This Is (Almost) Forty (Updated)

(A cadre of smart, talented, inspiring, altogether rockin' ladies...who also happen to be forty, from top: Charlotte Gainsbourg photographed by Paul Jasmin, Sofia Coppola via RDuJour, Phoebe Philo at her London atelier photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Christene Barberich, Editor-in-Chief of Refinery29.com, Cat Power photographed by David Black.)

I tend to take the making of resolutions/intentions/goals at the start of each year pretty seriously. I ponder, consider, noodle... Let's just say I put a lot of thought into the whole enterprise.

Sadly, my that focus doesn't always carry over to actually executing them. Don't get me wrong, many years I do really well, even creating regular "check points" throughout the year to get a sense of my progress. But last year, well, last year was abysmal.

Starting a new job, I knew it was going to be a crazy, upside down year, so I went with an easy "intentions" approach, listing the things I wanted to do more and less of in 2012. Specifically I wanted to be more attentive, drink more green tea, take more ballet classes, and unplug more (among other things). I also wanted to eat less sugar, buy less stuff, be less busy/over-scheduled, etc...

Friends, I failed on every single one of those things. All. Of. Them. I'm not proud.

So this year I'm feeling the need to make up for my failures. Also this year (on December 7 to be exact) I'm turning 40.

Coming up on a milestone birthday, whether it's 25 or 40, just begs for some sort of massive self improvement, don't you think? So I'm going to try and do just that...you know you're basic total life overhaul. No biggie.

Here's the deal, from now - December, I'm going to focus on accomplishing a single goal each month through a variety of experiences/assignments/tasks, etc... in an attempt to become the best possible version of myself in "mind, body, and spirit" before I turn 40.

The end goal isn't about trying to achieve some sort of perfection. Perfection is boring. Especially that ideal we seem to be currently obsessed with in America -- reality TV star buffed and polished, all straight glossy hair and white Chiclet teeth and bronzed Barbie body. I want none of that action. Flawed and complex is just infinitely more interesting. This project is just about being the best possible version of my flawed self. Being healthier and more balanced. Treading  more lightly on the earth, being a more present, attentive, loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, achieving some balance (what ever that looks like).

I'm not gonna lie, I'm scared...and it should be noted that I'm also very, very hungry due to the three day cleanse/detox that I'm currently in the midst of as part of my January goal (more on that later), but I'm also excited. I mean, what's the worst that could happen (don't answer that).

Here are my goals for the year...

(*Update: I inadvertently left off February's goal, which is "Improve My Fitness." Or maybe, given my incredibly strong dislike of "the exercising," I left it off on purpose...I'm not saying for sure. Also note the edit to August.)

  • January: Revamp my diet
  • February: Improve my fitness 
  • March: Buff and polish
  • April: Green my home
  • May: Create less waste
  • June: Unplug (and read)
  • July: Learn a new skill
  • August: Attempt more inner peace (As opposed to the incredibly lofty, "Find Inner Peace")
  • September: Overhaul my wardrobe
  • October: Strengthen my marriage
  • November: Elevate my kitchen skills
  • December: Nurture my relationships

I'm planning on posting details of what I'm doing, how it's going, and what I'm learning a few times each month. Wish me luck.


Mary said...

Extremely lofty goals (Find Inner Peace???), but certainly admirable ones. I'll look forward to following you on your journey and being inspired along the way. I myself turn 40 just three months after you, and yes I do agree that milestone years do bring extra focus on the type of person we are. Good luck!

stephanie. said...

i'm turning 40 this year too (in august.) i have to say this milestone birthday feels "bigger" to me than any of the others ever did. maybe b/c i'm more focused on introspection and how i want to be on the inside and how that will translates to my "outsides" (my body, my family, my house, etc...) where as before, the focus was on the outside world and achieving life or career experiences (for example, graduating from college, getting THE job, or having a baby. although at almost 40 i've also decided to try for baby number 3 but that's another topic entirely.)

Thanks for sharing your goals. I'm looking forward to reading throughout the year, especially your tasks to achieving august's! =) but why nothing for february?

all the best!

katie//salt+pine said...

Joslyn, I turned 40 in August and I have to say that I really am loving it. I joke around that I'm fallingtopieces-- a few extra pounds and some other things I would rather not have--but you know what else I've gained? A whole lotta self-confidence and the insight that I don't need to compare myself to 20 year olds. I'm working on some similar goals as you (love that self-improvement!) but finding liberation at the same time. It's wonderful!

My Garden Diaries said...

I will be 40 in 5 years and I think this is outstanding! The examples of women that you used in this post all exude such cool unique strength. Love it! Best of luck on your mission this year. I am excited to follow along and in some ways do my own self reflecting...all the best and thanks for sharing!

UrbanChiqueNess said...

Remember don't over commit and set yourself up for disappointment. Balance is key my friend. I don't make resolutions, I have written about my intentions too. Check it out. It may inspire you, I hope!
Good luck and cheers to turning 40!

P.S. I will be 44 this year and feel 34, it can be done!

Meg said...

Brava. I will be 38 this year. Wonderful to grow older with kindred spirits, near and far. May this year be the best...to be!

agnes szucs said...

This all sounds so great!
Funny thing, I'll also turn 40 this year (November 13th)... don't even know how that happened... I'm still a child... As for life-change... I just quit my job as of Jan 1st... :D I think I'll wait around to see what comes my way... :D :D

As for exercise... I warmly recommend HIIT or other high-intensity stuff... something like what Zuzka Light does... very tough and i guess very effective.

Marksdailyapple is a great place to check out, too for fitness (and diet) advice.

Happy New Year to us!

:) :) :)

Unknown said...

40 is the new 30!

Emma said...

I turned 40 on December 4th. This year I'm also attempting some goals or intentions each month. One of my readers recommended the book The Happiness Project to me. The writer embarked on a similar journey of one goal per month. I've just started it but so far have found her methodology and goal setting very inspiring.

Chelsea said...

I am so beyond in love with this project. Being present is always something I am striving for. I can't wait to follow along. Cheers, Joslyn. xo

Caitlin @ Sacramento Street said...

So excited about this project Jos! I think it's going to be fun, exciting and a little challenging but in the end you'll have so many stories to tell. I'm excited to follow you on this journey. And friend, you don't look a day older than 30! I'm serious!! Miss ya! xx C

Carmen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carmen said...

I recently turned 28 and have a similar sentiment regarding the impending 30. Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring your readers, no matter the age.

Good luck on your detox/cleanse or whatever goals you have in store! A detox/cleanse can be more daunting in theory than it actually is. My husband and I are plant-based (vegan) and are always learning about how to improve our lifestyle and health. We have recently embarked on a 21-day cleanse. Today is Day 14 and it has been a great learning experience about my body and my personal self. Our bodies are brilliant, capable, strong, and resilient -- especially if we give them the tools, materials, and rest they need. I feel a strange sense of accomplishment and also feel very grounded. I hope you feel the same after the conclusion of yours!


Heather Taylor said...

this is gorgeous and inspiring!

Danielle said...

I think your intentions for the year are amazing. I am a list maker, and I've often taken heat for the kinds of lists I make, especially ones at the beginning of a new year. We can only keep trying, yes? This year I made 100 resolutions (I know, a bit crazy), but they're all doable, flexible, baby-step actions that will lead me toward the kind of life I love.

Anyway, best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I will be forty this year too, and after nonchalantly watching several women I know and admire (including Emma!) turn that corner with endless style, now that my turn is coming I'm beginning to panic. I'm not really one for resolutions, but I'm feeling like I've got to nail something down for this year. Thanks for the inspiring words, and good luck! I'm with you!

Dana said...

Good Luck! I turned 31 and somehow that struck me more than 30 but the goals you listed are ones we all strive for no matter the age. Will be looking forward to reading about your journey (and getting inspired in the process).


Unknown said...

good luck, this is a very noble plan!