I turn 40 this year… and it’s not one of those “looming in the distance” birthdays… it’s just another milestone, and one I’m looking forward to in a lot of ways.  Forty sort of marks my life is where I want it to be.  It’s also kind of funny because my older brother didn’t make it to 40… it’s hard to explain the feeling that gives me, it’s just sort of weird.  Kind of like a life milestone that he didn’t plow before me… he turned 16, 18 & 21 first… but not 40. 

Since I’m turning 40 I decided to come up with 40 things that I want to do before it happens.  Not bucket list type stuff like sky diving or running with the bulls… it actually sort of turned out to be a “you’re a grown up now” list.  All things I probably should have been doing all along but it’s always been tomorrow or next week.  Maybe having a list will help me really stick to it… some accountability of sorts.  Something I can look at the first of every month and say “did that” or “need to get started on that”.  A lot of it is about establishing new routines.  Adjusting to being a family that is past the infant routine and now a full fledged family of three personalities.  It all started out by me thinking the other day… I could love 40 pounds before my 40th birthday (and of course then discovering that the battery in the scale is dead!  Need to get that replaced this week.)  After that goal I got to thinking there are other things I could do too.  A lot of them are things that will happen weekly or monthly or with some sort of recurrence… I think I’m trying to begin new habits with this new chapter of my life.  So, without further ado… the Forty before Forty list.

1. Lose 40 pounds.
2. Take a family vacation that is just vacation and not a business trip for Jim, even if it’s just a long weekend.
3. Complete scrapbooks and photobooks for 2008 & 2009.
4. Complete a Roundup every month.
5. Learn to use our sewing machine for some basic crafting projects.
6. Take a photography class.
7. Let myself be photographed more.
8. Consistently do a skin care routine. Find make-up that I love, not just “this will do”.
9. Sleep consistently… learn to shut down my mind and sleep… get rid of the insomnia.
10. Come up with a debt reduction/savings plan and stick to it.
11. Find a job I love.
12. Make some furniture.
13. Paint at least two rooms in the house.
14. Purge our closets and get rid of things we really don’t use.
15. Get rid of our storage locker.
16. Plan a day for just my mom and me to let her know how much I appreciate her.
17. Have at least three date nights with Jim… sans Robert.
18. Keep up my letters to Robert file documenting his milestones and special days we have.
19. Read at least two books a month.
20. Quit smoking for good.
21. Get the back yard cleaned up and re-seeded so we can enjoy it more.
22. Start my own “Happiness Project”.
23. Cook three meals a month for my family.
24. Plan a monthly family fun day.
25. Find a way to exercise regularly.
26. Get Robert to sleep in his own room.
27. Have a family game night once a week.
28. Have a family reading night once a week… the TV is off.
29. Eat as a family at the table at least three times a week.
30. Potty train Robert.
31. Plant a small garden as a family.
32. Plant Cosmo’s flower garden.
33. Start teaching Robert healthy eating habits (and hope they rub off on me).
34. Take my vitamins daily.
35. Go to all of my regular checkups and dental appointments.
36. Switch my Dr. Pepper addiction to a Diet Dr. Pepper addiction.
37. Send birthday cards; thank you notes and personal letters in a timely manner.
38. Make a list of the small home improvement projects we need to do and mark off at least one a month.
39. Find ways that we can volunteer as a family at least four times.
40. Get a massage.

A lot of these are health related.  I think that may be because my Dad was 48 and in relatively good health when he had a heart attack that changed the course of all of our lives.  In a lot of ways it brought us more together as a family because it forced him to slow down.  But it also led to shortening his life… 68 was too young for him to die, 31 was too young for me to lost my Dad.  My Dad was 37 when I was born, I was 37 when Robert was born… I want to see him turn 40 so I better start taking better care of myself.

A lot are family goals.  We are a great little family and we do a lot together but I want to make sure that we make this our routine so that we always do things as a family.  Robert is the center of my universe, and Jim knows that… but I need to make sure that Jim knows I cherish our relationship too and take time to consciously nurture that.  I also know that the best thing I can do for Robert is set good examples… let him know what a great marriage looks like… warts and all; let him know what a healthy lifestyle looks like; let him know how important family is.

And some are just plain make me feel good goals.  A wise person once said that you can’t take care of someone else until you take care of yourself and that is so true.  When I get a good night’s sleep I’m a much more patient Mommy.  When I feel better it’s easier for me to breeze through my daily routine.

So, between now and November 9th we’ll see how it goes.  Hopefully my reward at the end will be the fabulous surprise birthday party  I told my husband I wanted five years ago  🙂


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