I think it’s a bit of an odd thing turning 40, it feels like a big milestone in your life. A midpoint I guess. Last year I was disappointed to spend my 40th in lockdown. But in fact, the reality is I spent most of my 40th year in lockdown. It’s a weird half-life lockdown, trying to make the best of a very difficult situation, juggling the demands of school, family and work-life, missing the outside world, your friends and normality. But it doesn’t mean that there weren’t achievements during that time. I didn’t represent my county in the European championships like my husband did in his 40th year. But that would never have been a reality even if we weren’t in lockdown. But I did get the time to stop and reflect.
On my 39th birthday, I wrote a 14 things I would like to do before I am 40 list. Last year, I hadn’t achieved all of them – lockdown life, so I gave myself a year’s extension. So, as I turn 41 today, I thought I would reflect on how I have done with them, but also my achievements over the last year, despite the circumstances.
What Did I Achieve From My List of 14 things?
- Had a professional photoshoot done with our family with Lisa from And Then She Clicked and the photos are glorious, better than I could ever have imagined.
- Finally got down to writing my book and entered the Page Turner Awards looking for a mentor. The closing date is the 31st May, so everything crossed!
- Started exercising regularly mixing up yoga and pilates with strength and cardio and feeling so much better in myself for finally having the courage to do so.
- Making just a little more time for myself. This really links to the above. Exercising more, making time to write my book and fulfil my dream, building in some time for creative things that make me happy and energise me. It doesn’t always happen every day, but by making time I am a happier person and a better Mum too.
- Had my ears pierced again. This was delayed a little as I ended up breastfeeding Bo longer than I expected. But just before Christmas I got my tragus, conch and helix pierced and I love them.
- I learnt to garden (a little). The garden was a real space of salvation during lockdown. We did several garden projects, grew our own vegetables and I had some lovely pots I became rather fond of!
- Did things outside of my comfort zone. I have had coaching this year which was such an amazing thing to do for myself and to invest in myself. I have started doing reels on Instagram after not feeling brave enough to do them and as I mentioned above entered a writing competition. This is something I will keep on being aware of those and watching when I am saying no because it’s not right for me and not just because I’m scared.
- Become comfortable in my own skin. This is such a work in progress. I am working on wearing clothes and jewellery that I love. Dismissing the thoughts that come in my head that say you can’t wear that you’re too big and instead of wearing things I genuinely like and enjoy. We only get one life and I am realistically (and hopefully) nearing the halfway point of mine so I need to make the most of it and enjoy it.
- Improve my photography skills. This is definitely something that gets better the more I practise, I am getting more and more confident shooting in manual now. I am teaching myself bits on Photoshop from Youtube. I have learnt to do mini animations which I find really fun. I would still like to do a course on Photoshop, one to look into when my book is written I think.
Things I Didn’t Manage to Achieve:
- Have a professional make-up lesson – this one is still on my list. I have very much been experimenting with make-up more since I did my coaching this year and thinking about what is my style. This has been tricky with the pandemic, but I will aim to get this scheduled in the future.
- Bought a pair of Irregular Choice shoes. Now, this is only because I haven’t really fallen in love with a pair of shoes on there, so I will keep looking.
- Go on / book a family for the family to Lapland. This one makes me a bit sad, but I think the cost is just too prohibitive. When my husband and I sat down and seriously discussed it, the costs were so high – we’re talking £8-10k. There is so much that we could do with that money instead and assuming we could save that amount up too. I would still absolutely love to go, but I think time is running out too for how long Logan is going to believe. So I suspect it’s one that is sadly not going to happen. The cost is just too prohibitive.
- Take time to meditate daily. I did try this. I really did. I’m just not sure it’s for me. It may just be knackered Mum syndrome, but I kept on just falling asleep when I did do it! Micro meditations – closing my eyes and taking deep breaths when I am overwhelmed or cross does really seem to work with me though. So I did learn something from it.
- Declutter the house and get it more organised. I am fast coming to the realisation that I am not going to be able to fully manage this until Bo starts school. I have such limited time and time to myself at the moment, and I have to prioritise my time. And at the moment, spending time with my children, the book I want to write and work are higher on the list. I have managed to do small bits, but I think until all of my children are at school there is only so much I am going to be able to do. And that’s ok.
All in all I don’t think I have done too badly on my list. The real highlight for me of my 40th year is the extra time I got with my children. It may have been super hard, but I do believe it made me a better mother and deepened my bond with them. Coaching was one of the best things I have done for myself in years and I feel happier and truer to myself now I have done it. The big thing is my book and my plan is that but by this time next year, not only is it finished, but I am fast on the way to getting it published. I have hidden from this dream and not it’s time to make it happen.