Women of a certain age used to not mention the number attached to a birthday.
] But now, women are wearing a new decade like a badge of honor, and not simply celebrating a birthday, but elevating the experience beyond a party and into a life-changing transformation.
Around the World in 18 Days
Last year, Jennifer Konz-Alt and her husband, Aaron Alt, both turned 40 and marked the occasion with a last-minute family trip around the world. “It was the sort of airfare package that a recent college grad might use to take a year abroad, but we used it to see the world in 18 days!” Jennifer explains.
With only a month to plan their adventure, the Alts and their sons—Griffin, 8, and Zach, 6—packed everything they would need into two suitcases and took off. Visiting the Cook Islands, Hong Kong, New Zealand, L.A., San Francisco, London and Paris, the Alts found the travel bonded their family in a new way.
“We discovered that the unplanned moments were the most enjoyable,” Jennifer says. Like marking Jennifer’s actual birthday with a Domino’s pizza delivered atop a volcano in Auckland.
This trip of a lifetime marked their important birthdays by honoring two of the things the Alts hold dear—family and travel.
Four Trips for Four Decades
Sharon Simon of Chicago wasn’t shy about turning 40, but wanted the focus to be less on her and more on her loved ones.
She organized a trip for each decade: San Francisco with family; South Africa with a friend on a lifelong dream trip; South Beach to reconnect with childhood friends; and finally, living it up with 13 friends in Puerto Vallarta.
Back in Chicago for her actual birthday, Sharon hosted a dozen friends for a dinner at which she refused gifts, but invited everyone to contribute to a scholarship fund created to honor her brother, who was killed in a 1993 car accident. “I was surrounded by friends from all parts of my life who knew what that meant to me, and the feeling of support was amazing,” she recalls.
The Bucket’s Half Full!
“I’m 50, so why not?” became a mantra for adventuresome Bev Pinaire of Wilmette. “I feel younger now than I did ten years ago,” she claims, describing her hiking and rappelling trips. Ticking off the list of things on her sort-of bucket list included a jump from an airplane, which she says she would do again in a heartbeat. “If there’s a bucket list, I swear my bucket is still half full,” she exclaims.
Celebrations like these can make a woman feel ageless and make age seem meaningless.