2015: The Year I Turn 40

40th birthdayMy social media feeds have been filled with the great expectations for 2015 of my friends and loved ones. People are going to be thinner, happier, healthier, richer, more productive, basically better this year.

I am inspired! I want to set some goals. I want to make some resolutions. I want to do… something! I just have no idea what that something would be.

This is the year that I turn 40. Forty. The big 4-0. It happens in November. So I have some time. But still, it’s going to happen. I’m going to be 40.

I’m not freaking out about Turning 40. At least not in the OMG-my-life-is-over-now-that-I’m-40! sort of way. But I feel like I should be able to say, “By 40, I want to ______,” and be able to fill in that blank. At least then I’d know what I’ve failed at come November 6.

But I don’t know. I have no grand ambition. I have no intention word. I have no marker to tell me if I’ve succeeded or failed. I have no wisdom that every third story shared by my over 40 friends on Facebook swears I will have suddenly after I blow out my 40 candles. I’m pretty skeptical that sort of wisdom and realization even exist.

If I think of this year as any other, I have a list of projects I want to complete:

  1. Paint the downstairs bathroom.
  2. Paint the workout/office room.
  3. Actually use the workout/office room.
  4. Deal with potential leak or crack or whatever that strange water thing is that keeps happening in the car port.
  5. Either open the store I’ve been contemplating for more than a year or shut up about it, but make a decision already.
  6. Learn to swim proper strokes so I can do laps for exercise without nearly drowning myself when I try to turn my head to breathe.
  7. Write more. Write better. Write.
  8. Be thinner, healthier, richer, happier, kinder, and generally a better person.
  9. Throw a marvelous 40th birthday party.
  10. Propose other brilliant projects that will drive my husband bananas.

It’s a good list. It’s an attainable list. If I accomplish most of that list, I’m gonna have a great year. But is it a Turning 40 list? I don’t know.

The whole Turning 40 thing is just too much pressure. It’s like having to pick a major in college again. No kidding, I had a different major every semester until my junior year. Then I just had to pick something and stick with it because I needed to finish already.

Both of my college roommates knew for a very long  time what they wanted to be: physical therapist and doctor. And now they both are. And they are both very good at it. They both turn 40 this year too. They also both have three children, but I don’t think that’s related. Regardless, I am attracted to people with focus and plans, perhaps because I am not exactly overflowing with either.

I think part of the problem is that most of my friends are really high achieving, quality people. This was a huge mistake on my part. If I’d made friends with slackers and bums, then I wouldn’t have these existential problems. I’d always look amazing by comparison.

I should be clear, I don’t feel as though I am a person without accomplishment. I am proud of the work I have done professionally. I am content in my personal relationships. I am excited about my future and the many possibilities that are still ahead of me.

It’s just that this line of demarcation, however arbitrary, is sitting in my relatively near future, and I have no idea if I am prepared for it or not. I could run a marathon between now and then. I could cook my way through Julia Child’s cookbook. I could climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I could do a lot of things. The question is not what I can do. The question that I cannot answer is: what do I want to do?

I’ve had 39 years to contemplate this, and I still have no idea. I honestly think that even if I spent the next eleven months really focused on it, I wouldn’t know. The question is just too big and causing me too much angst.

So I’m going to plunge into this year with my list of regular-type plans for 2015 and see what comes of it. Turning 40 is going to happen without a major deadline in front of it. And I have no clue if that’s good or bad. I don’t know if means I lack ambition or that I’m content. It’s possible in October, I’ll realize this “no deadline” plan was a terrible mistake. 

But I really have no more time or real estate in my brain or energy to devote to the subject. So that’s the plan I’m going with. For the bathroom, I’ve chosen the lovely shade of Classic French Gray.

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4 thoughts on “2015: The Year I Turn 40

  1. Do you have to have a plan? Does something amazing have to happen before you turn 40? You have a husband you love and who loves you. You have a wonderful child. You have YOU. You experience emotional and intellectual growth on some level every day. Aren’t those things enough? Don’t you hate that a therapist reads your blog and comments on it?

    Of course, I am writing this from the other side of 40. I am almost 60. Time gives one a lot of perspective too. Also, for the record I never really picked a major in college. I wanted it all. I ended up with a degree in liberal arts which means that I knew enough about everything to be a PITA but not enough to get a job. My parents were thrilled beyond words. LOL!!!

    Enjoy the year, the Classic French Gray sounds lovely and remember we are more than the “sum of our parts.” Deep Peace, Ardee-ann

  2. Our sermon this week was about the question “what breaks your heart?” As in, what do you want to change about the world around you? I thought it was great to focus outwardly this year instead of being so self-absorbed.

  3. Pingback: Turning 40: An Update or Getting more than you deserve | Drink, Sleep & Be Kerri

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