Today I begin my 40th year of life. And I'm totally okay with it. Do I feel 39 going on 40? No. Does is seem all that old? Not today. But what I do feel is determination. Here's why. Throughout my house you will find several journals that have entries from years past. Mostly only the first few pages are written on because frankly I'm not that good at journaling. I start out strong at the beginning of any given year, but by mid-January my entries are sporadic at best and pretty much non-existent after that. But the thing that gets to me when I read any of them is that every year that I began journaling, whether I was 20 or 28 or 35, I have the same goals. Goals that haven't been reached. Really? I've had the same goals for the past 20 years and can't get past them? The good thing, I guess, is that they must be good goals if they are still important to me after all this time. But it's so discouraging to see that I haven't achieved them and moved on. Here's what they are.
Be healthy. Eat better, exercise, lose weight. I know what to do and even how to do it. But it's so hard. And it's so easy to make excuses. But the fact of the matter is that it's no longer just me who needs to be healthy. It's my family. And because of my neglect we are not as healthy as we should be. That's gotta change. Now. So by my 40th birthday, my family will be healthier. We will be stronger and lighter and more able to enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Be closer to God. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Rely on him more. This is the one that has actually changed the most. I have, over the years, grown closer to God. I do pray more and rely on him more. And even though I have read the whole Bible a few times, I don't do it everyday like I know I should. And again it all comes back to my family. At the beginning of the year I started reading my Bible that is broken down into days so that by the end of the year I would read the whole thing. When Adam saw me reading it one evening, he said, "Mom, are you reading the Bible?" When I said yes, he said, "Cool." And I realized that he may have never seen me reading it before. He'd seen me reading hundreds of other books, but he was genuinely surprised to see me reading my Bible. When I do occasionally read it, it's early in the morning or before bed. Not when the kids are up. I need them to know that it's important to me to immerse myself in God's word. Lead by example. By my 40th birthday, I want to once again read through the whole Bible. And let my kids see me do it.
Get my house in order. This has to do with clutter, having time to clean, and getting rid of things we don't need. I struggle with this because there's just so much stuff. It seems like I can't get rid of enough stuff to make a big difference. Not to mention that I live with at least 3 collectors. It feels like we are outgrowing our house. And that there's not enough hours in the day to take care of all the stuff the way it needs to be taken care of. So by my 40th birthday, I will downsize, simplify, and make new habits that include delegating chores.
Be financially stable. Sigh. This is a hard one. The last few years have put us further behind than ever. Dang economy and unemployment. I've always been bad at budgeting, but now it's more important than ever. And we might have to make some changes that we've been reluctant to make in the past. But one way or another, by my 40th birthday, I will at least feel like we're moving ahead in this area.
Write. In my heart, I am a writer. My head is so full of things I want to get on paper. Last night I was wandering through Borders and ran my hand along one of the shelves of books. And it hit me that if all these people can do it, why can't I? I have this great book in my head, several really. And I even have a few started. So by my 40th birthday, I will submit 12 articles to magazines and at least one children's book to publishers.
Easy, right? Piece of cake. But it must be done. I want to begin my 2nd 40 years with a whole new set of goals after having reached all of these. They've been on my list long enough. It's time they get done and make room for others. So today I begin a journey. A long, hard journey, but one that must be made. One that I am both excited and nervous about. One that I know, in the end, will make me a better person for having taken it.