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Why 40 is the Best Year of My Life

Next to marrying my husband, turning 40 was the best thing I ever did.  Why I Love Being 40Unlike many women I know, I am not shy to share that eight months ago I arrived at what I consider a huge milestone in my life. 

Maybe I cherish this age because I wasn’t always sure I would get this far in life.  You see by the time I was 16 I was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease and informed I could not live without medication, which I proceeded to eliminate from my life by the time I was 22, just after narrowly escaping death in a serious car accident.  I didn’t escape injury (I suffered a head injury, spinal cord injury, partial paralysis that was less than a millimeter of nerve damage away from being paraplegia, and more).  But I lived.  That seemed to be a shock to everyone who witnessed the accident and the paramedics that attended to me as well.  It was a shock to me too.  But this is not the story of illness and injury. 

Mine is a story of triumph.  While I’d love to say it is a story of grace under pressure, it was more like triumph with a whole lot of kicking and screaming madness along the way.  What I wanted more than anything else was to be normal:  not bedridden when I was 19 and not suffering endless and excruciating pain at 21.  Those things that most people wanted out of—school and work—I desperately sought. 

I realized that if I wanted normalcy in the form of education or a job I would have to find abnormal routes to it.  I found no relief from either pain or illness through the Western medical route so I sought health through the traditional medicines of indigenous people, through Eastern methods, and discovering a closer connection with the land and Nature.  I loved these approaches and, more than that, I loved the results.  Somewhere along the search for self-healing I discovered a passion for natural medicine.

I wish I could tell you that I cured the genetic disease and never suffer a single pain in my body, but that isn’t the case.  What I can tell you is that countless medical doctors told me I shouldn’t be alive.  I can tell you that I have recovered almost all of the function that was previously lost to partial paralysis.  I can also share that I have only a fraction of the pain I once had thanks to natural medicine. 

I can also tell you that I love being 40.  I laughingly tell people that I love how much better it feels to have health that IMPROVES with age, instead of the other way around.  But the health improvements I have are not the only reason I love midlife.  I love having so much more confidence than I did when I was in my twenties and even thirties.  I feel stronger, wiser, and more confident of who I am.  I love not caring so much whether people like me.  I love not having the worst problem in my life being whether my body measures up to some ridiculous number, measurement, or standard. 

I love having arrived at many of the career aspirations I had since childhood.  Suddenly I awoke one day after years of effort to the realization that all those things I wanted to do I’m actually doing.  

Along my journey, I saw an interview on television of a man who was also injured in a car accident.  He said something like:  “before the accident I could do 10,000 things. Now I can do 3,000 things.  I could waste my time worrying about the 7,000 things I can’t do or I can really enjoy the 3,000 things I still can do.”  That was an “a-ha” moment for me. 

I still can’t do some of the physical activities I once could but I can prepare a delicious meal and savor every bite knowing it has tremendous healing properties for my body. 

I can sit at my computer, tell stories or share knowledge that I acquired along the path to my four decades.  I receive feedback on a regular basis that the snippets I share have helped someone somewhere along his or her journey through life.  And that means the world to me.

I can go for walks with the love of my life, who I know didn’t choose me as his life partner for a a “hot bod” I may never possess or some equally shallow reason but who stood by me, and sometimes carried me, through the most difficult times in my life because I seemed to have the combination of personality traits that he loved and that he wanted to be with me.

And I can appreciate the miracle of life, of learning, and of just being.  When I discover some new information about the healing power of a plant or a food and I experience the symptom relief or deeper healing it shares, I can truly appreciate the miracle of the Universe that has just been imparted with me.  And I can stand in awe at the miracles, small or large that I am witness to, or a part of, every day.  And I know that I am only 40 so I likely have many more years left to enjoy all these things that make my heart sing and many more.

Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.

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Wow! I actually had a moment to visit you here and read your post! How great it is that you have such a positive outlook when many around us do not - and especially after your roller coaster life. Aside from healthy eating and taking proper care, a positive outlook does wonders! Thanks for the chat today and blessings for an ever-improving 2013!


Thanks you so much for sharing the details of your life, Dr. Michelle. I just discovered your website and am thrilled. I have three chronic conditions and am sick and tired of taking pills. There has to be a better way. I think you may lead me to it.
I just bought your Cancer-Proof book and am anxious to start reading.
Bless you for all you do and the hope you give to others!


congratulation for all your expensive life, and strong soul. nice to meet you. i am dietition from BULGARIA, and to be happy to comunicate with you!!


Thanks for your wonderful comments and kind words Judy and Cobi! Happy 2013 to you! Cobi, definitely look forward to turning 40!


I love this raw and truthful account of your miraculous life. Your journey continues to touch the lives of so many and I am eternally grateful to have met you!
PS I turn 40 in 7 months and am now looking forward to it!!


When I read what you write (and what you've overcome in life), I fee like applauding! Thanks for that ... and Happy 2013!



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