With my 45th birthday today, I’ve been in a self-reflective mood all week. Before, birthdays were fun occasions to celebrate and have cake or dinner out and get a few presents. When you’re a kid or under forty, birthdays are different than they are once you cross the 40 threshold. They start becoming reasons to start reflecting on your life, what you have accomplished, what you haven’t accomplished, what you might want to accomplish. At least for me, but I noticed a trend in my friends thinking this way as well. You have to face the fact that your life is likely to be half over or right at that point. It starts to feel like you really need to get serious about what you want out of life, your goals and your dreams.
Most likely you have had to deal with the failing health of a grandparent or parent, maybe even losing them. For me, I no longer have parents or grandparents. Actually, this is my first birthday without my mom here to celebrate it with. Seems odd that the person who gave birth to you will no longer be part of your birthday. Takes away some of the joy of the day. Personally, I’m not looking forward to my birthday just for that reason alone. I’m not particularly one to freak out about getting older or that hides my age. Most people guess me younger, some days I feel older, it all ebbs and flows as moods do. Some days I look in the mirror and think hey, I don’t look bad. Other days, I look into the mirror and think OMG a truck ran me over, I look like hell even though I probably don’t look any different than the day before when I felt good about myself.
But that aside, in my reflection I realized that I have a tendency to go through the motions and not really think about goals in my life. Honestly, for the most part, I’m pretty content in my life so maybe I don’t set goals because there isn’t anything pressing. I don’t hate my job and feel I need a new one (okay there are days when I do but not many). I like my house and we’ve long decided that moving into a new house with a payment four times what ours is today isn’t our best financial move. I am happy in my marriage, it took two strikes but I finally hit a home run. My kids are doing well and don’t need me every second of the day. And my role as caretaker has been unnecessary for about a year. Outside of my cycling goal last year which I didn’t take seriously until early July, that has been the first time in years I’ve focused on accomplishing something that I had really put forth. And for the first few months I just vaguely paid attention to the goal. Actually, I’m not very good at focusing on things for myself as a rule. Having kids, getting married and taking care of parents, you forget how to focus on something for yourself.
When you are younger, all you do is think about yourself. What you like, don’t like, what pisses you off, what makes you happy. Almost everything revolves around you. Then you have a family, become an adult and it seems to go the complete opposite way, or it did for me. If someone asked me what I liked, I couldn’t honestly say. But I could tell you what my kids liked. I think it’s a normal progression of life. So now I’m back to the point where I can focus on myself and my life more fully. So what do I want?
1. Focus on my writing and take it more seriously. I have a tendency to brush it off and put it aside. I’m never going t get published on a larger scale if I don’t start focusing on my passion. It may not be a job and I may not get famous and make a lot of money but it is important to me. Every time I think about what do I want out of life, I want to be a writer. I want to write the great American Love story but modern and realistic. Not this fluffy crap that isn’t real. Where the hero is a rich supermodel looking man and the heroine is helpless and needs him to save her (rolling eyes as I even type that). I want to write something that could actually happen to any of us normal folks.
2. Eat better, lose weight – so I can ride faster and longer and do more things in life. I have the exercise portion of it down though winter is tough. But I eat too much sugar and too much crap. Cut the crap. Simple enough. I want to be fit and strong. I don’t care what I weigh really or what size I am, just as long as I’m healthy and in great shape. The only reason I want to lose weight is because being lighter on my bike means I can up my average speeds and probably my distances.
3. Cycling goals. I’ve covered this in another post. 1500 miles + for the season and ride a couple of events. Metric century possibly.
4. Don’t be afraid to focus on myself. Not that I become a selfish B but not be afraid to do what makes me happy either.
5. Love even more. My friends, my family, my husband, perfect strangers, pets, life. Pretty self-explanatory.
I always stop at ‘5’ as it seems that if I go past that number, I overwhelm myself. I liked having the cycling goal last year. I loved pushing myself toward something. It had been so long since I had challenged myself to do anything. I’ve already made a list of places and trails I want to hike and maybe that should part of my cycling goal, revise it to say fitness or something. Goals are a bit exciting because they direct your focus, they give you something to work toward and accomplishing them feels great. I like to break my goals down into smaller steps/goals. Then I have little accomplishments along the way. Because it really is about the journey not just the destination.