“So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, and a new one just begun…” the immortal words of John Lennon feel even more poignant to me as the years go on. I think the start of another “new year” makes me face getting older more than my actual birthday. I don’t worry about getting older, having lost my dad at a young age, I’ll be grateful if I have that privilege, but like most people I wish I could slow down time and have longer on earth, more moments to do wonderful things and most importantly more seasons with my family.
Next year my older sister turns forty which means I have less than two years to go until my own fortieth. It doesn’t seem long ago that we were choosing dresses for our 16th and 18th birthday parties! I always felt that my life would feel “sorted” by forty but with all the life changes that come and go over the years I’m not sure anyone really feels that way. We can only do our best with whatever life throws at us. However, I feel like I do need to accept that I’m growing older and can’t keep putting things off anymore so here are my five resolutions as I approach forty:
1. Get Fitter
Oh yes, an old, obvious one but so needed in my case. I want to be able to jump and bend easily once more, to run (and walk even) without getting out of breath. I can no longer blame “baby weight” when my youngest is about to turn six years old. At this stage in my life it’s far more a health than cosmetic choice. I need to schedule in that exercise time each day and stick to it. I kid myself that I’m putting my kids first by not allowing myself the time for exercise- running and swimming- but in reality I need to do it for them and for me.
“”I really regret that run”
– said no one. Ever.
2. Just Do It
As life is busy with four kids I use this as an excuse for putting things off all the time. This year I’ve decided to just do it. A classic example is mine and Dave’s long engagement (we’ve been engaged since 4th August 2009 and we took 9 years to get engaged before that). If we keep waiting for the “right moment” we’ll never do it. The perfect time is now as we’re in love and together. We don’t want a big wedding (that’s lucky as we couldn’t afford one anyway!) so to think that it’s possible to plan a simple wedding to take place next year would be a dream come true.
“Just start- the only thing you’ll regret is not starting sooner!“
3. Achieve More Personal Goals
When I was younger I was full of both personal and work ambitions. I always had the next goal planned before I’d even ticked off the last. I’ve noticed recently that all of my “achievements” are through the kids and not my own. Of course I want this to continue but I also need to go out there and make some of my own dreams come true. I’ve always planned to write a book and also to travel and spend time volunteering as a teacher and also helping elephants. While I wouldn’t leave the kids for months at a time, I could go for a week which would be a great taster for when the kids are older (when they’re all over fourteen years we can even go and volunteer as a family if they wanted to).
“Success occurs when your dreams get bigger than your excuses!“
4. Spend More Time with Friends and Family
I see a lot of my immediate family but can go for months and even years without seeing more distant family members. This makes me sad and also racked with guilt. I think more family (and friends) parties are definitely needed next year (weddings and birthdays!). I also need to go out with friends more. I want to work smarter to allow free time in every week to meet up with friends. I also need to be more spontaneous- if I find myself free on a weekend night then I should ring around (or more likely “Messenger”!) and find a friend to meet up with just like the old days.
5. Be Open and Honest about Getting Older
As the kids are getting older we’re having lots of chats in our household about the changes the body goes through during puberty. Generally there seems to be less discussion about the changes that our bodies then continue to go through but I think they’re important for everyone to be aware of. I loved watching the Netflix original series, Grace and Frankie for their refreshingly honest take on getting older. From some media you could get the impression that the menopause solely means a couple of hot flushes and an end to your periods, but in reality there’s a lot more to it that we should be knowledgeable about. The menopause usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age but 1 in 100 women experience the menopause before the age of 40 (premature menopause). Periods can actually become irregular for a number of years before stopping altogether. In addition to the much talked about hot flushes common symptoms include night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood or anxiety, reduced libido and problems with memory and concentration. Lots to look forward to then! However, all of these changes are completely natural and I want to embrace them rather than feel embarrassed by them as I mentioned earlier I’d prefer the privilege of growing older than the alternative. Therefore I’ve collaborated with Canesten® on this post to help raise awareness of how common vaginal dryness can be- it’s experienced by one in three women. It’s important to educate women so they are knowledgeable about the changes their bodies can go through in their lives and ultimately how to best treat the symptoms they may face so they can age gracefully and most importantly happily!
What are your plans for the new year now that another year is over?
This post has been supported by Canesintima®, but all thoughts are my own.