40 Before 40 (in a Pandemic)

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Hitting a milestone birthday is a weird mix between exciting & exhilarating. To determine which one the scale tips a bit more toward, I think it might depend on WHICH birthday we're talking about… BUT, for me, there's a lot of emotional baggage attached to my next couple of birthdays. So, my ultimate 40 before 40 list of things to accomplish before the age of 40 holds some extra personal meaning!

There's less than a year before my 40th birthday. In fact, there's just over 10 months until that day. So, there's A LOT to pack into that time! PLUS, whether we like it or not, we are STILL in the middle of a pandemic that is not showing signs of letting up.

I want to be realistic, but I also want to stretch myself at least a bit.

I've felt in a rut lately & maybe this 40 before 40 list will help me feel more invigorated & like I am actually accomplishing something. I mean, I know taking care of my daughter & being supportive to my husband is meaningful. And, frankly, I don't know what I would rather do.

However, I have been feeling a distinct lack of personal fulfillment. It contributes to my weird semi-depressive moods & my irrational irritability. And both of those are becoming a way of life for me & I would rather not let it continue. Eva Lee started back to pre-K — in person! — this week. And, I am sitting here writing this while she is at school.

I didn't fully realize how much I needed this time to myself to be able to let my brain take over. Writing is hard for me when there are constant interruptions. So, when I try to write while Eva is home, I get irritable & feel like a bad mom for not putting her first. It's going to be good for ALL of our household having Eva back at school, in-person, despite any hints of fear or uneasiness involved in sending her back during this pandemic.

So, this 40 before 40 list: Even though it might seem silly or overly dramatic to many, it is a beacon of extra hope for me. And, in today's world, I really don't think I am the only one who might benefit from doing something like this.

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It doesn't have to be a 40 before 40 if that doesn't suit you.

You don't have to have a milestone birthday coming up. You can make your list ANYTHING you want…

52 things to accomplish in the next 52 weeks.

12 things to accomplish every month for the next 12 months.

30 things to accomplish in the next 300 days.

Spread it out even more & try the 101 in 1,001 I attempted several years ago, even! As I look back on that list, much of it HAS been accomplished, even if it wasn't on that timeline. Just writing it down & trying to put things into motion helped me accomplish them!

So, I am attempting it again on a smaller scale this time. Here is my 40 before 40, split into four pertinent subsections:

Self-Care & Self-Esteem

1). Get my “Heart of Pi” tattoo in remembrance of my mother. (I am second-guessing this one. I don't think I'd sit through a tattoo. 04/20/2021 — Yep. I am a weenie. Ha! Not ready. 11/15/2021)

2). Create a vision board, (images & phrases that represent long-term goals). (I don't know what my aversion to this really is. It feels daunting. 11/15/2021)

3). Move my body for at least 20 minutes per day, at least three days per week, for four consecutive weeks. (0/4) (Yeah. Nope. 11-15-2021)

4). Dye my hair to embrace the grey & grow out. (I am counting this as DONE! I had it lightened with foils & dyed purple for fun back in March with the idea that it would grow out better that way. I had it cut again in September & am looking forward to going all the way natural soon 11-15-2021)

5). Get another Deva cut or similar. (Done! March 3, 2021)

6). Take a solo mini-vacation — even if it's just a couple of nights at a nearby hotel. (Did not happen this time. However, I am currently sitting in a hotel room with my handsome husband & little miss & will get plenty of solo time over the four days & three nights we are here. I'm counting this as DONE! 11/15/2021 )

7). Make a list of 40 of my blessings.

8). Write a love letter to myself.

9). See a sleep doctor (again). There's no reason I should be waking up still feeling exhausted…

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10). Get a 90-minute massage. (So, no 90-minute massage, BUT I have been getting REGULAR 60-minute massages over the past few months. Soooo DONE! 11/15/2021)

11). Write a letter to my future self.

Family & Relationships

12). Take Eva to the Science Center. (They didn’t reopen after closing for the pandemic. So we didn’t have time to do this one. 11/15/2021)

13). Take Eva to an aquarium.

14). Take Eva to a zoo.

15). Create a will. (In progress. April 20, 2021)

16). Learn about & document my family ancestry & history.

17). Give blood.

18). Get a nice photo taken with my husband.

19). Start a blog hop.

20). Handwrite a letter to snail mail to a loved one. Then do it again & make it a habit. (First one down. Now, to make it a habit! That's in progress! April 20, 2021)

21). Write 10 positive, honest reviews for small businesses/microbusiness owners.

Home & Kitchen

22). Learn how to make homemade pasta from scratch

23). Try canning something

24). Learn to grill prepare the perfect steak. (Getting there; need more practice! LOL! April 20, 2021)

25). Become debt-free except for mortgage & student loans. (On-track!! April 20, 2021)

26). Put actual pictures in all of my frames. (Done! Or, at least started. 11/15/2021)

27). Finally get my linen closet organized! (Uh. We moved. 11/15/2021)

28). Organize my electronic files.

29). Plant something that actually lives more than a month! (This is going to need to be an ongoing goal. 11/15/2021)

Writing & Aspirations

30). Write a short story.

31). Post to Confidence & Chaos (this blog you're reading) at least once per week for 12 consecutive weeks. (5/12) (I've gotten halfway there a few times then missed a week. :/ April 20, 2021 –  I have waned with my passion for blogging. So this didn’t happen. Buuut I left all network marketing endeavors this year & decided my focus would be more on writing. That’s huuuge. 11/15/2021)

32). Brainstorm plots, characters, & overall concepts for a potential attempt at a novel. Be detailed.

33). Finish reading 10 fiction books. (13/10*) (I've been reading all kinds of self-development & business-related books, but I haven't read any fiction in YEARS!)

  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
  • Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness
  • Flirting with the Frenemy by Pippa Grant
  • Mr McHottie by Pippa Grant
  • America’s Geekheart by Pippa Grant
  • Master Baker by Pippa Grant
  • Stud in the Stacks by Pippa Grant
  • The Pilot & the Puck-Up by Pippa Grant
  • The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
  • The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz
  • The Husband by Dean Koontz
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34). Increase my Facebook page followers to 1,000. (My priorities changed. Maybe one day. 11/15/2021)

35). Grow my email list to 500. (My priorities changed. I would like to make this a better focus at some point. 11/15/2021)

36). Document (write down) 5-year goals.

37). Start freelance writing. Maybe content writing… (Have you checked out RetaJayne.com yet?! It's staaarting! April 20, 2021 —  I am second guessing this goal. Maybe I will look into editing or proofreading instead? Or maybe nothing at all. Maybe just my own writing. I don’t know yet. 11/15/2021)

38). Increase my at-home income (from all streams) to $1,000+ monthly. (I would really love this. But I am also switching my focus from income to fulfillment. 11/15/2021)

39). Participate in NaNoWriMo. (My birthday is IN November, so if I accomplish this one, I will be in the middle of it when I hit 40. — I am participating this year!!! I don’t know if I will finish with 50,000 words. But I am at least giving it a shot. However many words I get down will be more than I would have had I not tried… 11/15/2021)

40). Write a personal memoir. (I started this for Camp NaNoWriMo in July but quickly realized I was not mentally prepared to write it the way I wanted it to be written. So I tabled it for now. I am glad I started. I still learned a lot about myself, my writing, & the process. 11/15/2021.)

I came back to this 40 before 40 list to update it over the course of the year. It has been motivating & exciting to see my progress. And, I hope that, by my sharing my 40 before 40 with you, you'll be inspired to do your own version. (Last updated November 15, 2021)

What would you have added that I did not? Is there something that surprised you on this list? Let me know in the comments.

And, if you would like to stay up-to-date on what I am doing, sign up for my emails below.

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