Moving From My 40's Into My 50's
Not sure about everyone else but I am so happy that spring is springing…FINALLY! Although we were blessed with a relatively mild winter here in the East, it does seem as if the winter months went by at a snail’s pace. Combine that with just some challenging months personally and I am more than ready to tackle the next quarter of 2019 and leave the last three months right where they are - behind me.
St. Marks High School, Class of 2019
I have some pretty great things ahead in this next year, some major changes that will have an impact. A son graduating high school and starting his first year at RPI as a student and as a football player. Two of my gooses tacking their junior years - college and high school - and starting the college process all over again with SAT’s, college tours and a first look at grad schools. Throw in some family coming to visit in June, Rob turning 50 and tackling his final year of coaching youth football. And somewhere in all of that greatness, I will keep growing (I hope), evolving, making mistakes and finding my own personal ‘great’.
And I’ll be getting ready to segue out of my 40’s.
Yep, at 47 ½ years of age, I’m on the downhill stretch of the 40’s, rapidly approaching the 50 year mark. Days move slow and years move fast, peepers, as you get older. And it got me thinking about how much I have changed from when I dipped my toe into the 40 year old pond to where I am now, rounding those last curves of my 40’s highway. I am not the same person that I was then. At all.
So therein lies my blog. There are parts of my 40’s that I’m going to stuff in my suitcase and bring along with me to my 50’s and then there are parts of my 40’s I’m going to stuff in a bag, tag it and leave for Hartsprings on the curb. 40 things from my 40’s I’m taking and leaving behind. Hop on the crazy train - I saved you a seat!
20 Things I'm Leaving Behind
You know when people ask you “Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” I am always a bad news first type of girl. Let’s get that out of the way so that we can get on to the good stuff. I’m not saying these 20 things were not of value - they for sure served a purpose. But I have no room nor no time for them as I hit that half a century mark.
I’m leaving friendships behind.
I think when you hit your 40’s what you are looking for out of friendships starts to change. Your interests change, your kids change, your family dynamic changes. Your personal dynamic does a complete overhaul when you throw in menopause with those family changes. And friendships need to change their dynamic as well - grow or not grow as your circumstances change. I had many that weren’t growing and changing at the pace at which I was and over time, I either had to choose my health and happiness or my friend. Given that I have like 5 friends, I am guessing you know which road I chose. And that’s okay.
I’m leaving drama behind.
Suffice to say that I am drama’d out. Life is hard enough without the added benefit of drama. Don’t get me wrong - there was a time in my life that I thrived on some juicy drama. But now - bye bye Felicia. I’m all set with that.
I’m leaving old crappy cars behind.
I have driven a tuna can on wheels for more years than I can count. A series of dented, beat up mom cars that were safe. They smelled like feet and dogs and sour milk. They came with six figures on the odometer and were cheap to insure, cheap to drive and cheap to buy. Rob could fix the multitude of issues that came with old cars, I put thousands of miles on them in rapid amounts of time.
They got us to hockey practices an hour away for a decade, enabled me to make multiple trips a week to Southborough to pick up laundry, survived football games and practices galore. They were witnesses to broken dreams, broken spirits and broken hearts; family singalongs, stories, every sort of dog excrement known to man. And memories. So many memories.
But momma needs a new car. I’ve earned a new car. So whereas I’m grateful for those old rusty deals on wheels, I’ve paid my dues and am leaving those buckets of bolts behind me.
I’m leaving some grief behind.
I’ve lost a lot in my 40’s. Sometimes when I sit and think about how much I’ve lost, it completely overwhelms me. I’ve lost dogs - four of them to be exact. Each loss more heartbreaking than the last. I’ve been able to be with all four of them when their time came and they are all buried together on the hill out back.
I’ve lost a nephew and my children lost a cousin. I’ve lost good friends. I lost my dad.
Grief stays with you forever. Our way of living with it, coping and moving forward simply changes. But I hope that I can leave some of the grief behind. Move into my 50’s with a little lighter heart.
I’m leaving my DNA behind.
Suffice to say that probably everyone that goes to the same gym as I do will come across my DNA at some point in time. Whether it’s a torn shin from rope climbs, ripped palms from pull ups or the dreaded jump rope and having had three children, I’ve left my imprint behind. You’re welcome.
I’m leaving being a mom of young kids behind.
When I turned 40 in 2011, my children were 13, 12 and 10. As I go into my 50’s I will not longer have young children. Or teens. I will have adult children. How freaking crazy is that? It will be a whole new role for me and my Rob for sure.
I’m leaving regret behind.
I am leaving regret behind me. I have evolved over the past several years and changed my way of thinking from, “I can’t do that” to “I’m going to try.” I refuse to live my life with regrets, wishing I had done something that I was too scared, too poor, too insecure to do. I have put myself out there a lot and I will tell you, even though there have been some epic failures there has also been some magnificent successes. No regrets for this girl!
I’m leaving grudges behind.
I am a bit of a grudge holder. I try to be a very forgiving person and I totes believe in second chances. Wrong me and 9 times out of 10, I’ll give you a second chance. Sometimes even a third or fourth. Wrong my family - all bets are off and I’ll carry that grudge around with me like a favorite handbag. Not the most charitable way to be so I’m going to leave behind those grudges. Probs not all of them but if I can drop a few off at the curb I’m going to consider that a win.
I’m leaving tears behind.
I feel like I have cried a lot of tears in the past two years in particular. I am ready to dry my eyes, pull up my big girl pants and leave those sad eyes behind. Enough already.
I’m leaving dieting behind.
Dieting is for the birds. Sorry. I know that there is a multi-billion dollar industry out there that thrives on no carbs, ketosis, cabbage soup, counting points, etc. I am leaving it all behind. I want to be healthy. I want to eat and fuel my body. I want a piece of chocolate when I want it and if I want to wash it down with four Tito’s on a Thursday night and call that dinner - then so be it.
I’m leaving worrying about money behind.
Yuck. You have a house. You have kids. Things break in threes. Life happens. And a lot of times the money isn’t readily available for these things. It works out. Always, always, always it works out. I’m leaving behind stressing about dollars and cents as best I can and just moving onward with a little faith and trust that where there’s a will there’s a way.
I’m leaving body issues behind.
Beauty or Beast?
One of the few things that my Rob and I ‘argue’ about is the way in which I view my body and the way in which he views my body. I look in the mirror and think, “What the heck happened to me?” He looks at me COMPLETELY different. We all have things about ourselves that we would love to change. Fact. But imagine if we simply accepted our bodies for what they are, what they give, the beauty that is there. I’m down and committed to embracing my inner and outer ‘babe’ and celebrating it as best I can and leaving those body issues that are dragging me down in the dust.
I’m leaving saying yes behind.
I am a yes girl. You need something? Sure! Need a hand? Oh, yes pick me! And what happens is that I get so overwhelmed, have a plate that is so overflowing that I lose me. My commitments to myself, my family, my me time. There is a difference between saying no out of spite and saying no simply because no, I really don’t want to do that because I’m choosing me. I am leaving behind some yes’s without question.
I’m leaving my hormones behind.
Menopause...and that's all I have to say about that.
I’m leaving apologies behind.
I apologize a lot. Apologize for things I don’t really need to apologize for but somewhere, somehow I feel that the situation deems an apology. Apologizing for being emotional. Apologizing for being honest. Apologizing for sticking up for myself. The list goes on and on. All done. Finito. I’m leaving those “I’m sorry’s” behind.
I’m leaving a cluttered basement behind.
Sooner rather than later. Dumpster comes this Friday. Like I’m hyperventilating and sweating I’m so excited to purge. See you later all the old footballs, college memorabilia, broken equipment, cracked wheelbarrows and stop me now because the list goes on forever. Momma is cleaning house! And the shed. The attic. Behind the shed. The garage. It’s all going.
I’m leaving planned family fun behind.
I am a planner. A scheduler. A little rigid at times and let’s suffice to say I like things my way. I need to leave some of that planned family fun behind. The best laid plans don’t always work out and there is much to be said for flying by the seat of your pants. I’m on it. Note to my gooses: I did not say Forced Family Fun. That is coming with me. Sorry not sorry.
I’m leaving my voice behind.
Allow me to explain. I am not a very good listener. I have gotten better but I have a ways to go. I need to leave my voice behind a little bit and move into my 50’s with a greater awareness to the value of listening. We hear more when our mouths are closed.
I’m leaving excuses behind.
Do it. Don’t do it. Own it. Simple as that.
I’m leaving fear of not being enough behind.
This will be the hardest one for me to leave behind. I fear not being enough every day. Not being enough of a wife, daughter, sister to my brother. Not being enough of a friend, an athlete. Not being a good enough mom, writer, advocate for myself and my family. I am truly working on looking in the mirror and not just saying but knowing that I am enough. Whatever I give to this day, this moment, whether it is an epic fail or a brilliant success - I am enough. It’s a work in progress but I’m all in to get there.
20 Things I’m Taking With Me
Well that was exhausting. See - that’s why I get the bad over with first so we end on a high note. The beauty of my 40’s is that when you weed out what you want to leave behind, you are left with a wealth of amazing things to bring with you into the next decade.
I’m bringing wrinkles with me.
I look at pictures of when I was 40 and how young I looked…I’m bringing my wrinkles with me for sure. I know there’s botox and lifts and all kinds of serums and things I can do to minimize those little lines. And maybe I’ll jump on that bandwagon. But I EARNED them. Each and every single one. And they’re all coming with me and most likely multiplying in the next decade of my life.
I’m bringing my girlfriends with me.
It’s a funny concept about girlfriends. It was something I never understood until later in life. And it wasn’t until my mid 40’s that I got them. Girls that uplift and bring out the best in me. That are there when I ugly cry and there to celebrate the successes of my children. Those that adore my Rob and love him for being a part of my life. My ride or die’s have a permanent place as we roll into our next adventures and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m bringing intent to pay it forward with me.
I am a believer in that we need to pay it forward. I don’t care how small the gesture of kindness, it is when we live our lives to give back to one another, our communities, a stranger in need that we are truly living a full life. Not everyone’s philosophy and that’s completely fine. I happen to prescribe to it and I’m going to do my best to continue in the next half a century.
I’m bringing my positive attitude with me.
I like to think I’m pretty positive, a glass half full kind of girl. I’m not changing that and am committed to seeing the silver lining always.
I’m bringing back roads with me.
We had to drop off the girl goose on Sunday at school. Mind you I was 10+ hours into the weekend of time spent in the car and all I wanted to do was get home. Quickest way to make that happen was the highway. My Rob took the back roads which added another 20 minutes onto our hour and twenty minute travel time. Which was annoying. And as he played music with the window down, neither of us really talking much he said to me, “I love driving the back roads.” And do you know that after 22 years together I never knew that. And away went my annoyance and there was joy that something so simple could make him so at peace. More back roads in my future for sure.
I’m bringing laughter with me.
I am going to have more laughter in my 50’s. Life is serious enough and there is nothing like being silly and laughing to completely turn a day or a moment around. I love to laugh and giving laughter permanent spot in the passenger seat.
I’m bringing my passion for writing with me.
I have evolved as a writer in the past few years. It took me awhile to find my niche but I’ve found it. My writing has allowed me to not only make emotional connections but I do think that I’ve helped a few people heal, I’ve helped to bring awareness and I hope I’ve made a few people laugh and not feel so alone. What better accolade is there than that? Totally bringing my gift of stringing words together with me on this train of cray cray.
I’m bringing my sense of self with me.
I have a pretty good sense of self. Again, a pro to your 40’s. I think you really start to figure out whom you are and where you want to go in that next phase of your life. And there is no way it’s being left behind.
I'm bringing Titos with me.
I’m bringing my dogs with me.
We took a long car ride with the dogs this weekend and I don’t know whom enjoyed the car ride more - the dogs or Rob and I. Taking them along for the ride is something that makes all of us happy and something I am for sure doing as I journey into my next 50 years.
I’m bringing my long hair with me.
Not that my hair is long but I’m not ready to part yet with the pony tail. There will be a point in time where the long hair simply won’t be ‘right’ but for now I’m going to rock it until the band packs up to go home.
I’m bringing my grief with me.
I know I said I was leaving it behind but we don’t ever fully let go of our grief. Loss changes us. I don’t want to be ruled by my grief and have it dictate my life. But I do know that it is as much a part of me as the blood in my veins. So I will bring it with me and honor it as best I can by living as best I can.
I’m bringing my dance moves with me.
A little bit Elaine from Seinfeld but I don’t care. I can bust a move like nobody’s business and this old dog isn’t learning any new tricks. Marching forward to the beat of my own drum, flailing limbs and all.
I’m bringing lighter colors with me.
My house is filled with jewel tones. Gorgeous burgundies, blues, vibrant shades of green. Gone. I want to lighten and brighten things up in my 50’s. Shift the colors to open up the space and bring a little life to my interior space. Painting party. My house. Who’s in?
I’m bringing a more relaxed approach to life with me.
Life is about the little moments. And I’m tired of the race. Time stops for no man and I’m bringing a more relaxed approach to life with me into my 50’s. More early mornings and late evenings and a nap mid-day. More rose smelling and iced tea sipping days that I simply enjoy 'being'.
I’m bringing adult relationships with my children.
I think each phase of your child’s life changes you. And I can’t wait to see my gooses dip their toes into adulthood. Make decisions for their futures. Fail and succeed. Fall down and get back up. And be here for them when they need me…no doubt agonizing over whether or not they need me. And should I call them? Will they call me? Do I fix it? Why aren’t they fixing it? Yeah, I can’t wait….hahahahaha!
I’m bringing a wiser soul with me.
Every argument doesn’t have to be won. Sometimes the winning is in the conceding. Drinking coffee, watching the news and sitting side by side on a Sunday morning making idle chatter is a gift. Making each other a priority yet growing as an individual are both of equal importance. ‘Things’ won’t fill the void. Patience, laughter, understanding, forgiveness, loyalty - those things will make your cup runneth over. Older - I am for sure. But wiser too.
I’m bringing a new car with me.
I am not cruising into my 50’s in a 2005 Ford 500 with 240,000 miles on it and dented quarter panels. No. Way.
I’m bringing my pride with me.
I have a lot of pride in what I’ve accomplished in 47 ½ years of life. And I don’t think that’s something to hide from and, in fact, I believe it’s something you should celebrate. I don’t mean go and have a big ‘Hallie is Great’ party but I do think that you should be able to reach around and pat yourself on the back and say, “You did good, girl. You did real good.”
I’m bringing gratitude with me.
I look around me today and there is so much in my life to be grateful for. Truly. And gratitude is the essential ingredient, that key to a happy life in my opinion. Because when we are grateful for our haves, our have not’s have a way of disappearing. Gratitude and I will be attached at the hip as I wave sayonara to my 40’s and bonjour to my 50’s!
The Long And Winding Road
My grandmother used to always say, “Life is a journey.” How true is that…My 40’s thus far have run the spectrum and have served a tremendous purpose. I wouldn’t be where I am now had I not had the past 7 years - good, bad and ugly.
I have a lot ahead of me. I learned two years ago that where I thought having a child at boarding school I would be all set with her being at college. Not so much. It will be hard to have three away in legitimately three different directions, three different states. And I will figure it out.
The losses of this past year have taken a toll. My attitude on grief has completely changed and when they tell you that it comes in waves that is a true statement. I remind myself that it hurts so much because we love so much and that there is no timeline. It’s just time. And that too, I will figure it out.
My mainstay in all of this has been my Rob. He has been a part of my life for almost half my life. Crazy, right? We’ve grown up together and in this past year, we have had to figure a lot out, figure out how to be us again. And we’ve had some incredible successful moments. And some that were simply hard. Devastating and humbling. And I’m so grateful to know when I take that step forward that walking beside me, hand in mine, is that man. And together, yep…we will figure it out.
Take stock as we roll into the spring season of this year. Are you leaving behind what needs to stay in the past? Slow the car down and kick them out. They’ll figure out the tuck and roll. And if you haven’t yet, take time do it now - make sure that you’ve stuffed your suitcase full of those must haves, those bright colors and girlfriends. Back roads and laughter. A few wrinkles for good measure. Gratitude.
And Titos. Don’t forget the Titos.