It happened for the first time when I donated blood yesterday. The woman doing my pre-donation checkup made me repeat my birthdate after she typed it in. Then she double checked it on my driver’s license. “No, you can’t be forty!” she exclaimed. That’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past two weeks, but it’s true. I am forty years old. And when I turned forty, I made myself a promise. Now it’s time to start putting it into action.
My hashtag for the next year will be #40newthingsat40. I started making a list of forty new things to do a few weeks ago. It wasn’t easy. I set myself some rules. These couldn’t be things that were too expensive, which rules out a lot of travel. This isn’t a bucket list, after all. And they couldn’t be just new versions of things I had already done.
For example, I went to see Wonder Woman on my birthday (which was as awesome as I’d hoped it would be), but that couldn’t be counted as one of my forty new things. Although I had never seen that movie before, I had already seen a movie. Now, if I were to watch it in 3D or IMAX and I had never seen a movie in either of those formats before (which I have), I might have allowed it to go on the list. But what I’m really going for with the list are totally new experiences. New to me, even if they might seem mundane to someone else. I realized while watching my stepsons’ softball game the other day that I have never been to a batting cage, for example. I never played baseball or softball even as a child, except once at a family reunion (where I was predictably terrible at it). So going to a batting cage and learning to hit a ball can go on my list.
I asked people in a couple of Facebook groups that I’m part of for their suggestions of things I could try. A lot of their ideas were things I have already done, which made me strangely happy. It’s good to be reminded that I’ve done a lot of living in these four decades. The challenge is to keep finding new adventures. And some of the suggestions were helpful in that regard, opening my eyes to things I didn’t even know I could try. Someone offered the idea of taking an “aerial fitness” class. I had to Google it, and when I did it seemed more than a little intimidating, exercise by way of Cirque du Soleil. But I found a gym nearby that offers many such classes, for people of all skill levels, and after emailing the director to make sure it was feasible even for me, I put it on my list.
That one still intimidates me. Some of the things on my list flat out scare me. I will be doing one of them this week. And maybe I’m scared of them for good reason, but I’ll never know until I try. I want every item on my list to be a chance to learn something about myself and grow, at least a little. Why is it that I’ve never done this before? What can I gain from meeting people who do it on a regular basis? Is it something I want to keep in my life or just experience it and move on? In what ways (if any) can it make me a better woman, better chaplain, better wife, better parent, better friend, etc.? What can it teach me about the kind of person I am at 40 and the kind of person I want to be at 41 and beyond?
I still need to add several more things to my list to get to forty, and a few of the ones I’ve already included may turn out not to be possible. So I would welcome any suggestions from my readers to round out the list! And I hope to post on Instagram and Twitter later this week about the first of my #40newthingsat40 (with pictures). To be continued!