Forty. I never thought I’d be 40. And yet here I sit, 40 years in and still feeling like I’m in my twenties. But it’s even better, because with the added years, life gets easier and I give much less fucks about things. And 40 isn’t really that old (anymore). I remember my mom turning 40 and thinking she was SO old. Funny how perspective changes when things happen to you. I still feel young with years ahead of me.
My twenties were about setting up life. I graduated college, got married, started a career, we bought our first house, travelled a little… basically checked off what you’re supposed to do in your twenties. My thirties were all about starting a family, playing mom. Four kiddos later and a larger house—bought to accommodate said kiddos—the decade flew by quickly. Almost too quickly.
My forties are going to be all about ME. Selfish, sure. But it’s a much needed change. I’ve always been a people pleaser, rule follower, and have done what is right or expected from others. Screw all that. I’m embracing this decade. Now that I’m 40, I want to be me. Except I’m not exactly sure who I really am anymore other than a mom and wife. I’m not complaining; I truly enjoy both roles. Somewhere during the last decade, I lost me and it’s time to get back in business… with a few wrinkles.
Kicking of this decade, my ME goals:
Not put up with crap.
It’s not that I’m going to turn into a rude person. It’s just that I don’t want to put up with stuff that annoys me anymore, and keep quiet to not offend anyone. I’m talking small things here. Like on my 40th birthday at Red Robin. I ordered what I always order, a Keep It Simple Burger with a veggie patty, plus grilled mushrooms and grilled onions. It’s never been an issue before. Every server gets it right. Except the guy on my freaking birthday. He suggested I get the mushroom burger instead. I said fine, as long as it was what I wanted. The burger comes. It’s a burger with only grilled mushrooms and grilled onions. Nope, I wanted all the stuff that comes with the KIS Burger: tomatoes, pickles, lettuce. And of course, this day, it took a while before he came to check on our order that was delivered by another server. He said he didn’t understand, that he thought all I wanted was grilled mushrooms and grilled onions. I politely told him that I’m sticking with ordering the KIS Burger, even if it costs a few bucks more with the added items. The pre-40 me wouldn’t have said anything and apologized to him for misunderstanding me (even though I was clear).
Also under the not putting up with crap category, late people. I cannot stand lateness. I mean, I get a few minutes here and there. Things happen. And not everyone is as time obsessed as I am. My mom forgot me on my first day of kindergarten, and proceeded to be late every time during my 16 years before I started driving. As a result, I make a huge effort to be on time everywhere—even with four kiddos—as a sign of respect for other peoples’ time. Well, not anymore. I’m not going to deal with other people constantly running late. My time is precious, and dwindling now that I’m 40 (haha!). While I’ll still be on time, I will no longer wait for others without a legitimate reason why they’re running late. Even my doctor is always on time. I take that back, once he ran late but apologized before my appointment; a pregnant lady had a scare and needed to be seen immediately. I totally understood and happily waited longer. The teacher conference I had scheduled for 10:30am a few weeks ago where the teacher was running late with no acknowledgement, even after eye contact from her, nope. I’m not doing late anymore. Especially when I’m on time—early even, to ensure I’ll be on time—and have all the kiddos with me. I’ll leave, like I did. And if I make plans with someone to be at a park and they’re 20 minutes late (maybe even 15), I’m going to head into the park and go about our business and they can come find us if they want instead of waiting in the parking lot with antsy kiddos, saying, “Oh, it’s no big deal,” when they show up 30 minutes later. I’m not talking about a specific experience there, only generalizing. I wait for people. Often. I feel empowered, ha!
Kiddo nonsense, no more. I’ve been embracing not putting up with crap and tell the kiddos, “Now that I’m 40…” Like when they argue over the COLORS OF THEIR CUPS. Seriously, why do kids do this?! I wanted the pink cup! I wanted the blue one! I went to Target and bought all the same color kiddo cups. The color I like. I told them to deal with it. I probably should have already done this before I hit 40 but it felt fitting with my screw it decade goals. And all the I want to be first arguments. My new rule: anyone who complains about not being first automatically goes last. There are several small kiddo things that I’m putting in the not putting up with crap category… nothing that will harm them longterm or require years of therapy.
Really, nothing major in the not put up with crap category. It mostly comes down to me being more assertive in all aspects of life.
Read. I want to read again. I used to be an avid reader, before kids and Candy Crush. I remember reading all.the.time as a kid and teenager. The Sweet Valley High series and serial killer books… quite the opposite interests. Then college came and everything I had to read for classes, on top of books I’d find interesting back when Brian and I would go to Barnes & Noble almost daily. Then it was Borders in RTC before they closed. Then kids. I’m so tired at night that I don’t feel like reading so I play Candy Crush in bed before calling it a day. I have read some books from cover to cover during my parental years but not as much as I’d like. Most of the time when I find a book that I want to read, I start with every intention of finishing… never to finish. I can feel my brain eroding. This has to change. So, the KCLS Reading Challenge is on to get me back into a reading groove. I’ve already knocked off one book and I’m in the middle of a second one… and I haven’t even made it to the children’s book category yet.
Run. I’ve always been a runner here and there, nothing serious. Mostly to maintain weight. In my twenties I would run 5K races, never to win or anything. It was something to do. Since kiddos, I’ve made running goals just to turn around later and tell myself, maybe next year. And then next year comes and goes, and I say to myself again, maybe next year. The pattern repeats often. All through my thirties. Not anymore. I’m going for it. And by going for it, I’m making a modest running goal: run two 10Ks this year. Seems doable. Even with bone spurs and heel swelling. I’ve rested all of January and thus far into February, and I feel like I’m at a point where I can slowly start running again. I just need to be careful with taking care of my feet. And I will be. I’m 40 now, much wiser. If running two 10Ks goes as planned, I’ll go crazy and up my goal to three next year.
Yoga. Again with I used to. Back in my college days when yoga was becoming more and more popular, I took classes. I thoroughly enjoyed them. And I’ve wanted to go to yoga classes over the years. But time. Rather, desire. Time became limited with each added kiddo, and the time I have had, I have wanted to do other things. Like go to musicals. With the kiddos getting older and having more time—and desire—I signed up for yoga classes. I’m on the hook for three, now two with the snow cancelling tonight. If the next two weeks go as planned, I’ll sign up again next month for weekly classes.
Eat clean. This is the most challenging change I’m attempting. I’m not a food person. I eat because I have to. And I’m not a cook, so I eat what is convenient. Which is usually processed foods. I’ve been better since going vegetarian over a year ago but I’m not where I’d like to be on this change. Ideally, I’d like to buy organic, fresh everything and make our own food. I’m on the organic train, thanks to Amazon Fresh making it easy since they bought Whole Foods. And Costco has a decent selection of organic foods. But it’s the making it part that I’m finding challenging. With our crazy schedule, I’m not home with ample time to prepare and make meals. Sometimes it’s easier to serve processed meals. I realize this is an excuse; I can always prepare the night before or make a simple meal. I’m going to work on making this happen. Somehow.
Say no. I’m going to start saying no. I find that I end up doing things I don’t really want to do under the I don’t want to offend anyone by saying no premise. And when I truly can’t do something, I always find it necessary to explain why I can’t. I’m going to knock this off also. No means no, in all aspects of life. I don’t owe anyone a reason and I’m not obligated to do anything I don’t want to do. Man, getting older rocks.
I’m going to cap things there. I feel like if I can get these changes rolling, other ME things will fall into place. I’m not sure what those ME things are yet…