This is 40: Realizing Your Dreams, Making Positive Changes to Your Life

Michelle Kenneth
When I captioned this photo on Instagram, I coined this as “This is 40” lamenting over how I was trying to find the right photo. This was my first time sitting in front of the camera, just a month after turning 40. The most important part of this photo isn’t the person sitting in it. The caption included “That Reed Krakoff bag is everything.” When my friend read the caption, she bursted out laughing proclaiming, “That is so you!”

Last month, I turned 40.  Like most major milestones in life, it gives you an opportunity to reflect on life thus far. What are the things you still want out of life?  What dreams are yet to be realized?  What parts of your life make you happy?  Where do you want your focus on life to be?  What things about yourself can you do better?  What things about yourself do you want to change?

These are the questions I ask myself.  The result is that I am going to mix life up a bit.  I want to become someone different in my 40s.  I want to achieve every dream and every goal I’ve ever set for myself.  I want to become the person I’ve always wanted to be.

The Novelist

For years, I struggled with switching gears from being just a hockey columnist and a blogger to becoming a novelist.  That’s what I always wanted to be…a novelist.  I did not want to be known as a hockey writer or a blogger, but those are the roles I took on as I began my journey to becoming a novelist.  I put in the time to make myself legit before approaching publishers.

When I first started blogging and writing for Inside Hockey, I did not want to be some nobody that publishers had never even heard of.  I wanted to be someone they could easily Google and find many years worth of my writing.  I got their attention last year when I introduced myself around.  By year end, two publishers requested submissions.  I didn’t have anything to give them but a few chapters here and there, so I didn’t submit anything.

But there’s more to it than just having a few chapters on hand…

Before I could make the leap to becoming a novelist, I had to first conquer my own self-doubt and fears.  It is scary to make a leap like this…to realize a dream.  It’s new territory.   I was reading just yesterday how Ty Alexander (Gorgeous in Grey) finished her first book, and she was Scared AF!

All of her fears were the same fears I had: that fear that when you put yourself out there, the world thinks you’re just not good enough.  Could I put my heart and soul into this and then have the world rip it apart saying it was a piece of crap?  That is the fear I’m talking about, the true fear of being a complete failure and the entire world thinks that is what you are.

Reading Ty’s honest post about that fear made me realize it came at a good time.  I began writing my novel a few weeks ago and then stopped.  Elements like lack of sleep and an illness became reasons I put off going back to the book.  I won’t even tell you how much money I spent to avoid doing what I really want to do which is MAKE THE DREAM COME TRUE.

Do not think just because I do not spend every morning writing that I’m not working on the book.  I am still building the characters, researching different elements to add to the story to make each character better.  I am always thinking about the story, adding new elements each day to make the story more complete.  There is a lot that goes into a well thought out book beyond just sitting down and telling a story.  That is the first draft.  The next draft is where you fill in the gaps.

Storytelling Dreams

This book (as well as all of the future ones) are based on very prolific dreams from over the years which include a much deeper meaning.  They are stories that are embedded in my soul that have caused me anguish, strife, love, forgiveness, sorrow, insanity, hope and understanding.

Matthew Lucifer (aka fur monster).
Matthew Lucifer (aka fur monster).

The scariest thing about writing is that when I write, my mind is living in that story at that very moment.  There are tears shed, heartbreaks, angry moments, even a loss of understanding…all of those things are happening at once.  If it was not for Matthew Lucifer getting in my face every hour to take a 5-minute break, I would have a hard time divorcing myself from reality and the story.

My goal is to stop writing at 6PM. This is a mandatory thing.  It is my way of stepping away from the story to focus on reality, play with the little dude and take my mind off of the story.  The mind always needs a mental break when you become so entranced in the story you are writing.

Changing Who I Am on the Inside

I don’t know what it was about turning 40 that made me look at life differently, but turning 40 made me think of all the things I wanted out of life as far as the woman I wanted to be.

I changed my diet completely.  I decided to go Whole 30/paleo.  It is so restrictive with eating only meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts (no peanuts…that got me a few times).  Instead of drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day, I’m down to one cup of black coffee before noon.  No more soy milk for my coffee.  [When I started writing this post, I was two weeks into Whole 30.  I got sick on Saturday, so I had to get off the diet because my medication has sugar in it.  I still try to focus on eating well, but because of the sugar, I’m off the diet until the illness is gone and I can take the sugar back out of my diet again.  Cough drops and NyQuil have sugar in it!]

Because of that coffee rule, I’m drinking a whole lot more water than I ever had before (which is also good).  I am sleeping through the night (with the exception of the fur monster waking me up at 3AM for breakfast).

Changing Who I Am On the Outside

In the evenings, I established a new nightly beauty routine doing what most women do:  1. Wash my face, 2. Brush/floss my teeth. 3. Put on night creams.

If you are a woman reading this, you probably already do that.  I never did.  This stuff was not drilled into my brain during my youth, because my mom, being a foreigner, did not know about these daily rituals until she became older and assimilated into the Western culture.

I changed my wardrobe and became more daring.  My friends loved all the new looks.  One told me that 99.9999% of the time, everything I wear is spot on (and she does not say that about anybody). I definitely upped my game.

I think the biggest surprise for everyone is that I’m wearing more than just powder, eye shadow and gloss now.  I’m actually wearing eyeliner, mascara and lipstick.  Talk about shocking everybody.

I bought all new makeup and beauty care products (I had a massive purge earlier this year when I KonMari’d the entire makeup collection and left basically nothing).  I got an education on makeup beyond the everyday basics.

My friends are pleasantly surprised at how I upped my makeup game.  Next up is getting my nails done (instead of cutting them down), going for waxings more often, hair coloring/styling…the WHOLE 40 MAKEOVER.

One of my friends was so impressed with everything so far, she told me this would be a perfect thing to share on the blog.  I should give everyone a little peek inside my inner world and what I’m doing during the “This Is 40.”

Which brings me to the new photographs…

Getting Back In Front of the Camera

Michelle Kenneth
Me with Matthew Lucifer. Wearing Reed Krakoff.

Turning 40 created a lot of positive changes in my life.  40 is beautiful.  I kicked this new decade off by finally sitting in front of the camera for the first time in 5 years to photograph what I look like now at 40.

What happened after that?  Well, the compliments came flooding in.  I got more followers.  A retailer whose clothes/accessories I was wearing asked for permission to post the photos on their website…all of the photos.

I showed the photos to my friend and she just looked at me in disbelief.  She asked me, “What took you so long to photograph yourself?”  She just could not believe it took me this long to get in front of the camera again.

Many photographers have a very difficult time getting back in front of the camera after spending so many years behind it.  You are accustomed to being behind the lens, showing the world the beauty you see.  It is very weird for us to want to get back in front of the camera after spending so many years behind it.

My friend told me I should approach getting in front of the camera in a different light.  This is about letting people get a sneak peek into my world.  It is not about showing you everything going on at every second of my life, it’s about letting you get a glimpse inside my world…the world that my friends see.

What is Changing?

What I do not share are the ball gowns, the couture handbags, the clothes and the jewelry.  That is what is going to change.  There is that side of me, but there is also the creative side with crafts, the books I am reading, the fun ‘paper products’ I buy (I love beautiful paper products), and the new outfits I come up with mixing up hi-lo ends.

Just yesterday, we were discussing a look I was going to try next: socks with sandals.  As I was perusing Net-a-Porter, I came across a pair of Miu Mius I loved.  It wasn’t just the Miu Mius.  Net-a-Porter paired the Miu Mius with two outfits I loved.  The whole look alone (each one) was about $10,000.  In that moment, I was like…I bet I can find something very similar at ASOS.

I completed a similar look, plus purchased two pairs of socks and two pairs of the identical Miu Miu shoes for a total of $280.  My friend got a good laugh out of that.  She was absolutely impressed.

To define the way I dress, it’s not always designer labels from head to toe. I can go into any store and make something work with the collection I already have.  I have the couture items that make up the hi-end, but I also have the everyday items that make up the lo-end.

My friend was so impressed with the look I created, she told me that’s what I should do next on the site.  I should show people how I mix and match hi-lo end pieces or how I take a look that I really like and get the entire look for a much better price.  Oftentimes, I can even find the same designer and the same item for a much cheaper price.

In Conclusion

This is the side of me my friends see and believe I should share with the site.  From the new handbag every week to the new looks I’ve put together, this is the glimpse they want me to share, especially the fun crafty stuff that they got me addicted to.

They also want me to start talking about life at 40 and the changes I made, including sharing my beauty and clothing finds, because that’s what girls like to read.  I will be in front of the camera more often, not behind it all of the time.  I will share the things I’m doing and working on more often, because simply put…it is kind of cool.

My summer is coming to an end and with that, the social calendar picks up.  It is nice to take the summer off and just focus on me, thinking over what I want out of life and the positive changes I want to make for myself.

You will see a lot of changes coming up on the site and on social media as I share my 40s with all of you.  To put it simply, I am being more daring.