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40 at 40

With my right hand nervously gripping the throttle of a lime green snowmobile, I tentatively circled a snowy clearing high up in the Sierra Nevada mountain range while Will and a couple of friends looked on. I spent my childhood in the Canadian prairies around snowmobiles but had never driven one myself until that moment. It dawned on me while I was maneuvering the machine over the serene white glade that it was the second weekend in a row I had done something new, and with some success to boot.

The weekend prior, I had, for the first time in my life, swam 50 laps while visiting my parents in Arizona. It was a new record for me, and came after at least a couple of years away from the pool. There were quite a few people around but I tried not to let that affect my momentum. I mentally held my insecurities at bay with each stroke, and kept adding more laps until I’d reached a number that left me stunned (and more than a little winded!). That experience gave me the confidence I needed to try taking the snowmobile out for a spin.

I generally don’t like to try new things in front of other people. I’m a perfectionist and I’m also fearful of being embarrassed. But I find that when I take small steps to build my confidence, I’m more willing to give things a go.

My husband has the sort of confidence I envy: he instinctively believes that he can attempt most things, and, if he works at them hard enough, experience some level of success. He isn’t cocky, takes advice well, and plows ahead regardless of others looking on or insecurities he might have. I admire his quiet confidence and want to to adopt this mentality more consistently over the next decade.

I’ve been excited about turning 40 for many years, and have wanted to find a way to commemorate this new decade for a while. But rather than force some contrived idea into fruition, I decided to just let an idea come to me. Finally, last weekend an idea clicked into place during that snowmobile drive around an alpine meadow.

 “I know it’s easy to settle into the comfort of routines as one gets older, and there’s something very reassuring about being content within the rhythms I’ve created, but I also don’t want to become fearful of change and risk losing out on the adventures to ahead.”  

This year, I am going to try and tackle 40 new things. Things I’ve always wanted to do, things that come up spontaneously, things I’ve never considered before, things that push me forward into this new season of life. They don’t always have to be physical, they don’t even have to be that exciting, they just need to inspire me and help me take small steps towards a more confident approach to life.

I believe this endeavour will not only help me to fight back against fear and insecurities, but help me live life to the fullest, tapping into gifts and abilities I’ve never fully recognized. I also believe that this approach to the coming year will help me discover new outlets for coping with anger, grief, and stress when they arise. It’s a preventative approach that I am confident will serve me well in the years to come. I am also hopeful that this pursuit will serve as an example to my kids, who I hope will live their lives with less fear of failure and embarrassment than I have.

Here is the list of things new things I’ve done since turning 40 two months ago:

  1. Took a road trip to Mexico with Will, the kids, and some friends of ours.
  2. Hiked in the desert among saguaro cacti (always wanted to see and photograph those!) with my mom.
  3. Swam 50 laps in the pool while visiting my parents in Arizona.
  4. Skied a new mountain for the first time, and skied for the first time in about 20 years.
  5. Drove a snowmobile by myself.

And, here are some ideas of things I might want to do during the year ahead:

  1. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge.
  2. Take voice lessons.
  3. Spend some time sketching art in the Legion of Honor.
  4. Take the kids to Yosemite.
  5. Sew the girls a couple of simple nightgowns.
  6. Go shark watching for great whites in Monterey.
  7. Bake a two-layer chocolate cake (if you have recipe recommendations, please send them my way….I am quite a novice baker).

This is not the beginning of a to-do list for the year. If I don’t accomplish any of these ideas  before I turn 41, I’m fine with that. However, being naturally inclined to list-making, it felt appropriate to come up with a few possibiltles. In addition to a list, I want to be on the lookout for opportunities I may have never considered before, or that scare me just a little. I know it’s easy to settle into the comfort of routines as one gets older, and there’s something very reassuring about being content within the rhythms I’ve created, but I also don’t want to become fearful of change and risk losing out on the adventures to ahead.

If any of this resonates with you, and you too want to take a leap into a new adventure, perhaps my Women’s Walking Retreat is just the right opportunity for you. It’s low-key, filled to the brim with beauty and inspiration, and offers the perfect setting and pace to dream for what the future might hold. I would LOVE for you to join me so I can help make that a reality for you!

Click HERE for trip details.

Want to know how the year turned out? Click HERE to subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll send you the issue with the final list and photos from the experience!




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