Holy shit, I’m like… middle-aged now!
When you have a “big” birthday everyone asks you how you feel. About ageing, about reaching another milestone, about life in general. For me, the answer is that it honestly feels pretty good. What I’ve reflected on the most is that life only seems to get better with age (until you get too old, of course).
As the years pile on it really does feel like levelling up. At work, in my relationships, and inside my own head. Looking back at my 20-year-old self, or hell even 30, I hardly recognise myself. I can’t believe I used to put up with certain things, or shy away from certain challenges, because of insecurities and poor self-esteem. Now I know and trust in myself and my capabilities in a way I wouldn’t have dreamed of in my youth. I care less and less about what other people think of me. It takes so much more to knock me off my feet.
And if I feel like this at 40, I’m starting to understand why so many of the older generations seem like they don’t give a single fuck.
(Cue my dad muttering that 40-year-olds are fucking children and to get off his lawn.)
I can honestly say I would NOT want to be young again. I mean, I wouldn’t mind my 20-year-old body back, that thing could sleep drunk on the ground and still bounce up in the morning like it was nothing. But the brain? Hell no, I’m so glad I don’t have to live in there anymore.
With that said, I have been waiting for some kind of mid-life crisis to kick in. I did have a period around 36-37 when I felt weird about my 30s being over soon and transitioning from still kinda young-ish to definitely kinda old-ish. Maybe that was it and I’m done with the crisising already? Because turning 40 didn’t feel much like anything. Just another birthday. Maybe I should make a bigger deal about it but I don’t know… I have a tendency to make small things big and big things small so this is very on-brand for me.
I did celebrate though!
On my actual birthday, the 25th of March, we had people over for lunch and dinner. Got lots of gift cards and scratchcards, and my in-laws gave me proper lottery tickets too, haha!
My parents gave me a huge box full of smaller gifts, all individually wrapped! I wish I had remembered to take pictures of it before opening because it was such a fun idea. I have to remember to do that for someone else on their birthday!
A lot of my gifts were Easter decorations since my birthday is always around Easter and it has become sort of a tradition. I always get Easter stuff and tulips for my birthday – and I love it. 🐣🌷 Easter is my favourite holiday after Halloween!
I had regular sweet cake too, but the only thing I took a picture of was the “sandwich cakes” my stepmum made for the lunch. Smörgåstårta is a Swedish classic. It is basically a layered cake… made from sandwich bread and filled with savoury food instead of sweet things like chocolate or fruit.
The ones above are made with wheat and rye flatbread. One cake is filled with liver paté and a sort of creamy ham mix, and one is more seafood-themed with prawns and salmon. And both are topped with salad, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, cheese, prawns, and gravlax (raw cured salmon).
It sounds like a lot describing it in text, but trust me it’s AMAZING! If you ever find yourself in Sweden and has a chance to try it, say yes. You won’t regret it. 🤤
My birthday present from Markus was a weekend trip to Piteå and KUST Hotel & Spa! We went there over the Easter weekend, and it was fantastic.
Piteå (pronounced P-T-O) is a small coastal town north of where we live. I’ve blogged about the place before. When I moved out of my parent’s house I went to Piteå and stayed there for a few years. I loved living there and have many fond memories of it. It’s built around the forest industry so everywhere you look you see smoking chimneys from the sawmills and pulp mills, but it’s still a beautiful place. Beautiful nature and lots of small-town charm and quirkiness.
The hotel is relatively new and it shows. Everything was very modern and in top condition. They had the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever seen too!
When we got to the hotel I disappeared into the bathroom first thing I did, and when I got out Markus had placed a beautiful bag on one of the chairs. And it was full of other, smaller presents. Like the big box from my parents. But, and Markus was very clear about this, he had the idea first! 😏
We’ve watched Queer Eye and one of the things we joke about is how Tan always harps on about dressing “age-appropriate” and how appalled he would be if he saw us. Whenever one of us has dressed particularly metal/goth/alternative the other comments “looking very age-appropriate today, dear” 😆
So for my birthday, Markus made sure to pick out only weird witchy shit fit for a fresh 40-year-old. Like a bag and matching wallet with pentagrams. And a Quija board notebook. And mugs with demon cats on them…
He truly knows me. 🖤
A highlight of the trip was when we got to the spa at the hotel! Neither of us had been to a spa before so that was exciting. I wasn’t sure I’d like it since I’m not much of a sauna or public bath kind of person, but it was surprisingly nice!
We hadn’t booked any special treatments so we got the standard experience. At the reception desk they gave us a package with products and a cheat sheet with steps and instructions. Showers, facial masks, a steam sauna, a foot bath, an aroma sauna that smelled like lavender…
After the lavender sauna, they had a huge bathtub with 14°C water that you were supposed to dip yourself in. 🥶 Markus chickened out immediately and claimed it wouldn’t be good for his heart condition (*cough*coward*cough*) but I did it. It was actually pretty refreshing, especially after sitting in a warm sauna. And the step after the ice water was another sauna so it was just going from hot to cold to hot again.
Best part of the spa though was the last step: the heated outdoor pool. The spa was on the 8th floor so the view was incredible. We bought a couple of drinks and sat with them in the pool watching the sunset. Felt very romantic and luxurious, it was fun to pretend to be upper class for a while. 😎🥂
Saturday evening we had reservations for a 3-course dinner at the restaurant/sky bar on the top (12th) floor of the hotel.
Starter: Norway lobster soup
Made with Norway lobster, scallops and yellow beetroot. It was a bit too salty, but otherwise very nice.
Main course: Pepper roast
Grilled beef spiced with a mix of peppers. Served with a pepper sauce and both french fries and a potato gratin. It was amazing! Normally I’m not a fan of big slabs of meat but this one was so well cooked and seasoned! That potato gratin is probably the best I’ve ever had too.
Dessert: chocolate mousse
Dark chocolate mousse with a raspberry and yoghurt sorbét, almond crumble, a piece of white chocolate, hazelnut pralines and raspberry jam. It was very tasty, felt fresh and not too sweet with the sorbét.
Going through my photos I realise I didn’t take many, neither of my birthday nor of my weekend trip. The ones above are pretty much all of them. I was too busy enjoying myself and being in the moment to remember to take a lot of photos. Guess that’s a sign I had a good time. 😁
I usually blog more about my pet’s birthdays than my own so… Guess it’ll be 10 years until the next birthday post, haha!