Turning 40: My hopes for the next decade of my life

This Saturday, I turn 40. I’m not one to worry about wrinkles or grey hairs. My recent physical showed that I’m in good health for now.

But considering the health issues that have impacted my family over the last several years, I can’t help but worry.

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It is somewhat ironic that if you had asked me before my parents became sick, I would have chosen Alzheimer’s and cancer as the diseases I dread most. Little did I know that I would have to face both diseases head-on, with dementia striking my dad and colon cancer striking my mom. I always figured Dad would get cancer, being a smoker since he was 16. Mom doesn’t smoke and eats a mainly vegetarian diet, and she gets colon cancer. Go figure.

With Mom’s health in the balance again, it’s not really feasible to make concrete plans for my 40th year, let alone the next decade of my life. But then again, if life has taught me anything over the last few years, it is to live in the here and now.

Still, there are a few wishes I have that I hope I can make come true over the next decade of my life.

  • I want to write a book. Whether it be memoir, fiction, or self-help, I’m not sure yet. Maybe one of each! I’ve lit my creative flame again over the last few years, but I know it will take hard work and focus to keep it glowing. And yes, I do want to publish the book, even if I have to go the self-publishing route. I plan on signing up for a writer’s workshop this fall.
  • I want to visit my father’s homeland, Ireland. I had planned on doing this in my 30s, or as a special gift on my 40th birthday, but alas, that is not going to happen. But I can still make it happen over the next few years. Making that family connection is important, and I think will hold greater meaning for me now than ever before.
  • I want to continue and expand my Alzheimer’s awareness work. In particular, I would like to do more hands-on advocacy work.

I’ve been through many life-changing events over the last decade, and I’m sure I will face more moments, both good and bad, over the next decade. My 40th birthday wish is that I approach these moments with a bit more wisdom, and much more compassion.

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4 Comments

Filed under Memories

4 responses to “Turning 40: My hopes for the next decade of my life

  1. When I was approaching 40 due to changing circumstances, I realized I really couldn’t plan out my whole life. But I could make 5-year plans to guide my direction on career and living location. That helped me make plans without feeling like I had set my life in stone. I still had to make changes especially as I began the eldercare phase of my life, but I felt it did help me prioritize my goals.

    Good luck with your goals. You have a lifetime ahead of you and your goals are realistic. Go for it!

  2. 40 is an excellent year to set the goals you’ve listed. The life experiences you have faced with your folks have given you an edge to better prepare. On my 40th year, I saw my parents mobility compromised from inactivity. I set a goal to walk almost daily and swim each week to keep my body strong. I enjoy those activities so I knew I could keep that goal. Deeper goals have come to me in my 50’s. You are wise at 40! Happy Birthday, Joy.

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