On September 4, 2021, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter turned 40. It was a momentous occasion for all — and an outpouring of birthday wishes and reflections from friends, fans, and media alike turned the pop icon into a worldwide trending topic on that day, and beyond.

Beyoncé recently penned an open letter to all who wished her well, thanking them for their support, and reflecting on her 40th birthday. 

"The more mature I become, the more I understand and the deeper my joy grows," she said, adding that this year was "the best she's ever felt in her life."

She continued, "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."

Beyoncé — like many celebrities — is also keenly aware of the Hollywood stigma around aging, and she had no qualms bringing it up in her open letter, as well. 

"Whoever tried to condition women to feel that we are supposed to be old or unhappy when we turn 40 got it ALL THE WAY F’D UP," she wrote. "I'm so grateful to be GROWN, GROWN! 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."

And best of all, she said she's grateful for all of us. Yes, all of us!

"I’m grateful to everyone involved, especially, the fans, for the time and level of detail it took to organize such beautiful tributes,” she wrote. "Most of y’all met me when I was 15, and we have grown up together. You bring soooo 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."

Beyoncé is living proof that if you can dream it, you can do it — and you can manifest it as your own.