Mayday: my fortieth birthday is approaching.
It somehow feels less affronting to spell out that number rather than type it out… like it isn’t staring at me and reminding me of all the things I meant to do by now.
But here I sit, T minus 7 days to the big day, with a sense that I need to run out and go all the places, do all the things and just generally have it far more together before… forty.
And all of this from someone who is fairly laid back about life in general!
A few months ago, I realized one day that I was exactly 40 days from turning 40. I immediately started looking for a game plan to kick start… well, everything. Before I turned 40, I wanted to be healthier! More active! The same weight I was at 25! With the skin I had at 30!
Fortunately, I ran across an article from one of my favorite magazines that brought me back from the brink of insanity. Outside Magazine is known for its outstanding, well-researched and intriguing longform essays (my favorite type of writing to produce and consume), and this one really caught my eye.
The premise? We are all overthinking wellness.
The article pointed to the research of Lester Breslow, who summarized seven key factors to a healthy life:
Do not smoke; drink in moderation; sleep seven to eight hours; exercise at least moderately; eat regular meals; maintain a moderate weight; eat breakfast.
Hold up just a minute. Stop the presses.
As I read the article, I did a quick mental assessment:
- Do not smoke: check!
- Drink in moderation: err… check!
- Sleep seven to eight hours: check!
- Exercise at least moderately: mostly check!
- Eat regular meals: check!
- Maintain a moderate weight: sorta check!
- Eat breakfast: check!
It’s as though I am basically a rock star at life. I am nailing it.
Ok, truth be told, I could probably stand to drink a *little* less, increase my exercise, decrease my weight and eat breakfast a *little* more regularly. But this is the type of lifestyle manual I can follow. I’m knocking it out of the park on more than 40% (give or take) of these edicts at roughly 40% (give or take) through my life.
Suddenly, I feel like I’ve got things under control again.
So as I march toward 40 (there, I said it), I’m doing a couple of concrete – and simple – things to make my life measurably better:
- Taking a much, much better daily vitamin.
- Smiling more and focusing on happiness.
- Cultivating things – from kids to plants – that make the world better.
- Eliminating things – and people – that weigh me down.
- Relishing the everyday adventures in between the big trips.
Beyond that? I’m sticking to the research on the seven factors to a healthy life, and celebrating my small victories.
- Full article: A Longtime Fitness Editor Does Some Soul Searching
- Guess who else turns 40 this year? Outside Magazine! I find it oddly comforting that we were both born in 1977. By the way, one thing I *did* get right before 40: essentially eliminating my magazine subscription addiction. I now read all my favorite magazines (including Outside) via Texture (<– that link will give you a free trial). Here’s more about why I love it.
- Want another fantastic article/life plan from Outside? Read The Secret to Happiness? Simplify. Not sure? Here’s the article summary: You’re addicted to your phone. You’re loaded down by useless stuff. And you eat like a teenager. No wonder you can’t find the time to play outside, see the world, and get in shape. Fortunately, streamlining your life – and having more fun – is easy: just do less. Here’s how. (I told you it was worth reading.)