My big fat European vacation and why it’s taken me two years to take it

Remember when I wrote this post about what I’d imagined I’d be doing at 40? It involved writing – a blog post, a short story, anything really – while at a cafe in Italy. But it involved a version and a vision of myself that didn’t exist back then. Even if I’d been able to financially swing the trip, in my head I just wasn’t ready.

And I am always in my head.

And my head kept asking “What if you can’t get it together?”, “What if you’re not in the shape you want to be?”,  “What if things don’t go the way you planned?”, what if, what if, what if…

So for two years I let my head talk my heart out of taking a trip I’ve always wanted to take.

This year my heart wins out.

The interesting thing is I’ve made this trip before. In 2005 I flew to Europe, alone, met up with friends and spent 3 amazing weeks in London and Florence.  So what’s so different now?

That trip was pre-40, I was in better shape and was in a completely different mindset. This time, post 40, I felt like I wanted this trip more but that somehow I wasn’t ready for it. Doesn’t make much sense does it?

So what’s changed? Why this year and why now? Because life doesn’t wait for us to be perfect, or even ready, for it to happen. Time passes while we talk about the things we want and think about the things we want. And then before we know it, we’re wishing we’d done it – whatever it is.

I’m tired of wishing and tired of waiting for my life to be perfect.  I’m tired of being so afraid of moving in the wrong direction that I don’t move at all.

My life will never be perfect. I may one day have the financial freedom I’ve always wanted, the relationship I’ve dreamed of having, and the health and fitness that’s been a lifelong struggle for me. But even if those things miraculously fall into place all at once, my life will still never be perfect. But it will always be my life. One that for all its ups and downs I’m blessed to have.

So I’m off to Europe for two weeks in the fall to enjoy my wonderfully imperfect life. It’s my own personal self-indulgence tour, one in which I plan to reawaken my senses. I even wrote my own little travel manifesto, which I’ll share next week. Spoiler – it involves being less self-conscious, more spirit conscious, eating without obsessing, and maybe even a gorgeous Italian or Frenchman or Brit…

As I plan for this trip, I wonder why so many of us put off doing the thing(s) that we really want to do. I wonder what we’re so afraid of and what separates those who “just do it” from those who don’t. What have you always dreamed of doing and what are you going to do to make it happen? Share your thoughts here or on our Facebook page.

 

 

Our summer reading series begins with…Annie Begins

AnnieBeginsEditor’s Note: Annie Begins, a novel by Michelle Toth, kicks off our summer reading series, and WAF reader Traci Delisser reviews the book and shares how she relates to a certain character who lives life, without apologies, on her own terms…

Annie Begins – Reviewed by Traci Delisser

I read a lot and usually I am dying for my lunch breaks and daily train rides to pull out my book of the day and find out what happens next. With this book, not so much! It was highly predictable with the typical girl (Annie) who likes an “unavailable” guy, who in turn likes her only as a friend; while his not so refined friend becomes her rock. There were no surprises.

That said; Annie was very relatable: a giver who is always taking care of others, a bit embarrassed by her working class family, unsuccessful in love, crushing on the wrong guy and a smart professional doing great work for little and inadequate compensation. Annie could easily be me. You cannot help but cheer when she stands up for herself, turns a rejected idea into a business and finally recognizes the jewel under the mullet hair.

Annie’s young sick cousin, April, however is why I like this book. She is a strong, wise old soul who reminded me throughout that there is nothing greater than family, embracing love and being open and available to the possibilities.

The other star of the book is Anne’s roommate, Elk with her strong sense of self, confidence and candor. She embodies the lesson I am now learning in my life – Live your life on your terms and don’t apologize for doing so.

Traci Delisser is a proud Jamaican now living in the City of Brotherly Love. An attorney in a previous life, Traci now works in real estate finance and is now searching for her next career for her 40s. Her favorite quote is “People treat you how you allow them to treat you”.

You can pick up a copy of Michelle Toth’s Annie Begins on Amazon.

Let’s make history: Women’s History Month

Three Guineas Fund Recipient of Global Fund GrantWhile we honor women in history throughout the year, March is officially Women’s History Month. Back in our 20’s, the 40 year old version of us seemed so far away. We thought that by 40 we’d have accomplished all of the things we’d set out to do, and be ready to settle into “old age.” Or so we thought.  Whether 40’s turning out just as you planned, or you’ve still got a long list of things you’d like to accomplish, you’re never too old, or too young, to make history.

Destined to leave our own mark on history, The Women at Forty Project recognizes and honors the achievements of women, of all ages, around the world. In keeping with that spirit, today we’re spotlighting four women-run organizations that celebrate the power of women. These organizations are changing the world – one child, one person, one issue at a time. They inspire us to want to make our own history. Let them inspire you too… (Image: 3gf, Global Fund for Women grant recipient)

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Dangling Over the Precipice of 40

esther kane

by Esther Kane

Although I’m not quite sure how it happened, I turned 39 this year. This came as a huge shock as I remember my 20s so vividly- as if they were yesterday. It seems to me that once you hit 20, the process of ageing accelerates exponentially until you’ve barely gotten used to the decade you’re currently in and no sooner-whoosh! – It disappears in a flash of lightening and you’re propelled (or catapulted as it often feels) into the next decade kicking and screaming all the way.

Even with all of the blessings that have come in my 30s (i.e., material comfort, wisdom, grounding, and a great marriage), I am completely bewildered at how I could possibly be turning 40 on my next birthday and don’t exactly relish the thought. Ideally, I’d love to be able to magically mix my 20s looks with my 30s wisdom and stability and stay 30 forever, but as we all know, this is an impossibility (maybe not for long due to how advanced science is these days…)

So I guess my only choice is to proverbially ‘like it or lump it’… I choose liking it-okay, maybe I don’t exactly LIKE it, but I am choosing to feel positive, excited, and empowered about growing older. I guess it beats the alternative- being fearful, resentful, and living in regret or staying stuck by denying the entire ageing process altogether. I definitely don’t want to become one of those women who do anything and everything in her power to stay youthful looking as long as is humanly possible. I definitely don’t find that empowering.

Continue reading Dangling Over the Precipice of 40

Rachel on: A new me at forty

00341738I never really wanted a new me. Sure, the old me has always had flaws; eh—doesn’t everyone? I know some women who have celebrated their fortieth or some other milestone birthday or event by “treating” themselves to a nip here, a tuck there or perhaps an injection or two… It’s not my thing, but then again it’s not my party so I’m not going to waste any time or tears crying about what anyone else is doing.

No, that’s not the new me. The new (just new, not improved) Rachel Dachel still looks and sounds the same as she always has. It’s funny; I still have the same laugh, the same walk, the same cadence to my speech. My clothes fit the same, my hair still loops, twirls and swirls in its same crazy curls. Every freckle on my face is exactly where I remember it being yesterday, last week, last month and for eternity.

I’m still left-handed. Well, yeah, I am pretty much ambidextrous, but just as I always have, I still favor my left hand and enjoy the struggle that is at times a manual can opener. I enjoy the same books, movies and music that I always have and I still drive the same car, go to the same office and have all of the same friends and family that I always have. So in essence, nothing has changed. But simultaneously, EVERYTHING has changed. I don’t know this new woman in my mirror.

Continue reading Rachel on: A new me at forty