It does not feel like too long ago that my parents and all their friends experienced the life stage of turning 40. I can remember the parties, the “Over the Hill” paraphernalia , and the occasions when my dad would snag a wheelchair from his office to use as a fun party prop. Somehow I have found myself at this same life stage in which those around me are turning 40. Gone are the days of wedding and baby showers. Now we all gather at the latest birthday bash as a fellow friend enters a new decade. Thank goodness Hallmark has decided to phase out the “Over the Hill” black party favors and fortunately “wheelchair” humor is a dying breed.
Today I find myself beginning the year of facing down 40.
Today I turn 39.
Approaching 40 does not create fear in me or casue me to bemoan my age. Rather I embrace it. What a blessing to have been gifted 39 years with a promise of possibly more to come. Sure I recently saw a picture of myself which sent me straight to the skin care aisle of my local department store in search of miracle eye cream. Yes, my back and my knees hurt..especially when the weather changes. I have had the moment of horror when I glanced in the rearview mirror at a stoplight and wondered who in the world planted those gray hairs springing up from the top of my head? Signs of aging are making themselves known.
But guess what those signs mean: I have spent 39 years walking around this earth. Those lines under my eyes that were not there even 6 or 7 years ago? Well those lines are signs of happiness and joy…not signs of a body failing or of youth lost. That back and those knees may ache a bit, but they still keep me going on a daily basis.
Rather than fearing these signs or attempting to radically reverse them, I celebrate them. My wrinkles are not caused by a lifetime of sorrow or of heavy labor, unlike other women in this world. That thought humbles me. My legs still keep trucking despite others with the same diagnosis as me who lost mobility years ago. Again, what is an achy back compared to lack of independent movement? I can run and buy expensive eye cream, text my hair dresser when those pesky grays (who am I kidding? I am a redhead. There are no grays. We skip over that and go straight to white.) pop up, and I can get in quickly to my chiropractor when the aches start to get the best of me. I have no complaints with my aging, but rather wear it as a sort of badge of honor and embrace it with humility.
As this day has approached, I have thought about what I want to do with this year leading up to 40. 38 taught me a lot of things: one of those being that my days are so very numbered. How am I spending those days and what am I doing with what I have been given? So often I just flitter about, with little detail to how I am spending my overall time and where I am pouring my efforts. I get caught up in the little picture of get up, workout, feed the family, educate the family, socialize with friends that I lose track of the dreams and desires of my heart. The dreams and desires of God’s heart.
This stirred in me a desire to make a list of things to accomplish this year. This list has some big things on it. It has a lot of small things on it. Some are important while others are frivolous . However, they all mean something to me.
Here, my friends, is my little yearlong project I like to call “#39inmy39th.” I plan to blog this journey as I travel down this path for the next 365 days. A few things will remain private, however most of them will be shared.
Without further rambling, here is the list:
- Attend 20 yoga classes this year.
- Complete a 1/2 marathon
- Complete the Whole30 at least once
- Climb a (small) mountain
- Read a previously unread classic novel
- Read a total of 39 books this year
- Memorize: The Lord’s Prayer, The Apostle’s Creed, The Great Commission, and The Beatitudes
- Finish my book proposal
- Attend She Speaks conference in July
- Speak at a conference/event
- Create an online master class (Don’t you wanna sign up for this???)
- Complete the book 52 Lists
- Take a class
- Publish something
- 1017 roomie reunion
- Have an Evelyn Day
- Have an Isaac Day
- Have a Tobe Day
- Create vision boards with the family
- Cook recipes from both my Grandmother and Grandma’s recipe collection (I have both stored at my house…and never look at them)
- Write regular letters to my grandmother
- Plan a surprise weekend roadtrip for my family
- Have family pictures made
- Be intentional about not hurrying the children (this is the only non-tangible thing on my list…but such a big issue for me)
- Take Isaac to see a Shakespeare play
- Take Evelyn to the ballet
- Donate time/efforts to a local organization that empowers women in my community
- Donate and raise money for the OM Foundation
- Have four families over for dinner (Who wants to come? I am so bad about hosting dinner parties.)
- Dine at five local restaurants in which we have never eaten
- Paint our master bathroom
- Finish an incomplete project around the house (ie the large bulletin board that has lived in my garage for two years)
- Keep a Gratitude Journal for the year
- Watch a classic film never seen before
- See a favorite band live
- Plan a trip to Nantucket (This is actually a present given to me by my husband. He knew about this list and asked for me to leave one space open. He told me for my 40th I get a trip to Nantucket…a place I am slightly obsessed with and have wanted to visit forever. This year I get to plan the trip and next summer I will go!)
There you have it: 39 in my 39th.
I am excited to get to know you.
Eager to see where you will take me.
Prayerful that you will lead me somewhere new.
And eternally grateful to get to experience you.