The 4-0 Equation.
Author of Bonjour 40: A Paris travel log
(40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds)
Karen Chase published an exciting book called “Bonjour 40” about how she planned something unique and “Gutsy” to celebrate her 40th birthday. She stayed in Paris for a month. Karen offered to Guest post the “4-0 equation” today and for those of you who love Paris or want to learn more about Paris, the food, the people and the way of life, please jump over to Karen’s website, watch the book trailer and download or order her book. She has some great photos of her month in Paris.
The dreaded 4-0. Forty. It happens to every woman, right? Yes. Even to me. When I turned 39 last year, my parents happily said, “Welcome to your 40th year on the planet. Where will you go when you actually turn 40 next year?” I was going to be 40., like it or not, so I better plan for it.
Although my parents were teasing me, their intentions were good. They wanted to find out how I was going to embrace my age. I’m not one to shy away from growing older, because I hope it also means I’m growing wiser. Their question of where would I go really made me stop and think. I could roll over and groan about my number of years, and go out to the same restaurant to celebrate, or I could revel in my milestone birthday and use it to take stock of my life. So I did.
I planned for a year, and just after my 40th, I booked a month off from my life, took the money I would have otherwise invested in my IRA, and went to Paris for a month. I went alone for the first three and half weeks so I could get to know Paris, and be forced to speak French. I can honestly say I wasn’t afraid to do it. “Gusty!” a few friends called me.
“No,” I thought. Amelia Earhart circumnavigating the globe on a solo flight is gutsy. My little adventure was nothing compared to that! However if others see me that way, maybe it’s because Amelia and I are both examples of how “gutsy” doesn’t happen overnight.
My trip to Paris didn’t seem bold to me because my trip came after traveling alone on short weekend adventures first. It came after moving across the continent, and after experiencing a nine-day trip to Maine on my own a few years ago. Perhaps Amelia’s last solo flight didn’t feel gutsy to her after she’d taken lessons, helped invest in an airport, and flown solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Maybe gusty is a product of having gumption. Maybe having guts is simply getting up each day and trying new things. I recall one of my last days alone in Paris. I was riding on a rented bike through the city during rush hour without a helmet. I remember the thrill of knowing where I was going, knowing I had chosen to be in Paris, and that I was embracing my life. My age. I was forty and loving it. I was happy. And there it was. There was my life’s equation.
Gumption = gutsy = embracing new things = happiness.
What’s your life’s equation?
CONTEST GIVEAWAY BY KAREN CHASE
Thanks Karen for your wonderful story and for motivating us to do something different and special, like you did.
Please remember to vote for your favorite “My Gutsy Story” for November. You have until December 13th, to pick your favorite story.
What do you think of Karen’s adventure? What would you like to do to celebrate a special birthday?