No April Foolin'
It's not a joke; although maybe I wish it were. I am almost to the half century mark! And to me that's a really rude awakening! There's no denying that my life is at least half over! There's no more thinking "I've only just begun." It's scary.
In many ways, I still feel young. In many other ways, I feel very old (especially when I got to school functions and see all the YOUNG parents, of which I am NOT!) I could moan and groan about the aging process. I could bitch about where the time has gone and what I had assumed I would have accomplished by this age and have not. I could be happy and philosophical and view this as the "best years of my life are yet to be." Most likely, my mindset is and will be a combination of all these things.
The thing is, no matter how you slice it, this is a pretty big event. Several years ago I got to thinking how I would want to celebrate the actual day. My last "big" birthday (in my mind) was when I turned 40. Memories of that day are of a rainy day. I didn't have the day off and I spent most of the day slogging through puddles on work related appointments. I didn't (and don't) want a repeat of that. I DID have a plan for the actual day this year which was to start off with me sipping a cappuccino on the balcony of my Bay Lake View room in the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. The rest of the day was for me to do whatever I wanted to do; taking in endless attractions, eating at favorite restaurants, and ending back on said balcony with a glass of wine in hand as I watched the Electrical Water Pageant. It was a great plan. But it's not happening. Sad, but I will be vacationing in Disney this summer so don't feel too sorry for me. It will be a great trip, but still I really wanted to do something special ON the day. Since that is NOT happening, I decided to approach the impending day in a new way: a count down. My new plan? Fifty days to 50.
Here is the plan. Since I am about to reach the "half way" mark in life (probably more than halfway, but let's not quibble), I want to go into it with a healthy mind and body. Not perfect, but healthy. In reality, I am pretty healthy and in better shape than I was when I turned 40. But I have slipped back into complacency a bit over the past few years. I am an emotional eater; something that I am very aware of, but don't do anything about. I allow myself to overindulge in food and drink much more than I should. And while I tried to be more mindful during Lent this year, I really bombed out. (I may have preached that I was going to have a meaningful Lent, but I slipped into old habits and never picked myself back up.)
Here is a chance to start fresh as I enter a new decade and phase of my life. The plan is this: for the 50 days leading up to my birthday I will dedicate to being a healthier (and happier) me. I will do at least 30 minutes of exercise EVERY day. (Not too hard, I usually do an hour every week day morning, but slide on the weekends). I will be eating healthier: more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. There will be treats (because I KNOW if I completely cut myself off I'd be setting myself up for failure), but they will be less processed and healthier. (So there will be chocolate, but the intake will be smaller and I am thinking that I will try to only eat dark chocolate and only as stand alone, not as cookies or cake.) Alcohol intake will also be cut down. I would cut it all out, but I know that I will want to imbibe over Memorial Day weekend and I have a couple of other celebrations that occur during the month of May, so I am allowing myself limited amounts of wine for those special occasions. (There are only three that I can think of so "the weekend has finally arrived" will not be counted as a special occasion.)
It's not just about the physical though, I want to get myself into a better emotional and spiritual space as I enter this new age as well. Early morning walks always help with that, but I am setting aside 5-10 minutes each and every day to do NOTHING but sit and be. (Not calling it mediation, but maybe that's what it is.) This will probably be tougher for me than it sounds because my mind wanders and I always feel like I need to be running in a million different directions (even when I don't). Maybe I'll put on some calming music and just lie down. Maybe I'll just sit outside and get some sunshine (that is if warm weather ever makes its way back here). But I'm going to dedicate some "clear the head" time. I know I'm not going to completely be turned around into someone who is blissful and doesn't stress out all the time, but maybe I can learn to handle situations that are stressful in a better way. Succeed or fail, it's worth a try.
The fifty days start mid-April (I'll be sure to blog on day one) and end on my 50th birthday. I hope this experimental countdown will prepare me for the next decade (and beyond). And even if this all bombs out, it should make for interesting reading. (I hope!)
Stayed tuned...and see how this fifty to 50 experiment turns out. I may be an April Fool or I may stumble on to something good...read and see! (And as always, feedback and encouragement are appreciated!)