(J)ess at 40

Turning 36 this year wasn’t pretty. I loved 30, 35 was no problem, but 36… something about it just sounded so ugly to me. The number kept rattling around in my head, getting stuck in my mouth. Even now I stumble over it- thirty… six? I know I’m not old- it’s not about that. But I’m definitely not YOUNG anymore. The freedom of my twenties has long passed, the excitement of my early 30s is gone, and I’m already feeling less visible and less relevant to society as a whole.

It means that in less than 4 years, I will be 40. That sounds even uglier.  Don’t get me wrong- there are lots of GREAT things that come with getting older. There is less stress, more experience, and more confidence. You understand your needs and desires, who you are at the core… and you understand more clearly how to fulfill them. And that is what this post is really about. My 40 things I want to do before 40.

This is NOT a bucket list! Rather it is a way for me to prioritize the things that are important to me AND prove to myself that while I may never be 20 or 30 again, there is still a world of things to look forward to. It is to push myself and reward myself. It is to make sure I stay on the path I want to be on. And also, I happen to love lists.

1. begin a PhD program- Higher Ed, Educational Psychology, or Communications? Has to be local or distance learning. Doing my research.
2. climb a 14er– I’ve wanted to do this for SO long. It’s got to happen.
3. get another tattoo- this one will be fulfilled shortly!
4. read the Harry Potter series- I know, I know.
5. run a half marathon- I loved my 5k. This is a lot longer. I can do it.
6. become a decent photographer- I’ve got the camera & such beautiful subjects
7. stay consistent with my blog(s)- seriously.
8. mail someone a hand written letter each month- it could be YOU! Who DOESN’T love getting real mail?
9. make new friends- I’ve got lots of amazing friends who I adore. I’d like a few more!
10. have semi-regular dinner parties- maybe once every few months?
11. learn to bake at altitude– tired of deflated cakes.
12. go to the beach- I’m looking at you, DREW.
13. present at a conference- NASPA? NACADA? ACPA? CPAC?
14. make the back yard into the oasis I dream about- flowers. fruit trees. hostas. water feature. cafe lights. vegetable garden.
15. volunteer- there are so many organizations I passionately believe in. I need to give my time, not just my money.
16. start regularly doing yoga and meditation- relax and connect with ME.
17. start writing poetry & fiction again- a part of me I really miss
18. submit an article for publication- where and about what, TBD.
19. go on a family vacation– just the 4 of us. several days. someplace to discover together.
20. learn the name of every mountain I can see from my house- I know the closest ones! But I can see so much of the front range.
21. throw Drew an awesome surprise party- 35?
22. take a jewelry making class– I love doing it & I want to do more.
23. still be a vegetarian!- more on this to come!
24. have completed a juice cleanse– this will be complete soon!
25. start investing in my 403b- I’d like to retire one day
26. have become successful in my short term professional development goals
27. play field hockey more regularly- pick up league?
28. take rock climbing classes- passionately want to do this.
29. start teaching the kids how to cook- they’re too young now, but before I’m 40!
30. make my own vanilla extract- so easy. why haven’t I done this yet?
31. buy clothes that FIT and look GOOD on me & make me HAPPY– enough, Target.
32. splurge on a really good, fancy hair cut & color– just once. I’m worth it.
33. figure out what my next steps are professionally- I love my current job so much that I really have no idea.
34. start having a weekly game/date night with Drew– we need more “us” time and this would be so easy
35. start going to counseling– just for me. there is nothing wrong- I think there is SUCH a benefit in going to counseling for a myriad of reasons
36. buy a guest bed- because we actually LOVE guests and our pull out couch is not the most comfy…
37. get to know my brother’s girlfriend– he loves her and that means the world to me.
38. take the kids to Ohio– Evvie has never been and Griffin probably doesn’t remember it- time to introduce them to the whole family & show them my favorite places
39. sew Evvie a dress- put that sewing machine to work!
40. give back to my community- Golden is making our dreams come true. I need to support it in any way I can.

I think this is a great list and something I can hold myself accountable to! I’ll check in each year until 40 with where I am!

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