Shana Galen
Shana Galen


Fun, Shana Galen

Readers, because you and I are such close friends, I feel I can share my secrets with you. That’s right. I’m going to tell you my age, my weight, my…well, I’ll tell you my age. I turned 40 in December. The Big 4-0. I had intended not to think too much about it, but USF made that sort of impossible when he threw a surprise birthday party for me.

It really was a surprise. I had no idea, and what made it even more fun was that I haven’t had many birthday parties. My birthday is December 25, and it’s not easy to get people together during the holidays. The even bigger surprise was my new car. I love it!

It’s a 2013 VW Beetle with a sun roof, Bluetooth, GPS, everything! It’s really fun to drive, even if it is a little small for Baby Galen’s car seat.

Another reason I was so surprised is because we had planned to go to Vegas to celebrate over MLK Day. We just got back, and it was really fun. I highly recommend a few days of sleeping in, eating out, and spa services when you turn 40. How did you celebrate your last big birthday?

Since we’re talking birthdays, I’ll give away a present! A copy of When You Give a Duke a Diamond to one person who comments.


77 thoughts on “How to Celebrate (cough) 40 (cough)

  1. Ann s. says:

    My husband threw me a surprise party for my 40th. It was so sweet, my friends and a pink iPod and a bunch of gift cards to my local book store. I guess everyone knew what I wanted.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Ann, my husband knew what I wanted to. So sweet when you are surprised by those who really love you.

  2. Laurie G says:

    Nice presents! Love your hot red car. Glad you could get away to Vegas too! Belated Happy Birthday! The decade changer birthdays are always the most traumatic.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Thanks, Laurie! It was a nice break.

  3. Let’s see, last big B’day was 50 6 years ago. My husband and daughter asked what I wanted and I said a PARTY. It was great…had such a good time. It is just a number…my husband turned 60 last year and it really bothered him, as did 40? I try not to think of the number and with kids 30yo and 20yo, they keep me young. Happy Birthday…I would love to win, thanks

    1. Shana Shana says:

      It is just a number, Linda. You’re so right. And kids–of any age–keep you young.

  4. vickie says:

    birthdays should be really fun. I had to the day off from work, but had to work at my second job. The next day went out to Mall of America – usually go once a year last year my Mom bought me lunch at a fancy restaurant.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Vicky, one of these days, I want to visit Mall of America. Sounds like a fun place to go to celebrate.

  5. Aislynn says:

    For my 30th my hubby surprised me with a dinner out at a super fancy restaurant – one of my faves too! And the kitchen-aid mixer I’d been drooling over for months!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Those Kitchen-Aid mixers aren’t cheap. Good for him!

  6. April Knight says:

    My 40th is coming up real soon. I hoping to just skip it and remain 39 forever. Glad you had a great birthday.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      April, why 39? I’ve been saying 29!

  7. Mozette says:

    I was going to celebrate my 35th with a grand party… but was talked out of it. But this year is my 40th. Yep, I don’t spell out my big birthdays; as I love getting older. In 1996, I had a major Melanoma removed and each and every birthday is like crashing a massive party to me… so I aging is something I don’t ever fear.

    I don’t really remember my 30th… I think we went out to dinner at a local RSL and pigged out on cake here at home. It was small. I’m not sure.

    But this year, being my 40th, my older brother wants to celebrate it as I’ve yet to have a big party to be proud of. Everyone else has had costume parties, surprise parties, parties on boats, parties in massive houses and parties in mansions – so why not his sister? Why not? Well, everyone is beginning to think about Christmas in October; that’s why not.
    So, seeing I’ve got my birthday in October – the month of Halloween – I thought to have a cool Halloween Party of come as your favourite monster. Now! I can’t wait to get in and send out the invites because then all my friends can hire out the good costumes before they get all icky. ๐Ÿ˜†

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Mozette, that sounds really fun, and I love the way you look at birthdays. They are definitely better than the alternative.

  8. Tracey Galbraith says:

    Happy Birthday Shana! I LOVE the new VW, it’s the perfect color to celebrate your new book! It looks like a big beautiful RUBY! Vegas is a great place to celebrate ANY milestone, I hope you had a great time! My last two BIG birthdays were celebrated in The Happiest Place on Earth… DisneyWorld isn’t just for children, at 40 and even 50 years old I was thrilled to wear my WDW “Birthday Button” racking up b-day greeting right and left!!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Tracey, maybe WDW for my 50th. That would be fun.

  9. Karen H in NC says:

    Belated happy birthday wishes!

    Before I moved to NC, we would all get together for dinner out for someone’s birthday. Since my daughter and I have birthdays a week apart, we did one celebration for the 2 of us. I retired on my 55th birthday and when I called my daughter to ask her where she wanted to go for dinner. She was real quick with the name of one of my favorite restaurants. AS my son and I were being led to the table, I noticed a cousin of mine sitting at a table…as I looked closer, I saw even more cousins along with my brother and his family…the hostess was leading us to that table. The dinner turned out to be a surprise retirement party for me as well as a birthday party for my daughter & me! I had no idea it was being planned. That was a party to remember and probably the only time I was truly speechless! I have another milestone birthday coming up this November…I’ll be 70!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I know how you felt, Karen. It was kind of surreal to see people you knew who you didn’t expect to see. I was speechless too.

  10. I turned 50 in November, as did my husband’s favorite sister, so he planned a surprise trip code name Hawaii Five-0. In July while we were still 40somethings, DOTR and I and Favorite SIL & BIL enjoyed a great week of celebration. And I have to say, I feel younger and look better than I did when I turned 40….when my husband also surprised me with a trip to Maui. We’ve decided it’s getting the kids out of the house that took 10 years off my life!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Mom on the Run, I can totally see how kids moving out would make you younger. I’ll be close to 60 by then!

  11. Kathryn in Montreal says:

    My husband threw me a surprise party for my 40th too! I was completely taken unaware and we had a wonderful time. I spent my 50th in Prince Edward Island with my middle daughter as we were moving her to school (my birthday often falls on Labour Day)… it was quiet, just her and I at a little pub on a wharf. I had trouble turning 51 this year though… the milestone birthdays don’t seem to bother me — the next one always does!

  12. Maureen says:

    It sounds like you had a lovely birthday. We celebrated my 50th last year with a big family celebration.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Maureen, it was so nice to have my whole family with me.

  13. Sarah Andre says:

    What a great surprise, hope you’re having a blast zipping around in the Bug! For my last major milestone BD my husband hosted 2 quiet, intimate dinner parties at local restaurants 2 Saturdays in a row. He let me arrange the guests lists, but the locations were a surprise. My gift was also a car, but A)I knew I was getting one since I wasn’t leaving the int/ext colors up to him! B)I received it 3 months later, so in my head it really isn’t birthday related. I cherish celebrating with my friends and how thoughtful he was to throw those parties. Made turning…er, old…a lot easier.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      There’s nothing like a new car to add a spring to your step, Sarah!

  14. Lisa Hutson says:

    My last birthday was my big 5-0! ๐Ÿ™‚ Honest to goodness, I am loving this maturing business. Not diggin’ the body stuff. But the rest, it is fabulous. And husband threw me a surprise party. I am glad I am not the only oblivious one. I totally had no idea. He even flew my sister in from the other side of the country. It was magnificent. I will never forget it. He did a great job. And set off the second 50 years for me with a bang!! I hope you had as much fun!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Lisa, I know having your sister there was the best part, and I get the body aging thing. I had to have my husband help me up the other day!

  15. Trudy Miner says:

    My birthday is Dec. 3rd and yes, it’s a horrible time to have a birthday, possibly worse than yours! ๐Ÿ™ No one wants to be bothered since they’re so busy switching from Thanksgiving to Christmas celebrations. So for my last big birthday, the big 6-0, I threw myself a party! I invited all my neighbors and my friends who live nearby; I have no family in Florida and they wouldn’t have been interested in any case. I called the party “It’s 40 Again!” since 60 is now considered the new 40 and, 40 is considered the new 30 (did I make you feel better). ๐Ÿ˜†

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I love that, Trudy! A 40 Again Party! Maybe when I’m 50, I’ll have a 30 Again party!

  16. Shanah says:

    Happy Birthday! What a wonderful big red present and it does sound like you had an amazing 40th despite adding Christmas and everything to the mix. My sister and hubby threw me a surprise birthday party for my 40th, too. They were very sneaky and it blew me away to see my entire family and all my friends parading up my mom’s driveway for my birthday, and despite the blizzard that had snowed us in at a hotel the night before. It was incredible.
    Enjoy that new car and that surprise party will remind you of how many people really do care about you! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Shanah, that’s so true. It blew me away that everyone would take time to come to my party. You do forget how many friends and loved ones you have.

  17. Rebe says:

    Happy Birthday!!!! What a great surprise! I feel your pain about the date of your birth – my birthday is the 29th of December, which is better than Christmas day, but still… And what a FUN car!!! I bet Baby Galen will be so excited to ride in it.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Rebe, Baby Galen loves the car–and she got her own toy version. My mom’s birthday is December 28, so she was always sympathetic.

  18. CateS says:

    I’m not saying how old I am… but when a dear friend threw a 40th birthday surprise party for her husband and asked us to all come in costume from the 1970’s era… we were able to dig thru our closets and come up with great outfits..
    We also gifted the birthday boy with his own outfit of a wildly colored shirt with a huge collar, bell bottom pants, wide white belt, large brimed fedor styled hat…
    The place came apart in hoots and howling laughter after he left the room and returned having gotten dressed in his new outfit!!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Cate, that’s hilarious. I was obviously born in the early 70s, but I came of age in the 80s. Maybe I should have an 80s party for my next one.

  19. Stephani says:

    My favorite poem for anyone turning 40. I think this is so true:

    words of Rae Turnbull
    “I’m going to be forty this month
    but I approached thirty with more apprehension I think
    and the sense of time gone by.
    I’ve had more time to learn about myself,
    ten more years
    I no longer fool myself
    not easily anyway.
    I know when I’m making excuses
    and when I’m making choices,
    and the difference between the two.
    I no longer look into my mind expecting wisdom,
    or my mirror expecting perfection.
    That thing about growing old gracefully?
    I think now I just might be able to manage it.”

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Stephani, that’s absolutely fabulous. I think that’s definitely the big difference between 30 and 40.

  20. Jen says:

    I turn 40 in November and I am not sure how to celebrate this milestone. I don’t think my head under a pillow will be good though. ๐Ÿ˜•

    1. Shana Shana says:

      No, Jen! That’s what I thought, too, but you have to celebrate. Make it fun!

  21. Stefanie D says:

    Last year we went to the book festival for my birthday and we bought lots and lots of books, yeay! Afterwards we also went to the bowling. I’m not very good at it, but I like it anyway. So I had a great time!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I think a book buying party is the best there is. Maybe I should ask for a book shopping spree next time.

  22. LilMissMolly says:

    Nothing really special for me that past year, but we did go to dinner at a restaurant of my choosing. Despite the whinning from the two teenagers. ๐Ÿ™„

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Next time leave the kids at home! Although, it was fun to have Baby Galen at my surprise party. She was suprised too–toddlers cannot keep secrets.

  23. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    What a wonderful birthday surprise, Shana! I’m not much for surprise parties. The last one I had was when I was sixteen and my boyfriend at the time arranged it.

    I don’t remember much about it…except I WAS surprised!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Cindy, I think once in a lifetime is enough. They are a little disconcerting.

  24. Veronica says:

    I was in Portugal. So my cousin and I just spent the day on the beach relaxing in the beautiful sun : )

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Veronica, that sounds really fabulous! A cocktail and a book, and I’d be in heaven.

  25. Maria P says:

    I just celebrated my 52nd birthday 2 weeks ago, on January 8th. The 5 nieces & nephews on my side of the family called me throughout the day, giving me their good wishes & love. Since my husband & I don’t have any children, that really meant alot to me. My hubby took my whole birthday week off, so we hung out together & just had fun & enjoyed each other. We ate home the actual night of my birthday & cooked a nice meal & drank a bottle of wine; we went out for Chinese food later on that week.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Maria, that sounds really nice. I think one thing I miss because my birthday is on Christmas is the well wishes. Everyone is busy with Christmas and only my closest friends remember.

  26. eap says:

    Just dinner cooked by my mother.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      At least you didn’t have to cook, eap! But next year, maybe you could go out.

  27. Kirsten says:

    Happy (belated) Birthday! Wow, awesome car ๐Ÿ˜€

    Even though my 12th birthday is years and years ago, I still love to have a sleepover with the girls.
    I invited a few close friends at my last “BIG” birthday & we watched a movie, baked goodies, talked and drank loads of tea. The girls spend the night at my place & we had some more fun during and after breakfast.

    It’s not a HUGE thing to do & I sometimes dream of going on a nice vacation with them all but you can’t have everything. And the love and sharing that goes on is always worth more than a luxurious stay at a nice resort or something.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I remember the big sleepover party I had when I was 13, Kristen. It was really fun–and my parents even let boys come for the non-sleepover part.

  28. catslady says:

    Oh sounds like you had a wonderful birthday (been hearing about some of it on FB). Ok here’s me feeling sorry for myself – never really had a birthday party. I’ve had cakes and gifts of course from my family but never a party. A big joke with my sister was that she had one as a child because she had a summer birthday and since mine is the end of November there’s usually too much going on with Thanksgiving and the holidays so big kudos for your family making it something special!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Well, catslady, clearly you need to have a big party! Tell your sister you’ll plan hers and she can plan yours.

  29. bn100 says:

    Great gift! Celebrated at a restaurant with family.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      BN100, that sounds fun!

  30. Chelsea B. says:

    Went out to eat with my family and went shopping! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Chelsea, sounds perfect!

  31. Cerian Halford says:

    So jealous of your car, it’s gorgeous!
    My last birthday was my 21st, I didn’t do much on the day because i had a presentation at uni, but I went for a meal and some cocktails with my friends in the evening. Then that weekend a bunch of friends came to visit for a few days and I had a fab party! So pretty awesome all in all ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Cerian, one good thing about having a Christmas birthday is I never had to go to school or work on my birthday.

  32. Lesia Chambliss says:

    I want to read this book. I celebrated my big birthday with my Daughter. She took me out to dinner, AND, we had desert! ;p

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Lesia, you definitely have to have dessert on your birthday!

  33. Na S. says:

    My last birthday was very low-key but it was a good one. I spent it with the people I care about and they can always make me laugh! Plus a few of my friends made plans and we had a dinner and movie outing.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Na, I have always been lucky to have my family with me on my birthday. Party or not, that’s what’s important.

  34. Barbara Elness says:

    My last big birthday was 60! I spent it visiting my sister in California because I knew she could commiserate with me since she already did that one. ๐Ÿ˜€ It was a wonderful trip and I had so much fun with my sister as well as visiting friends, that the birthday didn’t really hurt too much. ๐Ÿ˜†

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I think traveling might be the best way to celebrate, Barbara. It takes your mind off the birthday.

  35. Quilt Lady says:

    I want a new car too!!!! My sister’s always fix me a birthday dinner every year, so that how I spend my bday.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      QuiltLady, tell them to get you a car instead of the dinner next year! ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Maria says:

    Nobody knew that it was my birthday in our office that day. I acted like nothing was special, the funny thing was, it was our boss who treated me/us for lunch instead of me. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Maria, it must have been Fate! And I am so amazed you could keep it a secret. I never would have been able to.

  37. Happy birthday, Shana! What a wonderful hubby you have. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad be spoiled and celebrated you on this important day. I have a “significant” birthday coming up in a couple of years. It’s a little early to talk about specifics, but Paris has been mentioned. We shall see. ๐Ÿ™‚ More pressing, my hubby has a very significant birthday happening in a few weeks. He would kill me if I threw a party for him. He wants the day to be more of a contemplative time…Still I want to somehow make it special for him. Any and all recommendations welcome. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Oh, Paris would be so awesome, Nancy! I don’t have any suggestions for your husband. Mine would want to go to Vegas, but it sounds like yours is happier to have a quiet day at home.

  38. Karin Anderson says:

    That sounds like so much fun!

    I haven’t had a huge celebration since before college, but my senior year my friend and parents threw a surprise party for me. I was totally caught off guard. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Karin, that sounds like fun. Maybe you’re due for another big celebration!

  39. Lorelei says:

    What fun, and such a great present! I’m sure Vegas was fantastic, i’ll try it someday!
    Oh! I joined the 40’s club already but honestly, it still felt like I was in my thirties, so I’d say I was thirty-ten ๐Ÿ˜‰ , then thirty- eleven… You get the picture. ๐Ÿ˜†
    I honestly can’t remember having a large celebration, mainly it depends the day of the week it falls on. Sometimes I forget because it’s the first of a month It’s just my hubby and kids, family wise, so either they take me out or we celebrate at home.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Lorelei, when Baby Galen counts she sometimes doesn’t know what comes after twenty-nine or thirty-nine, so she says “thirty-ten.” I think that’s a good way to look at it!

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