Starting My 40th Year


Yesterday, I turned 39.  Today, people asked me what it is like to begin my 40th year.  In all honesty, today felt a lot like yesterday with a little less fanfare, and for certain less cake.  As I begin to think about what this 40th year will be like, it has made me reflect on how far I have come in a decade.   Today, I am a confident (at least half of the time), humble (most all of the time), professional, mother and wife.  I like to believe that I have helped more people in my 30’s than I have hurt, unlike my 20’s, and that I will help even more in the next decade.

One of the most vivid memories I have of turning 30 was celebrating that I could say “I am in my 30’s” at work.  For some reason, I felt like being 30 would instantly give me the respect that I craved at work, and it would help my coworkers (mostly men, 15 – 20 years my senior) to respect me.  At 30, I had been working in a corporate setting for almost ten years.  I came out of college young into an amazing job, and continued taking on progressively more responsibility from Procter and Gamble to Pepsi.  In 2006, I was working as a Marketing Director for Mrs. Fields Cookies in Salt Lake City.

I was enjoying the work.  It was challenging, both intellectually and organizationally.  I continued to work hard and stay committed to success.  Despite my positive performance feedback, and my commitment to the company, and me asking for them, my bosses and co-workers wouldn’t give me larger assignments or the nod to lead stretch projects.  I truly believed that they didn’t respect all that I could deliver.

So, in my immature mind, turning 30 was the answer!  I somehow convinced myself that this milestone would bring me confidence and help them to recognize that I wasn’t a “little girl who just graduated from college.”  Wow – was I wrong.  Sure, for several months, I found a new confidence based on this belief, but I quickly realized that nothing changed around me.  I was still the same person the day after I turned 30 that I was the day before.  My work relationships were still the same work relationships.  My feeling of “lack of respect” still existed.  I felt like I didn’t get taken seriously for what I had to offer.  I decided to just put my head down and work harder than anyone around me.  My last ditch effort to earn the respect I felt that I deserved.

As I reflect now, I can see how foolish this all seemed.  What was my problem?  Why did I worry about what now seems so trivial?  I know today that this feeling of self-doubt had nothing to do with how my bosses and co-workers were treating me, but had everything to do with my own self confidence.  Instead of believing in myself, I looked outward for affirmation.

Almost a decade later, I believe that living through this challenge in my life shaped how I live today.  So, I am not celebrating the start of my 40th year nor lamenting it.  Today, I am a professional, a leader, an athlete, a wife and a mother.  I still struggle at times with a feeling of “lack of respect”, but I try hard to celebrate what I have accomplished myself versus looking for someone to affirm my contributions.  I try act with respect for myself and for others, and to be humble about what I know and what I don’t.  I work everyday to value each person on my team and in my life, knowing that each person brings a unique value.  As I lead people, I listen and try help people find their inner confidence and encourage them to respect themselves.

So with 39 in the rear view mirror, and 40 around the corner, I don’t start this 40th year with any grand hopes that being “in my forties” will change much.  What I am celebrating is that I have learned a lot in the last decade and hope to learn as much as I head toward the next one.

I Want Peace

“I just wanna make you laugh.  I just wanna see that smile.  Babe, we’re only here, oh, for a little while.  I just wanna hold you till we fall asleep.  I want love, I want us, I want you, I want me, I want peace.” – O.A.R.

We have been fighting sickness in our house for what feels like the entire winter.  One of us gets sick, then the other, then Mom which takes everything down.  On this late-April weekend in Park City, rain and snow have graced us with their presence waking up to a 3-4″ layer of white on everything, including our spring tulips.  We decided to take it as a weekend just to hunker down in our house and be at “peace.”  No commitments to anyone, no plans, just each other.

This morning as I prepared some bacon and eggs for breakfast, Matthew was building a whole scene in the living room – Dusty Crophopper was being rescued by the Fire and Rescue helicopter while Katharine was preparing for class at her art table.  She was a 13 year old that can drive to school, and is practicing her cursive writing.  In this land of pretend, O.A.R’s song “Peace” came on our stereo and both kids starting belting out the above lyrics almost subconsciously.

What a good memory to capture on my blog.  I am grateful to have the life that I have.  Today it isn’t marketing meets motherhood, it is must motherhood and being at peace.

Embracing the Builder in Me

    This week someone asked me how I would characterize myself.  What a question!?!  Not something that you ask a person like me lightly.  What it caused me to do was to reflect on what is now almost a 39 year old life, a 17 year career, an almost 13 year marriage and the last 5 years as a mother.  

    Is it possible to characterize what I am known for with a phrase or a statement?  I wonder if it can be that simple.  How can I package this life I have lived into a statement without being trite or oversimplifying the wonderful complexity that has been my life.  After a few moments of skepticism and frustration, it came to me.  

    I am a builder.  

    A builder of things:  kiddos, relationships (including the longest, best one with Jon), teams, businesses, marketing programs, friendships and most recently a house.  You name it, I like building it.  One of the profound things you realize when you are building a house is that through a series of micro-choices (the floor plan, the materials selection, the fixtures, the lighting) a house is formed.  It is amazing how relevant this is to life!!  A series of small (and some big choices) help to create the life that you want.  Sometimes those choices feel big – like whether to have kids – and sometimes they feel small – like getting out of bed to go to the gym in the morning.  Either way, they help to determine who you are as a person.  

    So, as a builder, what is the next thing that I will build?  Our house wraps up this summer, my team at work is in great shape, my kids appear to be normal, well-adjusted, kind little beings (at least most of the time), and Jon and I have met a number of the goals that we set out to accomplish.  Enter the problem!  I can’t seem to sit in this new so-called house (otherwise known as my life) that I have buit, and enjoy things.  I am always on the look out for the next thing to build…something to harness my creativtity and the perspective I have learned from all of the other building projects I have completed.    

    This creates mental disonance.  A feeling like I am not living in the moment, but instead, always looking toward the next project.  This evening, as I sit contemplating that next project, I have decided instead of being frustrated by being a builder, I will embrace my pursuit of the next thing.  It is just a matter of picking it wisely.  

    Being Grateful: Celebrate the Moments

    Sometimes during the tantrums, the sibling fights over toys, and during the crazy schedule I try to run, I can forget the joy of what I have in front of me.  This weekend when we were out to brunch with Matthew, I captured Matthew at his finest.  He is kind, energetic, inquisitive (what’s that mom?), and loving.  His eyes tell stories and he makes me smile.


    This last week at work I had the opportunity to hear Chris Williams speak of his personal story of letting go.  He lost his wife and two children to a drunk driving accident almost ten years ago.  He spoke of forgiveness and moving forward with his life.  It was an unforgettable moment for me to listen to his story.  His humbleness, quiet power and gratefulness for the life he has lived helped me to take a deep breath.   How many times do I harbor anger for something that has happened to me?  How many times have I carried this frustration throughout my days, letting it inadvertently control me?  Chris framed forgiveness as a selfish act, saying that the act of letting go helped him to move forward.  Wow.  What a powerful thing to remember when things don’t go as I want them to go.  Here is to hoping that I never have to face something as tragic as Chris to learn this.

    For now, I am grateful for the moments.  This weekend we enjoyed so much fun together…skiing together, playing pretend together, building castles and jails for Matthew’s infamous “mean guy” together, and snuggling as a family of four squeezed into our queen-sized bed.  Sometimes life seems hard, sometimes I have no energy, but always I feel lucky.  Lucky to have this little Matthew in my life, lucky that Katharine is his big sister, and incredibly blessed to have Jon to share it with me.