New Year’s is my favorite holiday – no religious connotations, no presents to buy, no decorations to put up. Just a big party, cocktails, friends, and a fresh start. I like making resolutions, too. I don’t usually make boring resolutions that are hard to enforce like “lose weight” or “spend less money,” but broader goals or themes, like “don’t let the bastards grind me down” (in grad school, 2003) or “Things can only get better” (2010, after a spectacularly horrible 2009). This year, my theme is one that will last for the next three years. This year, I will turn 37, which means 40 is approaching rather quickly – and, as for many people, it also means that I am starting to run out of time. No, I am not talking about having children. I am talking about Being Awesome.

You see, I have always envisioned my 40s as a truly awesome decade. In my 40s, I will be who it is I have been trying to become. I will have my shit together. I will be confident and competent and accomplished and will take shit from no one. Some, like my husband, might say that I am that way already. Perhaps that image is the one I project, but it is not the way I feel inside. In order to Be Awesome, I believe one has to feel awesome inside as well.

I don’t want to suffer from impostor syndrome when I am 40. I don’t want to be insecure and constantly seek approval. I don’t want to feel like a little kid playing at being a grownup when I am 40. I don’t want to be afraid of failure, or take criticism badly.

For the next three years, then, I will start Becoming the 40-Year-Old Woman I Want to Be. I am not sure exactly what this change will entail – probably a shift in perspective, a modification to my usual negative thoughts, better posture, maybe a few lifestyle changes, definitely some new shoes. When faced with a problem, I will say to myself, “How would the 40-year-old me handle this?” and I will do that. If all goes well, then when my 40th birthday does roll around, I won’t have the same thought I had when I turned 30: “I thought I’d be better than this by now.”