NOTE: I wrote this over two years ago just after my 40th birthday. I never finished or posted it until today. I actually remember writing it in one sitting during a swim practice at Kendbrin, (our summer swim and tennis club). I’m not sure why I never posted it…but here it is. It was a little scary how little has changed and these 8 things are still so very relevant in my life today.
From July 2012:
I hit the big milestone last month. I suppose it’s just one of many and I was actually pretty excited about it. Even after a co-worker continually reminded me no less than 5 times not to be upset about it and that it was really “ok to be distraught”.
There really isn’t much more I could want out of life. Of course, I hope to stay healthy, and I hope the same for my family and friends. After that, isn’t everything else just an extra bonus? I have a fuller, sweeter life than my child-hood dreams could have ever taken me.
Turning 40 has allowed me to reflect on the past and consider the future of the kind of person I want to be. Here is my own little “Now that I am 40″ list:
1. Don’t wait 3 days to call my Mom back.
I need to place her on the priority list. As I am getting older, I am seeing how roles shift. When my kids are grown and have their own lives which is only a blink away, I hope that they will do the same. Never before have I really considered this. When my says…”Nik, I mis you, I haven’t spoken to you in DAYS!”, it takes on a different meaning when I am on the horizon of being the Mom trying to get in touch with the child.
2. Just say “Thank you”.
This is a tough one for me. The tendency is to deflect a compliment with a quick comment of a negative tone. I remember when Taylor was in Kindergarten, another Mom came up to me and said “Wow, your daughter is a fantatic reader!”. There were other parents around when this was said and I could feel my face flush with embarasment. Instead of simply saying “thank you”, I instead said, “oh, but you should see her writing, its atrocious!” This knee jerk reaction of taking away the compliment robs the person who is making it. A simple, “thank you” will be my new respononse!
3. Yes, I am a runner.
The other day I was at the gym and the instructor asked me if I was a runner. My heart always starts to quicken when someone asks me to define it that way. I run. But am I a runner? I struggle with this. Yes, I have run 3 marathons and countless halves and many other shorter races. But I am S-L-O-W. Slower than all my friends and the majority of other race participants. I am a “back of the packer” as one would say. So, when the instructor asked me if I was a runner, I came up with a long response about how I do run, but not fast and sometimes not consistently etc., etc…. I left there thinking about what an idiot I was… and that its “OK” to answer yes to that question. I do put one foot in front of the other and albeit slow…I do RUN!
4. I am going to speak up.
Sometimes in conversations, there are untruths told, embellishments, judgements made. I mostly listen, often pretend to agree and have a mini private chat with myself inside my own head about how unkind, not true or exaggerated that was. I often feel dirty about this. I am going to work on sharing my sometimes conflicting opinion or thoughts without caring if I will be judged myself.
5. Laugh more.
I am a pretty serious person. When I am with people who are silly, funny, light hearted and crazy, it encourages me to be that way too. I don’t laugh from the bottom of my gut very often, but when I do, I love it. I feel free and alive. I want to feel that way more often.
6. Say “yes” more.
To my kids I mean. I have a plan of al the things I need to get done and my son wants to shoot hoops in the driveway with me. Ummmm….doesn’t he see the sink full of dishes, the loads of unfolded laundry or the unmade lunches? He might. But he doesn’t really care. I am realizing more and more that there is a day not too far in the future in which I will be WISHING for him to ask me to shoot hoops with him. Life is moving much too quickly for my liking and I want as few regrets as possible. I am certain that if I don’t lighten up and use the word “yes” a little more often, it will be one of them.
7. Be more consistent.
I was very sad to read about Steven Covey’s death. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was one of the very first personal development books I ever read. It takes 15 consistent actions in a row to develop a habit. That means 15 days of going to the gym, 15 days of no sugar, 15 Sundays of going to church. Often, I have all the best intentions, but am my own worst enemy when it comes to taking action. I am going to consider a small list of things I want to change or accomplish and then be consistent about staying on track.
I don’t even want to type this. Its a huge fear of mine and I have avoided it at all cost. Here it is. I am very comfortable speaking in small groups, meeting new people, even giving a presentation around a conference room table. But put me on a podium in front a group who is going to be staring up at me…I’d rather stick hot pins in my eyes repeatedly. This is something I need to conquer!
Looking back on this more than 2 years later, its amazing to see how little has changed…note to self….GET MOVING SISTER!!!