Thursday, December 1, 2011

My 40 before 40 Conundrum - What Would You Do?

Hi All,

I need some input from you.

If you read my M.M.M. post, you know that I was inspired to create a Forty before Forty list by Nicole at Making it Lovely. I loved everything about her list! I really enjoyed seeing her cross off the items one at a time and I enjoyed reading the post that corresponded with each item she checked. I should also mention that I never would have thought to do this myself, were it not for Holly at Decor8 (if you've taken BYW, you know what I'm talking about ;-) The fact that I happen to be turning thirty-nine on the same year I start blogging is a fantastic opportunity for me to do the same thing. So December 13th I'll be posting my list which I'll be working on for the next year.

I'm recycling pictures... Uh... This topic is dear to my heart,
there you go, a tie-in to the post.
I have to be honest, turning forty is a big deal for me. I passed thirty without giving it much thought. Lucie was one and Isaac was five. I was so wrapped up in being the mom of a preschooler and a toddler that I had no time to think about the implications of turning thirty. (I barely had time to think, period). Forty is different though. I have a sense of urgency now that I've never had before. I feel like I need to get going with my life! Too much time has slipped away from me. Time that I can't remember spending. Time that has melted into a blur without enough highlights. I don't like that feeling.

Anyway, I intend to remedy that and this list is part of my plan. I've been working vigilantly on it. Since it's really important to me, I want it to be just right. Here's what I mean by "just right:" it needs to contain things that I really want to accomplish, things that I've been trying to do for years, some silly, some dumb, and lots of that are very important to me. I want the list to be doable but I also want it to stretch me beyond what I think I can do. It needs to be challenging but possible, and that's where my conundrum arises.

I have so many items on the list that are based on fixing this house, which, unfortunately, are also contingent upon cash-flow. Cash-flow which is not currently represented in our budget.

Hey look! It's our icky house that desperately needs help!
No, we are not going to bulldoze it and start again...
I won't say the thought hasn't crossed our minds though.
Now, I'm not without a plan to address this. I hope to re-open my graphic design business with some ready-made items in March. Then, I want to get back into taking clients in June. However, one of the joys of getting older are the life-lessons learned. One of those lessons is that plans and goals are not a guarantee of success. Even when you throw in hard work, there is still no guarantee.

I'm fine with putting things on the list that are just contingent on my effort but income is partially contingent on other people. That gives me pause. Do I want a healthy portion of my list to be riding on things which are somewhat beyond my control? On the other hand, I REALLY want to do these things. Furthermore, Hun is on-board with the house renovations, because he wants a finished house as much as I do, so I won't meet with resistance here at home.

So my question to you is this: Would you leave those things which require currently non-existent funds on the list and risk not being able to complete it for reasons beyond your control? Or, would you take them off and replace them with things that are within your control but which may not be as important to you?

Guys, I'm really asking, this isn't rhetorical. I'm truly up in the air.

What would you do?

Thanks in advance,


  1. I love the look of your blog Heather & those recycled pics, gorgeous!

    Well, I'm quite experienced in this area, an old lady of 43 and I understand what you're going through. In our 40s, we start to really look at our life and the things we wanted to do but always felt too busy, too overwhelmed, etc and put off until "later". Well now it is later...there's a reason people sometimes go through a midlife crisis.

    I'd say instead of doing a "pre-40" list, why don't you just do a list period...Don't pressure yourself to complete before 40. The key would then be to plan to accomplish things every week, every month until 40 & beyond. Work a little on your list every week. Make a vow to yourself to make each moment count, to use your time for what is meaningful. Use this turning 40 point as a means to change your perspective, not as an end point (life doesn't end at 40!). Don't forget to enjoy the journey because you're too busy looking ahead at the destination. There was a great post on LearnVest the other day, I'll post on our BYW FB page.

  2. Thank you so much for the compliment and the advice!

    I do feel like I'm having a mini-midlife crisis and I'm laughing as I'm writing that because it sounds silly coming from me.

    You're going to think I'm crazy but I was going to do a separate life-list with all of the stuff I need lots of time to do :-)

    That's a wonderful suggestion though, and you're right, if I get too wrapped up in this list and forget to live it defeats the purpose.

    Thank you for your advice!

  3. You know, I am of the mind that writing it down (or putting it on your list) makes it more likely to happen, period. So, why not write down what your heart truly desires, aim for it, and if it doesn't happen, well, at least you tried! Do what you can with what you do have, and maybe more opportunities will present themselves.

  4. Hi Heather. I'm 47, and when I turned 40 my son entered preschool, and I had the same urgency. I wanted to go back to work, so I went to grad school.

    Now I'm 47 and happy in my career as a Montessori teacher.

    So I say, put it on the list. Do not be afraid to fail, especially for things over which you do not have full control. At the same time, you can put sub-list items under them (offline, probably) that will support them. Does that make sense?

    You do realize in your 40s that life is a one-way trip. we can't go back to being 30. So make your list (however long the time-frame), and check them off.

    I'm with you all the way.

  5. I'm with all of these guys. I do a resolution blog every year, (10 in 10, 11 in 11, etc.) and I NEVER revisit it to see if I've completed everything. I love the idea of following along with you on a 40X40 journey, but I think you should treat it as an inspiration, even if it leaves some of the control out of your hands. I guess what I'm saying is that even thinking about it, making a conscious decision to focus on something brings you closer to completing it, even if you don't totally get there in the long run.

    Since I'm making no sense at all, I'll just sign off, and read what everyone else has to say!

    Except this! Turning 40 was great for me. I still have some stuff to figure out, but I loved turning 40..and that was almost 2 years ago. ;)

  6. p.s. Be sure to include some really fun stuff that you will look forward to - like - getting your family's picture taken in old fashioned clothes or a picture with Santa. Maybe an amusement park trip?

  7. So Noreen, Lauren, & Heather you seem to be saying that I should leave the things on my list but give myself the grace not to complete them if I can't. The list should be there to inspire me to achieve my goals, not to shackle me to "the letter of the list." so to speak.

    I like that. It's a different mindset for me though. I tend to be an all-or-nothing person when it comes to these things. For example, on Thanksgiving, I made my first Thanksgiving dinner entirely by myself but I was in tears because I forgot the gravy. I knew that was stupid but it took me some mental gymnastics to take the win and not view the day as a failure. Dumb huh?

    I have to get out of my own way sometimes.

    Anyway, that's good advice! Thank you very much!

  8. I agree with the others. Just because there is a possibility of "failure", that shouldn't stop you from trying to accomplish it. If so, then we would never attempt anything in life!

  9. Oh, Noreen, I have some VERY fun stuff on the list! There's lots of things on there which I'm going to have a blast with :-) Those are the easy items though.

  10. I think that the list should be things you WANT to do by forty, not things you SHOULD or even WILL do. Then the next year is about you seeing how far you get, and enjoying the journey. If you work on the assumption that you probably won't achieve them all, and that throughout the year you'll start to work out which of the ones are most important / achievable / urgent, I think you'll have an amazing year and will be truly shocked at how much you achieve. And for things that cost a lot of money, perhaps you can break them down into small parts?
    Good luck, can't wait to read your list! I'm 39 in February so might do the same thing!


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