Last week I turned 40. Considering that I was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer at aged 36 it was quite a moment to celebrate - the fact I was still alive and all!
But even as I tucked myself down to sleep the night before, still holding on to that 39 card, I must admit I felt a little bit of apprehension… like I was somehow coming to the end of something… Was I going to wake up bang in the middle of a mid-life crisis? With 40 slapping me in the face with a message of you are at the end of your 30s, is this what you thought? I wondered to myself if this was what a mid-life crisis began like?
Anyway, happily none of that happened. Because when I woke up on the 29th Dec, aged 40 - I felt great! Why? Well overnight a 0 had replaced that 9. Suddenly I felt like I was right back at the beginning of something again, and as we all know, being at the beginning of something is much more exciting than being at the end.
It’s so funny how we can write our own stories based on random details like this. And knowing that we can decide where to put the title and end over any part of our life is wonderfully freeing.
Take all our favourite stories; they always start with something either mundane or terrible happening. Harry Potter abused by his distant family members, if that was the end of the story it would be depressing, but it happens at the start and we know this is something just to be got through, and he will go on and have amazing adventures. But imagine if they ended in other places, Hansel and Gretel, lost in the woods, The End. Han Solo being sold to Jaba the Hut, The End. No! When the terrible thing happens that story is just getting going. We can also apply this to the stories in our own life. Not that I am equating being frozen in carbonite with turning 40, but that turning 40 is a great reminder that I am at the start of a new story again.
Last week also happens to be the start of a new year, so whilst it’s a terrible time to have a birthday in terms of organising a party, it’s a great time of year to consider starting a new story. And this is where this all becomes more relevant to you.
I know a lot of people slate resolutions, and I'm in agreement when some rather unbelievable and over the top challenges emerge like doing 150 crunchies a day for the rest of the year. Stuff we start with a spurt of (slightly unrealistic) enthusiasm, can't maintain, give up after a week - not so helpful, but where a new year can be so useful is as an opportunity to reflect and contemplate our lives and where we are headed.
Now those are some old fashioned terms that we don't hear bandied about much these days, particularly in our high tech fast moving worlds. But they are just as important now as they were before we could watch the Best of YouTube annual wrap-ups.
Perhaps the term ‘check in’ is a bit more modern than contemplation. Where am I right now in life? What’s going on around me? The people in my life, the work I do, my health, all these things are they what I want for my life? Because this is the beginning of my story and I can influence where I want my story to go. What do I want to have happen in my story? In a year’s time, in 5 years time, in 10 years time, in 20 years time?
Wherever you are, whatever you have achieved or haven't achieved, however happy you are or aren't, this can be where you start. The question isn’t what has happened up until now, but what’s going to happen next?
This New Year, whilst coming up with a list of 10 impossible things that you know deep down you will probably never realistically manage is not useful, taking some time to check in and realise that you are the author of your life is. All you need is a little intention and a little reflection. And so, place the beginning chapter of this new story of your life here, now in Jan 2015. Chapter 1. Oo goose bumps of excitement already!
Happy New Year!
As always I would love to hear from you below in the comments. What’s your opinion on New Year resolutions and your favourite story?
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Ready for change, but don't know how:
Health coach, Mindfulness teacher, Mother, Bee Pollen consumer. "You want health? Well, health costs, and right here is where you start paying in sweat" (tee hee - actually its really rather pleasurable and fun!)