I’ve been reflecting a lot about goals and accomplishments and what I want in my life now that I’m on the precipice of turning 40. FORTY. The big 4-0. Just typing it or saying it out loud seems so weird. 40 is how old my parents were when I was in high school and it seemed like, SO OLD to me then. But I don’t feel old. Sometimes I barely feel like I’m old enough to be taking care of myself, let alone three kids. But I am almost 40 (in one week exactly) and as weird as it sounds I feel pretty ok about it. I haven’t hated any of my milestone birthdays. I was ready for 30 — my 20’s were hard and I was ready to move on. My 30’s, as it turned out, were my “adulthood” decade. I got married, had kids, bought a house, changed careers (or rather, all but abandoned the career I had thought I wanted my entire life, until I realized I didn’t…), and my husband and I had made the very adult decision to make a cross country move. We had gone through hard things but also some absolutely wonderful things. We traveled a lot (mostly before kids). So pretty much any of the “goals” that I would have liked to have accomplished on paper, I had accomplished well before 40. And there are also things I feel that every woman should do in their lives (if they want to) on their own, and I have done many of those as well. But there are personal things, things I want to do for ME, that I realize I still want to do.
I started thinking about making a list of things — not that I wanted to accomplish BY 40, but more that I wanted to focus on now that I’m 40. Things for me. I think 40 is gonna be my “reconnect with myself” decade. Some of the things I’d like to do or accomplish are:
- Launch an e-course. (I’m working on this and hoping it will happen in 2019)
- Travel somewhere alone or with girlfriends yearly.
- Monthly girlfriend time.
- Monthly date night with my husband.
- Make time to work out in order to feel good and get strong and be happy with myself, not to attain a number on a scale or clothing tag.
- Attend a yoga or meditation retreat.
- Get my financial shit together.
- Launch an online shop.
- Go back to therapy.
- Write a book: memoir, children’s book, whatever.
- Take a home improvement class and tackle some projects.
- Cross Seattle, New England, Sante Fe or Sedona, and a foreign country off our travel bucket list.
- Speak at a conference for creative women.
- Speak at a conference or be a guest on a podcast for mothers talking about mental health.
- Find the perfect bra.
- Find the perfect jeans.
- Learn to set boundaries and say no without guilt.
- Try reiki.
- Learn more about crystals and energy work.
- Maybe run for office???
When you’re a woman, and maybe especially when you’re a mother, that first decade where you are doing all of the adult things — career, marriage, parenthood, etc — is also the decade where you start to lose yourself a bit. You stop prioritizing yourself. You listen to societal expectations of who you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to do (and look like, act like, etc.) It’s no wonder so many of us are searching, a bit depressed, lonely, confused, frustrated, or unsatisfied with the status quo. Because we are losing our SELVES. We feel guilty that maybe being a mother isn’t fulfilling enough or that the career we always worked so hard for isn’t making us happy. We feel stuck in that role we put on ourselves and aren’t sure how to break out of, but we know that if we don’t break out we might lose our true selves forever. Am I alone in having spent a considerable part of my 30’s in that space? I don’t think so. I think, if we’re all being honest, more of us have been stuck there than haven’t. We just don’t feel like we can talk about it. So I’ve written a list of things that I think every woman should do by the time they are 40 (again, if they WANT to) in case in can inspire you to write your own goals list.
- Own a pair of jeans that make them feel good about themselves
- Have bought themselves a splurge purchase: bag, jewelry, shoes, piece of furniture, whatever.
- Create a capsule of go-to tried-and-true wardrobe basics that you LOVE, that you feel good in, and that you can always rely on.
- Have both seen a movie and eaten dinner out alone (not necessarily in the same day)
- Traveled somewhere alone (as in, without their kids)
- Find a regular method of self-care that works for you: exercise, meditation, knitting, baths — whatever!
- Know what works for you during sex and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
- Find a best friend. A female friend. Someone who has and will always have your back.
- Wear a hat.
- Get a good haircut.
- Get a massage.
- Go to a women’s spa, where you soak in a tub and get scrubbed and walk around free and naked alongside fifty other women of every age, shape, size, and nobody gives a fuck.
- Have a go-to wine or cocktail (if you drink).
- Know how to cook one thing really well (doesn’t mean you have to cook it, but just the knowing how is enough)
- Learn to stop apologizing
- Learn to speak up for yourself
- Learn to say no without guilt.
- Have your own money, and if you aren’t the breadwinner or the bill payer of your household know where the money goes and have access to it (at the very least in case of an emergency)
- Don’t stop dreaming. Set goals for yourself. It is never too late.
Even though I don’t recognize my physical self as much as I used to — I often see a fluffier and older girl looking back at me than I see in my head — I am recognizing my inner self more and more with each passing year. I don’t feel the need to qualify my feelings or opinions. I am not afraid to speak my truth, share my stories, or say “this is me.” I am not ashamed of who I am, even though I am far from perfect and have a lot of growing and learning left to do. I am much more accepting of my shortcomings. I give myself more grace than ever. And I also expect more out of others, because I’m not gonna raise three boys and be a partner to a husband and set an example that I do all the things and I don’t speak up or that things are MY job because I’m the woman/wife/mother. Nope. We are a family and a household and things are OUR jobs. We work together and I deserve as much leisure time or sleep or time in the bathroom in private as anyone else. Life is too short to martyr yourself and wait for someone to see and recognize your sacrifice and hard work. Do the work if that is what you want. But don’t be afraid to speak up and say “that’s not my job” or “I’m not the only one capable of doing that.”
I guess as I approach 40 I have less fucks to give about things that don’t matter. I don’t know if it is because I know that they don’t matter or because I’m old and therefore too tired to care. Either way, I like it.
How old are you? How old do you feel? Do you have a bucket list of sorts or personal goals that you’d like to accomplish before a certain age or milestone birthday? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!