While all of Christendom has been reflecting on these 40 days of Lent and counting down to the joy of Easter, I’ve been reflecting on a different 40 days. I’m going to turn 40 on Holy Thursday and I’ve been keeping the countdown since before Ash Wednesday. My friends have asked why it’s such a big deal to me. “Really Chris, it’s just a number,” they say. “Don’t let it get to you.” But that’s just the thing, it’s not getting to me, or at least not in a bad way. It’s a reason to reflect on where I am I life and then celebrate where I am. On my 14th birthday, my dad passed away. At 21, I was too busy planning my wedding. At 25, I was busy planning for my first son to be born. At 30, I was too busy chasing a preschooler and a toddler. At 35, I was too busy dealing with my divorce and the first major crisis with my eyes. I decided 40 is mine. Come hell or high water, I’m celebrating 40! A fellow classmate and member of The Turning 40 Club posted a link to an article that listed 40 things every woman should do before she turns 40. I read it and tallied my score (32 out of 40) but I was disappointed in the list.
‘Get married. Get divorced.’
Wait a minute, I didn’t get married with the intention of getting divorced.
‘Have an affair.’
Destroy a marriage is a goal?
Several had to do with sex. While exploring my likes and dislikes, I certainly wasn’t keeping score against some arbitrary list. If I was, I could’ve added a few the author of that list had missed.
Overall, the general idea was for a woman to learn to be her own woman. I guess we all get there by our own road. So in the end, I had to write my own list.
My 40 List
1. Let myself fall in Love.
2. Let myself fall out of Love.
3. Get long fake nails
4. Hate them. Get rid of them.
5. Get a tattoo.
6. Love it. Get a second tattoo.
7. Dye my hair a color not found in nature
8. Write a book.
9. Let someone else read the unfinished draft.
10. Publish a book and not obsess over the sales.
11. Keep a journal every day for a year and go back to re-read it.
12. Recognize a mirror moment.
13. Hold that moment sacred without analyzing it.
14. Date a man old enough to be my father. Figure out why I needed to.
15. Write an angry letter to God. Let Him write back.
16. Sit God in an empty chair and give Him a piece of my mind. Switch chairs and see myself from His seat.
17. Love someone unconditionally.
18. Remember to experience the world with awe and wonder.
19. Write a prayer from the depths of my soul.
20. Allow someone other than God hear it prayed aloud.
21. Go on vacation alone to a place I’ve never been before.
22. Be still for twenty minutes a day.
23. Buy an impractical expensive pair of shoes.
24. Buy a meal for someone who is hungry and cold.
25. Never forget that person’s eyes.
26. Understand the 12 Steps.
27. Learn to recognize Karpman’s drama triangle. Stay away from the corners.
28. Ask the hard questions.
29. Accept that there aren’t always understandable answers.
30. Re-read Alice In Wonderland.
31. Find a trusted advisor.
32. Actually take their advice.
33. Speak my mind even when it gets me into trouble.
34. Explore my faith even if it means questioning the big stuff.
35. Figure out I answer only to God.
36. Go to Confession and admit to everything.
37. Bask in forgiveness and mercy.
38. Screw up again. Repeat 36 & 37.
39. Accept that I’m a work in progress.
40. Take 4 days to celebrate all of the above.