On Turning 43, With 12 Things You Might Not Know About Me



As a “non-birthday” birthday person, I like to give my team the week off around September 1st, likely because I want it off myself and I’m an enneagram “7” so that seems “fun!” for everyone. This week we are moving into the farm, organizing 12 hours a day, and overwhelmed equally by “stuff” and gratefulness. I’m living on a cloud, wondering if this is the simulation (all fake), and knowing that you all are to thank for it. Thank you so much. I feel like the luckiest 43-year-old on the planet. I have a lot more to say, but for the sake of today, I thought I’d tell you a few things you might not know about me. Some frivolous. Some telling. Some deeply personal. Some I’m proud of and some not.

  1. Three years ago, right before covid, I spent a 6 hour night with Wiz Kalifa to see if we were a good match for a “Snoop Dog/Martha Stewart” reboot show. The producers kept joking, everyone but me super stoned, about how we were a great fit for TV because I would do “all the work and talking while he could be high and funny”. I laughed, soaked up the memory of this crazy Hollywood stint, and then dialed the “uh, f*ck no” call the next day. He was super sweet, but not the right fit 🙂
  2. I played the grand piano at Nordstrom (Pioneer Square, Portland, OR) during Christmas my junior and senior year of high school. I would sneak in “The Man from Snowy River” theme song in between the more appropriate carols because it would make me cry and I liked to be emo. It was 1996 and I had a lot of emotions. IYKYK. (cue that soundtrack for the rest of this post please).
  3. I’m scared of sheep (and large birds). My sister won one in a lamb scramble when I was 6. My brother told me I could ride it and put me on its back enough times for it to hate me and want me dead. I couldn’t go outside for the summer because it would run hard and ram me over, til it one day “left”.
  4. I thought sex was crawling inside a man’s t-shirt and kissing so hard until I was 13. Like, literally going up and into a man’s t-shirt, sharing the neck hole with both heads, while you kiss and kiss and kiss. I think maybe since I didn’t know what it was (raised Mormon) I just created my own fantasy, and this T-shirt move was both super close/snuggly and yet still modest? As you can imagine my friends have a great time with that one and I was pretty shocked to learn in 7th-grade sex ed what was actually involved…
  5. I have a very good sense of direction. I think this is from being a stylist for years where you have to travel the city from top to bottom and side to side to find what you need. I knew New York better than most new Yorkers and same in LA. Portland, you are next. I always know which way is north and I take far too much pride in it.
  6. I’ve been getting botox in my forehead and my “11s” since I was 28 (I had very premature wrinkles). I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it, but sure, I wish I didn’t feel the need to get it nor chase youth. But yes, I’m glad that it’s a highly effective option that can help me look more like how I feel on the inside. If only society and culture could, like, totally dismantle the myth of youthfulness and female beauty, you know? At this point, I know only a few people that don’t get it at my age, so I feel more comfortable admitting that I have (for 14 years! Only took breaks while pregnant and breastfeeding). But no, we still don’t photoshop faces on this blog.
  7. My first boyfriend, from the age of 14-19, was pretty darn verbally and emotionally abusive (cheating/gaslighting/leaving on the sides of highways, etc). He was 4 years older and your actual nightmare if you have a teenage daughter. I’ve written about it a lot (including why I stayed with him for so long) but never published anything. Someday I might. The fact that I met Brian two years later and we have such a solid healthy relationship is a crazy miracle, and a testament to the kindness of the universe, the strengths of my childhood friendships (the ones I moved back to Portland to be with), and a lot of resilience instilled by my parents. If you were ever or are in a relationship with someone who makes you feel like you are a crazy piece of garbage, know that you aren’t alone. I know how hard it can be to get out. You aren’t crazy. He is cheating. 🙂
  8. I’m extremely fast at typing and have virtually illegible penmanship. Like I have to work hard to model good writing for my kids because my hands/fingers have been typing for 4 hours a day for so long that I can barely hold a pen anymore. I write like a 3rd grader.
  9. I’ve supported myself completely financially since I was 17 and paid for my own college. Forcing complete self-reliance is one of the best gifts my parents inadvertently gave me. It helped me build so much self-worth, confidence, and independence. I’m not sure who I was before that, maybe I was always independent and fearless when it came to surviving big life changes, but I know that it helped give me the sense that I could do anything.
  10. Ironically…I can’t, however, seem to “open a piece of mail” and had a really terrible credit score until Brian started doing this task for us (something he is also terrible at, but better than myself). I still think there should be a high school course where you just practice opening your mail, emails, and paying bills. A combination of exposure therapy and hopefully creating some lasting habits?
  11. I made a college professor quit due to sexual misconduct. I wrote him a letter asking who he wanted to tell the police – me or him (such an “Emily” move – assertive but making the other person do the work), and then he moved the next week (after writing me a super strange apology card that I still have). Looking back I should have just gone to the dean and made it so he could never teach again, but I didn’t. I guess I hoped he would learn his lesson and he was my favorite professor…
  12. I’ll eat anything on a menu that has “English peas” or any type of “slaw” on the side. It could be “Ground dog poop over a bed of English peas and a side of slaw” and I’d be like “ooh, that sounds yummy”. Brian gets a real kick out of this quirk.

Thanks for reading along – both this post and the last 13 years for some of you. Life is far from perfect, on and off the internet, but I am so happy to be here with you approaching middle age and kinda loving it. Everything they say is true – your 40s really are when life becomes more crystalized when your decisions can be made more swiftly because you draw on your life experiences. In your 40s your priorities and values are driving the car of life. And while you still need to be awake, you can relax a bit more knowing that you have this wealth of 40 years of life experiences, of being YOU, steering the wheel. You can cut through the noise faster, with more confidence, and you have a sense of an expanded timeline – releasing the perceived importance of every single day. Every occasion. Every “opportunity”. It’s all stuff you can’t really learn until you need to, but maybe some of this resonates with some of you.

Oh, I do love (and need) a good self-indulgence blog post/journal entry now and again. Thanks for listening. Always 🙂 xx

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

The post On Turning 43, With 12 Things You Might Not Know About Me appeared first on Emily Henderson.





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