This past Friday (Apr 28), I turned 42. What a time to be alive!

Forty-two is fun, because it thrives in pop culture, and it’s more interesting than superstitious numbers like 13. Of course, just aging into a neat number isn’t exactly an accomplishment, so here are some things I am going to do at 42. (Speaking of aging, I was trying on some glasses and asked my husband what he thought and he nodded approvingly and said, “they make you look like what you are: an aging professional.”)

I took the day off on Friday, not because it was my birthday, but because I spent all day Thursday working – like, literally. I got up at 2:30am to make a 6am flight to NYC, and spent the day with my co-workers. The Tumblr folks who came to the office that day took me to dinner for my birthday! We went to Jolene and were able to sit outside. I flew out at 9:30pm, but was able to catch a Tumblr all-hands call that was at 8pm from the Delta lounge. I got to my house around 12:45am on Friday. So I started Friday by sleeping in and it was glorious.

During the active part of my day, I live streamed the guinea pigs while I did some pre-work for a business executive course I’m taking from Stanford called The Emerging COO. The course is really daunting. It’s not just that it’s Stanford, though it is that too; it’s that it’s starting with financial projections. I’ve come to love this sort of terror/excitement. X, Google’s moonshot factory, has this mentality that if you’re going to build something no one has ever built before, start with the hardest thing. That way, you either build something really substantial and make actual progress, or you know really quickly that the project won’t work. So I’m glad we’re starting with something I feel really unsure about because I crave the challenge and I’m desperate to know as much as I can about things I don’t know anything about.

This course lasts the next three months. The first module starts now (homework due Friday! Have I mentioned I love being in school?) and is self-paced (though there are a few sync calls to meet people). The second module is in June, and is 2.5 weeks of daily classes; since this is the online-only version, these are online classes. There is a hybrid session, too, where students actually go to Stanford for these 2.5 weeks and attend in person. That would be really interesting and enveloping, but not realistic for me, unfortunately. The third module is in July, and is also self-paced, with opening and closing live sessions. Then the final project is due in August. Part of the way Stanford makes this sort of program work (for people who haven’t been in school in years) is through “effortful learning” – they expect you to struggle; if you struggle, you’re doing it right.

Last summer I spent 8 weeks taking the Art of Accomplishment Masterclass, and I’m really glad I took that before taking this course. I took a refresher of the AoA class, The Connections Course, this past spring with some folks from my team, and it was a really good moment to reflect. I think that approaching the Stanford course with vulnerability, impartiality, empathy, wonder, and reflection will help ensure I get the most out of it, so it couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s incredibly important to me that I get the most out of the COO course so I can have the highest impact possible for Tumblr.

We just moved in mid-April and spent the past few weeks getting our old house ready to put on the market, which we did last week. We’ve had a ton of showings already, so hopefully we will sell fast and for a good price. Owning two houses within 5 miles of each other seems… not efficient. Since we’ve been spending all our available time at the old house, we haven’t fully unpacked yet, but 42-year-old me is going to be a good unpacker and put-er away-er! I will excel in this area. I have several ideas for making this happen, which include (but are not limited to): more storage solutions; making use of twin-power and getting the twins to put things away; having a clear vision for how each room should look when completed. We will see how that all plays out.

We are in the middle of one house project now (which 42-me will reap the benefit of) – we’re converting a small den-like room into a library. We bought something like eleven Billy bookcases from IKEA and are in the process right now of sanding, priming, and painting them. We are lining the room (wherever there aren’t doors or sofas) with bookcases. I will share photos of this project when completed, but I will tease that it makes me feel like I may be an Actual Grown Up.

I also plan to spend most of the forty-second year of my life sans gallbladder (and then all the subsequent years of my life as well, since it’s a no putsies-backsies deal). I have a consult later this month with a surgeon. My gallbladder is functioning at 9% (so, I wouldn’t say it’s functioning at all). As you may already know, the gallbladder is a small organ connected to your liver and large intestines. Its job is to excrete bile to break down food. It has this one job, and it is notoriously bad at it. When it’s not forming gallstones or blocking ducts, it is just flat out refusing to eject bile, which then builds up very painfully. Once it’s removed, your body heaves an enormous sigh of relief and makes do without the lazy bum. It will take some months for things to equalize (and several websites point out that if you introduce fiber too soon and too quickly, you will alienate your friends and loved ones with your unpredictable flatulence), but then things will hum along better than ever. I had a telehealth appt with my primary care doc today, and she said that given how poorly my gallbladder has been performing, she wouldn’t be surprised if I felt like an entirely new person after surgery. She’s never actually seen such a low result, and it is always interesting to be the worst example of something – very novel. I look forward to no more pain! What a year it will be!

In the fall, the kids will all attend new schools in a new school district. So 42-me will be cognizant of that integration process, and will make sure to support them as best they need it. Success here will look like laughter and friends. Grades will follow.

In order to support my continuing health, and leading to and following surgery, I will need to lose weight, so that is also part of the plan for the year (and life, I guess). We live near a lovely cemetery, and I envision lots of walks, jogs, and bike rides, particularly on work-from-house days. I’m already eating even better than usual, because fatty or greasy foods send my idiot gallbladder into a frenzy. Losing weight will help overall with pain mitigation (and, like, all the stuff that goes with being a woman of a certain age). I typically make very little time for things like my own maintenance (with the exception of going to the salon, though I’ve pushed back my latest appointment three times because of moving stuff), so this shift to being a Healthy Person is going to be a pretty big change. I simply cannot wait to be absolutely obnoxious about it!

I also plan to sleep more. My sleep has absolutely tanked over the last 5 or 6 months, and it’s not sustainable. I sleep fewer than 6 hours a night, and it’s usually pretty restless (Fitbit says I sleep like a hedgehog? “fall asleep later and wake up earlier … compared to others, hedgehogs are lighter sleepers.” This does track). Surely getting more exercise will help – although I’ve gotten plenty of exercise the past couple of months with moving house, and that clearly hasn’t helped. But perhaps “real” exercise will help. We will try. I’d like to get to a point where I don’t need sleep medication any longer, so that’s the goal for this year – get closer to 8 hours of sleep a night without sleep medication.

And that’s it (for now)! As I begin accomplishing some of these (“accomplishing” gallbladder surgery, tee hee), new goals will arise so I’ll look for them when the time calls.

It’s gonna be a good year, I can just tell.

4 responses to “42”

  1. Happy birthday again, and these are all great goals!

    Re: sleep — whenever I’ve experienced sleep issues, sleep meditation that are available from apps like Headspace has always helped. YMMV but it’s worth trying!

    Liked by 1 person

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