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What is Forty Thinks?

When I worked at The Simple Things magazine (I was their Chief sub-editor for about a year before my daughter was born) one of my favourite concepts from its pages was the ‘could-do list’. In stark contrast to the ‘to-do list’ that we all carry in our heads and handbags as we go through life, the ‘could-do list’ is about inspiration. Things you’d like to do. Things that would nourish your soul, spark ideas, bring a fresh perspective. Things that, given the opportunity, finances, time, energy and babysitters, you WOULD do. But often, the best things in life are the most simple; the things that don’t require all those things to be in place for you to do them. Like a forest walk, a big family hug, bedtime stories, film night, or lighting some candles, turning off your phone and chilling out. Sometimes one of the most straightforward paths to happiness is enjoying the things you can do, rather than lusting after all those that you can’t.


In the January issue, Katie Powell outlined a list of forty things that she did in the year she turned forty. I loved the feature and the whole concept. We're in a new decade as well as a new year, and for me it’s the last one I will spend in my thirties. I’m sure I’m far from unusual in this, but my life looked pretty different at the end of 2019 to the way it did in January 2010.

On the face of it, some of these changes were not only unplanned but unwelcome. Ten years ago everyone I loved was on earth and in good health; my family is now significantly smaller, and a close family member’s cancer journey is still ongoing. I started the decade as a newlywed and ended it as a separated single parent. My career has gone from being full-time with a pension, colleagues and salary to another player in today’s insecure ‘gig economy’. But if I’ve learned anything over these challenging, transformative and beautiful years, it’s how lucky I am. And how being grateful for the things I have makes me far more content than the way I desperately used to strive to improve myself at the dawn of every year.


This year there will be no new year’s resolutions. But there will be a list, of forty things I want to do, to give, to experience, and to be as I turn forty, and a blog about my journey through them. The blog is ‘thing’ number one.

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