I am a few days away from turning 40, which had you asked me 15 years ago, would have seemed SO OLD. Ironically, I don’t feel old even though have 3 kids, 3 pets, a husband, and a house to take care of.
Going with history and tradition, 40 is supposed to be a year of major changes or perhaps a year of crisis. But now that I am so close to 40 that I can almost touch it, suddenly it doesn’t seem that crazy.
I was originally embarking upon my forties with fear, but now I am changing my tune. It seems like a good time to let go of some things that have been bothering me in my 30s. There are so many things that I have carried with me along the years, and now that I am finally turning 40, I feel like it is finally time to let go.
From here on out, I shall call it “The F-It Forties.” If you’re a sailor like I am, then “F” can stand for the common “F” expletive as in “The F@#$-It Forties.” It also works with “Forget” as in “The Forget-It Forties.” Either way you do it, it totally works.
So, after some thought, here are the most important things that I am adding to my “F-It Forties” list (in no particular order):
Wear my swimsuit with pride
I am so tired of worrying about what I look like in a swimsuit. I have carried and delivered children and that alone has changed my body. In addition, I am nearing middle age. I am not trying to impress anyone- I am just trying to have fun at the pool. I am happy with how I feel and that is what’s most important.
Stop with the mom guilt
I am so tired of mom guilt, and I am the only one that can do something about it. I am tired of feeling guilty about not playing enough with my kids, or playing with them too much, or too much screen time, or not enough screen time, or too much GMO food, or not enough organic. Camp or no camp? Sports or no sports? Too many reasons for mom guilt. I am tired of it. NO MORE MOM GUILT. It benefits absolutely no one.
Take a self-imposed time-out
Sometimes I think I need to be perfect, and so I hold on until I get so frustrated that I often explode. I am now imposing that it’s okay for me to have a time-out in my room before that explosion happens. It helps everyone and I am not a lesser human being for doing so.
Ask for help
I have always felt like I needed to do everything on my own. Maybe it comes from having a mom that was literally Wonder Woman. (Ok, maybe not literally, but practically.) Anyway, I have learned in the last few months that it is necessary and beyond okay to ask for help. The funny thing is, most people are beyond willing to help.
Have ice cream before dinner
This kind of goes with the “no more mom guilt” resolution, but I am specifically adding this one. On a good day, it is okay to have ice cream before dinner. And if this ice cream happens to fill the kids’ tummies so they’re not hungry for dinner, that’s okay too. They will not be permanently harmed from the occasional ice-cream before dinner. And it’s fun.
Eat vegetables or not, I don’t care
I have struggled with this for the last few months (ok, years) and I am tired of worrying about it. Am I ruining their lives because I don’t force them to eat vegetables now? I love vegetables now but didn’t particularly care for them as a child. I think they’ll be okay. Eventually.
Listen to old school rap
While I shouldn’t exactly jam to Ice Cube with the kids in the car, it’s totally acceptable to do so during the few minutes when I’m alone. I can totally relate when Ice Cube says that it’s been a good day and he didn’t have to use his A-K. I think all parents can relate to this song. Turning 40 doesn’t mean that I have to give up on my favorite rappers.
Put myself first occasionally
This is a hard concept to learn as a parent, but I think I’m finally understanding the importance. As a neighbor mentioned today, it’s like we’re on an airplane and we need to put the oxygen masks on ourselves first before we can take care of our kids.
Try to laugh to keep from crying
This was wise wisdom from my Dad, and although kind of silly, it really works. I just need to practice it for daily use. Not everything is as serious as it may seem at the time.
It’s too bad that it’s taken a mid-life birthday to make some of these realizations. Life might have been a lot easier had I made some of these changes in my 30s. Regardless, I am happy to make the changes now and see how it changes my perspective on life.
Now, instead of worrying about a possible mid-life crisis, I am actually excited about turning 40. I have new challenges ahead of me, but instead of those challenges being detrimental to me, they are exciting and positive.
So, if you see me at the pool galavanting around alone in my swimsuit, laughing, while jamming out to old school rap and eating loads of ice cream before dinner, you’ll know why.
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