Friday, January 22, 2016

One-Half, One-Third

Mid-life crisis?  No way.  I'm looking forward to my one-third-life breakthrough!

Kent and I both turn 40 in the next few weeks.  I know many twenty-nine-year olds dread turning 30, but I looked forward to that birthday.  For us, it signified a new decade defined by parenting.  At that time I was pregnant with my fifth (and last) baby, and 30 felt like a nice place to be as a young mother.  Our twenties were the decade of setting the future forward with an education, a marriage, and children.  My thirties were my time to focus on family, being an involved mom, and creating a home where my children and their friends wanted to be.  Kent used the last decade to build businesses and find personal health.
Of course there is overlap from one decade to the next, but we're looking forward to our forties being a decade of raising teenagers into adulthood and venturing on new projects.  By the end of this decade, I expect Kent and I will be empty-nesters and grandparents to a few babies.

Kent calls this his mid-life birthday.  Since I'm planning to live to 120, at this one-third mark, I'm still only getting started on life!  

My plan to defy aging is to defy expectations of whatever number of years I've been alive.  On a recent date night, a new friend was in disbelief when we told him that our oldest child is a senior in high school.  He said, "You guys don't seem old enough to have kids that age."  That's the response I hope we get more often!  The more years that pass, the more contrast I want in how we live compared to expectations for our age.

I had my annual checkup a couple weeks ago.  My labs look good, and the indicators favor me avoiding cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.  Kent and I work to stay physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy, so I see no reason to check out before my century is over.  Since I have a lot of life left to live, I might as well live it up!

38 was Kent's year of getting healthy and getting energy.  39 has been my year of realizing that I want to try new things.  Here are a few for our bucket lists:
  • Learn to play the violin
  • Try downhill skiing
  • Live somewhere with amazing food, a low cost of living, and great weather.  (Guatemala!)
  • Publish a novel
  • Try public speaking
  • Travel the world: Italy, Spain, China, USA
  • Learn Spanish
  • Maybe give hiking another chance
  • Study improv entertainment
  • Attend a meditation retreat
  • Learn my ancestors' stories
  • Create a valediction project/business
  • Become a certified yoga instructor
  • Take a carpentry class
How are we going to get it all in?  Let me recommend Greg McKeown's book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  As his website explains, "The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s not about getting less done. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s about challenging the core assumption of ‘we can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replacing it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’. It’s about regaining control of our own choices about where to spend our time and energies..."

We enter this decade believing that life is joyful and we have much still to explore.  Here's to 50 more years of crossing off bucket list items.  I'll let you know at my two-thirds point (90) what new items are on my bucket list.  There will probably a lot more books to read, and hopefully a lot more time with my family.  I'm also hopeful that a lot of my friends will still be around, so take care of yourselves, and we'll plan on a snowball fight at 101!


Min said...

Ah, it all makes sense now. I'm dreading 40 and hoping my life is half over. You're looking forward to 40 and see 1/3 of your life to go - that's because your life has changed and will change:kids, teens, empty-nester. I, on the other hand, have no life stages/phases like that. I know what is ahead because I've already lived it for the last 20 years. Nothing really changes like it does in your life. The only change I can get is scenery (live in a new location, or work at a new job). I don't even decorate for holidays anymore. Enjoy your next 80. Sounds exciting.

Paul said...

Min, knowing you, I have no doubt that your life has been full of progress, whether you see it or not. Virtually all of everyone's steps forward are incremental, no matter the particular path. Whether your milestones along the way have been obvious or not, don't discount how you have continued to grow, and enjoy the sense of satisfaction that can come from realizing you aren't at all where you were 20 years ago! I know you are loved and admired, because I love and admire you!

Mary said...

It's true that the path of my life has turned such that the decision I made 20 years ago to marry and have a family has pretty much determined the stages of the decades that followed. However, I'm excited for this decade where my life opens to new possibilities because the raising children part is coming to an end. Min, change might not happen spontaneously for you, but you can always choose to enact it. It was you, actually, who first put into my head the idea of choosing a new course every five to ten years. I look at your life and envy the freedom you have to change the scenery and the adventure. You can live anywhere in the world and do anything you want.

As someone who works for a foundation that builds families, I have to add that I hope you won't cross motherhood off your list. I have a friend of a friend who, though she never married, adopted a little girl. She was in her early forties at the time, and she made a wonderful mother to that toddler. That toddler is now a happy adult. There are a lot of kids in the foster system who need a loving parent and who are dreaming of being adopted. If that's the path you want, I say go for it! If it's another path you feel drawn to, discover it!

The Hodges said...

You are amazing! Thank you for your wonderful post and example. I love you.