Tipping Towards 40: Revelations About What Comes Next

I move fast. Just ask my husband who with his superior height still struggles to keep up with my 5’3″ power walking stride. I’ve been this way my whole life. Every single minute I hear the thumping of my heart that wants to take in everything, missing nothing on this rollercoaster of life.

And now as I tip closer and closer to 40, I’m struggling with the reality that my pace is becoming unsustainable. If I’m really honest with myself, this pace wasn’t sustainable in my 20’s.

So how do I continue to embrace all of this life around me without flaming out before my time? A few things came to me clearly this weekend after I cleared my schedule and remembered back to the brief times in my life when I had a few moments to pause.

1. Play more

I am a poster child for how to to run into the arms of hypertension. Stress and I have been frenemies long before that term became catchy. I am convinced that my stress largely stems from the fact that I have forgotten how to play. Everything that I do has to have structure and purpose. If I try to sit still with nothing to do for more than about five minutes I start to vibrate (literally) and become physically uncomfortable.

I have found a few less structured activities to do that help me to relax like painting and exploring my city by walking while slowly taking in the sites and sounds around me. I need more of this in my life.

2. “Work” less

I don’t mean do less because I REALLY enjoy “doing” and I’m good at it.  But at this tender time of my life I recognize that I need to be plugging my passion into things that truly matter to me and things that make a difference in the world. I need to cut back my time with people who don’t bring me joy and ramp up my time with those who do.  My work should not feel like work. My work needs to energize rather than drain me.

3. Faster is not always better

This weekend I remembered how much I LOVE walking. There is a whole world we miss out on when we constantly race about in our cars. Walking to the cafe, the nail salon, the library, the grocery store these are all things that I can and must do more because it makes me feel good.

4. I need more DOdreamers in my life

Thank God for the internet because I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be for me to maintain my balance if I were cut off from the few and rare individuals I have encountered who understand me. There are dreamers who never move beyond the dream state and there are people who DO their dreams. That’s my tribe and we need to be able to help recharge one another because if we don’t, this world will try to jack into us and drain us like a Duracell battery if we let it.

5. I need more sowers in my life

I am definitely a sower. I do this work because to not do it would be a betrayal of who I am. But let me tell you, it’s hard when you sow into so many people and they never seem to be inclined to sow back into you. I have dreams and goals that are deserving of support in the same way that I have supported others through the years and I am praying that the Lord will direct me to the people who can recognize that potential in me and act accordingly.

6. Travel is not optional

Travel isn’t really about hopping from place to place for me. It is more about the experience of the cultures of other places and the journey in between. Travel is how I grow. It’s how I learn to better relate to others. I need more of this in my life.

7. Normal is not my jam

I am not, nor shall I ever be this world’s definition of normal. Stop asking me to be.

8. I am just getting started

As I think about this list maybe it’s not so much about moving too fast for me. Maybe it’s more about being able to redirect and course correct now that I’m headed into my middle life. I am married without kids. I have enough education and skills to never have to go back to school if I don’t want to. The world is still out there calling to me and waiting for my answer.

I am so grateful for the bit of me time I reclaimed this weekend. We all need space to get off alone to ourselves so that we can filter out everyone else’s voices and hear that inner voice that guides us to where we need to be.

When was the last time you checked in with yourself? Are you overdue?

~ Marta C. Youngblood

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