40 at 40

Today I am 40!  As my son would say so succinctly, “Well, THAT happened.”
I’m not quite sure how I’m feeling about hitting this milestone – I’m swirling a little bit of high-fiving myself for making it this far and a little bit of abject terror at what to do with myself in this next season of life into one excited but anxious twisty-cone of a birthday.  I am actually feeling much better physically and mentally this year than I have been for the last few, so I have no complaints in that respect.  However, I feel this weird pressure that 40 is OFFICIAL GROWN-UP TERRITORY, and I’ll tell you all a little secret:  this gal is TERRIBLE at conventional adulting!

I spent my late 20s and 30s primarily in charge of keeping a tiny human alive and unscarred both physically and mentally, and secondarily in navigation of some…shall we say “interesting”…marital and family landmines, as well as learning to manage my health issues of anxiety, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia.  Always a natural introvert, I turned even further inward in a big way to keep my own house in as much order as possible.  I got myself a short, no-nonsense haircut and a baggy wardrobe, worked a couple of part-time teaching jobs where I was away from home as little as possible outside of school hours, and basically checked out of society for a good decade plus some so I could get on with my business.   My purpose in life was to be on hold – to wait to be needed, either by our extended family, my kid, or my workplace.

And now I’m ready for a change, scary as it is. Now that I have settled a lot of the family business, my kid is a teenager in high school, and FORTY is here, I want a different job.  I want to be creative again, and make things and ideas of my own.  I want to feel healthy and attractive.  And I feel like it would probably be a good idea for me to be better at some aspects of external adulting for when I am forced to do so, no matter how overrated much of it may be.

As a calendar-designated “grown-up,” here are some things I want to a) know how to do, b) try to see if they are all they’re cracked up to be, or c) actually complete in my 41st year of life.

My overarching goal this year is to BLOG – this ticks off boxes for writing, technical development, creative and artistic development, personal discovery, research/reading, stretching my comfort zone, social interaction (of a sort), and several more I will think of or discover as I go along. Other pursuits will include:


  1. Create a face and skin care routine with actual beauty products (drugstore or homemade doesn’t matter)
  2. Dress up for special occasions – my style, but actually stylish and not just “there, I’m clean and not in jeans, handle it”
  3. Take care of my janky feet so they are soft and hurt less
  4. Apply minimal and natural makeup to look fancy but not creepy when desired
  5. Style my hair in such a way that I can make it look fancy when desired but not be required to “do” it every day
  6. Try some bras/underwear that are not gigantic white granny panties and over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders
  7. Get a manicure and pedicure
  1. Journal a majority of days using self-discovery prompts to rediscover what I am interested in enough to study more
  2. Track moods and anxiety/depression symptoms to better stay on top of my emotional energy levels
  3. Sort out what’s important to worry about and what needs to be chucked in the fuck-it bucket…then do the appropriate chucking
  4. Meditate for 10 minutes a day for relaxation
  5. Read and review/note an average of one book a month about self-work
  6. Practice regular self-care to keep my cup full so I can fill others’ cups from it when needed
  1. Walk at least 1 mile every day
  2. Do some form of strength exercise every other day
  3. Practice stretching/yoga every other day
  4. Schedule a mammogram (UGH 40 UGH) and attend regular doctor’s appointments at least once a year
  5. Go to the dentist at least once a year
  6. Lose 30 more pounds before October 2018, then maintain with DASH Diet
  1. Learn how to run a WordPress blog and post in it weekly
  2. Learn how to take and manipulate good photos using PicMonkey and/or Photoshop
  3. Practice lots of different crafting methods to discover what I like to work with best
  4. Hone my skills in the crafts I already like (coloring, papercrafts)
  5. Study and practice herbal medicine to support the conventional medicine I have to depend on
  6. Write one poem or story a month to re-energize creative writing flow
  7. Figure out how I want to make fun money – keep subbing?  Advertise on blog?  Freelance writing?  Other?
  1. Create and keep housecleaning schedule
  2. Use planner and calendars effectively to keep everyone on track for work/school/social
  3. Use bullet journal to keep track of bookkeeping (bills, streaming TV, online orders, etc.)
  4. Meal plan and prep weekly for DASH Diet
  5. Maintain yard and garden to personal standards
  6. Create and use a garden journal to track plant needs and harvests
  1. Figure out the balance between setting and protecting boundaries and being kind/forgiving mistakes
  2. Figure out how to balance husband’s need for family with my need for distance from the in-laws
  3. Support and encourage husband’s efforts to control work stress and develop professionally
  4. Support and encourage son’s efforts to navigate puberty and high school challenges/drama
  5. Support and encourage parents’ journey through health-care challenges and retired life
  6. Make a regular time to visit with momfriends now that our kids are too big for playdates
  7. Make more of an effort to visit with distant friends, whether through in-person visits or online
  8. Work on deferring/trusting higher-clearanced individuals over myself (very hard for a questioner and an INTJ!)
I’m digging this number of things to focus on because it’s catchy — #40at40 may be my first hashtag — and it gives me some breathing room – if I plan to hit one topic a week, it’ll leave 12 weeks in the year where I can take two weeks on a task or skip one week a month altogether.  I will also give myself some freedom to play by not going in any particular order to cross off the list, other than to try to hit one point from each of the 6 main sections every 6 weeks or so.  Whatever strikes my fancy that week will do the job.
That’s the plan, Stan!  I’m looking forward to figuring out my shit and hoping my introspection sparks some good conversation or helps you figure out your personal business as well.  If you’re so inclined, you can comment below or come talk to me and other like-minded folk about your experiences on my Facebook fan page, Imperfectly Adequate.  It will be a good time, I sincerely hope (says the petrified introvert who just invited social interaction…) 😀
Until next time!

About LadyBoss

Suburban Lady focused on raising her kid not to be a jerk, keeping herself and her husband healthy enough to feel good, and living life as comfortably as possible in an uncomfortable world.
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