On Approaching 40…Recommitting to Myself and My Family

40th birthday, aging, aging gracefully, be happy, embrace life, find calm, live in the moment, milestone birthdays, new decade, pay attention, seize the day, stay fit, turning 40

 

I remember those days; the ones when 40 seemed like an unattainable age – SO old and SO far away. 

“Those days when I was with my 40-something year old parents at a bar in college: they were so playful, yet so ridden with responsibility and a real life-likeness about them.  They were serious when they needed to be and fun when the time was right.  They were 40 something.”

As I turned 38 this year, I sometimes grapple with the approach of 40.  The binary of old and young swirls through my brain as I try to place myself somewhere on the spectrum.  I do the math – you know, “When Sidney is 15, I’ll be…”  Lord have mercy, can that be a day wrecker.  Sometimes I worry about having had my children later in life only because I want to see so much of THEIR lives.  The days are long, but the weeks and months are short.  The years?  They’ve somehow slipped right through my fingers.

But throughout all of those fleeting thoughts, I come to realize all that I have accomplished and how young and alive I feel.  I may be approaching 40 on a chronological scale, but I make it a goal to keep my mentality young and physically fit – both for my family and for myself.  And in a more tangible attempt to sort through the muddiness of these thoughts, I have come up with a list of commitments to follow as I approach 40.

  • Live each day in the moment and try not to get overwhelmed by what the future may look like.
  • Continue to work on shifting my mindset, so that exercising is less about what I gain physically, but more about what I gain mentally and how it will improve my time spent with my children as I get older.
  • Be intentional about letting go of the past and things that I cannot control, while also spending less time devoted to people, things or thoughts that do not bring me happiness.
  • Remind myself that MOST everyone is doing the best they can and that I have no right to judge anyone until I have walked a day in their shoes.
  • Seize moments and enable myself to reflect and learn from those moments – good or bad.
  • Enjoy more quiet and one-on-one time with my husband.
  • Make regular and meaningful dates with others who are important to me.
  • Continue to work on removing myself from the craziness and putting myself into the serene – however that may look.
  • Travel and explore.
  • Find ways to spend one-on-one time with each of my children, yet let go of that fear that I am not enough for each of them.
  • Become utterly selfish with some of my time because, as it turns out, I’ll never get it back.
  • Pay attention to sights and smells, and furthermore, take the time to truly take them in.

My goal here is not to overwhelm myself with unattainable tasks, but to take what I know to be true and be mindful of its implementation into my daily life.  I know I cannot stop myself from aging, but I can find peaceful and meaningful ways to embrace it.  At least for this decade.

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