The Year of Me! 10 Ways I Am Truly Making Myself a Priority (You Can, Too!)


It’s the Year of Me!

Yes, you read that right – not an hour for me, not a day, not a weekend, but a whole freaking year! 

One night, after I got plates, cups, food, and drinks all on the table for dinner with my family, I finally sat down to eat. By then, everyone else was already done or almost done. One kid jumped on my lap asking me to play, another ate my dinner, and the third grabbed my freshly poured glass of water and drank it (leaving me disgusting backwash, as only kids can). I whispered to myself, “I don’t exist,”  half-jokingly of course. 

But, half not.

Then it hit me, it’s 2018, and I turn 40 this year. I started to reflect on the past decade of my life. I’ve spent most of my time doing things for my kids and husband, instead of for myself, and the last five years did not feel like they were mine. I decided I needed to claim some time back; I do not want to go another five years feeling like I’m missing out. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great life: healthy kids, stable job, fun partner, but I keep going back to the concept of my best life – which should include enrichment for me. 

My husband does this daily. He knows the latest viral video, stays up to date on his hobby, works out, and knows about current events. I didn’t even know about a major school shooting for two days after it happened. Why the difference?

Because when he is making time for himself, I am making lunches for school, grocery shopping, picking up toys, planning summer camps and birthdays, making doctor appointments. . . all instead of reading a book, getting online, or doing anything else for me. 

We only get one life, why is mine filled with time for my kids, work, and husband, and not for me? How did I get to 40 and feel I no longer exist as I did when I was 30?

So, I decided it’s time for me. And, not just a pedicure, or massage, or girl’s weekend, but an entire year. That’s when The Year of Me was born.

I didn’t want this Year of Me to be a fleeting moment or a fad that runs out after two months. I wanted it to stick, and I hope that the changes I make last long into the future.

I also didn’t want this to be taken as a bucket list. Instead, it will be on-going moments of, as my girlfriends put it, “I do I.” Side note: it is also not a bucket list because I would be mortified if I compared this list to anyone else’s bucket list. Me: “Hey! What’s on your bucket list?” Anyone else: “Skydiving, Thailand for two weeks, learning Korean. What’s on yours?” Me: “Uh…drinking a glass of water without backwash in it.”

Nope. This is about a year of focus on me, and guess what? I can even have a separate bucket list (travel to Greece, learn karate, finish baby photo albums). Here’s my Year of Me:

  1. Use the bathroom, with the door shut and alone – Dad does this all the time, now it’s my turn. No more kids sitting on my lap while I do my business, no more entertaining/reading to/playing with kids while on the pot. Door shut, dad can entertain; and hey, I can even take my phone and get up to speed on current events!
  2. Workout – I love being active, it’s easy to do as a family on the weekends, but I just never knew how to fit it in during the week with kids and work. I now get up in the morning, 30 minutes before the kids to workout. If they get up before I get out of bed, I have had to learn to shed the guilt of not staying and snuggling with them. I put on my workout clothes, turn on PJ Masks, leave my pjs and guilt on the floor, and get my sweat on.
  3. Join a club – If you had a hobby when you were 30 and miss it now when you are 40, it’s time to find room for it again. My husband has always been good at this – with hobby after hobby, sometimes spending four hours every weekend just him and his hobby. So, I joined a club. I have a few fun events a month, about two hours a time, with people I enjoy, doing things I enjoy.
  4. Leave the mess – This was a hard one for me. I like clean and I like organized, but I was the only one consistently cleaning and organizing. Somehow my partner could leave the dishes in the sink for a day, not tidy up the living room every night, and instead lay on the couch watching TV. So, I tried it. Perhaps it was The Year of Me, or perhaps it was my total exhaustion, but I started to dig it. 
  5. Drink good wine – I have pretty much been pregnant for like six years straight. Now that I’m back to enjoying a glass, I realized I spend more money on organic, better-made foods for my kids, and just grabbed the bottom shelf wine for myself. Not this year. No more $7.99.
  6. Get massages – I don’t get a lot of time to relax. Mornings are ridiculous, getting ready for work and carting the kids to school. Workdays fly by with fire after fire to put out. And, evenings are fast and furious, with picking up kids, dinner, bath, and bedtimes. This year will include massages.
  7. Hang out with girlfriends – I spend a lot of freaking time with my kids and husband. I need to laugh, unload, and rejuvenate in a way that is different than getting a massage. My girlfriends are not only awesome, they help me hold onto and support the growth of my identity outside of being a mom and wife. This year, I want to be a whole person, and girlfriends are key to that.
  8. Share the workload – This was hard for me as well. Our daily family schedule is a rapid constant. There didn’t feel like time to pause and figure out how to get help. Because it is The Year of Me, I made time. Instead of taking most things on, I split the family duties, giving a list to my husband – we now take turns grocery shopping, meal planning, bathing, and bedtime. And, voila, I now have free time to decompress. 
  9. Travel – One of my passions. This year I plan to have multiple 40th birthday travel events. Additionally, I will say, “Yes!” when the opportunity arises for weekend adventures, short trips, long trips, trips with family or friends.   
  10. Husband gets a vasectomy – Well, what can I say? It’s his turn. Remember, I was pregnant for like six years! We decided that our family planning is done so he can take one for the team.

It’s been a couple months now, and I started strong – traveled, happy hours with girlfriends, bathroom time alone, pedicures, shared workload, and not cleaning on the daily. But, I also slip back into my old routine and forget it’s The Year of Me. I have succumbed to the fact that it will happen, and then I get back on track ASAP! Also, because I have told pretty much everyone in my life about The Year of Me, they have been great at reminding me, either because they really want me to have an awesome year, or because I’m their Guinea pig, and they want to know if they should start planning one for themselves.

When I told my husband this plan he replied, “I’m scared.” And, truth be told, he probably should be.

By the end of this Year of Me, when I turn 40, I will hopefully be less exhausted and more enriched, but he may be more exhausted. But, still enriched.  

So ladies, go get your Year of Me; no one is going to get it for you.

Don’t wake up in five or more years, whisper, “I don’t exist,” and wonder, have I been living my best life?



Sarah is a Wisconsin native (Go Packers!), who moved to San Francisco almost 10 years ago, and now calls the Bay Area her home (just don’t tell her mother, who is still waiting for her to move back to the Midwest!). She works full-time in Human Resources, having her Masters Degree in HR and Labor Relations. Sarah and her husband have three young kids, four years and younger, and are big fans of coffee. When she’s not having a dance party, talking about horses, or breastfeeding, Sarah enjoys the outdoors, spending time with friends, attending new Bay Area events, traveling or visiting her large family, and dabbling in writing. She is passionate about living life to the fullest. . . but, also, really wants more sleep.

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