Last October, on my 39th birthday, I gave myself a list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 40.
This list was started as a tool for me to practice defining what I want (because I am not very good at it) and has become such a motivating way for me to actually do the things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.
I have been super slow to jump into New Year’s mode – which is really strange for me. The Christmas decorations are still up, I forgot what day it was yesterday (did you catch my instagram story where I declared it January 3rd?! Oops!), and I’m just not as quick this year to reinvent my days/habits/desires like usual.
While chatting with Ryan about this it dawned on me that maybe I’m not quite as motivated to make changes because I am actually pretty satisfied with how things are going.
And I owe most of that to my #40by40 list.
This list is made up of all the big and little things that help me celebrate and enjoy the things I love. There’s a handful of items that feel important, but always seem to slip by undone. There are skills I want to learn and places I’d like to travel, things I want to do and a few I don’t really want to do, but should anyway.
So while I would normally come up with a list of resolutions or projects to do around the house or a special word for the year … this year I’m leaning on my #40by40 list to be my New Year manifesto.
I posted about my list on my birthday last fall and listed out each item. I thought it would be fun to go through each one, make a few adjustments and see how many I’ve checked off these last three months.
Let’s jump right in …
40 By 40 List
make sourdough bread
My cousin’s wife makes the most delicious naturally fermented sourdough bread (that is even safe for the gluten-intolerant) that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. She gave me the recipe and lots of tips and I gave it a try this fall. So far, I’ve failed at making starter three separate times. Lucky for me, my father-in-law is an accomplished chef and he shared his starter with me over Christmas break. I baked my first two loaves of bread and they were delicious. Not exactly the fermented sourdough I was going for, but I haven’t lost hope of that yet.
get a Le Creuset
The sourdough bread recipe calls for a 6qt dutch oven to bake it in. I decided to skip the spendy version for now, since I wasn’t sure how this whole bread-making thing would turn out and instead ordered myself this one in emerald green for a fraction of the price. I’ve been so surprised at how much I use it for things other than baking bread.
make apple fritters
Keeping to the baking theme (I really do love baking!) … I made apple fritters last weekend and they were delicious. They didn’t have that perfect crunchy texture on the outside so I’m not sure where I went wrong, but the flavor was really good. And we had no trouble eating them all up.
go to barre class twice per week
On my original list, it says feel good in a swimsuit, but that feels too intangible and hard to measure. Sure, I’d love to walk around in a swimsuit with all the confidence in the world (I’m convinced a ton of that is mindset but I haven’t quite conquered that yet). Instead, I’ve been consistently going to a local barre class on tuesdays and thursdays and it has been so good for me. I feel stronger, I love pushing my body and it feels good to take care of myself in this way.
go to Nashville
Perhaps the highlight of my 2017 (besides our kids being baptized on Father’s Day – that was a really great day) was our trip to Nashville last fall. Oh my goodness, we had so much fun. Ryan and I went with two of our best friends and we ate the most delicious food, heard amazing music (Little Big Town at the Ryman!) and fell in love with the city.
write a children’s book
This is so high up on my list … and I’m so intimidated! I have been playing around with a story idea for a few years and it feels so special and meaningful to me I don’t want to mess it up. But this is the year. I will get this thing out of my heart and onto paper.
plan 40th birthday trip with Ryan (to Italy? England?)
While some want to celebrate their 40th with a big party (ahem, my sister who had 5 of the best parties ever) others (like me) prefer to celebrate quietly. Ryan will be 40 a few months after me and our 15th wedding anniversary is coming up, so it feels like a good time to take a special trip.
see a whale
I can’t do a whole lot to make this happen until the spring when the whales are active in our Puget Sound waters and even then, seeing a whale is not a common occurrence. I have lived here all my life and saw my first Orcas just a few years ago. I do adore sea mammals and would literally cry tears if I saw a whale up close. Crossing my fingers for an opportunity.
decorate our bedroom
We’re still sleeping with our mattress on the floor. Still using step stools as nightstands. It’s not the worst, but I would love to make our bedroom a put-together retreat for us.
intentional date with Ethan
intentional date with Brady
intentional date with Mason
intentional date with Audrey
I hang out with the kids all the time and feel like we have great relationships, but rarely do I get the chance to do one-on-one activities of the kids’ choosing. Ethan is up first for a day of skiing.
take my supplements
This is another amended item. Originally, I wrote heal my gut, but again, too intangible. I have an annoying auto-immune thing that doesn’t improve with diet, but does get better with a crazy mix of supplements my naturopath concocted for me. I took them consistently for a few months last spring and was feeling so good … and then I stopped. Why? I have no idea. I just got distracted and bothered by all the pills. Of course my symptoms are back. Ugh. So, back to regular supplements.
host girls craft night in studio
This one sounds fun. Just need to plan it. And find a good craft to do.
plant dahlias + anemones
When do you plant dahlias? In the spring, I’m guessing? I must do some research … I know the perfect book.
frame road trip photos
We have hundreds of photos from our road trip and I can’t bear to keep them all in dropbox. My idea is to take bunch of 4×4 square prints and mount them in a grid in a big frame. The pictures are printed; just need to put them together.
look into Invisalign
My bottom teeth have shifted a bit in adulthood and I’m not happy about it. I have a dentist appointment in a few weeks and will ask if Invisalign is right for me.
whiten my teeth
My mom has the whitest teeth. I want to be like her when I grow up.
re-read The Kitchen House
re-read The Red Tent
When asked what my favorite book is, these two often come up. The Red Tent was the first book I read after college just for pleasure. The Kitchen House solidified my love of historical fiction. It’s been a long time since I’ve read either and hope I love them as much the second time.
take a photography class
A friend of a friend hosts a local photography class + wine tasting (called Cork & Click) and I’m excited to attend one of her events soon.
back-up both computers
This one sounds boring, but necessary. I have so many files and photos on both my big computer and laptop and I’m not completely sure either are very well backed-up. I should also include organize files on both computers, which sounds equally boring, but would feel really good to get done.
visit K.C. in Flagstaff
My best friend from college just moved to Flagstaff and we can’t wait to see their new house. Hoping for a mid-winter or spring break trip.
Get iphone 7
I did get a new phone and opted for the iphone X instead. So far, I’m very much loving it.
volunteer in the nursery
I helped in the 2 year old class during bible study a few weeks ago and ADORED every minute of it. I really love toddlers. Ryan and I are scheduled to help in the church nursery this year and I’m looking forward to getting my toddler fix.
attend a Barre3 class
All summer I took Barre3 online classes and really wanted to take a class in studio. My friend, Erica, took me to a Barre3 class for my birthday (we don’t have a studio near us, so we drove an hour and made a day of it). I have never sweat so much in my entire life. Since going to that class, we found a local studio that offers barre classes and have been going every since (see above).
go to Enneagram coaching
The Enneagram is a personality typing system that has been so transformative in my life. My favorite Enneagram book is by a local author who also offered coaching. I decided to step out and set up a meeting with her. That first meeting was really good and we decided that what I desire more than enneagram coaching is spiritual direction, so she is now my spiritual director. Our second session was profound and I look forward to seeing how God uses our monthly sessions to grow me deeper into my truest longing of quiet confidence.
I’m doing so well with this one!
start on road trip book
Since returning from our road trip, we’ve toyed with the idea of creating a book about our journey. I think the concept is good, but after lots of research and talking with an editor, it feels like this one is just a book we need to create for ourselves. We don’t want to forget all the places we traveled and stories we collected, so I need to figure out the best way to organize all our photos and words and create a keepsake book.
get a mammogram
One of my dear friends is fighting breast cancer (hi, Cynthia!), my sister-in-law’s mom just beat it (yay, Jane!), my sister had a scare this past fall and my mom’s mom passed away when I was a little girl after her battle with breast cancer. This thing is part of my life and now is the time to start scheduling regular screenings. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’ll do it anyway.
write 1 handwritten note per month
I’ve already failed at this. Oops. I really do love receiving handwritten notes and want to be better at sending them. I’m going to let myself off the hook on the monthly thing and just change it to send handwritten notes.
put up Christmas lights
We didn’t put up a ton, but it was more than last year and they made me so happy all Christmas season long.
weekend with Ellie
Ellie is my two year old niece who I can’t get enough of (she’s the dark-haired beauty in the center). I’m looking forward to keeping her for a weekend so we can get some good Ellie time and so her parents can have a little break :)
have grandma’s ring fixed
My grandma passed down her antique rings to us girls. She passed away in October and so having her ring feels extra special to me. I need to take it to a jeweler to make sure the top part doesn’t come loose from the band.
make a macrame hanging
I don’t really know why this is on my list because while I do want to make a wallhanging, I don’t really care enough about it to have it on here. So I’m removing this item. And adding the next.
switch to 3lb weights
In barre class we use light handheld weights for the arm portion. I’ve been using 2lb and wanted to challenge myself to move up to 3lb in the new year. I’m happy to report that yesterday, my first class of 2018, I did it with 3lb weights.
update JDC about page
I told myself I wasn’t going to put any business to-do’s on my #40by40 list, but this one crept on. It is a business task, but also feels like more. An about page is where your mission, your purpose, your introduction lives. I haven’t updated mine in several years and as I’ve grown and changed, so has the purpose of JDC. It’s time to take the time to define these things and allow the blog to grow along with me.
go paddle boarding
I love being on the water and we live so close (the Puget Sound is just a few minutes from our house) that now that we’re more settled in our house, I’m hoping to do more paddling, kayaking and boating this year.
P.S. Here’s a picture Ryan took yesterday morning after dropping the kids off at school. How gorgeous is that sunrise?!
practice daily silence + solitude
My sister asked me how I hear God and my answer came quickly: when I’m silent and alone. It doesn’t matter if I’m laying quietly in bed, driving in the car with the radio off or sitting in a comfy chair with my Bible open … what’s best for my soul is silence and solitude and I’m learning how to make sure it is part of my day.
buy a new pair of great jeans
Let’s finish things off with a shallow-but-oh-so-important item. I wear jeans nearly every day, so I like having a few pair of jeans that fit just right and make me feel good. I just added these toothpick jeans, which I like very much (they’re on sale!), and also these cuffed jeans (also on sale, try sizing down).
Whew! Are you still with me?! That was a lot of words. But it was fun to process through each item and explain a little more about why each one made the list.
So far, I’ve checked off 14 out of 40. Not bad!
My theme for 2018 is BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Instead of a long set of goals all about changing who I am, I love that this #40by40 list is more about celebrating and encouraging the things that make me come alive.
It’s a gentle way to keep me motivated, intentional and a little bit challenged.
I’d love to hear about what you’re goals/word/theme is for 2018. Please share in the comments!