Big 4-0

View on 40…

I’m 40!!!

And I love it.

I love my new age. My new “credentials”. I slipped over the hill and I just breathed a big sigh of relief…

I made it. And I have fully embraced my new identity. It feels great. 

“Getting old is the plan”, as my dad always said, and I feel good because first – I love doing things according to plan. 😀

And second, I’m executing this plan well. I took a lot of time this past year to reflect on my life: the direction I’ve taken so far and where I’m currently headed. And I thought long and hard about how I wanted to spend my 40th birthday…

As a result, I had the best birthday celebration I could have possibly imagined. My friends were with me in a place meaningful to me on a deeply personal level. My old friends – true friends. It’s funny how at mid-life, I chose to be with the same people who celebrated my 21st birthday with me; who celebrated my 30th birthday with me; who were in my wedding; who I’ve known since childhood…

I guess you get older, but some things (if you’re lucky) really do stay the same.

My 40th birthday gang at the Greek ruins of Segesta.

I’m 40 and I have everything in life I could possibly ask for. I have an incredible partner, two beautiful homes, a dream career with an amazing company; I have more than financial security. I have a huge network of loving and supportive family and friends. I have the time and resources to live my life on my own terms. I laugh, relax, and enjoy myself every day. In spite of all my past challenges, I am healthy. I sleep well every night.

I am lucky. I am so, so, very lucky.

As I strolled through the beautiful ancient villages and landscapes of Scopello and Calatafimi and Erice, I fought back a lot of tears, thinking about whether or not I’ve made my family – poor, common, yet incredibly industrious people who sacrificed much and took many risks to give me an incredible start in life – proud.

Literally, the land of my ancestors.

I wondered what Grandma Margie would think about the woman little Lisa had become? What Grandpa Andrea – whom I never met, even though I look into his eyes in the portrait in my living room nightly – would think of Sam’s first grandchild?

Spotting my family name all over the mountain we once called home (and still do – some of us).

Would Grandma Mary be impressed with all I’d learned and accomplished? No longer just a toddling busybody chatterbox, would she smile to see me in her homeland, overeating and wearing a dress and huge hat every day, after her own fashion (Grandma Mary loooved to get dressed up, and she loved her big hats!)?

Eating gelato with my grandma’s name on it. In a big hat.

All these people, who left that beautiful land not so very long ago at all, and went to a cold, hard place to open the doors to the life I now enjoy…

I thought about it a lot, and I came to the conclusion that they would be proud. That I’ve done them good. The first half of my life has been spent wisely.

And I am ready for another 40.

The epitome of relaxation: the pool at our seaside villa.

Typical Sicilian, in a typical Sicilian town.

Morning in the marina at Castellamare del Golfo.

Approaching Scopello during our day at sea.

Birthday barbecue in our outdoor kitchen.

Trekking around the summit ruins at Segesta.

Girls stealing some shade at Segesta.

Pit stop in Calatafimi, home of my great-grandfather Pietro Pasienza.

Beach day at the stunning Turkish Steps.

Nighttime stroll through the heart of Castellamare.

Adventures in Erice, formerly known as Monte San Giuliano, storied birthplace of so many of my relatives.

Strolling the ancient streets of Erice.

Our vacation obsession: arancine.

The sunny Arabian streets of San Vito lo Capo.

Final beach day in the shadow of the capo.

40 and unforgettable.

And also, I might buy a vacation home in Sicily while I’m at it…


See all our pictures of Lisa’s 40th birthday celebration in Sicily here.

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4 thoughts on “Big 4-0

  1. Margaret Wisniewski says:

    Happy Birthday, Lisa! And thank you for honoring your ancestors by living a rich and fulfilling life! I am determined to go back to that place again one day soon. The place, the people and the food are remarkable. I am glad you celebrated a 40 year milestone there. I say we go back and do it again at least once every decade. BTW, you all look very “Italian”!

  2. jessicayoungtmpcom says:

    So fun! Miss you!

  3. […] My 40th birthday trip to Sicily. […]

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