It’s my fortieth birthday this month. People have been politely calling it my ‘big ‘birthday so perhaps I’m only supposed to whisper it or just not mention the number at all. Forty. FORTY. FORTY! Sorry, not sorry. Each birthday is a blessing. I’m grateful every time I get to see another one but especially this year, after my previous birthday was spent in lockdown.

A friend treated me to Birthday Tea last weekend

There is no denying that reaching another decade has some significance attached to it. I’m not sure if we’re just wired this way or if we’ve been programmed by a society that attaches so much meaning to age.

Whichever it is, the cusp of a new decade is often a prompt to ponder upon what you’ve done and what you’re going to do, as well as marvel at how quickly the years are passing by.

I’ve been doing a bit of this over the past couple of days. Mostly I’ve been reflecting on what my achievements have been since I turned thirty and I’ve also considered what was going on for me at the time of each achievement. In doing this exercise, here’s what I learned:

  • It’s easy to forget just how much one has accomplished.
  • Achievements come in many packages and sometimes look different to what was expected.
  • Accomplishing something doesn’t always equate to happiness.
  • Ideas of success change over time.

Don’t wait for a milestone birthday (or other life event) to do this activity. Try it this weekend. Make a list of everything you’ve achieved, over the last year/decade/lifetime (you choose.). Try not to limit yourself to the really big successes, include everything that you can think of, no matter how seemingly insignificant. When you look back over the list, what do you notice?

Just for fun, I’ll end with a photo of a much younger me. As well as having amazing taste in jumpers, as a child I would often write stories. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always answer ‘an author‘.

It was more than thirty years later before I could call myself an author. It happened just last month, when I self-published my first book. That’s another lesson I’ve learned – don’t give up on attaining your big, scary goals. Success could be right around the corner… or several decades away, you won’t know if you stop trying!



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