40: A Whole New Decade

Yesterday was my birthday, and not just any birthday, but one of the decade-turning kind. I wasn’t sure if forty would send me spiraling a bit, but instead, it has been more of a happy, peaceful transition, and a time to reflect on paths well-tread, and new ones to be forged.

I’m on a two-day retreat at a lovely Bed and Breakfast in the Virginia countryside. It’s snowing, pastoral, quiet, and restorative. This is a present from my honey, and the first time away from my 8 month old son, which has been hard, but good.

We all need to step away from our daily lives sometimes, to have a break and reconnect with ourselves.  I am soaking up the solitude like a sponge, reading magazines, editing photos for long, uninterrupted stretches of time, and creating collages. (Delicious food is interspersed in these activities, too). There is a pastry chef here that knows what he is doing-YUM!

What will my 40’s be like? Looking back, there’s more freedom in getting older. I feel less beholden to pleasing others if it doesn’t also bring me happiness, less of saying yes when I want to say no. (Do you ever say yes to something, only to end up asking yourself something along the lines of, “Dang! How did I get involved in this? Why couldn’t I just have been bold enough to say NO?”) 

I’m committing that in my 40’s I will do the yes-meaning-no thing less, find a stronger voice, and stop worrying about what others’ think. (This has been a tough one, though, growing up in the South and being taught to be polite, polite, polite)! Of course, manners and the golden rule go without saying, and there will be necessary compromises and sacrifices for friends and family.  However, in general,  I want to pay clearer attention when my intuition tells me a situation doesn’t feel right, and merits closer examination on my part.

Here’s a toast to living more in the moment, being true to myself, and engaging in activities that keep me centered, and passions that make me feel alive!