30 Days

I looked at the calendar today and realized that I have one more month of being in my 30’s.  It made me think of what I’ve accomplished, what I want to accomplish, and really, what my life has stood for the last 40 years.  What have a really done? What do I want to do?  I am a thinky person sometimes and then when I think about the meaning of life and the meaning of this and the meaning of that, I can get overthinky. I don’t have a career anymore. I have been a stay-at-home mom since my oldest was five months old and I continue to be one, even as my youngest started 2nd grade last week.  I don’t have my own business that I started in the craft room. I don’t “make my own hours” and sell things to the ladies of the town where I live. While I get down on myself for what I haven’t done, I realize that there’s a lot that I HAVE done.  I realized that I honestly do not care about the things I haven’t done, because if I had cared, I WOULD have done them. Maybe I was lucky enough to gain that 40-year-old wisdom a month before I actually turn 40 and realize that it doesn’t matter as long as I’m happy and that my family is happy. Do I make every moment count like Oprah continuously says? Oh goodness no.  Some days are just perfect for curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee and watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Some days are for going for a non-training jog followed by tailgaiting and drinking beer at a college football game. I sure am not slaying dragons that day, but really, why do we always have to be doing something and accomplishing things when it’s equally good to just be?  Living your life the way you want to and being happy is just as good of accomplishment as getting promoted, getting that big house and having a bank balance that Suze Orman would approve of. So in honor of my impending entrance into my 40’s, I decided to make a list of 40 things that I have done in my life. As little as they may seem, they all add up to where I am today.

What is your list? Besides those things that you can write on a resume, what are the little big things in your life that you have done? What do you WANT to do? Try and see what you come up with as I have, and you could see yourself differently than you did before. Maybe you’ll see a different kind of joy and happiness.  I’m a happy person with a very good life, but I can get discouraged as much as anyone else can.  I let the “haven’t” get in front of the “have” and in doing so, I lose track of what’s REALLY important.  It isn’t my title, my pay check, my number of Facebook friends (or lack thereof), it’s about how I can make the world better, how I can make other people happy, and what I do WITH my life.  In looking back at the things I wrote down, I know I’m on the right track and doing the right thing.

1) Climbed a mountain – this is the view from around the top

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2) Watched a meteor shower in the middle of the night

3) Saw a shooting star at the top of a mountain while camping in Yellowstone with my husband and kids

4) Moved several hundred miles away from home without ever being in the town or knowing anyone

5) Married the love of my life

6) Ran a marathon or six

7) Saved an animal’s life – the little sickly guy below is still living with us but four years later, is healthy and quite robust now

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8) Searched, found, combined, then executed the perfect recipe for sea bass.  Mmmmmm, so good.

9) Made someone’s day

10) Written some really good blog posts

11) Been to over 20 Dave Matthews Band concerts

12) Watched the Christmas Shamu show at Sea World and pretended that I didn’t cry

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13) Read an entire book in one day and got so invested in the characters that I wonder what they’re up to now

14) Decided one day that I wanted a tattoo and went and got one; then got two more as the time was right

15) Showed my horse at the Iowa State Fair

16) Swam across the Cape Fear River – stupid, stupid, stupid, but I won’t ever forget it (nor do it again)

17) Cheered my sons on as they walked their first steps

18) Met the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus

19) Pulled off many surprise visits for my family without letting the surprise slip

20) Decorated a cake and thought it was beautiful

21) Trained to and qualified for the Boston Marathon

22) Rode the ferry from Jersey to NYC and ate NY pizza while looking at the Statue of Liberty

23) Raised funds at different times for different things that I am passionate about (this one also covers #18)

24) Painted so many rooms that I no longer use painters tape

25) Been the first female to cross the finish line at a 5k. Twice.

26) Screamed at the tv during a football game (thanks Clemson and BoSox)

27) Left a $5 bill at the drive through window at McDonald’s for the next driver

28) Learned how to do The Wobble in my kitchen in Texas

29) Rode horses into the wilderness of Montana and camped for a week

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30) Literally waltzed into a room

31) Gone thrift shopping with $20

32) Graduated from college with honors while having a lot of fun along the way

33)  Did the Nes-tea plunge into a pool

34) Did the Superman jump into a big huge mud puddle at the end of a mud race

35) Made friends that mean so much to me that it hurts to not be able to talk to them in person

36) Danced in a club in New Orleans – I don’t actually have a picture of me dancing so this will have to do

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37) Kissed boo boos, wiped noses, applied Neosporin, checked for monsters under beds, explained the simple version of the birds and the bees, secretly put veggie puree into food (sometimes successful, sometimes not so much), thrown up while cleaning up throw up,  and have put the kids on the bus and been there when they’ve gotten off the bus almost every one of their school days

38) Stayed with my silly dog while the vet administered life-ending medicine and realized it was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do at that point in my life; cried while running past the vet for a year after that

39) While walking under the faces at Mt. Rushmore, asked my kids how big their Kleenexes must be

40) Blare loud, inappropriate music in the house while home alone

So there. That’s just a sample of things that I can come up with that I’ve done. It’s pretty random, isn’t it? I guess that’s life.  And the closer I get to being 40, the more I appreciate my life and the people in it. Maybe I’m not as thin as I want to be and don’t have the career I thought I would. But I have all the things in my life that aren’t things at all, and it’s perfect. They’re people I love, experiences, and memories. I’ll take that over any “thing” and grasp hold of age 40 with a zest for life.  “Over The Hill” can suck it. I’m just getting started.

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