The countdown is on: it’s the last month of my 30s and my 40th birthday is now just days away. Some people might dread a benchmark birthday like this one, but I’m choosing to revel in my four decades of life and experiences.
When I turned 39, I made myself a promise: When the year ended, I would celebrate and appreciate all that it means to be 40. I would feel great about my life, my career, my health, and my family. I would put things into place during year 39 that would ensure that I felt open-armed to receive my next birthday.
And a year goes by, just like that. While we’re all a continuous work in progress, I can honestly say that I made strides in several areas of my life that have helped me to feel content about where I’m going next. No matter what age you are, there is no time like the present to be intentional with your life.
Here are some of my countdown-to-40 personal objectives that have made all the difference:
- Health: Sugar-down, Water-up. It’s that simple, I drastically reduced the sugar intake in my diet and opted for much more water in my day. Reduce bloating, help skin, and increase energy.
- Relationships: Making time for the people who matter. In life and in work. And also telling people what they mean to me. Simple words, quick texts, an email or a call. Just a note to say “hey, thank you for being such a good friend to me.”
- Marriage: Marriage is work, y’all. While my husband and I have a wonderful marriage, every couple has their stuff. Working on a few of my own downfalls was a major goal of mine this year. Focusing on patience and slowing things down have been tremendous for me.
- Career: I love my job, and I am very fortunate to have a career that brings me life-altering happiness and fulfillment. But I also knew there was room for improvement, so I did research, interviewed people I admire, and had real talks with my team about growth.
- Inspiration: I took myself there. Sometimes it was the right book or the phone call to the right person to bounce ideas. Sometimes it was getting away with myself for a morning or a day to think and reflect. Some days it was long walks on the lakefront. I paused to find what was bringing my soul peace, and I brought myself there as often as I could. I made time even when it was hard to find the time. And it’s worth it every time.
- Celebration: I deliberately planned some really exciting things to look forward to this coming year. I definitely don’t need the giant 4-0 balloons showing up anywhere, but some great trips, events, or activities are just what I want to look forward to in the new year.
- Vulnerability: This is the biggest one. I just stopped letting myself care about how things would look to other people. I started getting more honest with myself, saying out loud when I wasn’t doing well at something, asking for help, and going directly into conflict and saying “This isn’t ok. What can we do differently?” I gave up expecting things to work out perfectly, and I let myself be sad when I was disappointed. I even tried video marketing on Instagram reels even though I felt like a huge dork and knew they weren’t the best ever. I gave it a shot because I realized no one knows how to get started on something new until they get started.
My 40-year-old self is so much more at peace than me at 20 or 30 ever dreamed to be. I know what I’m good at and what I’m not. I know what I want to learn more about and who I want to be. I know what kind of parent I am and what goals I have for my family and my finances. I feel good in my jeans, and my heart is happy. I have more love in my life than any one person deserves, so 40 feels just right to me.