40 in 400

I will be turning 40 in under 400 days, and this scares the crud out of me.  No, not because I am afraid of the big 4-0, (which I am, but hey), but because I promised myself, back when I turned 30, that my goal for my 30’s was to get organized.  Trust me, if you could see my life right now?  You’d know that I have a lot of work to do, and less than 400 days in which to do it.  Seriously; if I can’t keep a decade-long promise to myself, I have a lot more to fear than getting old, don’t you think?

So, knowing that I am spurred to action by inspirational catchphrases, I hereby coin the term ’40 in 400′ to help me focus on ten targets to work on – really work on – between now and my 40th birthday in March 2012. 

(Yes, I am already into that timeframe.  I wasn’t even organized enough to start my 400 days until about a month in, ok?  Somehow “40 in 380” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, though, you know?  So yeah, I’m giving myself life credit for what I’ve done in the last month.  Get over it.)

So, here is my Big Ten list of things to work on.  Yes, they are all no-brainers, and likely on every to-do list in America.  The difference is that I am hereby making a plan to actually DO them within four hundred days, and I can be a serious taskmaster. 

  1. Parenting:  Taking it up a notch, from catch as catch can homeschooling to a real program, from taking care of my kids to helping them grow into the people they are meant to be, and from muddling through each day with them to crafting our lives for and with them.  Most of all?  Yell less.
  2. Finances:  Like most 30-somethings in America, our financial situation could use a serious makeover.  Debt needs to be brought down, assets need to be more astutely managed, and paperwork needs to be systematized. 
  3. Taxes: Pretty self-explanatory, right?  Let’s just say that getting current would be an improvement.  >.<
  4. Estate:  Not like we have one, but we need a will anyway, since we have kids.  I also need to talk to my parents’ about their estates and wishes.  Fun times…
  5. Property Maintenance:  Major repairs are needed, as well as minor, but neglected, maintenance.  Not sure we’ll have the funding to make all the repairs that really need to happen  within this 400 days, but what progress can be made WILL be made.  The little stuff we can do ourselves? No more excuses.
  6. Health:  All those little self-care appointments that I put off for myself, even when I get the kids to theirs.  We could also all do with a nutrition overhaul (which I’ve made strides on this last month), as well as more exercise. 
  7. Family Connections:  I have a wonderful family of relations and friends that I need to get and stay in better touch with.  I want to get birthday presents in the mail on time.  I want to write to older relatives and say hello.  I want to create regular habits of family togetherness.  I want to talk to my closer relatives at times of year OTHER than when I know I’ll be seeing them in the next few months.   
  8. Career:  Yes, I am a homeschooling parent, and yes, that is my full-time job.  That said, I want to see what I need to do to get my teaching license back in order, and keep inestigating graduate school, so that I can be ready to apply when my life is ready for me to do so.  I want to work on my writing, including in this blog.  I want to update my resume while the details are relatively close to hand. 
  9. Community:  We need some.  We’re starting to get into local and online homeschool groups, and have a wonderful (if not really local) hobby group, but the regular ‘want to hit the playground’ kind is completely lacking in our lives, and we all feel its lack.
  10. Last, but not least: THE PURGE:  This is the goal that spurred the rest, the one that will make the biggest day-to-day difference in the lives of each and every member of our family, how we relate to each other, manage stress, and function in the larger community that we hope to build.  I have to get rid of stuff.  Big time.  I come from a family of packrats, and am one myself.  This stemmed from mistaken senses of thrift and resource protection, but what it amounts to is *amounts* of stuff in our house that are keeping it from being a home.  Our things are getting in the way of our lives.  If I get nothing else on this list done but this one (enormous) thing, I won’t be happy, but I’ll be content.

Wish me luck!  I’m going to need it!

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