The Thankful List

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Home | Columnists + Experts | Ceslie Armstrong | The Thankful List

I'm sure a lot of you are feeling the same way I am about the onset of the New Year: uncertain, relieved, hopeful, excited, pensive, and more. I have become very aware that as I age, I also have become more patient and realistic about the rituals surrounding the calendar page flipping (or digital numbers clicking) over to a new, fresh, untarnished year. I think it's the anticipation of the "clean slate" that makes us feel so hopeful. Of course, the reality of analyzing and facing the list of resolutions from the previous year can be disappointing and overwhelming. So, this year instead of making my traditional list of places to go, people to see, diet to manage, money to earn, and gigantic metaphorical mountains to climb in the new year, I decided to make a list of things I am thankful for from the past year. And, wow! Making that list sure felt good.

Of course there are many goals, dreams, and desires that still remain unchecked in my mental to do list; but, having reached the probable halfway mark in this glorious life I've now realized that my list has become more realistic (although still lofty) and still very "accomplishable." And I'm happy to report that my "thankful list" is long and very pleasing to review unlike previous year's typical list of resolutions.

I have had several discussions the past few days with my closest friends and have found that when we compared our 2008 resolutions to year's past, well, let's just say that women over 40 have incredibly keen ideas and perspectives about how to better their lives and accomplish their must-do items. A prime example is that a common "resolution" in year's past is to lose 20 pounds whereas the motive now is to eat healthfully and gain knowledge about what foods we can ingest to prolong life and just feel and look better.

I have found a strong sense of comfort and excitement in knowing that as a woman over 40 I have the ability to choose to re-invent and better myself whenever I wish without sacrificing the more than four decades of experience, knowledge, failures, successes and outright fun I've lived. I wouldn't trade the current decade of my 40s or the future ones I'll experience for one day of the past decades. Looking back on the uncertain teens; the "I'm bullet-proof 20s"; or the "take no prisoners 30s" makes me do a giant exhale and grin that my personal calendar page turned over to my fourth decade more than six years ago. The sense of pride in ownership I have about the 46.5 years I've lived so far have motivated me to set goals that once accomplished, will be on my "thankful list" this time next year. And, realistically I won't accomplish every goal I set forth in 2008 but I am absolutely certain that I have the choice and power to have a lot of fun trying.

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