This is 40 – Part 2

This is the moment of truth. Well, it’s part 2 in what will probably be 4 moments of truth, but it’s time to take a look at this 40 week project. If you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here. It’s time for me to go back over my list and share what I actually accomplished, what I didn’t and why it even matters. I’ve copied my original list below. You’ll see a check mark next to the items that I completed. You’ll see some items crossed out and replaced by other items that I deemed more interesting or important. You’ll also find items that I just didn’t get to with either a justification for not doing it, an explanation that I actually didn’t and couldn’t be bothered to write about it or a plan for doing it in the near future. Find out how I fared below.

To Do BEFORE July 18, 2017

  1. Start a blog. Because writing gives me perspective. √
  2. Run a 10K √
  3. Learn to cook treasured family recipes. And share them with my family. √
  4. Put down my phone. I’m way too attached. It’s a problem.√ Note: I definitely spent some time on this one and I’ll be honest, I still need to work on this. Which is why it’s highlighted in red. 
  5. Put down the remote and read a book already! √ If I could give this half a check mark I would. I started and did not finish a few really great books. And I still watch too much TV. But I did listen to several great books on Audible. So I consider that a win.
  6. Camp in the winter. √
  7. Stop saying I’m sorry for no reason. I never actually wrote about this one but once it was on my list it became something I thought about a lot more. I was aware every time I apologized for something that needed no apology. This was also the case with #9 below. I consider this a half-win. I haven’t conquered my misplaced apologies or my propensity for interrupting, but I’m far more aware of it now.
  8. Stop interrupting. Sometimes I can’t stop myself.
  9. Share our Christmas stocking tradition with everyone. √
  10. Try yoga. I’ve been told I have the flexibility of an 80 year old woman. √ No thank you yoga. NO THANK YOU.
  11. Create Christmas memories with my family. √
  12. Don’t complain about anything for an entire week. Ha! I tried to do this twice and failed. And I don’t really care. It’s not like I’m a massive a-hole that complains constantly. Moving on!
  13. Start the 52 Hike Challenge. √ Well, I certainly did start this challenge, but I will most certainly not finish it. I was diagnosed with tendinitis in my foot and my doctor advised a break from running and hiking, my two favorite forms of exercise. It’s forced me to try new things in fitness and while I still work in a hike or run with some frequency, I try to do workouts that don’t cause burning pain in my foot because burning pain.
  14. Lose another 20 pounds. Stop driving myself crazy and change my focus to being healthy and strong over being skinny. √ You know this has been a huge focus of my personal goals probably because it’s such an ongoing battle for most women. I am happy to report that I am slowly working my way to total body acceptance and love. I’m not there yet but I’m owning it. I workout a lot and I workout hard. I’ve lost some more LB’s but I will probably never have that magazine image body. I mean, I know I won’t. It’s literally physically impossible for me to look like that. I have a massive abdominal scar, cellulite on my thighs and I’m like 6 inches taller than most women. But I’ve worked hard to look the way I do and I feel really good about that. And I will wear whatever the hell I want. 
  15. Do something I’ve been dreading. √ 
  16. Try Zumba. I’m not coordinated. This should be interesting. Try Orangetheory Fitness. √ See # 13 and #14. Orangetheory is MY JAM. I am stronger than I’ve ever been and every workout is a challenge. It feels like an accomplishment to leave that place drenched in sweat and panting. 
  17. Do something that makes my eyes roll. Sometimes being judge-y keeps me from doing awesome things. √
  18. Get a good night’s sleep. √ Still needs work, but what mom isn’t perpetually exhausted?
  19. Date my husband. √ I’m doing way better at this one! In large part due to our move to a new neighborhood. See #32.
  20. Be present and engaged with Little C. I’m going to need some rules for this one. √ You win some, you lose some. This is much like # 7 and # 8 where just having it on my list helps me be more aware because I have an intention. Some days I feel like super mom. Some days I feel like getting in my car and driving far away to a hotel and sleeping for 3 days because I can’t take another meltdown. I’m going to go ahead and assume that’s normal.
  21. Take Little C to the snow. √
  22. Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks. Try a meal kit delivery service because ain’t nobody got time for that. √
  23. Make plans more often with my girlfriends. Find a mentor. I haven’t really found a mentor yet, but I have found an accountability buddy/bully. More on that in part 4 of this series!
  24. Go TV & non-essential phone use free for 1 week. FAIL! FAIL! FAIL! Needs to be revisited.
  25. Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens. √ Meh. 
  26. Take a leap of faith. √ Quit my job! (And then be forced out my house and assume fetal position).
  27. Visit a national park I haven’t been to before. √
  28. Update my wardrobe with a few quality pieces instead of throwing clearance items in my cart while on a Target run. Try Stitch Fix. √
  29. Go for a walk on the beach by myself. I have no idea why this one was so hard for me to make time for. It’s not like I don’t make time for myself, but I don’t make a lot of intentional, reflective time for myself. Must revisit.
  30. Don’t spend any money on non-essentials for an entire month. Stick to my budget. √ Getting booted out of your house is enough to make anyone dial it back on the Target runs.
  31. Start a babysitting swap. Because babysitters cost a lot of dollars. √ This might be the crowning achievement of my 40 Reasons list. And it wouldn’t have happened had we not been forced to move. We have some good friends who live just a few blocks from our new place. They also have boys and kids get along like GANGBUSTERS! Or LEGOBUSTERS! We have worked out a regular kid swapping situation that has changed our life. We can now go on dates and not feel like it has to be the BEST DATE EVER because who the hell knows when we will do this again. It’s pretty amazing. I hope we don’t find a way to ruin it.
  32. Learn Snapchat. I don’t even know why this was on my list. I don’t need to waste more time on social media. I already figured out how to do that with Insta Stories. Moving on.
  33. Join a book club. I was close on this one. My cousin invited me to hers. I bought the book. I read two chapters. Then I slapped myself because I was moving in a few days and really did not have the time. I’d like to revisit at some point, but I’m realizing I can’t do everything. At this point, I naturally choose family, fitness, friends, food, fun, fodka, ya know things that start with an f for my free time and reading does not start with an f.
  34. Do a mud run. I have not done this yet, but I’m planning on doing the Spartan Race in January. I’m terrified.
  35. Try stand-up paddle boarding. √ I’m going to check this off because my dear husband reserved spots for us at an REI paddleboarding class in a few weeks! Woohoo!
  36. Run a 5K at a 9 minute mile pace. This one I threw in the towel on. See #13. I’m good with it though. My priorities have shifted.
  37. Start the Six Pack of Peaks ChallengeThis one is on pause also because of #13. Although I really, really still want to do it. My goal is to summit Mount Whitney some day and these peaks would be a great training run. 
  38. Teach Little C to swim. √ Our little munchkin is slowly learning to swim on his own in our community pool. And now he refuses to wear a floatie because they are for babies. Sigh. He starts lessons soon, right after he turns 4 because anyone under 4 has to wear not 1, but 2 swim diapers. And since he won’t even wear a floatie because HE IS A BIG KID, you can imagine how jamming him into 2 swim diapers would go. I don’t need a round house kick to the face, thank you very much.
  39. Take a kickass trip for my 40th birthday. √ I’ll be blogging about my birthday trip down to the karaoke, hot chicken and whiskey in an upcoming post. 
  40. Create a community. √ This is the one I’m most proud of. I have definitely found a community who wants to get after their goals, support each other and cheer each other on, and for that, I thank you all so much. 

Since that was a monster list, I’m going to share how I feel about my list and what’s on my next list in part 3 of this series. And yes, there is a next list. Stay tuned!

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The 3rd Trimester List

 

It’s the Fiiiinaaaaallll Countdown! I’m already into the final trimester of this 40-week project to gestate an adult woman. As a reminder, I am not pregnant, I just like really confusing analogies.

Confession time. I’ve fallen a scooch behind on my to do list and now I have to cram. Classic Emily. I’m going to be doubling up some weeks in order to get through my list on time and I’m okay with that because as far as I’m concerned, this project has been a raging success.

If you look at my original to do list here, you will see all of the items I still need to complete in bold.

The list below is my plan for the duration of the project and you’ll see makeup assignments listed in italics. Things I could use outside help with are highlighted in an irritating shade of lime green so you know just how much I need your help.

Stick with me guys, I got this!

Week 27 – April 11 – 17 – Stop interrupting. Sometimes I can’t stop myself.

Week 28 – April 18 – 24 – Stop saying I’m sorry for no reason.

Makeup work: 

Week 20 – Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks.  Try a meal kit delivery service because ain’t nobody got time for that.

Week 27 – Stop interrupting. Sometimes I can’t stop myself.

Week 29 – April 25 – May 1 – Go for a walk on the beach by myself.

Week 30 – May 2 – 8 – Don’t spend any money on non-essentials for an entire month. Stick to my budget.

Makeup Work: Week 22 – Go TV & non-essential phone use free for 1 week.

Week 31 – May 9 – 15 – FREEBIE

Makeup Work: Week 23 – Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens.

Week 32 – May 16 – 22 – Start a babysitting swap. Because babysitters cost a lot of dollars. Anyone? Anyone want to do this?

Week 33 – May 23 – 29 – Learn Snapchat.

Makeup Work: Week 11 – Don’t complain about anything for an entire week.

Week 34 – May 30 – June 5 – Join a book club. Who wants me? Any takers in San Diego County?

Week 35 – June 6 – 12 – Do a mud run. Planning to do the Marine Corps Mud Run at Camp Pendleton. WHO IS COMING WITH ME?!

Makeup Work: Week 21 – Make plans more often with my girlfriends. Find a mentor. Anyone know any female bloggers, writers, or entrepreneurs that they want to connect 

Week 36 – June 13 – 19 – Try stand-up paddle boarding.

Makeup Work: Week 5 – Put down the remote and read a book already!

Week 37 – June 20 – 26 – Run a 5K at a 9 minute mile pace.

Week 38 – June 27 – July 3 – Start the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge.

Week 39 – July 4 – 10 – Teach Little C to swim.

Week 40 – July 11 – 17 – Create a community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week 25 – Visit a National Park I haven’t been to before

The first National Parks my husband and I visited together were Zion and Bryce Canyon back in 2012. We’d camped together several times but we’d recently inherited a bunch of my parents old camping gear and were ready for a longer camping trip. I think it was the combination of the sheer beauty of the parks, the next-level comfort that we had with all of our new gear, and the fact that we were disconnected from our daily routine for five blissful, dusty days that made us fall in love with the National Park Service.

There really is no better place to be wowed by nature and the outdoors all day long than in one our nation’s parks. Since that Utah trip five years ago, we’ve camped at or visited Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Glacier, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Death Valley, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. We have list of parks we want to visit (hint: it’s all of them) and as soon as we wrap up a park trip, we begin talking about where we want to go next. Some time last summer we decided that we needed to visit Pinnacles National Park, which has been a National Monument since 1908 but only became a National Park in 2013. #thanksobama

We didn’t know a lot about Pinnacles other than that it was located east of Monterey in San Benito County, that there were some caves to hike in, and that we wouldn’t have cell service. Sign me up! We planned a trip for the end of March knowing it gets really hot there in the summer and really chilly there in the winter. We extended the camping invite to some of our Bay Area friends and I set an alarm on my phone to book the campsites 6 months out. If you’re not a planner and you’re not familiar with the National Park reservations system, sites typically only open up to book 6 months prior. With really popular parks like Yosemite, the spots are snatched up the same day they open so you have to be prepared. A lot of parks have first-come, first served campgrounds but that kind of flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants gives me anxiety. I like to have everything buttoned up when I’m traveling with my entire kitchen and bedroom in my car.

We had a great group of families camping with us and we took up four campsites in a prime location in the campground. We had hammocks strung in the shady spots. We watched condors soar overhead in the evening. Our cooler nearly got carried off my a family of dog-sized raccoons. It was dreamy. The campground was green and wooded, hilly and peaceful.

 

It wasn’t until we hiked deep into the park to explore the caves did I really understand why Pinnacles is National Park status-worthy. It’s an ancient lava bed that formed towering red rocks, canyons, and talus caves that create awe-inducing views. We hiked through meadows of wildflowers, criss-crossing over streams until we reached Balconies Cave. Balconies was no joke.

It’s pitch black and headlamps are a must. There’s a lot of scrambling over rocks in the dark and some tight squeezes involved. At one point, I was on the verge of turning around out of sheer panic but then I heard my sweet 3-year old whimpering as he climbed into the darkness towards his dad whispering “I’m being very brave, I’m being very brave” over and over again. I realized I better get my sh*t together for my preschooler’s sake. It was well worth it. When we emerged into the daylight on the other side of the cave, we were gifted some gorgeous canyon views on the meandering downhill trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hiked Bear Gulch Cave a few days later which is probably the most popular hike in the park and a lot easier to navigate. Headlamps are still handy but it’s not as dark and spooky. When you climb out of the cave, you end up at a reservoir surrounded by red rock. It’s a perfect spot to picnic and squeal at water snakes swimming around.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a small general store in the campground and a swimming pool that opened for the season the weekend we were there. The rangers are super-friendly and even after four nights of tent sleeping, we were not quite ready to leave.

On the way home, we talked about the Grand Canyon and Great Basin and Yellowstone and Crater Lake and daydreamed about where we’d go next. We imagined ourselves back in the hammock, swaying lazily, watching the sunlight filter through the leaves overhead. We pictured our cell phones with zero bars and their only functions to take pictures or play music. We thought about the kids running around squealing and climbing trees and toasting marshmallows. We thought about the laughing and the smiling and then smiled some more. And we knew it was possible to be homesick for somewhere you don’t live and may never go again.

 

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The Second Trimester List Shakeup

I’ve officially entered the second trimester of this project to birth an adult woman. In 26 weeks, I will turn 40 and I intend to do it feeling absolutely fantastic about where I’ve come from, where I’m at at, and where I’m going. If you have a “normal” pregnancy, the second trimester is supposed to be the best. You’re not nauseous anymore, you have more energy, and you have that pregnancy glow. Whatever the hell that means. I don’t know what a normal pregnancy feels like because mine sucked big time, but I think I’m having better luck with my fake pregnancy.

I feel really good about this project. I can see where some of the small changes I’ve made have translated into better habits and more intentional behavior. I’ve found myself putting into practice some of the items on my list without even having to devote an entire week to them. I think the simple act of writing them down has made them stick in the front of my mind. I’ve also learned A LOT about goal setting and how much these little, tiny changes impact the big picture goal. When I first made this list, I considered what made sense for my life as it existed in that moment. I thought about what was realistic to accomplish with my schedule and my obligations, which is, I think, a very practical approach to fulfilling a goal. In the last 13 weeks though, I’m seeing things that I didn’t see before. What once looked like limitations or obstacles now look like a minor problem to be solved, a challenge to be completed.

My list is evolving and my dreams are getting bigger. I’ve had some things tucked away in my heart that I wanted so much, but they seemed too big and too scary to go after. But this is the second trimester and I’m not nauseous anymore and I have way more energy to do this thing. I’ve outlined my list below for the next 13 weeks. Don’t be fooled by some of the ordinary titles, there are some sleepers and some plot-twists lurking within. I can’t wait to share them with you over the coming months. I’ve also edited some of my existing items to fit better with current goals. And what I’d really, really like to know, is what goals you guys have that you’re going to knock out this year. Share them with me!

The Second Trimester List

Week 14 – January 10 – 16 – Do something I’ve been dreading.

Week 15 – January 17 – 23 – Try Zumba. I’m not coordinated. This should be interesting. Try Orangetheory Fitness.

Week 16 – January 24 – 30 – Do something that makes my eyes roll. Sometimes being judge-y keeps me from doing awesome things.

Week 17 – January 31 – February 6 – Don’t spend any money on non-essentials for an entire month. Stick to my budget.

Week 18 – February 7 – 13 – Date my husband.

Week 19 – February 14 – 20 – Be present and engaged with Little C. I’m going to need some rules for this one. Plus take Little C to the snow.

Week 20 – February 21 – 27 – Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks.

Week 21 – February 28 – March 6 – Make plans more often with my girlfriends. Find a mentor.

Week 22 – March 7 – 13 – Go TV & non-essential phone use free for 1 week.

Week 23 – March 14 – 20 – Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens.

Week 24 – March 21 – 27 – FREEBIE

Week 25 – March 28 – April 3 – Visit a national park I haven’t been to before.

Week 26 – April 4 – 10 – Update my wardrobe with a few quality pieces instead of throwing clearance items in my cart while on a Target run.

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Week 7 – Camping feels like home

I was raised by campers. Nearly all of our family vacations and weekends away centered around camping and the great outdoors. We camped often in the Sierra Nevada’s and the surrounding foothills. My favorite part of the drive up there was that point when the roadside turned from brown hills to tall pine trees and the dirt from brown to red and how the air smelled both dusty and clean at the same time. Even today when I smell that distinct mountain smell, it pulls me back to our old tan Suburban with my cheek resting on the rolled down window and one arm hanging out the side trying to catch the wind.

Some of my best childhood memories are of camping. Building little villages in the dirt with sticks and rocks and matchbox cars. Lurking around campsites with strange new kids until I, or my sister, would finally work up the courage to ask them to play. Floating in cold mountain lakes on inflatable rafts tied together, drinking Shasta Grape Soda from the can. These are the moments I would go back to if I could.

I loved camping. But I resented it too. My friends took family vacations to places like Hawaii, made annual trips to Disneyland, and best of all, they stayed in hotels. Their trips seemed exotic and fancy and ours seemed different, almost weird. It’s hard to explain the joys of camping to someone who has never experienced it. It’s easy to understand why Disneyland is fun and Hawaii is relaxing, but probably less so why sitting around in the dirt for a week would be either of those things. BUT IT IS.

As an adult, it’s a lot easier to explain. Camping is a true break from the routine. You are physically separated from all the distractions and conveniences that make a modern life both wonderful and awful. Even if you do have cell service, you don’t have unlimited phone battery so you can actually disconnect.  The nights are dark and smell of campfire and the sky is filled with more stars than you ever imagined existed. The mornings are crisp and begin with sunrise and you find the entire campground is up boiling water for coffee and cooking bacon before 7am.  The days are lazy and meant for exploring trails and reading books and snoozing in chairs and snacking. It is deep, soul-soothing relaxation.

My husband, who did not grow up camping, has fully embraced the camping vacation and all of the timeworn and tested gear that we’ve inherited from my parents. We camp often and each time we do I am grateful to my dad and mom for instilling in me a love of the outdoors and campfire cooking. Now we are raising our own little camper in the very same, very old canvas tent that we used as a family decades ago. In his three short years, he’s camped a dozen times in the mountains, national parks, deserts and beaches of the west. He loves sleeping in his little cot between our big cots. He loves hiking, but mostly riding on his dad’s shoulders. He loves helping build the campfire. He loves s’mores. He loves pretending a fallen log is an X-Wing fighter and that a big stick is his light saber. I can’t wait for the day when he starts to make his own campground buddies just like I did.

We decided to camp this year for Thanksgiving with some friends just because we had a few extra days and wanted to get away. We planned to camp along the Southern California coast north of Malibu where we knew it wouldn’t be too cold. We made a full Thanksgiving dinner using the campfire and a Coleman stove. It was perfect. I mean, it wasn’t totally perfect. Our little guy threw several tantrums. Our campsite was a little muddy. It was really cold one night. Our morning hiked turned into an accidental 10 mile trek that felt like it would never end. But it really was perfect. We got to spend four days with friends we love in a beautiful canyon looking out at the vast Pacific ocean eating delicious food and disconnecting from our routine. And that is why I love camping. It’s a lot of work and it’s pretty dirty, but it’s the best way to stop and just be for a few days. It just feels like home to me.

 

Thanksgiving Camping at Point Mugu State Park

Note: if you’re viewing on mobile, still trying to work out the kinks on the images appearing upside down. If you tap one, it will open a slideshow where they look normal!

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Month 1 Progress Report

progress report
I’m one month into this project and it’s time for a little self-evaluation. A progress report of sorts. First, let’s take a look at what I’ve completed that was on my list.

Start a blog. Because writing gives me perspective.

Boom. Done.

Run a 10K.

Check.

Learn to cook treasured family recipes. And share them with my family.

Lemon meringue pie, laughter, and tears. Check.

Put down my phone. I’m way too attached. It’s a problem. 

If you read my post last week, you know that I had to move this one up the list. It turns out a lot of you guys also struggle with phone distraction and it was encouraging to feel the “we can do this together!” vibe in the comments. I’ve made some strides this week, but I haven’t been perfect. I’ve successfully cut the phone out of my bed time and morning routine and it has made a world of difference! I am getting a lot done in the morning and I’m sleeping better. I’ve also done a mostly good job of keeping my phone in the kitchen, especially when my dudes are home. The exception to this was Sunday. The boys were gone at the park and I was lazy and tired and I spent A LOT of time mindlessly trolling the interweb. But I am typically lazy on Sundays so I didn’t feel bad. But then the boys got home and we were watching football and I didn’t put my phone in the kitchen and I could not stop picking it up. I finally realized what I was doing and put it away. It’s a process…I’m getting there.

Now let’s talk about what else is happening. 

I was looking at my list yesterday and realized that even though I’m working on the fifth item on my list of 40…I’ve actually begun work on so many more. I’m a big believer in putting out there what you want because it makes it real and it attracts attention and it gets your attention and then it becomes an actual thing. It’s like the simple act of writing it down and sharing it has brought it to the front of my mind. I’m more aware of these things and why they’re important to me so I’m more likely to take action. I’m seeing spaces where I can find time for things that are important to me and I’m seeing pathways that either weren’t there before or, more likely, I never noticed.

You can see from my list that there are a lot of things I want to do and change. Here’s what else I’m starting to work on from the list.

Read a book already. How much Netflix can one person watch?

I’m reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown this week. I literally had to put it on my calendar chapter by chapter because if it’s not on a list and scheduled, it does not exist to me. It’s the perfect homework for me for this project. In the introduction, there is a paragraph that talks about the practice of framing parents as good mothers and fathers and as bad ones. Brown says that the real question should be “Are you engaged? Are you paying attention” and this is what I needed to hear. Which brings me to…

Be present and engaged with Little C. I’m going to need some rules for this one.

I think reducing my phone distraction by default makes me more present and engaged with Little C. But I know I want to move this up the priority list as well. I feel like I spend so much time trying to distract him while I try to get things done and then there is the guilt about not spending quality time with him along with the frustration of not getting things done and feeling overwhelmed by life. The times that I’ve been able to stop and say to myself “Give him your attention now. This is more important than your to do list.” have been rewarding in so many ways. I get to enjoy time with the sweetest 3-year-old boy on the planet. He feels loved and valued. We both have a lot of fun. As a result, I don’t feel guilty doing chores and saying no to playing Legos and he is content to play without me for a while. But I’m not gonna lie…being present and self-aware is not my default state. My default state is looking at memes on Facebook and not thinking about anything. There is still work to do.

Stop interrupting. Sometimes I can’t stop myself.

I’ve been way more conscious of this lately. I have been thinking about listening and really hearing what someone is saying instead of just waiting (or not) for my turn to talk.

Lose another 20 pounds. Stop driving myself crazy and change my focus to being healthy and strong over being skinny.

You may recall from my post a few weeks ago that I’m really trying to focus on health and strength over skinny. I had a good week of working out and mostly eating well and then HALLOWEEN. And then life. I stand by my statement that goals without joy are not good goals, but I may need to redefine my goals. I am a creature of planning and planning requires rules. Rules like “don’t eat all the candy” or “do you really need another bowl of pasta?” or “why did you even make pasta in the first place?”. Wait, I don’t think those are rules so much as me shaming myself. So I’m clearly still driving myself crazy, but I’m not giving up. Or giving in. I am going to be healthy and strong and NOT crazy, DAMN IT! I originally had this on the schedule for week 13 which is in January. Yeah, no. It’s getting moved up to next week because I want to give it some attention. But first, let me eat the rest of those mini Snickers I hid from my kid.

Make plans more often with my girlfriends.

I’ve got happy hour dates, comedy show dates, and even workout dates planned. Yesssss.

Date my husband.

If you follow 40 Reasons on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen my post about being gifted a 4-hour window of childcare recently. Our weekend was crazy busy in a good way with visits from old friends, family pictures, and the usual weekend chore list. We were so close to using our child-free time to do laundry, clean house, etc. We opted for a 2-hour hike followed by cold beer and snacks and it was absolutely the best choice. Being able to talk about things that aren’t “where did you put that?” and “did you do that yet?” was awesome and much needed. And the laundry still got done.

Create a community.

The 40 Reasons community may be in its infancy but I love hearing from you. I love that there are other women and men that want some of the same things I do and are encouraging each other to get after it. I’ve got some things coming up that I want to connect with you guys on and I can’t wait. Stay tuned!

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I’m Just a Dog with a Fancy Blanket in the Woods Right Now

Welp. This is it. The beginning of a project I’ve been thinking about for months and I can’t help but feel a little like this dog out in the woods wrapped in what appears to be an expensive blanket. I’m out here. There’s no going back. But as long as I have my blankie, I can do this. I have no idea what the blankie represents in this analogy.  So let me try another one.

Since I decided to embark on a 40-week project, I keep coming back to the pregnancy analogy. I chose 40 weeks because I will be turning 40 and it seemed symbolic. Also I couldn’t get my shit together to launch this blog on my 39th birthday so here we are. But really, the pregnancy analogy speaks to me. I’ve had two very difficult pregnancies. The kind of difficult that when someone starts talking about how much they love being pregnant I immediately begin to consider their positive attributes to make sure we can actually be friends. But that is a story for another day and quite possibly another type of blog.

rsz_perfect_pregnant_lady_nope

Here’s where the pregnancy analogy works for me. During the first trimester everything is exciting and shiny and new. It’s also queasy and bloated and needs a hair elastic to keep those jeans “buttoned”, but it is exciting. Something good is coming and any discomfort and exhaustion feels soooo worth it.  I’m looking at the first part of my 40-week project as the first trimester. I’m a little nauseous about what I’ve signed up for but this is going to be awesome! Here’s my initial game plan and you can find the full list here.

Week 1 – October 11 – 17 – Start a blog. Because writing gives me perspective.

Week 2 – October 18 – 24 – Run a 10k.

Week 3 – October 25 – 31 – Learn to cook treasured family recipes. And share them with my family.

Week 4 – November 1 – 7 – Put down the remote and read a book already!

Week 5 – November 8 – 14 – FREEBIE.

Week 6 – November 15 – 21 – Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks.

Week 7 – November 22 – 28 – Camp in the winter.

Week 8 – November 29 – December 5 – Share our Christmas stocking tradition.

Week 9 – December 6 – 12 – Try yoga. I’ve been told I have the flexibility of an 80 year old woman.

Week 10 – December 13 – 19 – Put down my phone. I’m way too attached. It’s a problem.

Week 11 – December 20 – 26 – Don’t complain about anything for an entire week.

Week 12 – December 27 – January 2 – Start the 52 Hike Challenge.

Week 13 – January 3 – 9 – Lose another 20 pounds. Stop driving myself crazy and change my focus to being healthy and strong over being skinny.

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The 40 Reasons To Do List

Here is my to do list. I plan to, week-by-week, cross each item off the list. Some of these are one-time thing. Some will be ongoing and I’ll find ways to integrate them into my daily life. I’ve also included a few freebies, meaning I can choose anything I want for that week. I don’t do well with rigid. In that same vein,  I reserve the right to change my mind about items on the list and replace them should I become enchanted by some shiny new thing.

To Do BEFORE July 18, 2017

Week 1 – Start a blog. Because writing gives me perspective.

Week 2 – Run a 10K

Week 3 – Learn to cook treasured family recipes. And share them with my family.

Week 4 – Put down my phone. I’m way too attached. It’s a problem.

Week 5 – Put down the remote and read a book already!

Week 6 – Stop driving myself crazy and change my focus to being healthy and strong over being skinny.

Week 7 – Camp in the winter.

Week 8 – Share our Christmas stocking tradition with everyone.

Week 9 – Try yoga. I’ve been told I have the flexibility of an 80 year old woman.

Week 10 – Create Christmas memories with my family.

Week 11 – Don’t complain about anything for an entire week.

Week 12 – Start the 52 Hike Challenge.

Week 13 – Lose another 20 pounds. Stop driving myself crazy and change my focus to being healthy and strong over being skinny.

Week 14 – Do something I’ve been dreading.

Week 15 – Try Zumba. I’m not coordinated. This should be interesting. Try Orangetheory Fitness.

Week 16 – Do something that makes my eyes roll. Sometimes being judge-y keeps me from doing awesome things.

Week 17 – Get a good night’s sleep.

Week 18 – Date my husband.

Week 19 – Be present and engaged with Little C. I’m going to need some rules for this one. Bonus: Take Little C to the snow.

Week 20 – Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks. Try a meal kit delivery service because ain’t nobody got time for that.

Week 21 –  Make plans more often with my girlfriends. Find a mentor.

Week 22 – Go TV & non-essential phone use free for 1 week.

Week 23 – Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens.

Week 24 – Take a leap of faith.

Week 25 – Visit a national park I haven’t been to before.

Week 26 – Update my wardrobe with a few quality pieces instead of throwing clearance items in my cart while on a Target run. Try Stitch Fix.

Week 27 –  Stop interrupting. Sometimes I can’t stop myself.

Week 28 – Stop saying I’m sorry for no reason.

Week 29 – Go for a walk on the beach by myself.

Week 30 – Don’t spend any money on non-essentials for an entire month. Stick to my budget.

Week 31 – Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens.

Week 32 – Start a babysitting swap. Because babysitters cost a lot of dollars.

Week 33 – Learn Snapchat.

Week 34 – Join a book club.

Week 35 – Do a mud run.

Week 36 – Try stand-up paddle boarding.

Week 37 – Run a 5K at a 9 minute mile pace.

Week 38 – Start the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge.

Week 39 – Teach Little C to swim.

Week 40 – Create a community.

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