that He has plans for my life that go far beyond anything I’m able to wrap my mind around.

2. My parents who are still married after 42 years

3. My sisters

4. My Sistahs

5. Family and friends

6. My love of reading, books and all things written

7. I’m a woman

8. I’m a woman in 2010 living in the United States

9. My Jamaican heritage

10. My first ever trip to Europe in 2005 – It had been a dream of mine for years and thanks to friends I was able to spend 3 weeks in Florence, Italy and London, England. I’m grateful for my hosts Fidelis, Amina and Luchia who treated me like family and who remain great friends to this day.

11. My second trip to Europe in 2008 – Germany. It was a business trip, but thanks to my travel companion Lauren, we had a blast and lots of adventures including: her near abduction by a group of guys in a white van, the 12 hour trip to fake Leipzig, fun with Italian translations and our guardian angel whose one word of English, “chicken” kept us from starving on our big adventure.

12. Annual trips with my sisters to Phoenix, Savannah, Austin, Chicago…

13. Summer road trips with my parents and sisters – Sliding around the backseat of the enormous green Buick as my dad drove us to and from New York and Florida. As a kid, I found the long drive and my sisters absolutely annoying, but as I got older I realized that opportunities to be together like that would be few and far between.

14. The stranger who stopped me on the street when I was a 19 year old college student at Georgia State. He told me to walk with my head up “high and proud.” Those words would forever changed the way I walked.

15. All my bad bosses for teaching me how NOT to do things and for getting me so fed up that I had no choice but to try to make it on my own.

16. Forget fancy moisturizes and lip glosses – Vaseline’s been my saving grace for years.

17. Always living nearby to neighborhood farmers markets and having access to healthy food.

18. My puffy, often unruly, wild, untamed afro and all of its versions from the jerhi curl phase to the texturizer phase to plain old big and puffy.

19. My gap

20. My bibles – all of them

This was such a fun exercise – one I’d encourage every woman at forty to try for themselves. The hardest part was narrowing it down to just 40 things! It’s a great trip down memory lane and serves as a reminder how much we have to be grateful for. If you’d like to share your 40 at 40 with Women at Forty, please email it to contribute@womenatforty.com.

Tomorrow: books, the Internet, Craig Ferguson and 17 more things I’m grateful for

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Grace is a freelance writer and blogger living in Atlanta, Georgia.