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I spent most of my 30s happily oblivious to the idea of getting older. I’ve shed tears of nostalgia as I watched my kids grow up, sure, but really have not given much thought to the idea that I am about to enter a new decade of my life soon. We don’t do much for “grown up” birthdays in our house, so I just haven’t spent a lot of time contemplating the idea of turning 40.
Now that the minutes left in my thirties are ticking down, I am sitting here a bit dumbfounded that I am about to reach an age that I once considered “old”. I’m a little bit sad to see my 30s go, as they have brought me so much joy, through amazing friendships, watching my kids grow, and exciting career developments. But I am trying to focus on the excitement of a dawning decade of life and making the most of it.
I’ve decided that I am going to treat my 40th birthday as my own personal “New Year’s Eve” and make a few resolutions that, if kept, will make this next phase of my life even more amazing than the last. Here are five of the things that I want to change or do to better myself as I turn 40.
Take better care of myself.
Yep, this is probably the most typical resolution that anyone makes. I know. But as it is very much apparent by the numbers that I’m getting older, it is time to take that a little more seriously. It’s time to take a little more notice of the things I am putting in my body and to get into better physical shape. I want to be around, active, and capable for my kids and their kids, so I definitely need to get serious on that front.
Say “NO” more often.
I am a born people-pleaser and have just owned it for years, with all of the pros and cons that go along with that personality. I struggle with disappointing people by telling them I can’t do, don’t want to do, or don’t have time to do things they ask and sometimes find myself giving a half-effort in an attempt to do it all and make everyone happy. I need to remember that my time is valuable, both to myself and those around me, and start giving that time only to the things that I can give 100% of my focus.
Make time for the people and things that I love.
I spend so much of my time on things that are important to others and very little on those that are important to just me. It’s time to have dedicated hours in my day, week, and month that are spent solely on things that make me happy. Whether it’s binging on a TV show with a glass of wine, spending an afternoon chatting with an old friend, taking the time out for a date with my husband, or planning a one-on-one day with one of my kids, I need to make sure I’m filling up my own cup along with the things I must do each day.
Work harder to see the positive in situations.
Anyone who knows me knows that I can be a bit of an Eeyore now and then. I have one of those brains that never stops and I can have a tendency to find the most negative possible outcome in any situation and then talk myself right into it being what will happen. That mind-racing worry doesn’t really get me anywhere but into a negative state of mind, so I need to be more conscious of my thoughts and look for the silver lining even when the worst case comes true.
Choose my battles wisely.
Finally, I need to stop trying to make everything just perfect. I need to be a bit better about compromise and always needing to be the one who is right in every situation. Sometimes it’s okay to let someone else’s priority take the lead or someone else’s idea be the one that wins. I also need to remember that it’s totally okay to let the kids learn hard lessons on their own. If they don’t want to do homework or study for a test, it’s okay to allow them to see what the natural consequences will be. Micro-managing everything that happens in my life and the lives of those around me causes more stress than it’s worth in some cases.
Here’s hoping that my next 40 years are as amazing as the first 40 have been! What will you do to make changes in your life for your next big birthday?
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