7 Things to Do at 37. Or any age.


By Javacia Harris Bowser

I believed the lie.

In my 20s I believed that by the time I was 30 I’d have life figured out.

As I turn 37 this month I’m trying hard to ward off another fairytale: 40 is the new 20.

In my 20s I travelled to foreign lands despite having little money.

In my 20s I fearlessly switched careers.

In my 20s I grew closer to God.

In my 20s I fell in love.

And I had rock-hard abs to boot.

So far, in my 30s I have not figured out life; instead I’ve realized that I probably never will. But I did do one thing that I never thought I could: I bought a house.

And in my 30s I’ve found myself staying close to home—in both the literal and figurative sense of that phrase.

I don’t travel often, though I finally have the means to do so.

I’ve worked the same job for nearly a decade.

In my marriage romance is often sacrificed for the sake of routine.

I had always hoped that in my 30s I’d get comfortable with who I am and I suppose that did happen after all. But perhaps I’m too comfortable with myself. Perhaps I’m too comfortable with everything.

As I turn 37 this month I’m tempted to rest in the familiar despite how much it bores me. I’m tempted to put off working to make life interesting again to when I’m 40, as if there is some magic or special power in that age.

I’ve decided to make 37 magical instead.

Do you need to cast a spell on the next year of your life, too?

Here’s how you can do it.

Sign up for a fitness challenge you thought you could never complete. For me that’s running a full marathon. I’ve run a half-marathon twice but the thought of running 26.2 miles has always terrified me and that’s exactly why I need to do it. Perhaps you could sign up for a road race, too, or try CrossFit or dance lessons. I may not ever have six-pack abs again, but when I cross that finish line I don’t think that will matter.

Be a tourist in your own town. If you have the time and money to travel, do so. But if you don’t remember that exploration doesn’t have to be expensive. This year I’m crossing off as much as I can on my Birmingham Bucket List which, of course, includes eating my way through the city and trying every restaurant, both old and new. After all, I need energy for all the running I plan to do.

Date your spouse. This year I will be my husband’s girlfriend. I will dress up for date night, surprise him with gifts for no special reason and text him sweet messages in the middle of the day. Rekindle the flame of  your relationship. If you’re single, consider ways you can do a better job of loving yourself.

Nurture your spirit. For me that means going to church weekly and writing in my prayer journal daily. It also means yoga, meditation, and reading good books. Figure out what nurtures your spirit and make these actions top priority.

Wear what you want. I will ignore every list by every fashion guru that says what a woman my age should and should not wear. I will wear what I want when I want. Yes, I care about style. I put much time and effort into getting ready most days. And I even keep up with the latest trends. But that’s only because you need to know the rules before you can break them.

Remember to live while you’re trying to make a living. I work too much. Chances are you do, too. I wake up early to work on my passion projects. I teach from 7:55 a.m. to 3:06 p.m. and then come home to grade papers, work on lesson plans, and work on my passion projects some more. I’m tired. This is the year I will rest. This is the year I will spend time with my friends and my family and I won’t feel guilty for giving myself a break.

Decide to leave a legacy. Though 37 isn’t a milestone year like 30 or 40 it feels special. For reasons I can’t explain, I feel that this year I will enter a new season in my life. Perhaps this will be a season of focusing more on being a better educator. Perhaps I’ll focus more on being a better writer. Or maybe this season will be about being a more successful entrepreneur. I’m not sure. But I am sure that I want this season to not be about making money but about leaving a legacy. And the only way you can leave a legacy—a good one, at least—is to have a positive impact on those around you. And this is something we can all do at any age.

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