This is 40

Posted by Mary

My Facebook feed has been slowly highlighting my friends celebrating their big 40th birthdays. Happy Birthday everyone!! It’s a big milestone. I’m an October baby, so I’m late to the game. Where the heck did time go? I used to think 25 was SO OLD when I was a kid. What does that make me now? I look at my nieces and nephews. They were in diapers not too long ago, unable to control their own limbs. Now the oldest is THIS CLOSE to being taller than me (we measured last week) and she seems so confident and wise. They will never understand VHS movies, mixed tapes recorded off the radio and dial up. The next generation is growing so quickly. That means I’m aging just as quickly! Yikes!

Team Messy likes to tease me about being the oldest saying things like, “How does it feel to be born in a different decade?” Or, “You’ll be eligible for the seniors discount soon!” TBH, I don’t feel like much has changed since my 20s. Then I think more about how far I’ve come. I might have more bills and responsibilities, but I also have the things I used to dream about growing up. Some days are harder than others, but overall, I have a pretty positive outlook on life. Bring on the discounts for being 40 lol Then I’m reminded just how old I’m getting when I fill in an online form and I feel like I’m scrolling through centuries to get to 1979. Like I seriously have to flick it as hard as I can. A couple times. My carpel tunnel loves that.

I have a few dozen gray hairs caused by sleepless years thanks to my children and work (which I’m currently embracing and not dying because I think societal beauty standards are a load of BS – Listen to the podcast called Ologies, Episode 47 – on Kalology). My body doesn’t bounce back after eating pizza and pasta. I injure myself while sleeping. My knees make funny sounds when I climb stairs. I have sun damage that products can’t erase. Have I peaked? Is it all downhill from here? I really don’t think so. I just have to work out more and be thankful for where my body has taken me.

What I love about myself now is that I have more clarity about what makes me tick. I won’t put up with things I may have in my 20s and most importantly, I’ve become more comfortable and confident as a person. I know what I like, I have my limits and I’m not apologetic for it. I don’t try to conform. What you see is what you get.

As I get closer to the date, I wonder how I’m feeling about all this. A little panic? Yes. A sense of accomplishment? For sure. This quote makes me realize I need to practice being grateful for every moment I get to have with my loved ones:

“Do not complain about growing old. It is a privilege denied to many”

– Mark Twain

We don’t have forever with the people in our lives. After losing my grandparents, I know that time is precious. I want to spend more time with my family and tell them how much they mean to me. Time is always ticking. I won’t complain about getting old, if that means I get to watch my family grow old with me.

I also want to make time for me. Sometimes I feel so worn down from doing everything I need to get done and it’s really hard to find the time to make myself a priority. I do splurge on regular massages though. When I get a massage, my introverted self turns into Chatty Cathy and I can’t shut up. One day while my RMT and I were catching up, she told me about her 45th birthday and how she made a 45-List. What the heck is that?! Basically, it’s the “Things that would make me happy and I need to make time for” list. She’s so right! Let’s face it, we get busy and we forget to do the things that bring us joy, feed our soul and make us remember that we had interests before we took on all the roles of wife, mother and professional, etc. Even though my interests have evolved over time, I would like more time to pursue them. Every waking moment, my energy and sanity seems like it’s poured into my kids’ activities, working hard to afford said activities and driving them to and from all their extracurriculars. And chores. What about my extracurriculars? I need to summon some magic energy from somewhere.

Her 45-List had 45 items for every year she was celebrating and it wasn’t about expensive, extravagant, unachievable bucket list items. Not things she wanted to do before she died. Just things that would bring her joy any day of the week. Sounds like self care to me?! I don’t want to neglect myself and be a passive bystander in my own life.

I really loved this idea to make my own 40-List and I’d like to share it with you (in complete random order). Perhaps it’ll inspire you to think about your own List! I’ve already started to check some things off. No time like the present.

  1. Tour Dundurn Castle with the kids and eat the cookies they bake in the basement
  2. Go on a hot air balloon ride at dawn
  3. Ride the Yukon Striker at Canada’s Wonderland
  4. Take long walks alone or with company (definitely with my pupper)
  5. Go golfing (heck yes to a cart!)
  6. Try to stay awake at the drive in for the double header
  7. Look for shooting stars
  8. Home Depot workshops
  9. Go to a concert
  10. Do an escape room with my friends
  11. Hang out with my brothers & their families
  12. Go fishing
  13. Sit on a dock and get lost in a good book
  14. Go to the farmers market
  15. Deliver food to the Food Bank
  16. Volunteer for a Habitat for Humanity build
  17. Try the Barre class that always has a waitlist
  18. Try a paint night (I know I’m like 5 years late to the game)
  19. Catch up on all the Marvel movies I haven’t watched yet
  20. Take my dog swimming
  21. Try a black diamond ski hill
  22. Go snow tubing
  23. Catch fireflies
  24. Make s’mores by a campfire
  25. Hike the Bruce Trail
  26. Mountain bike at Turkey Point
  27. Hit Long Point Beach and visit Twin’s Ice Cream Parlour in Port Rowan
  28. Reconnect with old friends
  29. Hand feed the birds in the Royal Botanical Gardens
  30. Visit the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara
  31. Do random nice things for someone I love
  32. Spend time with my parents
  33. Window shop at Yorkdale Mall
  34. Go to Body Blitz in Toronto and do their water circuit
  35. Dinner with the girls
  36. Binge watch GoT or Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or Star Wars
  37. Find more ways to reduce plastic in my life
  38. Cook some of my favourite childhood dishes (see #32)
  39. Peruse some furniture stores in the city
  40. Take time for positive self talk
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Coming up with 40 items took longer than I thought. I had to actually sit down and think about all the things I’ve been putting off. I know it’s easy to get caught up in everyday life and stresses. We only have one life and with this milestone birthday I’m being reminded that time isn’t infinite for me. I want to try and get away from social media (cue my husband cheering) because watching other people curate their highlight reel, although fun at times, comes at a cost of wasting my time. And if you know me, you know that this will be REALLY hard for me to do but I need to live MY life. I want to spend time with people who are important to me. Have long uninterrupted conversations about things we love, and have experienced. I hope to spend the next year checking things off my 40-List and be present to enjoy another year around the sun. What would be on your List?

xoxo, Mary

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