40 Before 40

40 Before 40

Gah. The last 4 months of my 30’s…


I smile at the thought that some of you reading that will think “omg, you’re a baby still” and others will be all “you’re so old!”.

(Along those lines, I was told recently that a woman half my age couldn’t believe I was late 30’s. She meant it as a comment/complement that I looked ‘young for my age’ but all I could think was, ‘yep, I remember when late 30’s seemed long in the tooth.)

So with my next decade fast approaching, I am looking at my beautifully cliched

List of 40 Before 40 in 4 Months

1. Write 40 poems

2. Run 40 miles

3. Gift 40 things

4. Make a list of 40 important memories/moments from my 30s

In creating my list, I wanted it to be accomplishable and I wanted to cover: a creative/mental challenge, a physical challenge, a community outreach task, and a reflection task.

(FYI, the Run 40 Miles is literally 40 miles total, not consecutively. I have very little desire to run lately but I do want, for many reasons, to get back into the habit of including it weekly into my routine.)

I’ve already started on Number 1, 10 poems down, 30 to go. I’ll leave you with this one.

I preferred when it was next year

(if we’re going on preference,

Many “next years” worked for me…)

I preferred when it was your turn

“That’s cool, I’ll pass on this opportunity, you go ahead, I’ll stick with 30s”

40 feels raw. And wrinkly. And Gray.

I know I will look back, shaking my well worn head, and coo;

“oh Faithala, how adorable you were as a youngster of 40, thinking that was wrinkly, achy, gray.”

And yet. It’s all mine for this moment, all I know, the minutiae of now.

P.S. I would love to be welcomed into the 40s club with any words of wisdom, advice, encouragement from those who know 🙂

Low Bar

My friend Oliver introduced me to the Low Bar concept years ago;

Set the bar low and leap over it.

As someone who is consistently feeling underacccomplished, this concept is is met with skeptism and curiousity.

But what the hell, setting the expectations high and falling short hasn’t really been working for me for the last 40 years, time to try something different.

Mostly joking but in all seriousness, setting the bar high often leads to anxiety and feelings of failure within me and I am still not convinced that my behavior changes, as in, I work harder.

I am doing an experiment and applying the “low bar” concept to several aspects of my life this month, including my professional shift that is starting this week as I go fully independent in my teaching, You can read more about Gracefulfitness Pilates here.

As far as my physical “goals”, here’s my Low Bar plan for the rest of the month:

  • Walk 1 Mile Day
  • Do Tabata-style* Planks Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Spend 10 Minutes A Day on Mobility

Even as I wrote the above “plan” my brain screamed, “that’s not enough!!”.

Then I remembered last month. I set running mileage goals and Pilates goals and I totally missed the mark. As a result I felt embarrassed, a little bit of shame, a sense of failure. I had set completely self-imposed meaningless expectations on myself and fell short. Again.

These are my bare minimums, my low bar. I am in Portland, Oregon for the next month or so, spending time with my sister and her family. She’s due with her second baby next week so life is uniquely unpredictable right now. Perfect timing to be kind and realistic with my expectations both professionally and personally.

So why set expectations at all?

I do well with freedom & flexibility but I also like loose perimeters, checking things off the list, a measurable sense of accomplishment. This is especially true when life is out of the ordinary and out of established routine, as it has been the last 7 months and is again for me with this trip.

Do you tend to set the bar high or low? Do you leap over it no matter how high you set it or do you tend to throw in the towel if the expectations are high?

Anyone want to join me for my Low Bar Plan, or make your own?