So long, 40

I think any day that starts with bacon has got to be a good one. Any day, even if it’s early. Like today was. But since it started with bacon, nothing can stop me.

It’s my last day being 40. Tomorrow I’m “in my 40s.” And that sounds different.

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Me, and my bestie, celebrating 40!

Despite being carded at the grocery, or told by my kids that I don’t look older than my 30s (like, what do they know?), or getting a friendly “emergency-light-flashing” from the firetruck that let me walk with my kids in front of it on the way to our car (it was probably for the kids anyway. Who am I kidding?) it is a step forward.

Despite the looming numerical change, 41 has its work cut out for it, like, if it’s competing with 40. Because 40 COMPLETELY KICKED ASS. And that includes this morning, when I tried desperately to keep up with Cooper and Gaga, trying to hit the “Shallow, shallow…sha-ha-lows” just right as I stage-sang along to that magical love song.

Totally failed, but tried. That’s a tricky one. It’s easier for me to keep up with rap. Anyway, it’s been a good damn year.

I discovered new music that feeds my sweet dance moves every day, from Greta Van Fleet to Beck to the latest Muse album and a few old deeper cuts from Queen. Music, like bacon and writing, is pretty much life. So, it was a good year for that.

I finished the Spartan Trifecta, with Ron, and didn’t get hurt. I cried, but didn’t get hurt. And for the record, there IS crying in OCR sports. Tears of disbelief, that’s all. Because those things are ass-kickers that take ridiculous preparation. And require weird exercises.

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Muddy hardware.

I spent Christmas Eve in a tattoo parlor listening to gangster rap as “Dive In” was finally and permanently inked onto my arm.  I’d only been daydreaming about it for more than a year. And on Thanksgiving, we started a totally awesome tradition involving animal onesies that has to be seen to be believed.

Tried goat yoga. I added a few more medals to my hooks. I took Las Vegas by storm with my best people, and then took about 1,000 pictures from inside Antelope Canyon. I learned to snorkel and got shot off a crazy-high water slide that everyone but me handled with grace. Still did it, though.

I explored Channel Islands National Park with the love of my life. And Pinnacles National Park. Oh, and Arches National Park.  And I ate lunch on the beach staring at the Golden Gate Bridge – kissing Ron on the windiest day of our lives.

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NO WORDS FOR HOW MAGICAL THIS IS.

And, I took the kids on an adventurous road trip to Salt Lake City and Zion National Park, using a hard copy atlas, that ended with us camping at a lovely little lake in southern Utah.

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Park picnic. With a friendly squirrel.

I heard elk call to their ladies, and stared one down on the side of the road. We found ways to escape to the ocean, finding coastal campsites that allowed us to hear the waves crashing as we slept.

I discovered Colorado, which left me breathless. See what I did there? And along the way, I’ve grown. Like, my calves are bigger, which is weird (I can feel it when I put my workout pants on), but I’ve also figured a few things out. I’ve added a little more mental muscle, and I can only feel that when I have to flex it.

So, 41. Whatcha got? I know a few things, because we’ve already booked adventures for this year that are going to be ridiculous. They’re off the grid and into the wilderness. And they make me giddy.

The first one begins tomorrow, the first day of my new year. And I just found out about it last night. It requires a neck pillow and tons of storage space for photos.

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Me, finding out where the first day of 41 will take me, while making four pounds of bacon (long story).

I can’t wait to write about it.  And I will. Because I’m going to write and publish every day this year. Writing is breathing to me. But so is second-guessing, sometimes. So I’m hopeful this daily challenge will alleviate some of that. Because, it’s time.

That’s why my website is looking different.  I was writing everywhere, on a billion sites. Okay, not a billion. But a few. And that happened only because my 40th year left me so inspired that I shot off to follow my wild ideas, most of them born during long talks with Ron on our deck at night. It’s a special spot.

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On a cold night on the deck. Oh, and I solidified my love of llamas this year, too.

So I’m putting all those ideas in one drawer now, and adding thoughts every day.  Hope no one gets sick of me.

But, if 41 hopes to keep pace with what is happening tomorrow, it’s going to be an exhilarating, gorgeous year.

PS. Things I forgot, because I’m 40, and can’t remember as well. Finished my first sprint triathlon. Saw Jack Johnson and my beloved Foo Fighters, again. Read a few great books. Kayaked. Hiked a ton, including the beastly Flat Iron. Stopped giving a shit, as much, about certain things. Learned to weld. Discovered Joe Rogan podcasts. Donated to NPR. And laughed – a lot.