Celebrate 40

Be yourself by doing the things you love

I turned 40 yesterday.

The big day came and went with little fanfare. The kids had fun singing “Happy Birthday to you, you’re a hundred and two. You look like a monkey, and you smell like one, too” while we ate leftover cake from work.

I’ve been thinking about 40 for a while, mostly in terms of finishing my 40 before 40 list. (I managed to finish 29 items and I’ll cross off a few more before I turn 41) In March I made a vision board for turning 40 that includes the words “Sing it,” “Celebrate,” and a little quote at the bottom that really spoke to me:

“Be yourself by doing the things you love”

Turning 40
Turning 40 vision board page

Wait. Did I stop doing the things I love? Over the years I added new things I love, like spending time with the kids, drinking craft beer with Mike, working on photo books, watching the Golden Girls every weekend, etc. I have a beautiful life and I consciously do my best to enjoy every minute.

But whenever I read that quote, I think about the things I used to do that made me so happy, yet I haven’t done in awhile.

  • I love riding in the car listening to the Beatles loudly and singing along. Why haven’t I done that lately?
  • I love going on spiritual retreats, thinking about God and spending time on that relationship. Why have I only done that once in the last 20 years?
  • I used to keep a journal with my favorite poems and quotes and spend time just sitting in the park on a beautiful day, reading. I haven’t done that in years.
  • I used to love to buy clothes and wear skirts and dresses and great shoes. Now I rarely buy clothes because I don’t like the size on the label, and stick to pants.

It’s not that I’ve “lost myself,” as some mothers do when the kids and house become a priority over themselves. I’m still very much “Vicki,” with all the details, or “Vicki touches” that are genuinely me.

We saw Paul McCartney in concert last August and I had so much fun dancing and singing before, during, and after the show, and I felt so happy, comfortable, and at peace with myself. I took note of this great feeling but couldn’t put my finger on why it was different.

In January I went on a day retreat and thought: this is wonderful, I need to do this at least once a year.

I guess we all grow and change to adapt to different stages of life. We can’t go to concerts every weekend with two little guys at home, and I won’t be staying with the monks for a month’s retreat any time soon. But I can listen to great music every day. And take 10 minutes to focus on God.

When I see that quote: Be yourself by doing the things you love, I think about the concert, the retreat, and other little memories that keep popping up. It’s a wake up call, a reminder to return to doing the things I used to love in addition to new ones.

In this year of being 40, I vow to crank up the stereo, buy really cool shoes, go for a drive on a beautiful day and read poetry. 18-year-old Vicki would expect no less from 40-year-old Vicki!





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40 Things to do Before I Turn 40

In 2012, I turned 35, and had baby number two. On maternity leave, I decided to make a list of things to accomplish over the next five years, before I turn 40.

I tried to keep them achievable, because with two little kids at home, I’m not going to climb the Great Wall of China, and I have no desire to run any kind of marathon or race. I have done some of these things before, such as the drive-in movie and orchestra at Blossom, but not with kids. Can you believe I had never rode in a convertible before?

  1. Take a family road trip/vacation (done 5/18/13. Trip to Kentucky for a wedding. 6/13/14 Trip to Maryland for a wedding)
  2. Have $20,000 in an emergency fund
  3. See a movie in a drive-in theater April 2017
  4. Have my byline in a national magazine (not a trade magazine), Writers Weekly 2017
  5. Have a spa day with a manicure and pedicure
  6. Visit a foreign country (done 10/27/13. Work trip to Montreal)
  7. Sing in a radio or TV commercial, 2013, song played on NEO Community Radio in regular rotation
  8. Only keep clothes that I look good in
  9. Have a will, life insurance, and written funeral plans
  10. Ride in a horse drawn carriage (done 7/2015 in Chagrin Falls)
  11. Go fishing April 2017
  12. Buy a real piece of art (done 12/1/13. Bought art from ASM art show)
  13. Have a signature, go-to cocktail (to drink, not to make) (French Martini or rum and coke)
  14. Participate in a church group that is not music related (done 3/19/15. Church book club)
  15. Have a catered party at my house
  16. Grow a lemon tree indoors, three failed attempts
  17. Bake bread April 2017
  18. Spend a week with no TV (done February 18 – April 5, 2015. Gave up TV for Lent)
  19. Ride in a convertible with the top down (done 6/26/16. Got to drive my dad’s Spitfire)
  20. Plan and save for a 10-year anniversary trip (2017), Beer trail, Finger Lakes, NY
  21. Shoot a gun
  22. Go on a retreat January 2017
  23. See the orchestra at Blossom and have a picnic (done Aug 7, 2016 with extended family)
  24. Spend a Sunday at the Chautauqua Institute August 2017
  25. Have a cocktail in the back room at the Velvet Tango Room May 2017
  26. Buy a comfy bed April 2017
  27. Take a first-aid class  April 2017
  28. See an opera
  29. Eat Victoria spongecake (done July 4, 2016)
  30. Send flowers to someone once a month for a year!
  31. Buy the most expensive lottery ticket Ohio sells, 2017, won my money back
  32. Eat a paw paw Sept 2017
  33. Spend a day doing random acts of kindness, 2017
  34. Get up to date with making photo books and the kids baby books
  35. Do something that isn’t on the list but should have been (done Oct 2014. Weekend away with Mike)
  36. Practice a difficult organ piece (with pedals) to perfection
  37. Get a new professional headshot (done May 2015 but I don’t like the bkgd the designer at work photoshopped)
  38. See one of my favorite bands/artists in concert (done June 2014 Beck, Aug 2014 Wilco, Aug 2016 Paul McCartney)
  39. Invest in something custom made, Word of the year: Stretch
  40. Pie in the sky wish: Pay off mortgage