My Bittersweet 40th Birthday- Cinnamon Toasts

This is me at 4 years old, 1977

My Bittersweet 40th Birthday

When I was a teenager and I looked at people in their thirties I considered them to be really, really, old.  As time went by, people in their thirties didn’t seem old anymore, simply, more experienced.  Today, on the eve of my BIG 4-0, I’m hit with the brutal reality that I’m not only older and yes, more experienced, but I must come to terms with the undeniable fact that my youth is long gone. Its true the 40′s are the new 30′s, I absolutely feel young in my mind, but the physical aspect is still tough to swallow. Adolescence, university, early job experiences, the last time I was intimate with another man, are nearly 20 years away.  That’s a looong time.  A part of me feels scared and vulnerable thinking “could it be, it’s all down hill from now on?” Now I understand why some people succumb to the so-called midlife crisis!!! (Let me get a hold of myself).  Of course, the answer lies on my attitudes and how I decide to continue to live my life from now on.

Throughout my thirties, where I experienced motherhood, professional growth and halts, my dose of marital bliss as well as challenges, identity crisis, loss of loved ones, economic woes and my life simply became more chaotic in every sense, I lived in total denial with some sort of perception that I was still young by definition.  What I realize now, is that in return of me foregoing my youth, life has given me the opportunity, to be able to construct a more defined concept of self with the experiences I have endured and enjoyed during the past 40 years, which will hopefully serve as a blueprint to lead a life filled with purpose in the years that come ahead.

Bear with me… So far, I have figured out that I am a Type B Puerto Rican heterosexual woman who likes to sleep (but can’t), to cook (and eat) and to spend time with her loved ones (preferably outdoors and accompanied with a glass of good wine).  I know as a fact, I don’t care what others think of me, I like meeting new people, learning new languages and traveling or visiting new places is my passion.  My children are my legacy, so I spend lots of time trying to figure out how I’m NOT going to f*#k up their lives, at least permanently. I want them to know that they are unique human beings with individual talents and that anything is possible if they work hard at it. I believe in positive energy that moves me forward.  That NOW is the most important moment, yesterday is gone and tomorrow it’s a new beginning.  I have experienced that to be successful in business, you need to take calculated risks, dissect information, determination, perseverance, networking, good intentions and a little bit of luck, all at the same time.  I never cheat. I enjoy having sex with my husband, believe my girlfriends are my soul mates and value my solitude (if I ever get to be alone). True, genuine, transparent people that put their money where their mouth is have my utmost respect. In my book, character is ranked higher than intellect. In everything, I prefer quality over quantity. I wish I could read more, pray more, exercise more and say thank you, I’m sorry and I love you more, but work hard on improving everyday.  I seize the moment and give my best in everything I do. I’m an idealist and a serial multi-tasker.  My concept of time is weird and I’m always in a hurry. I cry at movies, gush at babies and get a kick out of complimenting people. I’m really bad at telling jokes and despise snakes. I always stand up when greeting others, look people in the eye, shake with a firm hand, kiss and hug friends, smile to strangers, say please and thank you and am a reliable person. I love to dance. I believe there is always a cause and effect. I consider volunteering and a better education system key in helping improve our communities.  I worry about the environment, injustice and poverty. I support and guide my children’s initiatives, feed their curiosity, expect them to be happy, respectful, responsible and I truly want them to walk their own path, not the one I wish I had taken if I could turn back time. I don’t live in fear, I live in hope. I encourage my husband to unleash the part of him I know is still hiding inside but he is afraid to show. I have embraced the fact that women are from Venus and men are from Mars by appreciating the differences. Marriage is very hard and always a work in progress. Less is more, unless its dessert.  My Mom is my best friend.  My Dad is my role model. I want my parents to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor in health and happiness.  I honor the elders in my family, have empathy for the people that are suffering and TRY not to pass judgement unto others (each person has his/her own journey).  I’m a functional disorganized person and a recovering borderline-hoarder, but believe me, I’m working tirelessly on improving those to lead a simpler life.  I have learned to say NO.  I believe it’s because of lack of tolerance and excessive greed there are wars in the world. I’m kind to everyone, everywhere.  Hugh Jackman is hot!  I now get the things I need and seldom the things I want. I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t agree with most religious dogmas, although I have respect towards the religious beliefs of others.  I see human beings, not black, white, muslims, gays or democrats and people should be allowed to live with dignity and pride for who they are and where they come from. I understand common sense is the least common of all senses, so I stopped expecting it from others.  I don’t believe everything I read.  What we DO constitutes who we are; actions speak louder than words. I loooove music, I know all the lyrics, but can’t carry a tune. I have photographic memory and still write down everything in an agenda (no electronic for me yet).  I enjoy reading about history, current events, self help, biographies and light hearted novels, although I don’t have much time, (did I mention I don’t get to sleep much?).  I like to play sports, but not to compete.  In a nutshell, this is what defines me.  This is me so far…

This is me now.

I’ve been fortunate to have been born in a family filled with love, emotional security, compassion and opportunity.  I have learned from my parents about generosity, from my grandparents about integrity, from my aunts and uncles about perseverance, from my brothers about acceptance and from my children about unconditional love. Also, throughout my life, I’ve learned from my friends about trust and loyalty and from my husband about commitment.  My parents gave me the powerful gift of education, but not only in a classroom, but about how a great life should be lived in unity and service to others.  I have given them my share of disappointments, but I think the joyful moments have surpassed the sad ones which in my opinion is the best way to look at life.  To have the happy moments out weight the unhappy ones.

As I look back, I see a life filled with fabulous people and places that have shaped who I am.  Truly karma exists;  when you give good it all comes back to you multiplied and I can honestly say I have always tried to give good to the world around me.  The rocks that have obstructed my path, some have been very difficult to climb, I have been able to overcome them with a little help from my family and friends. So many people have come into my life as lessons, great lessons! My only regrets are the moments in which I have hurt, offended or disrespected someone (knowingly or unknowingly) with words or actions and for that please accept my sincere apologies.

Today I celebrate life!  My heart is filled with gratitude. Yes, it’s a bittersweet birthday.  Bitter because I don’t want to get older and sweet because I have so much going on for me at this point in my life (health, work, family and friends), what more can I ask.  As I start a new rotation around the Sun, I will continue searching for the meaning of life, living the moment and making the best of this new stage in my life where I still have physical and mental health (some might challenge this statement, Ja!). All I can say is thank you and send my love to all of you that have touched, blessed and inspired my life in some way during the past 40 years.  Cheers! To health, prosperity, peace and love!

Ah! If you wanted a recipe with this post, I’ll tell you how I make my delicious Cinnamon Toasts!

Cinnamon Toasts

Ingredients

Sandwich Bread

Butter

Cinnamon

Granulated Sugar

Procedure

1.  Spread some butter on bread and sprinkle with cinnamon and granulated sugar.  I turn the dial medium in the toaster oven for a golden toast. Enjoy during breakfast or as a snack with your afternoon tea or coffee.

 

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Comments

  1. Posted by Madeline Menendez | February 11, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Aleida you and your family are an example of unity, love and community. I am blessed to know you all and only wish I could have met you sooner & lived closer. Turning 40 is as good as wine as it ages & you will see how all aspects of your life will continue to unfold as they should. For if we don’t have sad we know not happy, good vs bad, etc…

    Have a Great 40th and many more after… Hope to see you again soon… Sending lots of peace, love and happy vibrations your way

  2. Posted by monica | February 11, 2013, 12:50 pm

    Muchas felicidades! Gracias por ser una inspiracion para todos, y mas importante por dar tanto de ti! muchas felicidades, paz y amor!

  3. Posted by Fifi | February 11, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Aleidita-although I disagree a bit about your Type B personality (I would say A-since we are so alike in so many ways), your self awareness at such a young age is impressive…sad that us “older” folk are slowly figuring it out -in the midst of our borderline hoarding personalities. happy birthday my friend, you truly are inspiring and impressive! God bless you!

  4. Posted by Lili | February 11, 2013, 3:48 pm

    So YOUNG and so WISE! I have seen you grow into this beautiful woman, who knows herself, and accepts generously what life brings you! I feel so privileged to have you in my life…. And to call you mi sobrina…
    Enjoy your 40′s with the gusto that you have lived until this day! Every day is so precious! Te quiero muchisimo! Cheers! Lili

  5. Posted by aida | February 11, 2013, 4:03 pm

    Happy Birthday adelantado, DE NUEVO!!! Well said! The best is yet to come for sure!

  6. Posted by Teresin | February 11, 2013, 4:41 pm

    Niña….!!! ahora es que empiezas a vivir. (Life begins at FORTY !!!) y además, te ves fabulosa.

    Mil Felicidades; y que Dios te siga bendiciendo con tu maravillosa familia, y el inmenso amor que te rodea.
    Un abrazo cariñoso; Teresín

  7. Posted by Daniela Amini | February 11, 2013, 6:00 pm

    What a beautiful statement (I wish I had read something like this or thought this way on the eve of that same birthday) and what an honor to know you. Happy Birthday, Aleida, and may what lies before you offer even more fulfillment, joy, continued adventure and learning, peace, prosperity, family and, of course, love. You are an incredibly kind, loving and generous person and have certainly touched me and my family personally!!!! I will delight in this recipe as well as many others on your fabulous blog. A million kisses to you and every blessed birthday wish! xoxoxoxoxoxo

  8. Posted by cristy | February 11, 2013, 7:42 pm

    Ale, mil felicidades, es un placer tenerte como prima, pero sobre todo como amiga. sabes que te quiero mucho….

  9. Posted by Arlene Caamaño | February 11, 2013, 7:47 pm

    Muy querida Aleidita,
    Super Happy Birthday!!! Que cumplas muchos más. Con esos pensamientos te llevas el mundo por delante. Ojalá algún día pueda compartir con una copa de vino toda esta profundidad que eres capaz de comunicar tan bellamente. Envidiable tu instrospección. Nos ayudas muchísimo con esta belleza que has sido capaz de producir. Felicito a tus Padres por esta semilla pero definitivamente tú misma te has abonado para ser un árbol fuerte capaz de florecer…Qué mucho tengo que aprender de ti. Un beso sincero!!!!

  10. Posted by carmen Irene Sauri | February 12, 2013, 10:50 am

    Beautifully said. We love you and have a happy birthday. Wish you health, love and many laughs. By the way for me you are still Aleidas little girl.

  11. Posted by Chacha | February 12, 2013, 1:27 pm

    Aleidita, si este artículo lo leyeran todas y cada una de las personas que vivimos en esta islita, estoy segura que tendríamos una mejor calidad de vida. Has dicho tantas verdades en tan poco espacio. Te admiro, y definitivamente me gustaría preguntarle a tus papás, cual es el truco para tener una hija tan excepcional como tú. Muchas felicidades, y sigue así. Puerto Rico necesita a muchas personas como tú!!!!!!!! Un abrazo bien fuerte!!!!

  12. Posted by Nubia | February 12, 2013, 2:32 pm

    Querida Aleidita:

    Happy Happy Birthday!! Qué mucho he disfrutado este post…has transmitido tantos sentimientos y buena energía, de una forma síncera.

    Mis mejores deseos siempre, pero hoy te deseo salud, felicidad, muchas carcajadas, postres ricos y un buen vino. :-)

    Disfruto mucho tus anécdotas, ideas y pensamientos positivos, y por supuesto tus recetas. Me das esperanza y me reafirmo en que sí vale la pena aportar un granito a diario.

    Espero que disfrutes la celebración de tu cumpleaños y definitivamente the best is yet to come.

    Cariños siempre,

  13. Posted by foodielady | February 13, 2013, 9:31 am

    thank you all for the good wishes and kind words for my birthday! big kiss to all.

  14. Posted by Mari pat | February 12, 2014, 6:47 am

    You are indeed a very wise woman at 40! As someone else said, life begins at 40. You are truly an inspiration for others. Hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration.

  15. Posted by Suzette Del Valle | February 12, 2014, 8:51 pm

    Spectacular! Happy bday! You are very special. Regards, suzette

  16. Posted by Isabel Davila | February 12, 2014, 8:55 pm

    So inspirational and motivational! I have always loved your energy & courage to pursue dreams. Happy bday! Un abrazo

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