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Sunday, July 22, 2018

creating a 40 by 40 list: get inspired

I'm 36 years old. I have four years before I turn the big 4-0. I have three kids, a husband, and a full time job. I'm busy, busier than I like to be sometimes, yet it's who I am. I like to be out there, doing things, having adventures as my kids call it. So it sounds about right that I'd start a list of 40 things I want to do before I turn that big 4-0 in a few years!

I wrote a 30 by 30 list when I was turning 30 a few years ago and it was so fun. It was focused on doing fun things, a few things I'd never done before but mostly fun. Now that I'm turning 40 in a few years, I feel like my mission has changed from just fun to more in depth. I don't care about turning 40 (well, at least not yet... there's still time!). I'm cool with it at this point. I feel way wiser and more relaxed now than 10 years ago, so it's all good.

So now that I'm headed toward the big 4-0, my 40 by 40 list needs to be focused on doing things that I 1) haven't done yet and feel like I totally should have (based on my own standards, not others) and 2) scare me, make me anxious or things I've put off thinking I can't do them. 

I was raised to be confident, to believe I can do anything (thank you parents!), but after going through a miscarriage a few years ago and having some close friends go through really tough things like a stillborn and divorce, I've become worried in the world, hesitant, anxious at times and afraid that I can't do certain things because what if? what if something happens? what if... my kids need me? It's held me back a bit the last two years. Now that I'm feeling stronger and healthier (thank you hysterectomy and no more fibroids!), as well as older, I'm READY to take on the world a bit more.

So I've started a list on my phone. I update it every so often and add things to it almost daily. It's a work in progress, just like me. Some of the things on my list are SO simple and ridiculous, you'd probably wonder why I'd even waste time adding them to this list. But for me, a busy mom of three who's put her needs last sometimes for years, it's good to add even those little things to the list now and embrace becoming older and having a bit more freedom to BE ME.

So how did I come up with the list? 
Reading books, watching shows, talking to friends, talking about my list, and just living life. I've been reflecting on things I've said I'd do but haven't done yet, and so some are practical things I should just do and get it over with! Other things I'm scrolling Facebook or Insta and see some friends doin something so cool and so I'm inspired and write it down on my list.

If you want to create a list, you can start by going on Pinterest, reviewing your old journals, reading a magazine just for fun, or walking through the mall. Do whatever spikes your interest and makes you curious. You could also just walk through your kitchen and think, what have I said I'd do forever but haven't done?! (this worked for me to start the list by picking a cookbook I got from my wedding and start cooking the recipes!)

Questions to consider to get you started on your list:
  • What have you said you'd do but never end up getting to IN your home? 
  • What have you always dreamed of doing in your career?
  • Where have you always wanted to go?
  • What do you want to see that's right near your house but you never get there?
  • What's something you have never learned, that your partner does or that you think you should know how to do to be more independent yourself? 
  • What's beautiful to you?
  • What's something practical you should learn?
  • What has always sounded cool, fun, interesting but you never dared try it yourself? 
  • Which type of class would you sign up for if you had to go back to school or adult ed type classes?
  • Do you wish you were more athletic? artistic? creative? funny? easygoing? Take that characteristic and match it to an art class or a yoga retreat. 
  • What sounds like so much fun?
  • What might help you feel stronger, more capable, excited about life?
Differences from a Big Bucket List
This 40 by 40 list is NOT my bucket list. I want to clarify that. I'm not in a stage of my life where I feel I can accomplish all those HUGE things that I've always dreamt of for my life. Those things that are "somedays." For me, mom of three and job right now, those big things are not things I'm going after just yet- like getting a Ph.D. doctorate degree and like traveling to Italy or even doing a cross-country trip with my kids. Those will happen, totally sure of it, but at this point with my mini bucket list of 40 things before turning 40, those things aren't on the list. I'm focusing on more tangible things to do with three kids in my life to ensure they actually get done!

Make it REAL - not Fancy or Typical 
Don't put things like "lose 10 pounds" or "try that new diet." If you want to be stronger and healthier, great. If you want to run a race, awesome. But don't put generic New Year's Resolutions on your list. This is supposed to be more fun and more interesting than the typical stuff you tell yourself every day in a negative way suggesting that you don't measure up. YOU ARE AWESOME already. This 40 by 40 list is just to help you feel more awesome!

Rules for the list? 
Someone asked me this. I love the question! Not really, no rules really. Just that the list items need to be all about ME, not influenced by others. If I put something on the list, I can take it off - not out of fear but out of changing my mind. Otherwise, anything is game. You can create your own rules. I find that it's more fun if there aren't any rules, but do whatever works for you.

Where do you keep the list?
It's on my phone currently with buttons to cross them off when I finish something. I like that I can edit it often on there. Whatever works for you though. I've seen people write them out and post them on a fridge or wall, that's a powerful reminder.

I'm telling you all that I'm writing this list so you can help me achieve them. Find a partner, friend or your own reminder calendar on your phone to hold you accountable. I mean, it's not like a job, so no pressure, if you don't reach all the 40 things, that's OK. But it's also kinda fun to talk about, so consider reaching out to someone to talk about these things.

What's the purpose behind this list? Well, it's mostly to get some things done that I've said I'd do forever or things I think I should do by the time I'm 40. It's also to have goals, personal inspiration that I'm reaching for and working toward. Too often in this time of our lives we're focused solely on our kids and houses, careers and helping everyone else but ourselves. It's OK for us mommas to have dreams, goals and things we just want to do for once. I'm psyched that I'm healthy and strong, and want to celebrate those things by doing things I want to do. It's kinda that simple. I also want to be braver. A few things on my list are about pushing me outside my comfort zone, doing things that make me afraid. And that's a good thing. Live a little, right? Life is short. Get out there. I love it. I'm focusing on Nike's motto: Just DO it.

I have had so many of you reach out to me interested in writing your own 40 by 40 list. I hope this gives you some ideas to get you started. I'd LOVE to hear from you- share your ideas with me. Join in the tag #mom40x40 !

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