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”
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!