These days, as I approach my fiftieth birthday (three months away), I seem to be constantly finding links to essays and articles about lists - the things you want to accomplish before ---. This has me thinking a lot about my life, where I've been and where I want to go. I think I am in what is refered to as a "reflective stage" in life. I guess we all go through that at one point or another, maybe more than once for some. While I have been through a lot of turmoil and change since I became an adult, I have not really felt I had the need or time to give much thought to reflecting upon my life. That is not to say I have never turned inward to look at myself. I've done that plenty. I'm a champ at looking at myself and trying to figure out what I am doing wrong...but that is not the kind of thing I am talking about. I am talking about taking stock of your life, making the decision to make changes and then seeing them through.
So here is my list...
- return to school - creative writing and marketing/communications
- write for at least 30 minutes every day - i do have a full time job
- publish on this blog no less than three times each week
- learn microsoft office suite like a pro
- train like a pro for the spring rowing season - starting now my mentality is up, up, up!
- break an 8 minute 2K at CRASH Bs in february
- finally organize - the right way - my home office
- get my house in order and repaired just in case i want/need to sell it
- take a 50th birthday trip to a country i've never seen
- throw out or give away every single item in the house that is not important or useful
- get my finances in order
- update my will
- organize the last 21 years of photographs into books for the girls
- find a church community that will feel like home to me
- do something social at least once a month
- read a book each month
- get back into going to concerts
- do more out-of-door activities with friends, my dog or just myself
- commit to a philanthropic group and participate at least once each month in some way
- commit to yoga for a year
- finish a knitting project for each of my children - scarf would be easiest
- pick needlepoint back up and finish one canvas by 12.31.13
- return to serious baking and make it a part of my life again
- make one really interesting and possibly challenging meal each month - this is a BIG reach for me, so I need to start small
- communicate with my family of origin members on a monthly basis by writing to them - i have kinda fallen off the face of the planet and i think they are rather annoyed with me
Since 1987 I have been a wife, a mother, a single mother, a wife again, a widow and a single mother again. I have never really done anything for myself. I know, really? Nothing for yourself? Be honest. Well, I am not a martyr, not even remotely so. However, somewhere along the way I made a decision, and I am not sure it was conscious, to be the one who makes sure everyone else has what they need to be happy, fulfilled and successful. I did that for my first husband Avery. I worked and supported us while he went through graduate school and completed his Masters in English Literature. When he decided he's rather go to law school than complete his PhD, I threw my support behind him and continued to take care if the day-to-day in order for him to realize his dreams. After all, his dreams were our dreams, right? I never gave one thought as to what I really wanted out of life once we decided to get married, except eventually I wanted to have a family. I wanted to be a good wife and mother.
Fast -forward to today - I have (almost) raised three children. One will embark on her life after college next year, the middle one in two years and the youngest, well she still has a ways to go. (Keep your fingers crossed, please. I could use all the support I can get!) But essentially with two children soon settling into their own lives, one still working on it but away in school, and the recent end of a very important three year relationship, my house is all but empty now. I have a lot of time on my hands to think and mull over things without the girls to look after or a beau to plan things around.
I think this is an important time in my life. For the first time since 1987 it is all about me. I still have some responsibilities to my children, but I no longer have 24/7 responsibilities to anyone other than myself. It will be good for me to spend a lot of time alone, doing the things I used to love and challenging myself to do some things I have thought about, but have been too busy or too afraid to try. I kind of look at this time in my life as NO MORE EXCUSES! There is nothing, except finances, standing in my way and I am not going to let finances get in the way of opening myself up, reaching for a career rather than just a job, and having the life I deserve to have. I can figure out the financial end of it.
Is there anyone out there who is, or has been, at a similar crossroads? Were you nervous, frozen or running toward change?