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  • Writer's pictureKasi DeStefano

Happy 40th Birthday to me

courtesy photo

On November 9, 1982 at 2:12 a.m., the world became more abundant when I graced it with my presence. You may think I’m joking, but I assure you I’m not…I know my worth! This may shock you, but I was a stubborn child who danced to the beat of my own drum. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me, I was doing what I wanted no matter what.

The same rings true today. I know this is so cliché to say, but it really does feel like I blinked and ended up here. Looking back, I have no regrets. I’m thankful for every situation I have faced, good and bad, because it has helped me become who I am today, and I love myself.

I remember when I was eight years old and my Aunt Toni turned 40. It was a quiet Sunday night in August when all of a sudden the church she attended showed up to surprise her. At the time, I thought it was the coolest thing. I’ll never forget the complete shock and excitement on her face when they yelled, “SURPRISE!” In hindsight, looking back on that memory as an adult, it would have caused me to have a complete and total panic attack.

Imagine relaxing at home in your robe after a lengthy day and unwinding for bed. Maybe you’re reading a great book, or drinking a glass of wine and all of a sudden, BOOM…40 people show up with desserts and you’re now hosting braless in your robe. We never discussed this and I never heard a complaint from her, but I think she may have PTSD and suppressed that specific part.

Now I realize that this may not be her take on the surprise part of the party, however, let me just tell you my neighbor unexpectedly showed up at my house last week because a piece of my mail was accidentally stuck to his. I was actually annoyed because he walked in the foyer to chat a little and I felt obligated to offer him a cup of tea. Thank God he denied my invitation because I was kicking myself for asking in the first place. You might think I’m being rude, but trust me, it was for his own benefit. There is one thing I’m horrible at and that is making small talk. I always end up somehow landing on a conversation that makes all parties uncomfortable. I’ve done it my whole life and I’ve accepted it for what it is, a nervous tic? Self sabotage? I’ll be sure to bring this up the next time I see my therapist and do a deep dive. I’ll let you all know what her findings are.

That surprise party is something I have thought about over the years from time to time and a few key things have stuck out to me.

1. Shirley DeNick brought her “hands down, should be famous” Banana Cream Pie. If you have never had the pleasure of having a slice, I promise, you are missing out. I’m not sure what exactly she had in that pie but it has crack-like addicting qualities.

2. Everything was “over the hill” themed. You know when you are little and anyone that is ten years older than you seems like a dinosaur? Well to me she was exactly that, and I remember thinking she wasn’t going to live much longer and felt sad. This is something else I never expressed to her and I’m sure she will laugh when she reads this!

3. There is not one single photo in existence from that party because life was much simpler back then and people just enjoyed the moment. In today’s world, everyone instantly snaps pictures and shares them to social media to announce how much fun they are having, even if they truly are not. It’s more about the show than the actual experience (don’t even get me started on that).

Flash forward to today, my 40th birthday looks a lot different than my aunt’s did. I won’t have anyone showing up to surprise/scare me. It’s hard to do that when you live 800 miles away from your family. It’s even harder when you don’t speak to 96.7 percent of them!

By the time you read this I will have already picked up my best friend Holly from the airport. She is flying in to spend four days with me and I know for sure we are having some amazing body treatments done. Cupping, massages and possibly a colonic if I can squeeze it all in, or should I say out! HA!

Now that I’m an adult with my own perspective of what this age feels like, I certainly don’t feel like a dinosaur and actually love getting older. I realized that getting older doesn’t mean you’re “old.” Age truly is just a number and you’re only as old as you feel. I am in the best shape of my life, I eat healthy food and treat my body like a temple. I started eating for my brain health and it changed my life. I tuned into what specific needs my body had, eliminated the foods that made me feel off, treat food as medicine and haven’t looked back since.

I’m looking forward to what this next chapter of my life will bring and am happy I get to celebrate it with my husband, two girls and my amazing friend. There is no greater teacher of perspective than time itself. If I could give my 20 year old self a pep talk, I would say…slow down and relax, the journey may not always be what you thought it would be but the destination and perspective is going to be so worth it! Cheers to 40 years!

Kasi DeStefano was a long time resident of Hammonton. She now resides in sunny Florida where on her birthday, it’s scheduled to be 81 degrees. That may be the best birthday present ever! She also wants everyone to know that her “dinosaur” of an aunt is now 73, thriving and still driving her insane on a daily basis! She can be reached at


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