Throughout the years, a recurring theme with my clients has been this “mid-life crisis” moment that one partner seems to have, and then the whole family’s world is being turned upside down.  Meanwhile, as some of my friends started to approach 40, I witnessed them get a bit weird, sometimes a little melancholy.

Many guys that I have met have described women experiencing complete meltdowns around their 40th birthdays, and all the while that I was taking in all these stories, I never really understood why– until now. Turns out 40 is the common “ah-ha” moment for many, and although it should be a time to celebrate, it really depends on whether you are ready for it.

As my own 40th birthday approaches at rapid speed, I find myself in an amazing state of calm– but many factors have played into that, most of which truly occurred not by design, but rather pure serendipity. Many see 40 as the half-way point in life, but I never saw it that way so I packed a lot in during my first four decades: I loved being an athlete and scholar in my early years- then I was able to travel significantly and live abroad prior to getting married and establishing my legal career.  Although my marriage did not work out, we did have a wonderful child as a result of that union, and he has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine. Despite the divorce, I did not lose all hope and managed to maintain a good co-parenting relationship with my ex while facing many buried issues from the past.

Luckily, I managed to track down my father last year, and in the process found this whole amazingly caring family that is now a part of my regular life.  As a result, I can face my 40th birthday with absolute peace in my heart– I have no regrets; I have lived life to its fullest; I have experienced many great joys, and not allowed the disappointments to crush my spirit. I have loved and lost, but mostly I see it all as one big lesson, without which I would not be where I am today. To those with a milestone coming up, let me say this– 40 is a big deal, and if you have regrets, you need to address them as quickly as possible.

If you are not at peace with who you are and where you are, you need to come up with a plan to change things while there is still time to fix things. If you don’t like the way you look, get a fashion consultant, personal trainer or go on a diet. If you don’t like your career, change it. If you are unhappy with your love life, go figure out a way to attract a different kind of person. For every problem, there is a solution. Don’t ignore issues and let problems accumulate and drag you down. I’ve seen too many people spiral downward, and it is the last place on Earth you want to be right before a big milestone.

40 should be a celebration of your life– but you have to make sure you give yourself good reasons to celebrate. Through the divine intervention of friends and destiny, I have plenty to rejoice, so 40- here I come, watch me roar!