10 more days until I hit the magical middle aged birthday marker of 40. Why is 40 such a big deal? I remember when I turned 30 and what a hard time I had with that transition. Maybe losing the "coolness" of having a "2" in the prefix of your age is a lot more traumatic than rolling the tens position from 3 to 4. The 20 to 30 leap is akin to mourning your childhood, carefree, young days. When you're 30, you are already old in the world's eyes; 40 is just the next logical step I suppose.
I spent my 20s with all the life I had in me: the early part of my decade was spent with great decadence. Like Caligula on perpetual Spring Break. My mid-20s brought the death of my mother, followed quickly by owning my first house, a job change, moving in with my (future) husband. I went from Jagermeister hangovers to lawn mowing and mortgage payments. Maybe your 20s are where you practice being an adult and your 30s are where you apply all experience and knowledge to actually living like an adult.
It is a big mental leap. You look around you and see a home you have financially committed to for 30 years, a person whom you have promised a lifetime to, and little persons you have given your heart to forever. Gone are the selfish indulgences and now are the selfless imperatives.
Going from 30 to 40: you are already there. You have been a decent adult for 10 years at the minimum. What is the fuss about 40? That the party is half over? It's not though. At least not for me. It is another 20s. Where 20s were the practice for the 30s, 40s will be the practice for the 50s. Daughters turning into teenagers, making their practice for their 20s, preparing myself for their coming collective angst, college drama, first loves, possible weddings and the inklings of their children, my grandchildren, to come.
40 doesn't have me freaked out, it is simply what is coming next.