I don't think I've mentioned it yet but I have a big Birthday coming up this year.  Like Huge!  One that makes you take stock of your life, and maybe think about adjusting your course a bit to start the 2nd half of your life on a better track. Yes, dear friends, I am turning 40, and as we creep closer to the day - July to be exact, I am getting more and more excited to start this 2nd chapter of my life.  To celebrate this awesome event, I have decided that I need more than just a day, really more than a few days.  I really feel that I need to celebrate the entire year, and perhaps beyond.

Why might you ask?  Well, let me tell you...... I have spent the last 5 or 6 years in a real funk, I've struggled with the loss of my father, my body image, my girls growing up and not needing me in the same way, a dead end job that doesn't stimulate me, but pays better than I'll find elsewhere (for now), aging.  I've worried about how I'm perceived, how I'm treated, how others make me feel.  Basically I've spent all of this time worrying about outside forces that have no real bearing on my life or what should be making me happy and me.

I started by digging into myself help library (I have a thing for books and ever more so if they're of the self-help, cooking, or of the craft variety).  I began pulling inspiration from the people I follow on Instagram and Snapchat, and lastly, I started thinking if I could try a few new things, or do something I loved again, small things, and just a few a month for the next year, what would they be? Digging a little deeper, if I could do anything I wanted what would that be? Slowly but surely I developed a plan, on how to get back on track with my life, and then took it even further and added in a few things each month I wanted to do, just for me.   So what does that look like in my life?

I started a morning routine again, I had done one previously but gotten out of the habit probably about the time I hit critical mass with my undiagnosed Sleep Apnea. Now that I have that relatively under control, I feel I can do more with a little less (as long as its quality) sleep. I read the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod - it's a little campy for me, and every few pages do try to push you out to his website to buy, join, or subscribe, but the basics are solid and very similar to things I had done at different times of my life.  Things that when I do them regularly make me feel better and get me really revved up for my day.

Then I took some of the smaller things from my list, things that were easy or short in duration, and worked on making them happen.  Like making sure I'm spending time with those I love and that make me feel good to be around - I scheduled dinner dates with our two favorite couple friends.  I found fun things that happen over the months and made them into dinner parties. I have some big ideas too, like Take a Cruise, visit Disney Paris, write a book, run a Disney 10k, things that I might not accomplish in 2017, but I'm really going to work toward making them happen, and just maybe I'll surprise myself.

Lastly, as I was reminding everyone about my big 40th birthday this year, my grandpa reminded me he would be 85 - we celebrated his birthday last month (more below), my mother will be 65, and my Auntie just turned 55. My husband's best Friend Bob will be 35, Bob's wife Janelle and my cousin Kevin will be 30, My oldest will be 21 and the youngest is turning 18.  ALL THIS YEAR!  So I thought let's try to celebrate all of those events as well - make them big and awesome and really live in those moments when they're happening.

March Update:

Toastmasters contest - I don’t know if I’ve mentioned on this platform that I am a Toastmaster, this month we held our club and Area speech contest and I participated in both.  Unfortunately, the speech I was originally working on, I just couldn’t get to flow right and ditched it last minute for one I thought had more heart.  The trouble with changing things out last minute meant it wasn’t well practiced and I paid for that dearly in judging.  Ah well, maybe next year.

Planner con - Do you know about Planner con?  Did you even know it was a thing?  Me either until a few months ago, and I was totally psyched.  A weekend at a convention that centers around planning, and planners how could it possibly go wrong?  And yet I left the weekend a little overwhelmed and a little out in left field.  I realized I’m not your typical planner, I don’t use a traditional setup, I’m not overly excited about Erin Condren (although what she has done for the planning community on a whole is very cool) and I really don’t use stickers or heavy decorations in my Bullet Journal.  I know I might be in the wrong place when women were walking by with pull carts full of supplies.  But! I threw caution to the wind and made a point to enjoy myself, I met some great women, was convinced I might need stickers in my life and at the end of the day, the one girl that never wins anything walked away with a full Erin Condren spring surprise box (that I have to figure out what to do with)

Wine country in the spring - we are so lucky to live in the area we do,  just a short 30-minute ride north, we’re in the Napa Valley.  I love wine, especially sparkling wine and especially sparkling wine that comes from Mumm Napa - one of the great things about this particular winery is it’s tasting room and grounds, it’s nestled in the valley right off the Silverado Trail, the tasting room overlooks one of the vineyards and takes full advantage with 3 walls of floor to ceiling glass to take in the beauty of vineyard regardless of the season.  I especially like to visit in the spring when the wild mustard grows freely through all of the vineyards, on that particular Saturday it was raining and we had the start contrast of the gray sky with the yellow mustard through a sea of green grasses and fresh vines.  It was truly amazing.

Boquet to Art - Once a year in the spring, for one week only the De Young Museum holds their Boquet to Art exhibit.   Local flower shops, students, and botanical gardens create beautiful arrangements primarily of plants but some with other odds and ends, in their interpretation of a particular piece of art on display.  For anyone that loves flowers, it is the show of the year and it easily sells out in the first few days of the tickets going on sale. This year I took my grandmother for the first time, it was so fun to hang back and watch her as she looked at each representation, some easily recognized for what they were, others you needed to squint a little and look at from a few angles to really see what the artist was seeing. I think she’ll be a mainstay for this exhibit going forward. 

Beauty and the beast - While this might have been a movie opening to some, it was a huge event for me.  I realized this was my “Disney Princess” movie when I was a teenager, I was that awkward kid that had a huge imagination, probably read too much and had huge opinions about life and what everyone should do about it.  Low and Behold Beauty and the Beast came out and I was hooked, to strengthen the bond even further a year or so later in my French 2 class our teacher played the 40’s black and white version and I was blown away. Needless to say, as soon as tickets came out for Disney’s live action film I bought tickets and waited with bated breath on how it would compare.  I did not have to wait long and after quietly singing the opening scene in the marketplace I knew the filmmakers loved the original movies just as much as I did and I was in for a treat beyond compare.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet I strongly suggest doing so, it really is worth it.

Reno - Just this last weekend we went out of town to celebrate my husbands birthday, it was a weekend of food and drink singularly. From our fist stop at The Tahoe Brewing Company in Tahoe City to our last at the Atlantis Steakhouse for dinner Sunday night we hit a better restaurant for each meal and truly enjoyed ourselves.  Saturday evening we met up with friends and had a late dinner at the Wild River Grill, followed by Go Kart Racing and a little bit of adult gambling at the Grand Sierra Resort.  Sunday consisted of Brunch at Campo, just along the Truckee river and an earlier dinner at the aforementioned Steakhouse.  By Monday morning I was sufficiently stuffed and pickled and ready for a long drive back home and a week of less exotic and exceptionally less tasty food.

And that rounds out March, I have to say it was a really busy month, dotted with great activities and wonderful people to share it with.  In-between all of the activities above, we had dinner with family and friend numerous times along with heavy duty training schedules and our normal day to day lives.  On a whole March may go down as my favorite month in the Year of Sarah. 

Coming up for April -  Glass eggs, Prom, Grandmas birthday my cousin’s birthday celebration, a 
Monet exhibit at the Legion of Honor in SF - one of my favorite museums, of course, Easter, and a fun little jaunt at the end of the month to Santa Maria and the Strawberry Festival.

I want to look back on this 40th year of my life and feel like I really did some things, big, small, easy or hard, matters not. Just so long as I when I end this year and I'm reflecting on the things that I've done, I'm not disappointed in all the things I didn't do.

Welcome to the year of Sarah.

If you're interested in reading my first two posts in this series click here and here.

Published by Sarah Kirkland