Peas Out Mama

blogging about life in the mama 'hood

To Done, or On Turning 40

So it seems at some point since I was on here last, I turned 40. Forty. I don’t know how it happened, and I’m not asking questions. I know that everything I’ve done and experienced in my life so far seems to warrant 40 years. But 40? Seriously?

Milestone birthdays often make us think ahead to what we want to accomplish before the next milestone or arbitrary deadline we set for ourselves. We create “to do” lists, “bucket lists” even. It’s tempting for me to do the same. Of course, I have goals. There are places I’d like to visit; experiences I’d like to (for lack of a better word) experience; books I want to read; even people I’d like to meet. And there’s most certainly value to writing those down as a way to make them more real.

But in doing that, I also feel like I’m disregarding what I’ve already done or experienced as less significant…as if the best is yet to come and I haven’t quite gotten there yet. As if I’m lacking something or missing out.

So instead of a “to do before I’m 50” list, I’m taking a few moments to review some highlights from my “to done before 40 list.” That has to be the worst use of an infinitive ever, but I kind of like it. So here goes…my 40 before 40 after I turned 40. Some of them are little things, and some are the best days of my life. Oh, and I’ll be pretty much ignoring anything before my twenties, because really, what the hell did I know then? In no particular order as a true reflection of my state of mind…

1. Celebrated my 21st birthday down the Cape. That was fun. A lot of fun. Not so fun for my best friend the next morning. Just sayin’.

2. Graduated cum laude from college — a college I never thought I’d get into and where I earned one of 25 spots in the honors program. Take that high school guidance counselor who told me it would be a reach for me.

3. Completed a year-long senior thesis and presented it publicly. (One of my proudest days.) Met some pretty awesome high school girls in the process.

4. Got my first “real” job.

5. Got accepted to grad school.

6. Finished grad school.

7. Taught high school — one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and that I’m so proud to have gotten through accomplished.

8. Traveled to Italy for two weeks with my best friend.

9. Learned what real friends are.

10. Pulled my first all-nighter at a train station in Florence (not by choice).

11. Pulled my second all-nighter talking to my now-husband (by choice).

12. Had a really good relationship with a great guy, but broke it off because I met my husband. (True story.)

13. Let go of some serious relationship baggage. I will withhold his name to protect the (nearly) innocent.

14. Traveled to Portland and Seattle with the love of my life (before he realized I was the love of his life. Potatoes/potahtoes.)

15. Traveled some more with my love through the years — San Francisco, Cali wine country, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Long Island, NYC, Baltimore, Philly, D.C., Chicago, North Carolina

16. Got engaged at the Public Gardens in Boston.

17. Got married in Boston.

18. Honeymooned in Puerto Rico.

19. Went to some of my favorite concerts — Barenaked Ladies, Ani DiFranco, U2 (3x), Tracy Chapman, Counting Crows

20. Celebrated my 30th birthday with surprise dinner in Boston with a few friends (and now-hubs), including my bestie who flew in from Oregon).

21. Quit my job.

22. Started working for myself.

23. Discovered yoga.

24. Got pregnant, had a miscarriage, then got pregnant again.

25. Gave birth to a perfect, beautiful, feisty boy.

26. Ran, slowly jogged my first 5K, then my second (and likely last).

27. Bought a house.

28. Met one of my favorite authors — Julia Alvarez.

29. Lived honestly. I think. If I’m wrong, feel free to email me privately. No need to out my flaws in the comments. ‘Kay, thanks.

30. Have the awesome-est best friend who unfortunately lives on the opposite coast. Sniff. (See #20.)

31. Raised a kid to four years of age…the rest remains to be seen.

32. Went to The Butterfly Place (in Westford, MA), which may seem utterly insignificant until you understand that butterflies flying around me with the potential to land on my skin utterly horrifies me. It wasn’t totally horrifying, but I may have moved quickly.

33. Learned to follow my husband’s old advice: “Do your best B- work.”

34…40. See #33.



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2 thoughts on “To Done, or On Turning 40

  1. Rupal on said:

    Love this, Michelle! Too often we live our lives thinking of all that is still left to be done. Thanks for reminding us all to look back and cherish everything we have already lived and experienced and created!

  2. Dude! Who was the gremlin from #2? Not cool! Btw, I had no bidness even looking at that school with you, lol.

    Great list—not too shabby a bucket of accomplishments. I’m sure there’s more where that came from…

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