5 September 2016

Finding Happiness on the Road to 40 {Musing on a Monday}

I sat here this morning, in my quiet house alone, feeling a bit lost with the children back at school. So I did the only thing that I knew would clear my head, and feel like I have returned to the back to school normality, and went for a run. I blew the cobwebs off my runners - not worn for 4 weeks - laced them up and headed out for a gentle 5k to ease me back into it. Following the Norwich 10k I decided to rest from running, transferred my September half marathon place and spent the time, not worrying about training and fitness, but making summer memories with my family. And it was a good one. 
The Road to 40 // 76sunflowers
Now, as my thoughts turn to the reality that we are well and truly in September, comes the realisation that my 40th is just around the corner - it's so close I can see it smiling at me. But I am ready for it. This time last year I was more than just a little freaked out about turning 39 but I turned that worry into something positive. Come the new year I made a list; a fun stress free list of 40 things to do before 40. It was a list of ideas; things that were achievable and things that if I didn't do them it wouldn't be the end of the world.

Here's how I did.

1.   Run in a 10 k race - Yes, three of them; Longleat, Broughton Gifford and Norwich
2.   Run 10 miles - Yes, in order to...
3.   Complete a half marathon - Yes, two of them; Bath and Hackney
4.   Run a total of 400+ miles - Yes
5.   Save £100 in my running jar (£1 a run) - Yes, but spent some of it on...
6.   Get a meaningful tattoo - Yes
7.   Have a girl's night out - Yes
8.   Have a husband and wife night out - Kind of - a day and early evening in Bath!
9.   Go and see some live music - Yes, my favourite band, James.
10. Go to the cinema with the children - Yes, to see Snoopy & Charlie Brown
11. Go to the cinema without the children - Nearly went to see David Brent but decided to go to the pub instead!
12. Watch the sunrise - Sadly, no.
13. Watch the sunset - Yes
14. Visit the family in Norfolk - Yes
15. Eat fish and chips on the beach at Wells-next-the-sea - We ate fish and chips in Norfolk and went to Wells but didn't combine the two!
16. Run in Norfolk - Yes, Norwich 10k
17. Go on a long walk by myself - No, but lots of long runs by myself
18. Go on a big walk from Lulworth Cove - Have yet to get back down to the cove
19. Buy a lottery ticket - No, I may have been a millionaire by now!
20. Write a letter to America - No
21. Write a letter to New Zealand - Yes
22. Take the children to London - Yes, so I could run Hackney 10k!
23. Introduce the children to the Indiana Jones films - Have yet to do this
24. Lose 7 lbs - Yes, and it seems to be staying off
25. Meet up with an old friend - Yes, two of them!
26. Learn to cartwheel again - Yes, I persevered with this and faced my fears with help from my girl
27. Eat out as a family - Yes, fish and chips al fresco!
28. Go camping - Yes, at our favourite site
29. Read my subscription magazines cover to cover - Sort of, I dip into them now that I have sorted them out
30. Read more books - Lately, yes.
31. Practise more yoga - A big fat YES! Including taking myself solo to a yoga festival!
32. Use my DSLR properly - Sort of! I started to follow an online course then got distracted but I am remembering more when I do grab it
33. Get the children together with their English cousins - Sadly not yet but they are due to visit this October
34. Take a train ride somewhere - Yes, into Bath
35. Teach myself to knit again - The wool is still in its bag
36. Visit a new town/city - Not yet
37. Visit a new National Trust property - No, we haven't been to many of our favourites this year - I fear the children have moved on!
38. Go fruit picking - No but we'll be hitting the hedgerows soon for blackberries and sloes
39. Walk along a pier - No
40. Ride the dodgems - No


So about 65% successful with some added bonuses.

This time last year if someone had said I would be taking myself off alone to a yoga festival I would have laughed at them but this year I have changed my focus and outlook quite a bit. Life is out there for living and finding new adventures and facing up to being 40 has finally made me realise that. Don't get me wrong I have no plans to be off skydiving and base jumping every weekend but my eyes are wider open to life's possibilities. If I see something I like the look of I will now think, 'Yes I can do that.' Rather than, 'I like the look of that but it will be a little scary to do it.' I'm now turning this way of thinking towards some new life goals; to learn something new, to try something new, to do something that makes me happier in my work. This sits with my new outlook on priorities and what is important. I am more accepting and thankful for this precious life and have come to discover that happiness lies in many things and it isn't necessarily going to be found in a bulging bank balance and big house. 

It's been the little things this year that have made me happy; time with my precious little family, a rare day out alone with the husband, camping out in the lounge watching movies with the children, doing yoga in my quiet space at the back of the house, pitching a tent solo with success in the wind and rain, talking to strangers and finding new things about myself, spending days on end in a field with my family under the sun covered in glitter, getting fire in my belly, running through my home city and getting a little bit emotional, an evening out with a great friend, making plans for a chilled end to my 30s, making plans for my future, finally being happy and content in who I am.

x x x

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