It’s official! As of last Monday, I am now 40 years old.
I wrapped up my 30s with a day of fun with girlfriends. (Many thanks to Angela, Heather, Amber, Katia, and my fellow new 40-year-old, Oana for the lovely brunch, presents, love and cupcakes . . . oh so good.)
Yep, now for the big 4-0. (A super-big number in the eyes of my 20-year-old daughter.)
I don’t feel too bad about it, though, because – when I was 20 – I couldn’t do this:
Not that doing Bakasana (shown above) is life-changing or anything, but it was a pretty cool thing to accomplish in the past year and just a small representation of how I hope to continue growing stronger — and maybe more playful — as I move along in this journey.
40 Days & 40 Nights
Since 3/12 kicked-off a new decade for me, I thought I would have a little fun with my first 40 days of 40.
So, I’m spending 3 minutes per day on 12 activities. These aren’t totally foreign activities to me, I’m just formalizing my commitment to these things being included in how I get my 40s rolling.
My twelve things:
1. Meditate — Sometimes on something; sometimes on nothing. At times, meditating is about stilling your mind in order to just “be.” Other times it’s lovely to focus on a particular topic or concept. One day it was raining, so with each breath, I considered the blessings that come from the rain (growth, nourishment, cleansing, etc.).
2. Read a Sacred Text — The first week was spent reading any bible verse numbered 3:12 (Genesis 3:12, Exodus 3:12, etc.). I also expect to incorporate other texts in order to compare, contrast, and contemplate — a few minutes at a time.
3. Journal — Inspired by the “morning pages” of The Artists Way (and the new journal I received as a b-day gift from my friend Heather), I’m just doing a random, free flowing, whatever-comes-out kind of writing. (Since I can only fill a half page in 3 minutes, this is ending up as 6 minutes, or one page.)
4. Massage — Just taking a few minutes to show different parts a little love and be appreciative for the role they play in my life. For example, the first day, I gave myself a little foot rub and gave thanks for my feet carrying me throughout my activities and my life.
5. Dance — Inspired by a yoga class I took a couple of weeks ago in Florida, where in the middle of class the teacher put on some drum music and said something like “Okay, now move around like every part of your body is hitting the drums.” Admittedly, that was weird and felt awkward at first. But there were only about 8 people in the class and everyone had their eyes closed, so you could do it and not feel like anyone was watching. After the first minute (and after she said “Just let go, we’ll be doing this for the whole song.”), it was very liberating. I decided you can’t really feel anything but good when you’re dancing around, so I’d add that to my daily routine.
6. Headstand — I can do it by the wall, but again, in Florida I dared to take my feet off the wall and actually was able to balance. Feeling empowered, I decided I’d work on doing a headstand in the middle of the room (yikes! no wall to kick up to). A week in, and I can get up on my own with out kicking up. It’s crazy scary (still worried I’m going to flip over and bust into the furniture), but each day is getting better and better.
7. Handstand — This one is actually harder. It takes a lot of core strength (and sometimes my back is not feeling cooperative). But, I’m just committed to kicking up on my own first (with wall), then, I’ll move on to something like . . . this . . .
8. Face Yoga — Yes, I said Face Yoga. As in, exercises you do with your face. Because, well, I am forty, after all. And if I’m to live to, say 120 or so, I’d like to do so without any pokes or pulls or stretches from outside sources. So, this is the one thing on the list that is all about vanity and counteracting the wrinkles and sagging. (Though, I’m totally tempted to re-frame this as a way of leaving no part of my being out of my yoga practice, bringing attention to a previously neglected area, so that I can truly live a holistic yoga lifestyle . . . yeah, that’s the ticket!)
9. Language Study — I thought I’d like to be fluent in Spanish, Italian, and Greek by the time I was thirty. Turns out you have to actually do something (regularly) in order to become fluent in a language. (Go figure.) Though I can order a coffee or find the bathroom in any of these languages, that really wasn’t what I had in mind, so I’m rekindling my language fire a few minutes at a time (more on that later). Last week was Greek, this week is Italian, next week Spanish (and I’ll probably throw some Sanskrit in there after that just to bring the yoga side in). How do you study a language just a few minutes at a time, you ask? I found these podcasts from Radio Lingua Network. Very cool.
10. Friend Attention — This one sends the love out. (Because, I mean really, enough about me already.) I’m just picking a friend or family member randomly to either say a prayer for, send a note to, or whatever seems like the right thing for that particular person.
11. Savor Something — Just as it sounds. Take three minutes to just enjoy and experience something. The taste of a birthday gift caramel (thanks Oana!), the joy of an unexpected free Starbucks, or the sound of church bells ringing in the distance.
12. Try Something New — This last one might be the most challenging of all. I mean, how do you try something new in only 3 minutes? (Well, this weekend, I combined 2-days worth into 6 minutes, watched a “How to Play the Guitar” video and tried to play along.) Other ideas are taking a different route, eating a new type of food, using a different nail polish color, trying on a crazy wig (I’m determined to do this one), or whatever interesting possibility presents itself.