Manifesto of an Almost-40-Something

Today marks the end of my 40th trip around the sun.

I’m irrationally excited about turning 40 tomorrow. There’s something that feels so good about that number. It’s secure, stable, confident, fun, flexible, healthy, honest, humble. It feels full of possibility, like a clean slate, an open road, a blank journal.

{ It feels real. }

I took some time recently to think through what the upcoming year could hold. Yeah, I know — man plans, God laughs — but I tried to be realistic about what I’d like to pursue and focus on these next 365 days. At the same time, as a hopeless optimist, I had no trouble coming up with 40 things to work toward.

  1. Finally learn to play guitar in a reasonably respectable manner.
  2. Finally get the piano tuned and start to learn again.
  3. Get a full sleeve tattoo.
  4. Tidy our home using the KonMari method.
  5. Write down all the songs and stories God puts in my heart.
  6. Don’t try to be cool. Just do me.
  7. Commit to less so I can be present more.
  8. Practice love, grace, and forgiveness to those around me, as well as to myself.
  9. Stay steady in God’s Word, and learn how to remain there, even when life gets crazy.
  10. Devote myself to 10 minutes a day of silently waiting on God, in order to practice listening and hearing His voice.
  11. Make stuff. But also, pare down my craft studio so I am focused only on one or two things, not 50.
  12. Practice thankfulness daily.
  13. Become a morning person again.
  14. Look more closely.
  15. Take people at their word more, and let my critical analysis skills remain at work, instead of creeping into my relationships.
  16. Learn to swim.
  17. Say yes to my family more.
  18. Be more organized in order to preserve quiet spaces in our family’s schedule, instead of being organized in order to do more.
  19. Practice the discipline of prayer.
  20. Pray for humility and wisdom.
  21. Never stop singing.
  22. Hug more, and cry with those who are hurting. Don’t be afraid to enter into vulnerable places with heartbroken people.
  23. Sleep.
  24. Stop, breathe, and remember the kids are real people, with real lives, hurts, and hopes.
  25. Listen more than speak.
  26. Find a professional mentor.
  27. Find a worship mentor.
  28. Find a writing mentor (clearly I need mentors!).
  29. Be a mentor to others.
  30. Complete one very detailed project that would normally go completely unfinished and forgotten.
  31. Incorporate more color in my wardrobe. Clothing should smile, too!
  32. Take great care of my skin.
  33. Learn to play.
  34. Write personal letters to the 5 people who have most impacted my life. Actually mail them.
  35. Purpose to never have any enemies, so far as it depends on me.
  36. Finally take that cake decorating class I keep promising myself I’ll take.
  37. Figure out what my clothing style actually is, instead of continuing with “whatever is cleanish chic”.
  38. Do something terrifying.
  39. Pursue public speaking opportunities.
  40. Compliment people genuinely and often.
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