While scrolling my FB feed I stumbled upon an article with the headline: 15 Things Every Woman Should Do by the age of 40.  Hooray! I quickly clicked to learn… what the heck I should be doing. OR…Wait a minute, who am I kidding? I opened the article to compare myself to her list.

You can imagine my shock to realize I’d completed most of them. I was ecstatic, like I’d won the lottery! But wait a second. I thought if I did all these things I would be where I am supposed to be in life? But, clearly, I’m still figuring life out.

Oh no. Now what?!?

First of all, who decides we should “do” things by a certain age? Age really is a number. A collection of days in a row. Some we are riding strong and others we are picking ourselves up from falling… hard. Some years we are “on track”, others waaaaaaaaaayyy of course. But, EVERY age,20, 30, 40- happen as a part of our purpose, specifically designed only for us to experience. Think about your friends: has anyone gone through their life exactly like yours?

I wonder, why is 40 the magic number? I’ve witnessed many people make awesome breakthroughs and changes in their lives after 50. What if someone reading this list hasn’t ticked them off by age 39? Will they feel bad that aren’t as far along in the game of life? I sure hope not. Comparing ourselves to others is the thief of joy.

Ding, Ding, Ding! I think the article should read:15 Things Every Person Should Consider Doing In Their Lives to Open Themselves up to Incredible Experiences and Opportunities. It’s not as catchy and eye grabbing, but it feels more playful and less pressuring. Life is anything but a race! Life is about the journey and the left and right turns that bring you to your awesome destination, day dream or goal.

I decided to take a trip down memory lane and reflect on my list. You know what I realized? A LOT had to happen for them… to happen. I was stretched and molded. I shed sweat and tears. I gained and I lost. But most important: I had a lot of trust, a lot of faith, and a lot of fun. The reward is not the passport stamp. Or the medal for crossing the finish line. It’s the thought process from idea to implementation! It’s the training group and friends made while running mile after mile to get ready for the big day. It’s feeling empowered and listening to your gut.  It’s being brave! Saying YES to YOU! There is no one else inside your head besides you. We can’t expect anyone else to be responsible for our actions and thought process. We call the shots! We are the result of our choices. Unless you know something I don’t, there are no safety nets in life. Risk really does equal reward.

172012-Life-Is-A-Journey-Not-A-DestinationThe List:

Career Change At Least Once = Oh boy, I nailed this one! I worked for DragonBallZ (a Japanese Cartoon), was a Hotel PR Manager & a Travel RN Recruiter with 3 companies for almost 7 years…just to name a few. AND the best part: I never quit any of these jobs. So how did I change careers? I knew I was ready for a shift. And somehow…I manifested being terminated. Trust me, I know it sounds like hogwash, but it really did happen. And each time the window (of opportunity) opened, I jumped through it. Yes, I was let go. But I was ready. Why should I stay with one job? There is so much to learn hands on and I wanted more. One awesome way to do that: start a new career. Your brain will thank you! I’m not saying it’s easy but it has been rewarding. And it starts with believing in yourself that you can do it.

Do Something “Crazy” = 6 week, 15 city road trip, solo, moving from San Diego, CA to Wilmington, NC –a city I’d never visited nor knew anyone upon arrival. How did this happen? I’d ‘planned’ to move with a friend who was relocating for work. I’d take my remote job with me. SUPER long story short, I was “let go” from my job with severance — the same week my friend’s company was sold (out of the blue) and she could no longer move with her job. I’d already announced my move. My heart & my brain had committed. But if I was to do it, now it would be a solo, unemployed adventure without my bestie. So… scared as shit, I did it. With everyone telling me I was “crazy”. And of course…it worked out WAY better than I could’ve imagined!! So many serendipitous stories to come out of this self adventure. How did it start? A map of the USA tacked to my wall. The 1st stop confirmed was Boise, ID. Every wild story starts with a wild idea, you simply have to go for it.

Live Within Our Means = I’ve been debt free and I know what it’s like to have debt up to my eye balls. Why? Money is energy. It comes and it goes. I do my best to stay in my means. But sometimes we need a loan on life, to make up for our “mistakes” or invest in ourselves. It’s a matter of spending wisely.

Learn to Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin = I know (and love) who I am because my parents made me. I see exercise as a lifestyle. Food and I were not friends for most of my 20s but I fixed that in my 30s, even through food and I get into a serious fight every now and then. At one point I did not have 2 front teeth, no choice of my own but I smiled anyways. I’ve watched my body grow and change as needed. I’m grateful to be able to walk, run and explore. How about you?

Be Glamorous = YES! Feeling sexy is part of the fun of being a female. Lately, most of my glamour gear is collecting dust in my closet (hum… I need to fix this STAT) How? Make it a priority. Want to join me for a night on the town?

Chase A Dream = I love to run. I love the city of Boston. And I love supporting Multiple Sclerosis. But I am not fast. So, what did I do? I applied to run 26.2 miles, got accepted & ran the 119th Boston Marathon while raising money for MS. Dream = Done!!! How did I do it? A lot of back to back decisions that took me from start to finish. Really. That’s all it is. One decision after another. What decision can YOU make?

Visit Another Country = I’m on passport #3 since age 16. Favorites include Israel, Ireland, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand & Peru. Plus, I love to eat, especially my way though other countries! How did I make all these trips happen? Simple: I’M CURIOUS! Where do YOU want to go?

Step out of our Comfort Zone = I don’t step… I leap!! I leaped out out of a perfectly working airplane, into conversations with strangers, into new apartments, to try a new hobby, a new city… the list goes on and on. With each leap I am stronger and more confident in myself. Where will YOU leap?

Find A Cause = Why? PASSION! It’s following my heart! Of course, my cause is Multiple Sclerosis due to my diagnosis at age 19. But, it was my choice to get involved. I love helping the planet and supporting what speaks to me. WE make this world go ’round. What do YOU support?

Make and live by a soul mate wish list = still working on this, but my list has evolved over the years. Which means I am growing. And growth is good.

Learn not to settle = I learned this very quickly. Something beautiful and new can happen every day if we allow it. When I feel like I’m settling, I feel called to change. It’s literally a feeling I can not ignore. Are you settling?

Start over completely = I’m pretty much a pro at this. I’ve started over in cities, in jobs and in relationships. You know what I learned? I am super resourceful. I love solving puzzles and making the pieces fit together. I love looking for the silver lining. And I love the challenge of something brand new. I moved solo to Dallas, San Diego, Wilmington & Denver — and all of them I created a wonderful life for myself, one day and one person and one experience at a time. Where will you start over?

Love with complete abandon = It’s scary to open ourselves to another. But that’s part of the risk. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Yes, I’ve experienced heart break. Do I have regrets? NO! I truly believe it is better to love— and to know we can love– than to not love at all.

Tell someone exactly how you feel = We deserve to speak our truth. It took a while for me to completely open up — especially with men— but I’m proud to say I not only honor my own voice but out of respect for others, I want to share it, too. Grateful for my teachers along the way. Are you speaking your truth?

Write your story. Just write = WOW. Finding this as the last item on the list really put me in my place. Yes, I have written some of my story. I have shared the bits and pieces that are safe or felt most worthy… but there is so much more I must write! When I think of all that I HAVEN’T shared! I turned 40 2 weeks ago. Time to get on it.

So, now what? Am I done? HECK NO! In fact, I think it is time to go back to the start of this list and start over!!! We should never stop evolving our career, doing “crazy” things, living within our means, being comfortable in our skin, being glamorous, chasing dreams, visiting countries, stepping out of our comfort zone, finding causes, starting over, loving with abandon, telling someone how we feel and writing our story… if for no one else, but ourselves. No matter your age, the lesson is to keep challenging yourself to expand your magic. You can choose to survive or you can choose to thrive! Life is a hands on learning experience– don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty… no matter your age.

What are your dreams to chase? Which cause will you support? I challenge you to look at this list and think not about what you have done, but what you can continue to do 🙂

Cheers to Our Journeys!