Checking in on 40


A month from today my 40th year comes to an end.

For all the angst I went through to get to 40, I’m a little disappointed to see the end of this year. 40 has been good; the number is scarier that the reality I have found.

But, 41? It’s so…ordinary. 40, in my book, has more cache than 41. It’s like being on the edge of possibility.

Speaking of possibility, back on my actual birthday, I shared a post of my goals for the year. Today, we’ll review my progress:

1. Take 5 minutes every day to focus on that for which I am thankful. {If I spend time focusing on that which is good/amazing in my life, the little stuff won’t matter so much. Or, at least that’s my plan.}

Status: I’m on working on this. I’m better at it than before, but could still make progress. 

2. Send 40 people in my life 40 thank you notes for their influence on my life. {Not the typical thank you notes for birthday gifts, peeps. These are going to be heartfelt, thoughtful, just because letters.}

Status: 4 down, 36 to go. {It’s going to be a busy June.}

3. Learn how to make my Mom’s famous coffee cake (commonly known as her J-Cake). {This is the best food in the entire world. Hands down.}

Status: Done! At the holidays, the kids and I made J-cakes with my mom, and it was super fun. A great tradition for us all.

4. No more cursing. {If I do, I’m putting a $1 in a jar and giving the money away to a charity. I hate this habit of mine.}

Status: Well, no. Ironically, I curse less at home and more at work—which is awful, of course. I’ve decided it’s a stress relief tool, but it’s a lousy one. So, still  goal. And, yes, I’ll make a donation to make up for all those *&$!**. 

5. Be more patient. {This one is already setting me up for a bit of failure as impatience is in my DNA, but I’ve been trying this with the kids when they misbehave: take a deep breath and count, out loud (or in my head if out loud’s a little weird), to ten (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi….), before getting too frustrated and saying something counterproductive.}

Status: I’m better at this. Not perfectly patient, but better. I still count my Mississippis when it’s all too much, and I’m working to acknowledge my impatience, in the hopes that will move me closer toward this goal. 

6. Say yes more often to fun. {I am a Cancer. We are homebodies. I’m going to work on shaking that up.}

Status: A work in progress, but I’m making strides. For example, I am going to BlogHer, a big blogging conference in July in Chicago, an undertaking I might have passed on before. 

7. Develop a plan for the future of Red Shutters. {I love writing for Red Shutters and want to make this blog more sustainable and engaging.}

Status: We’ve seen some changes to Red Shutters this year: a new look and new software to run the site, plus new readers (thank you!) and a more regular posting schedule of two to three times a week. Making progress. 

8. Be open to change. {Hard, right? But (to be a bit trite) change can be good, and as noted in #6, I am willing to shake things up.}

Status: Is this goal ever accomplished? 

9. Go to church more regularly. {When I go, I feel better, a bit more grounded, part of something larger, part of a community. Making time for this, and getting my kids more accustomed to sitting in services, instead of the child care room, is a goal to work on.}

Status: Still on the list, though progress has been made. 

10. Travel. {Specifically, go on trips to visit family; I have two such journeys in mind.}

Status: We headed to Utah and are in the process of planning another trip.

11. Save more. {If you want to see money disappear quickly, buy a house (like us) that needs a lot of work (like us). Now that the big ticket items in our renovation are over, I’m planning for us to save more ’cause money in the bank will help a lot more toward retirement than pretty bathroom tile.}

Status: In progress. 

12. Teach my son to read. {R devours book and is close to learning how to read. And, I know he is going to love, love, love it.}

Status: Done! Much credit goes to his terrific preK teachers, of course, for helping R learn how to read. He’s also working on his math and writing skills, and it’s a joy to see him growing in this way. 

13. Be a better friend. {One of the challenges of juggling marriage, family, and career, is making time for friends. I have so many wonderful friends in my life, and I don’t feel like I ever have enough time for them. I want to fix this by being more present and active in these relationships.}

Status: I could be better at this. It stays a priority. 

14. Make more quality time with my husband a priority. {Regular date nights. Technology free nights at home when we actually talk about things other than taking out the compost/recycling, the kids, or the house renovations. I have some radical thinking going on, eh?}

Status: We’re working on it. Technology free nights seem out of reach, but I’m not giving up. 

15. And because this birthday list would not be complete without it…. Be healthier. {I thought about writing “exercise more,” but really I want to do more than just the treadmill. I want healthier eating, more sleep, better skin care (can’t forget those wrinkles!), and more laughing. So, be healthier it is.}

Status: I fell in love with yoga this past year, and am now trying to resurrect my interest in running, in time for summer. 

And, what do I think about having this birthday goal list? It’s a lot like setting new year resolutions, which are always tough and, unfortunately, disappointing. But the checking back in on them is new to me, and that’s helpful to measuring progress (or lack thereof). It’s a reminder that there’s still much to do during this last few days and weeks of 40!

40 isn’t old if you are a tree.

photo credit: Rick Payette via photopin cc