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.

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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.

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 attmepting 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)

2). Create a vision board, (images & phrases that represent long-term goals)

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

4). Dye my hair to embrace the grey & grow out.

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.

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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…

10). Get a 90 minute massage.

11). Write a letter to my future self.

Family & Relationships

12). Take Eva to the Science Center.

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.

27). Finally get my linen closet organized!

28). Organize my electronic files.

29). Plant something that actually lives more than a month!

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)

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

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33). Finish reading 10 fiction books. (4/10*) (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
  • I’ve started & stopped a few others but haven’t gotten into them yet.

34). Increase my Facebook page followers to 1,000.

35). Grow my email list to 500.

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)

38). Increase my at-home income (from all streams) to $1,000+ monthly.

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.)

40). Write a personal memoir.

I will be coming back to this 40 before 40 list to update it over the course of this year. Hopefully, it will be 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 April 20, 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.

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