One of the catalysts in starting My Innermission was my 40th birthday. I wasn’t ready to buy in to the notion of “over the hill” or all black tombstone parties. I wasn’t dreading 40. In fact, most people I know who had stepped into their 40’s declared it an empowering decade and felt more confidence and clarity at 40.
My birthday happens to fall on February 9, which is exactly 40 days after the New Year, which felt too prophetic in terms of 40 days before 40, so I stepped into it and decided to reclaim what a celebration of 40 might mean. It was one-part reflection, one-part celebration, one-part imagination of what is next and one-part creative expression. I wanted to try things I hadn’t tried before. I wanted to return to things that had brought me joy in the past but hadn’t been part of my life lately. I wanted to celebrate my journey over the 40 years and do some intentional planning for what life in my 40’s might mean.
In the course of my 40 days I took new classes, I spoke to old friends, I shared a lot of gratitude, and I did some goal setting and dreaming. And I wrote. I kept a blog about my 40 days of 40 adventures and heard from a lot of people who enjoyed reading about my journey and several of whom were inspired to do something similar for their own 40th (or 50th) celebrations of life.
Those 40 Days of 40 were definitely a precursor to My Innermission. They let me spend more time reflecting on what I wanted and what I valued. They afforded me more intentional time to raise my self-awareness and make time for myself. They allowed me to take creative risks and step outside my comfort zone. Truth be told, when they were over, I celebrated my 40th birthday and then paused many of the practices that I had used during my 40 days.
In the months that followed, I think my body and mind missed those 40 days. I learned a lot about myself and yet scratched the surface on what my journey was going to be. At the same time, I’ve had conversations with others about shaping 40 Days of 40. How I went about it, what it included, and what reflection prompts were part of my 40 days.
As a result, I created a journal to guide others through a 40 Day journey towards 40. The journal creates space to think about everything from your life’s timeline of important events, to your personal style, to what drives your creativity and passion. The journal also includes some ideas to celebrate your 40 days with a daily exercise to invite you to make time for yourself to deepen your reflection and try new experiences in your 40th year.
I hope others can use this journal as a tool to own their own journey towards 40. Let’s reject the idea of “over the hill” and appreciate the moment that 40 offers. Let’s redefine 40 and carve out 40 days of celebration, creativity, and gratitude.
Innermisson Invitation—Think ahead or think back to your 40th birthday. What were/are your hopes for your 40’s? What did/do you want to do differently or feel differently during your 40’s?