Living Positively

Three weeks ago I turned thirty-nine. I'm not one of those people who dreads turning forty (that's one good thing about having a husband who's fourteen years your senior -- you never feel old), and though there's a lot I still want to do in life, I don't feel like I missed out on so many things in my youth that I need to make up for it with a midlife crisis. But milestone birthdays are always a great excuse for me to take stock of my life and see what needs changing. So I'm using the advent of the Big Four-Oh to be more proactive about my life and live more positively. Here's what Living Positively means for me:

I will strive to do better, be better.
Many times over the past few years I've felt as though I'm stuck in a rut. I've come to realize that the only reason I feel stuck is because I'm not doing anything about it. To that end, I've made a list of Forty Things I want to do before I'm Forty. Some of the items on that list are frivolous at best (buying heels, getting a navel ring). Others are (volunteering, spending more time with my husband). All of the items are designed in some way to build a healthier, happier, more confident -- in short, better -- me. I may not get to accomplishing everything on the list, but just having this list written down has given me a sense of purpose, and as I begin working on the items on the list, I'm already feeling more proactive and positive.

I use my blog as a force for good.
I'm still in awe of the amazing reach and influence that women bloggers have. I'm even more in awe to think that a part of that reach and influence, however small, belongs to me. It would be crazy not to use my voice in the blogosphere to try and make a difference. That's why I never hesitate to blog about issues and causes I feel are important. Over the years I have blogged about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, malaria, disaster awareness, support for families, the importance of outdoor play and other causes that matter to me. If even one person reads my blog, becomes more aware of an issue or sees how easy it can be to help, I'm happy.

I will think positive, hope for the best and prepare for the worst
Even as I write this, the concept of Living Positively has taken on a new meaning. I've just gotten back from an appointment with my gynecologist -- and she found a lump on each of my breasts. The teeniest, tiniest lumps, so small that I could only feel one after she showed me exactly where to look, and I still can't feel the other one at all. She says it's no reason to excited about at this point, because there is 1 lump on each breast, and she had difficulty finding one of the lumps a second time, so they may just be lymph nodes (whatever that means). But given my family history of breast cancer, she told me to get a mammogram right away, so I'm scheduled for one this week. Despite her reassurances, I'm a bit freaked out, but I'm trying to stay positive. She's not worried, so I'm going to try not to be. I'm taking a deep breath and hoping for the best. If the worst happens, I'll deal with it.

With so much self-reflection going on, the timing could not have been better to receive an invitation from Coca-Cola and BlogHer to take part in a very special event, Conversations with Coca-Cola. I'll be traveling to Atlanta next week to the Coca-Cola headquarters, where I'll be joining the folks from BlogHer and other bloggers for two days of interesting and insightful discussions about Living Positively -- personally, around the blogosphere and in our community.

On a lighter note, I'm also excited to be going behind the scenes at Coca-Cola and learning more about how they make their beverages, as well as meeting with top Coca-Cola executives. And that reminds me, if you want me to ask them anything on your behalf, please leave a comment on this post, and I'll make sure your voice is heard!

Disclosure: Coke will be paying for my travel, lodging and activities for my upcoming Atlanta trip, and BlogHer is compensating me for writing this post. All views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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