From Kath … on turning 40

by kath_red on 01/07/2011

in Features, Newsletter

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I want to achieve from my life, what my purpose is, what my creative goals are, personal goals – family goals. Analysing what is important, what I need and what I can live without – and what I can’t live without – what are my priorities? All this angst – just like a teenager – but actually I have never been more sure of myself than I am now – about to turn 40 and I feel like my life is on track – I know what I want – finally! After all these years I have a sliver of a clue!

I was sitting in my local cafe yesterday morning, having a cup of coffee, I was a little early for an appointment and had 20 minutes to kill. So I sat and drank a double shot of espresso (I needed it) and as I sketched a few designs in my journal I listened to the conversations going on around me. A sentence sort of popped out from the general hubbub “I am halfway through my degree and I feel like I haven’t learned anything”. Oh what a gem – here I sit, halfway through my life and only just beginning to feel like I may have worked out a few things.

So what have I worked out?

  1. Life is good
  2. Moon face is acceptable
  3. I look cute with pig tails
  4. My bum is not so fat (just wide)
  5. I should’t drink too much red wine
  6. Food additives are evil
  7. A cup of tea can solve many problems
  8. Acceptance of a messy house is good
  9. I don’t have a green thumb
  10. I don’t need so much stuff
  11. I love books
  12. Crochet is good
  13. Hand stitching is not my forte
  14. I want to have lots of adventures
  15. I love baking but not cooking dinner
  16. I want to raise my own cows/goats/pigs/chickens
  17. Sport is over rated
  18. TV is not essential
  19. Reading is essential
  20. People are amazing
  21. Hats suit me
  22. I need lists and notebooks and calendars
  23. I never want to renovate a house ever again
  24. I yearn to go tramping in New Zealand
  25. Steak and salad is a perfect meal

What have you worked out?


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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 maya July 1, 2011 at 7:25 am

Happy almost 40th! I love this list. I mean really LOVE it! I never made such a list for my 40th, but maybe for the 42nd which is in a couple of weeks. Fellow Cancer Crab, are you?


2 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:46 am

Leo – my birthday is a couple of weeks away yet! but I am having a big party this weekend – overextended myself by inviting over 100 people and not really expecting them all to come. and because my boy usually hijacks my birthday I thought I would go a little earlier this time around to get it all to myself.


3 Sophia July 1, 2011 at 7:41 am

I wish you all the best for your 40th birthday!!!!
I am not 40 yet and I haven’t worked out so many things. My list is a little shorter:

1. Family is very important for me
2. Having a garden and grow your own food is great
3. Knitting is cool
4. Sewing turns out easier than I thought
5. Taking a walk makes me feel good
6. I cannot stop learning (is it languages or other stuff)
7. I like me the way I am
8. It is not that important what other people think about me
9. I never want to have a TV
10. Reading a good book is great
11. I have to get more organized or sort out more things I have an might not really need


4 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:45 am

I want to grow more of my own food – I just need to spend more time and effort out there – thank you I love all these lists – learning, knitting, reading, gardening, family – yes, yes, yes, yes.

much love


5 Jesse July 1, 2011 at 7:51 am

I agree wholeheartedly with everything on your list!


6 betsy July 1, 2011 at 7:55 am

Happy almost Birthday! I love your list. I turned 40 a few years ago and am loving being in my 40s — so liberating!


7 Siobhan July 1, 2011 at 8:05 am

Don’t sweat the small stuff & things have a way of turning out – eventually!


8 Jenny Wilding Cardon July 1, 2011 at 8:21 am

I’m turning 40 this year too. Kathreen, after reading your list, I wish we were neighbors. :)


9 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:44 am

Oh me too!


10 Jodi Anderson July 1, 2011 at 8:44 am

Sweetie birthday wishes to you, Kathreen. Welcome to a wonderful decade.

I am 41. During my 30s, I’d always hear that life will change at 40… you will become even more yourself and love the 40s. So far, it’s true. I hope that you find the same to be the case, moon-face sister. (Our round faces have moreroom for kisses, from loves and babes and every kind of creature.)


11 Marcie July 1, 2011 at 8:52 am

Funny, I was told that upon turning 40 I would feel much older than the year before. And I didn’t. I felt just slightly wiser. Happy almost birthday, Kathreen.


12 amy July 1, 2011 at 9:24 am

Happy Birthday! I lost track around 35 and have to figure my age from my kids’–it’s a couple years yet until 40. A few important things I’ve learned:
1. We get to define our own success.
2. I don’t give a fig how anybody else is choosing to be a parent, as long as they’re not trying to tell me how to be a parent to my own kids.
3. I’m terrible at keeping plants alive too, but I’m good at keeping kids healthy, so it’s all good.
4. If you have a choice, don’t do something that makes you unhappy just because you think it’s the thing you ought to be doing.
5. Oh, the beauty in every day–what a miracle, this whole life. Notice it.


13 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:44 am

I love your list Amy – thank you!
And Yes Jodi I have come to appreciate the benefits of a round face . xx


14 Carly July 4, 2011 at 12:27 am

Number 4 is a pearler! :)

I agree with all moon-face comments. Mine is inherited from my mother – I love that reminder in the mirror of where I’ve come from.

I think ‘anything is better than nothing’ applies to many situations – housework, exercise, craft, reading… even a little bit makes a big difference to sanity! Strangely, my ‘anything’ for the last two ends up being much more than my ‘anything’ for the first two…!

Love your blog Kathreen – thanks so much!


15 Lynsey aka Swirlyarts July 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

I love this list – here’s mine.

1. You can never have too many books
2. I love my family even though they drive me mad sometimes
3. Ironing is a waste of time and energy
4. Mess is good
5. You can never have enough fabric (!)
6. De-cluttering can sometimes be good
7. It doesn’t matter if you go up a dress size
8. Cake is good but not all the time (see point 7 above!)
9. Most TV is rubbish
10. Fresh flowers are good and brighten the house as well as making me feel cheery

Happy Birthday :)


16 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:43 am

I love your list – Yes to mess, no to ironing, yes to lots and lots of books!


17 Amy July 1, 2011 at 9:45 am

I just turned 42 and yes, it took me this long to settle into myself as well. My list would look a lot like yours I think except I wish I could do lots more handstitching;-)


18 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:42 am

I love that concept – ‘settle into myself’ thank you – that is what it feels like.


19 PB from MN July 1, 2011 at 10:56 am

Turning 50 is even better. It is like a something just clicks and you realize that you are an amazing incredible woman and you refuse to let anyone treat you any differently. Life is just beginning and there is an incredible world out there to explore.
Life is good
Smile and it will help your day and someone else’s
Treat others with dignity and respect and expect them to treat you the same way
Every day is a learning experience, whether it is good, bad or otherwise
Pamper yourself on occasion
Stand tall and believe in yourself
Life is meant to be lived
Always find something good to say
Have high expectations of yourself and others in your life-we are all very capable
Show others you care
My list could have much much more
I do thank you for providing this list/idea and I hope you have a fabulous birthday


20 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:41 am

Yes, yes, yes – Thank you – I love your list and love your thoughts on turning 50 – I can’t wait!


21 Francesca July 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

Happy birthday!


22 Curtis July 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

Turning 44 this year…mostly lost, hate my job, home life aint nothing special, not sure where I’m going or how the heck I’m going to get there…but for the most part, dealing with it and trying to enjoy the ride.

Things I have learned:

1. With out your family your nothing.
2. Love, whether a gift of god or not, is the only thing that really matters, the rest is all just filler.
3. Creativity is second only to love, if you can’t create something…what the hell are you doing here?
4. Grandchildren are freakin’ AWESOME!
3. If your slightly obsessive compulsive (or more), try crochet, especially large doilies or table toppers, it’ll give you hours and hours of compulsive behavior to revel in!
4. Homemade smoked turkey is almost as awesome as grandchildren!
5. No matter how hard you try to turn your children into who you want them to be, they’ll end up who THEY want to be, so just let it happen (it’s less painful for all involved!).

I could go on and on, but I wont bore you…


23 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:40 am

I have never tried homemade smoked turkey – will give this a go one of these days. Thank you for your thoughts.


24 shahanaz July 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

Lovely list. Totally agree with #’s 7,8,18,19,20.
Happy 40th to you! Hope you have a wonderful day!
I will also be 40 later this year…..age is just a number in your mind. How you feel, is what counts….I am sure your children keep you young at heart! I know my toddlers do wonders for me :)


25 Elizabeth July 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Happy Birthday, Kathreen! I’m only two years behind you and I can relate to a lot on your list. If there is one bonus to growing a bit older (and I think it’s a very big bonus), it’s the capacity to really enjoy my life, my relationships and who I am (quirks and faults included).


26 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:39 am

Enjoying our quirks definitely comes with age – acceptance of who we are – yes indeed.


27 sofia July 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

happy birthday , love the list , we are never too old for learning or new adventures we need to follow our own pace and not someone elses
i hope to see u one day if u decide to travel to greece
greetings from an optimist and a big birthday hug and kisses to your moon face
sofia from athens greece


28 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:39 am

I would love to visit Greece again one day – I was there nearly 20 years ago with friends – fun times! Now I just console myself with delicious Greek pastries.


29 Karen in Toronto July 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm

1. Movies, music, fabric and pretty paper can make my heart sing.
2. Hugs and going for a walks are always a good idea.
3. I like to explore new places and make things.
4. I do not like camping.
5. I am a good listener.
6. I have a terrible memory and need to write it down straight away.
7. It’s not a good idea to shop when I’m sad or hungry.
8. I am learning to trust my gut instinct.
9. For me, TV, ironing and sports are so over-rated.
10. Life gets easier.

Karen, age 44, Toronto


30 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:38 am

oh hugs, exploring, and gut instinct – need to add these to my list too.


31 Elizabeth July 1, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Happy Birthday Kathreen!
Yes you have figured out some wonderful truths. I like PM’s list as well. I am in the middle, age-wise of both of you and I think it’s liberating in many ways to age gracefully and let go of our expectations and more importantly the expectations of others and just be who we are.
I know now how not saying some things is as important as saying them. I didn’t have that filter when I was younger.
I smiled when I read #15 – me too!
I still learn new things every day.
I am truly happy when I am making things with my hands.
I really don’t feel like sewing any more.
Oh and I never iron anything until I’m about to wear it – clothes always wrinkle in the closet too.
I love your photo.
Enjoy the journey.


32 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:37 am

I hope I age gracefully too – and yes I agree – say NO to ironing – life really is too short!


33 Lucy July 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm

HAPPY 40th Kathreen!
(I smile remembering your 25th in china!)
Love your list too.
What have I worked out? hmmmm
My kids have taught me that slowing down is essential and joyous – that is a big one for me.
Big hug from Brisbane.


34 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:36 am

Oh Wow Lucy – doesn’t that bring back memories – Yes turned 25 in China surrounded by some wonderful people – thank you for that time. and yes kids – they really do teach you to appreciate the little things and go at a slower pace.
Be well
much love


35 jojoebi July 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Happy birthday, I turned 40 this time too and looking through your list, mine would be very much the same, the colour of wine is different and I hand sew but can’t crochet!


36 Nancy July 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm

That thinking before I speak is almost always a good idea.
That I don’t have to finish a book if I don’t like it.
That you should support your local library.
That I still love my cat but some of the most interesting people I know are dogs.
That it’s important for me to do something every day that scares me a little.
That making art every day is almost as important as breathing every day.
That breathing is the real magic.
That every year is better: Happy birthday, Kathreen!


37 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:34 am

I like your list – Yes thinking before speaking – need to add that to my list and doing something everyday that scares you a little – I think I do that – but just didn’t realise it.
Thank you Nancy


38 katepickle July 2, 2011 at 2:17 am

Great list…. I need a great list…. must remember to work on a great list.
Happy Birthday for when it rolls around


39 Maya July 2, 2011 at 2:36 am

May you have the happiest of birthdays Kathreen!!
This is like a milestone. You turn and you see all the wonderful things you have achieved and all the challenges you’ve overcome since as someone said life challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They are supposed to help you discover who you are!
I am honored to know you and thank you for letting us in into your creative world.


40 kath_red July 2, 2011 at 5:33 am

Thank you Maya
It is an honour to be part of this creative online world of ours


41 Dawn July 2, 2011 at 9:11 am

Congrats on your upcoming birthday! My list would be very similar to yours. I turned 40 in April and have been on a semi mission to tell as many people who will listen how wonderful getting older is, especially women. This time of my life; it’s really a joy. Accepting life, embracing life and accepting oneself brings so much joy to life :)


42 Lisa July 2, 2011 at 11:51 am

I love your list. It reminds me a little of the Personal Commandments on the Happiness Project site (check it out, if you haven’t). Always good. I’m 44 and feel like I’m just starting to figure a few things out. One I try to remember is “use two hands”… literally and metaphorically. I’m often aware of trying to hold too much and it’s a reminder to slow down, take time, do fewer things with more purpose.


43 Tania July 3, 2011 at 4:01 am

You know I TOTALLY relate. And apart from the ongoing midlife crisis bizzo, forty rocks.

Number One Acquired Bit of Wisdom: CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES!


44 Tania July 3, 2011 at 4:02 am

And hey, excellent lady…



45 SundaysChild July 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Happy Almost Birthday!
I do remember how I felt at 40, something changed in my mind:
1. I am Queen Size and
2. when I feel like wearing shorts (not SHORT shorts LOL), I will
3. I will grow my hair long
4. If I try something new and figure out I don’t like it, I am not a failure or a quitter
5. I can’t change my mother
6. Therapy is okay (see #5.)
7. Medications are okay and must be taken to actually work (see #5. and #6. LOL)
8. I can change myself
9. I am responsible for my choices and for the health of my body and mind
10. and sadly .. I am a fabricaholic
hee hee .. that was fun!
Take care and hugs, if you want one, Julie Andrea


46 kath_red July 3, 2011 at 7:53 pm

oh yes – number 5. I am not sure I have fully learned this one yet. Good luck with your journey.


47 Nanette July 4, 2011 at 5:32 am

That’s a great list, Kath, have a wonderful birthday. And I think you look comfortable in your skin.


48 kath_red July 4, 2011 at 5:35 am

aoh – thanks Nanette – you are sweet.


49 Knitlass July 5, 2011 at 9:57 am

Ooooh yes. I am 40 too (last week – woo hoo!) and have been making my own list of things I have learned/worked out – the one about not being able to change your mother is definitely on there! What else…

1. Motherhood rocks (having children is the hardest and best thing I have ever done)
2. i am in control
3. I love knitting, and I may have a slight addiction to yarn (but that’s okay)
4. multi tasking is good (today I am working at home – I am reading a text for editing, knitting a sock and listening to cool music)
5. life is too short to diet, so eat well – nourish yourself
6. there is much to be said for the love of a good man
7. save today, spend tomorrow
8. you are never too old to start something new
9. old girls can learn new tricks
10. things usually take far longer than you think – but will be all the more satisfying for the time and effort taken
11. reduce, reuse, recycle


50 Lisa July 6, 2011 at 9:07 am

40 is wonderful, and it gets even better. I am 46 almost 47. I had my first child at 40, second at 42. Life blossomed and keeps getting better. I think we accept who we are – we have lived and keep learning!
Plant some herbs, they are easy and give you great pleasure, especially the ones that come back the next year without any effort. My sage plant just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and oh to hang and dry them!


51 Laura July 6, 2011 at 9:56 am

Happy Birthday, Kathreen! I turned 30 this year – it’s fun how the milestones make you stop and take notice. The big thing I realized this year was that life takes time! Don’t worry if you haven’t done everything yet, just enjoy doing it.


52 Katie July 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I am late to the party but love your list! Happy soon-to-be Birthday! Here are some things I’ve figured:
1. It’s nice to live in a small town.
2. Don’t stress over library fines, consider them book rental fees.
3. To be a good mom, you need some time away from your kids.
4. Sisters make the best friends.

Wish I could adopt your house cleaning one, my house IS usually a mess but I still stress over it.


53 Carrie @ Oh Baby O July 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm

hand-stitching is not my forte either!
A very happy belated birthday to you, Kath! :)


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