40 before 40, mental health, Thoughts

#40before40 – A ‘Ta Da’ list of celebration

Tomorrow marks the end of the 40 before 40 challenge I set for myself a year ago. I haven’t achieved everything on the list but as I wrote about earlier this month, I have already decided to ‘extend‘ the challenge and continue working on the goals I still want to achieve. Like any aspirational list, my 40 before 40 represented a snapshot in time and some of the things on there were only fleeting in their appeal. Some of the goals also evolved and changed over time so although my original list can be viewed here, today I have decided to share a ‘Ta Da’ list of all I have achieved as a result of this quest over the past 365 days.

  1. I worked on my overall flexibility and I am much closer to the splits than I was a year ago!
  2. I arranged a weekend trip to a bach for our family.
  3. I read the Torah and all four Gospels.
  4. I completed the Auckland Coast to Coast walk with a lovely group of students.
  5. I have written 11,000 words of my ebook.
  6. I dyed my hair red in the winter and had a professional colour done this month.
  7. I bought my first tap shoes in 20 years and remembered how much I love to tap.
  8. I went to see the Nutcracker ballet with the family.
  9. I started learning Polish.
  10. I worked on improving my Spanish.
  11. I read 26 challenging books that I would not usually have chosen.
  12. I had a massage.
  13. I knit a chunky scarf.
  14. I sat down and painted pictures.
  15. I took a surfing lesson at Surfers Paradise.
  16. I reduced my possessions by a lot more than 40.
  17. I had coffee in/from every coffee shop in Howick Village.
  18. I went to two exhibitions: ‘Body Worlds Vital’ and ‘Are we there yet?’
  19. I had a Mole Mapping consultation.
  20.  I learnt how to make scones using Mary Berry’s recipe.
  21. I wrote 21 thank you notes
  22. I made an effort to get up early, get outside and see the sun rise in each season.
  23. I worked on two charity projects at work during the year.
  24. I walked over 1500 km.
  25. I spent the night with Rich at a hotel in the city- we went to dinner and the casino.
  26. I drank champagne to celebrate something special.

I am very proud of the progress I have made towards my 40 before 40 goals this year and as I sit here on the eve of my 40th Birthday I am drawn towards also reflecting on how proud I am of the person I am continuing to develop into. I have been blessed with so much over the past 40 years but probably the biggest blessing has been that of self-acceptance. Once upon a time I was very sad and having spent so many years thinking I could never be enough so it is an incredible feeling to be at a place in my life where I know that I am perfect just the way I am.

I know that I am still hopelessly flawed of course, prone to moodiness and grumpiness and the rest, but I also know now that this does not or cannot detract from my instrinsic worth. I know now that if I try my best, then that will always be enough and incidentally, this truth applies to you too.

My Birthday might mark the end of my 40 before 40 challenge, but it marks another step in the challenge that continues each day for us all. This is the challenge to grow and evolve, extending to be the best version of ourselves that we can be because as Eleanor Roosevelt remarked ” with the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

One of my lovely colleagues reminded me today that growing two human beings is a pretty great achievement to reflect on as I approach this milestone and I am inclined to agree. I am proud of our little family, proud of where I have reached personally and professionally and as I turn 40 I am excited to see what the next 40 years will bring!




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