Beyoncé reflects on turning 40: 'This is the first year that I really understand what it means to be alive'
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Beyoncé reflects on turning 40: 'This is the first year that I really understand what it means to be alive'

Beyoncé celebrated her 40th birthday on Sept. 4, and she has been in a reflective mood in the weeks since.

The 28-time (!) Grammy winner uploaded a handwritten and heartfelt open letter to her official website Friday.

This is what it says:

"As Virgo Season comes to an end, I hope my fellow Virgos had great birthdays.

"I'm so thankful for every inspiring human who took the time to send me all the beautiful messages. I cried tears of joy and was covered in chilly bumps. Your videos, your posts, your countdowns, your playlists and your well wishes, I will cherish forever. I'm grateful to everyone involved, especially the fans, for the time and level of detail it took to organize such beautiful tributes. I admire and respect all of you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

"This is the first year that I really understand what it means to be alive and to live in the moment. It's the first time that I have an understanding of how fragile life truly is, how hard life can be at times, and therefore how important it is to stop and smell the roses during the good times. I thought I knew that at 21 or 30...but I didn't. The more mature I become, the more I understand and the deeper my joy grows. There's a freedom and liberation knowing that I've made it to the other side of my sacrifice. I'm finally giving myself permission to enjoy the seeds I've worked so hard to plant my whole life.

"Whoever tried to condition women to feel that we are supposed to feel old or unhappy when we turn 40 got it ALL THE WAY F'd UP.

"This has absolutely been the best I've felt in my life. I'm so grateful to be GROWN, GROWN!

"Most of y'all met me when I was 15, and we have grown up together. You bring sooooo much joy into my life. I hope my art can continue to bring a little joy into yours.

"I Love You Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep."

Of course, she wrote "deep" 40 times.

And of course, she signed the letter with a drawing of a bee.

Queen Bey expressed similar sentiments during a rare interview with Harper's Bazaar, where she talked through what each decade of her life taught her and represents to her now.

"My wish is for my 40s to be fun and full of freedom," she told the magazine. "I want to feel the same freedom I feel on stage every day of my life. I want to explore aspects of myself I haven’t had time to discover and to enjoy my husband and my children. I want to travel without working. I want this next decade to be about celebration, joy, and giving and receiving love. I want to give all the love I have to the people who love me back."

Beyoncé also teased that "the music is coming." She last released Black Is King, a musical film and visual album, last year. There was live album Homecoming and The Lion King: The Gift in 2019, as well as 2018's Everything Is Love with husband JAY-Z released as The Carters. But her most recent solo studio album was Lemonade in 2016.

Megan Armstrong (@megankarmstrong) is a writer with previous work appearing in places such as Billboard, Bleacher Report, GQ and others. She's most interested in writing about people and how they live their lives, through the framework of music, entertainment and sports.

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