Beyonce Reflects on Turning 40 in Rare Hand-written Letter to Fans

Nearly a month after she turned 40, Beyoncé is reflecting on age and on how this was the "first year that I really understand what it means to be alive and to live in the moment." In a rare, hand-written letter shared to her official website Thursday, the 28-time Grammy winner took a moment to thank fans for the birthday wishes they showered her with when she turned the big 4-0 on Sept. 4 while also hitting back at the notion that women are supposed to "feel old or unhappy" as they age.

In the personal letter to her Beyhive "as Virgo season comes to an end," the singer said she was "so thankful for every inspiring human who took the time to send me all the beautiful messages," which she said made her cry "tears of joy." As she marked her birthday, many fans sent videos, posts, countdowns, and other social media messages to celebrate the occasion, things that Beyoncé said she "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."

Beyoncé went on to reflect on 40 and how "this is the first year that I really understand what it means to be alive and to live in the moment." She said that this is "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." The singer wrote that with each passing year, "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!" she continued. "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."

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Beyoncé ended the letter by writing "I Love You." She added the word "Deep" spelled out 40 times and a drawing of a bumblebee.