Thursday, 18 December 2014

just do it

This post started out as a query about why many of us get hung up on these 'do lots of amazing off the wall things before you are 40 or your life is is pointless' type lists. I came across an article I had cut out and kept* on the approach to my special day, which included such wonders such as:
Go skinny dipping in phosphorescence
Grow hair so long it covers your nipples
Spend a year with an entirely flat stomach
Eat the worm in a tequila bottle.

I mean come on!!! I don't even know where to start. How on earth have I got time to grow hair so long it covers my nipples, when I never even have a minute to sit down at the end of the day? Oh and my hair is afro, so clearly I will have to move my nipples onto the top of my head.

Admittedly, I did create a list the minute the fizz on my 39th birthday had lost its bubbles; mainly because my life had come to a grinding halt and I needed to give myself a kick up the jacksy. I had lived my twenties in a ball of low self-esteem, my thirties carrying babies and the weight of 150 student exam results; so I saw my forties as a time to think about me. Put me first...for a little while at least... on the odd weekend, you know.  I asked those around me for some ideas and filled in the gaps myself. What was I thinking? I was completely out of my depth, to the point that I must have fallen asleep and woken up thinking I was Rockefeller. Sheesh! Needless to say I counteracted my wonderlist with the caveat that it was a 40 during my 40s list - I still have some time.

Whilst I am surrounded by people past the 40 post seemingly happy with their lot, I wonder if it's our aim that once we turn 40, we should all be skipping through the years sticking two fingers up at 30-somethings? If you are - fab, great, I'm jealous. However I'm not there yet, and I'm getting impatient.  Two years into my forties and I'm facing some career challenges which are taking a toll on my confidence, I'm still on the verge of cardiac arrest after my Zumba classes, and I still haven't found my own style. Damn you 40s - you predicted and promised me confidence and a swagger!

But mid-post I was caught up in a discussion with FantasticoDad about living life for each day. Watching his wife losing herself and those around her in the depths of Alzheimers, I realise that whilst I have little connection with her the 3G have lost their Granny.  And heading into year five of having a fully compos mentis AWOLmum I realise that the 3G have no recollection of their biological Nana; my mum. Two legacies disappearing in time.  

So this post has changed its tack. Yes, these lists are a bit of fun, but why do we do them? Why are we so hung up on creating this decade-timed bucket lists? My worry had been that if some of these activities were too weird and wonderful, my day to day life would get in the way and I may find myself approaching the next decade with only one item ticked off and a sense of disappointment. But I guess, at least, I would be changing the habit of a lifetime and doing something a little less ordinary.

Thankfully, the article did conclude with the sentiment that our forties are a time to give yourself that kick to achieve some stuff, to relax, and to accept you for you. I like that. It might take me until the end of my forties though because those are some big deal accomplishments - so in the meantime I might have a go at *shuffles through list* : find jeans that my bum looks good in, and find glasses that suit me.  #livinglifedangerously

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