I will be 40 in 135 days.

I can’t say that I ever really put much thought or concern into age. I don’t care too much about birthdays. I had a tragedy on my 23rd birthday and each year when my birthday comes around, I’m a little indifferent, annoyed and angsty. But this is seeming a little different all of a sudden. It’s 40.

40 is the “new 30”, or the “new 20”, right?

You should be “40 and fabulous”, right?

All of this not caring about my age has changes a little now that I’m staring down 40. I don’t think 40 is old at all and I don’t have this “OMG I’M TURNING 40!” drama, I just think it’s a number that is worth some notice. The only reason I even think about it or even acknowledge the age now other than prior years is this:

I’m in the most awful shape of my life. I don’t feel good. I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t feel fabulous. And I want to.

I belief in self-love and being kind to yourself but, honestly, I see a ton of work ahead for me to feel 40 and fabulous. I appreciate and am grateful for my health and the opportunity to be able to improve. But I need to be honest with myself as to where I’m starting from.

  1. Right now, I’m tired. My skin is in horrible shape and I’m battling dry skin, breakouts, stress rosacea, etc.
  2. I haven’t made time to get my hair done in awhile and I have no idea what color it is supposed to be. It’s definitely not looking fabulous.
  3. My weight has gone back up to almost the worst place ever.
  4. My lack of sleep and long stressful days are taking a toll more than usual.
  5. My lack of exercise has taken a HUGE toll. I think if I had to run a 5k today, I’d hobble across the finish line well over an hour later. My plantar fasciitis from July has not subsided despite the months of “rest” and my knees are achier than usual based on the lack of muscle support and the added weight. I don’t feel good.
  6. My health is off. I have rarely had headaches in my entire life. I actually spent 6 hours in Yale Health last Friday because after 2 long stressful weeks, I had a chronic headache, some numbness in my face, a face rash, occasional light-headedness and hyper-sensitivity to light. The docs actually wanted to make sure I wasn’t headed for a stroke (what? I thought I was just having a stress headache or strained eyeballs) and after a scan of my head, they did finally locate my brain and determine it looked okay – or should I say “healthy”.

It’s not easy to make big changes in my life and schedule to overcome these things, but I am tired of not making progress on them.

Yesterday was a prime example of how my days can go. I got up at 5:45 am, left for work at 7 am. I brought healthy stuff for work for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Since I had a Board of Education meeting, I was prepared for dinner too. I had 9 big “to do” items on my whiteboard but as the day spiraled with other emergencies, etc., I was only able to erase one. I forgot my dinner as a left for the day and grabbed a meatball parm sub on my way home (because it was National Meatball Day, of course). I ate the sub in my brand new car, wearing light tan pants and didn’t drop a single bit of tomato sauce! My 7 pm BOE meeting lasted until around 10 pm and the “iced coffee and protein powder” drink that I had sipped to get me through the meeting kept me awake until around midnight. Even with my standing desk, I was “sitting” for a total of 11.5 hours yesterday. Even with my prepping, I still ended up with a meatball sub for dinner (it was excellent by the way). Even with my promises, my only exercise was a 15 minute walk outside because it was the most beautiful day in a long time.

Here’s the thing, my life and obligations aren’t going to dramatically change right now. I need to be as close to 100% when I’m doing the daily tasks and managing my responsibilities.

This isn’t something I need a glass of wine (actually, I prefer a beer) after a long day of work, or a pedicure or a spa weekend. This is something I need to make small changes and forward progress. Every. Single. Day. For the next 135 days and onward. For years, I’ve made little whines and promises to myself and yet, here I sit, 135 days away from 40 with almost no progress from the last 5 times I made this promise.

I do acknowledge that self-kindness is needed, but it is time for me to focus much more on “self-care”. I’m setting daily goals not huge, monstrous, over-whelming goals. This isn’t pass/fail or a success/failure mission.

I have 135 days to work on this self-care. It will take baby steps, I completely understand that. But I can’t wait for 100 days, or 60 days or 30 days until that day to actually start caring. I need to stop taking this body for granted and take better care of it.

It’s time.