Well, that happened quickly
I know a lot of people get depressed about hitting milestones like 40, 50, or 60 but for me, I feel like each decade gets better so it doesn’t stress me out about hitting the next milestone. Age is just a number, so I can honestly say I have no problems with turning 50 next year, which isn’t surprising because I didn’t have any problems with turning 40 several years ago.
Bring on the Botox
Now, I’m not saying I’m a fan of some of the “gifts” getting older has to offer, like the deepening lines and wrinkles, the worsening eyesight (hello, readers!), the stiffness and creaking in my joints, among other fun things that aging brings to the table. I’m fully on board for face creams and Botox as needed! I’m not trying to fight the clock, but I have already invested in veneers for my teeth and hair extensions, which I consider methods to enhance my appearance as I age, not necessarily ways to try to look younger.
My forties have been my best decade yet, so I can only assume my fifties will be even better. In thinking about what 50 will have in store for me, I decided to reflect on what happened over the past 9 years and what I have planned for this final year of my forties. When I started mentally cataloging my accomplishments, adventures, failures, and thoughts, I was surprised at just how much travelling we did and also by how many different things I did. If variety is the spice of life, things are pretty spicy (not smoking hot, but spicy)!
Make new friends, but keep the old
I made lots of new friends in my forties, and lost some along the way as well, but that’s OK because the new ones have become some of my favorite people and are like sisters to me. Besides losing some friends and gaining new ones, I also had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends (gold friends!) a few times over the last decade. I feel very lucky to have so many of these people in my life for over 30 years, and what is truly special is even though many years and thousands of miles separate us, we can all pick up where we left off when we do get back together. That’s magic.
The relationships that have changed the most over the last decade are the relationships I have with each of my daughters. When I turned 40, they were just 11 and 13 and now they are soon to be 21 and 23. I was surprised to realize just how different the relationships I have with your adult children are from the relationships I had with my teenage children. I can honestly say I like the adult relationships much better! Truly my greatest accomplishment, my daughters have both grown into incredible young women and I actually enjoy hanging out with them now.
19 States and 4 Countries
From the time I turned 40 up until now, I have been lucky enough to go on lots of trips. I absolutely love to travel and if I had the means, I’d do it every month. I have been to many other places not on this list prior to turning 40, but during my forties (besides cruising all over Georgia) I went to:
South Carolina (Charleston, Folly Beach, Hilton Head)
North Carolina (Asheville)
Florida (all over the state, everywhere from Jacksonville down to Miami, over to the Gulf Coast, and everywhere in between)
Tennessee (Nashville, Knoxville, Gaitlinburg)
Alabama (Gulf Shores and Orange Beach)
Louisiana (New Orleans)
Missouri (St. Louis)
South Dakota (Rapid City)
California (San Francisco, Palo Alto, Napa Valley)
Washington (Seattle, The Gorge)
New York (NYC)
Cancun, Mexico (twice)
Toronto and Montreal, Canada
Venice, Padova, Bologna, Florence, and Rome Italy
But, what did I do?
At the start of the decade, I was not working. I made the decision to stay home with the kids and help my husband with his business towards the end of 2009. So, when I turned 40, I was deep in the throws of PTA, cheerleading booster club, and running a small custom cake business on the side as well as helping out in our convenience store. I went back to work full time when I was 43 and have since worked for 3 companies (a Fortune 500, a Fortune 7, and a small independent firm) as a project manager.
I’ve been a PTA president, a cheer booster club president, hosted bingo nights, and served on countless committees. I’ve driven carloads of kids to and from basketball games, football games, swim meets, and cheer competitions, and chaperoned dances and field trips. I’ve baked hundreds of cakes and cupcakes and spent countless hours in my kitchen mixing up icing. I’ve cashed lottery tickets, stocked drink coolers, taken inventory and dealt with vendor and customers. I’ve managed technical projects, budgets, programs, and team members. I’ve prepared countless presentations, reports, and spreadsheets. I’ve even been laid off twice and all three of my jobs that I’ve held in my forties found me – I didn’t have to find them – thanks to keeping in touch with former colleagues.
I helped my husband with all kinds of construction projects including the remodel 4 houses, and the build out of a new business. I’ve painted, caulked, scraped, sanded, lifted, loaded, and hauled. I’ve been on ladders and rooftops, handled power tools, and had my physical strength (and patience) tested.
I ran several 5K races over the last 9 years including the Warrior Dash twice. I’ve gained weight, and lost weight fluctuating nearly 60 pounds from the high point to the low point. I’ve had one surgery. I’ve attended countless concerts and music festivals in several different states and countries.
I guess that’s not too bad
So when I think I haven’t accomplished much in life, because I haven’t raised a million dollars for charity or because I’m not the CEO of a big corporation or because I haven’t become Instagram-famous, I instead need to remind myself of all that I have done – because it’s a lot. Among all of this, I even managed to raise two teenage girls without losing my mind: middle school, high school, college. That in and of itself is huge.
For my 49th year, I want to learn to give myself more credit, rid myself of doubt, and gain a little more confidence in my abilities. I want to see some new places (hello, Greece!) and try some new things. I want to not only maintain the relationships in my life, but also nurture them so I can be a better wife/mom/daughter/sister/friend.
So, here I go. We’ll see you soon, 50.