Operation Foxy By 40

Foxy by 40

There was an olive in my bra.

It was green and fridge-cold. I’d been scoffing them straight from the jar when the rogue fella slipped and disappeared down the front of my t-shirt.

The olives were a hasty 3pm lunch on a wet and windy Friday last November. I’d been installed on the couch avec laptop since 9am, a mere 700 steps on my Fitbit.

As I rummaged round in my ancient sports bra, wondering if I could snuffle out that olive like a truffle pig, I caught the reflection of my faded tracky dacks and paint-stained grey hoodie in the kitchen window.

Hmmm… you know what? I thought. I think I’m ready to take things up a notch!

That’s when Operation Foxy by 40 really kicked off.

The moment I turned 38 back on 1 November, my mind immediately skipped over 39 and started thinking about the big Four Oh:

  • How do I want to feel on 1 November 2017?
  • What do I want to be doing?
  • What will everyday life to look like?
  • What would happen if I got out of my own bloody way for awhile?

I’m not talking about radical change here. It’s more a gentle renovation.

I just don’t want to wake up on 1 November 2017 feeling irritated or somewhat disappointed, like after an episode of Outlander without an Adult Scene.

On the whole the 30s have been bloody awesome. I’ve navigated some Mega Highs and Truly Shitty Bits. What I haven’t handled so well is all the spaces in between. For every big event there’s been a corresponding period of hiding and neglect that’s been at least three times as long. I’m getting on in years and I want to stop messing about. So I’m working like a mofo to make the everyday stuff more solid and sparkly.

Why Foxy by 40? It’s a bit tongue in cheek, and I like alliteration. For me, foxy is a feeling and a state of mind!

This is a two-year experiment to see how it would feel to take the best bits of 20s me and combine them with the best of the 30s into a SUPER SHAUNY. Or at least a slightly more competent, consistent and cared-for Shauny.

From the 20s:
Reclaim:  Determination, spark and endurance. The joy of putting in solid effort over time. The joy of blogging ones guts out.
Ditch: Self loathing. The weight obsession (and you thought it was all about the lard, young Shauna… I’ve got two words for you… gravity and greyhairs)

From the 30s:
Keep: Perspective. Not taking things too personally. Holding what I love lightly.
Ditch: Hiding. Denial. Lack of exercise. That low-grade-meh, second-gear feeling.

Seven months in, I’m feeling more confident that I’m not just pissfarting around this time! So I’ll be doing regular updates on my Foxy by 40 adventures on here. Follow if you fancy this bold quest to:

  • hide less and have more fun
  • improve my health (not as lip service; not as dieting and restriction in disguise)
  • build a wardrobe less funereal (yes, it’s still dire, two years since I wrote about it)
  • put olives onto a plate instead of into my brassiere.


P.S. My “monthly” newsletter is coming back from the dead! (last seen March 2014). There will be bonus stories, writing tools and maybe even a mini-column from the Mothership. Hop on board here if that sounds good…

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

59 thoughts on “Operation Foxy By 40

  1. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. Well I think I just did. But the feeling I have is hard to describe. Its all mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful (with apols. to Mr cummings).

  2. Love the line
    “feeling irritated or somewhat disappointed, like after an episode of Outlander without an Adult Scene.”
    One could also say like Game of Thrones Ep without Jon Snow….

    And also Right On Sister. I’m a long time reader/lurker and have all the feels for where you coming from. Also throw in kids and cancer and yep let’s bring back the foxy and best bits of ourselves.

  3. I am looking forward to watching your journey as I start my own mid-40’s adventure

    Now to come up with a catchy name.

  4. It’s amazing what the looming four-oh can inspire. YOU CAN DO IT, SUPER-SHAUNA! And it will be wonderful to read all about it, especially if you keep dropping Outlander references into your posts 🙂 I was about 38 and a half when I decided I wanted to be ‘fabulous’ by 40 and yep, woke up feeling pretty fab on my 40th. I might need to revisit some of those good habits, if I want to be Foxy by 45.

  5. You are the foxiest DOLL already. Never have I seen such a twinkle in an eye.

    Love your plan though. I’m all for loving ourselves a bit more. I mean, what’s not to love?! xxxxx

  6. Oh, man. I need some motivation for my own big changes and you have just earned the spot of Chief Motivator by Example. Glued to my screen…go, Shauna!

  7. This is just what I needed to read this morning! Lying in bed thinking about the crapload of stuff I have to do at work, as well as feeling loads of self-pity re: selfish co-workers and stalled-out fitness/diet plans. Enough! Six weeks until I turn 36 … I can get started!

  8. I can tell you from personal experience that your 40s can be the most amazing time of your life! I’m 45 now, and I decided at 41 to take control of my life and really SPARKLE!! Here are a couple of tips that really have helped me:

    1. Exercise for the health benefits and endorphins! Mood/hormonal changes are easier handled!
    2. Weight loss/maintenance is harder, so get it under control now. It takes more effort to lose the same pounds.
    3. Buy and wear that fabulous hat, those gorgeous shoes, or that chunky piece of impractical jewelry. Rock the hell out of the things that make you happy!
    4. Build and cherish relationships with the people who MATTER! Don’t waste time on people who tear you down and make you feel less than.
    5. Live with joy and gratitude, even for the smallest things. The coffee in your cup, the snuggle from your cat, the smile from your husband…those things can warm your heart on a daily basis, even when things are shitty!

    I’ll be following your journey Shauna!! Sparkle ON!!!!

  9. ha, guess who’s just started pimping herself for big 50 next year??? 🙂
    love your plan. and: yay for newsletters! can’t wait!
    p.s. the 40ties are the best! don’t worry. my skirts have never been shorter, the adult scenes never hotter and the “don’t worry be happy” in my head never more present.
    virtual hug.

  10. So I have gotten vainer as I have gotten older. I spent much of my 20s and early 30s wishing for a different appearance, now I focus on making the best of what I have. Therefore:
    -eyebrows are given due attention
    -I dress, rather than put clothes on
    -Makeup is becoming less and less optional
    -I do something to my hair other than put it in a ponytail.
    -I stand tall, like a boss.

    PS you are always foxy to me.

  11. Love that this means more blogging from you! Also have always appreciated your love of alliterations – I’m a fan, too. I love what Cilla said above about dressing, rather than putting clothes on. Since transitioning to staying home with my daughter and doing freelance work I’ve definitely lost the art of dressing most days – generally I stay in workout clothes all day. Time to kick things up a notch myself, as well! I’m trying to stop comparing and start creating the life I want to live. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Just want to warn you: the early 40s for me started well, but at 43 things (hormones?) shifted, and I got severely depressed. I did a lot of research about it and discovered that the average adult (male and female) reported a mood nadir at 47, but that by 51, women reported the greatest happiness of any age group, period. Knowing that kept me hanging on by my fingernails through this second adolescence, and I’m happy to report that as I approach my 50th birthday, I am MUCH happier than I could have hoped for.

    I look forward to reading more from you! You have the right attitude!

  13. Ooooh! I totally adore projects like this! I will follow along with extreme interest.

    I’m currently attempting to do 50 things before I turn 50 (27 days after you turn 40), with varying levels of success.

    I’m adoring my late 40s – I find I give exactly no fucks, it is very freeing.

    Good luck!

  14. As carolbaby mentioned, a HUGE improvement of 40s over 30s is that you learn that people’s (esp. any weirdly negative) reaction to you or your stuff is about THEM and their stuff, not you. Opinion. And opinion = opinion = opinion. Whatevs. =) I’m happy I’m me and I worry SO MUCH LESS about what other people think. It’s MOST freeing. =)

    However, I’m SO with you re: living in 2nd gear. The # of pants I have that fit & are wearable is terrifyingly low. So, I need to buck back up & get EXERCISE & do some basic self care stuff. Your Foxy by 40 (‘course for me it = 50) is PERFECT timing. Getting out of a rut & into a brighter groove.

    You do good, Shauna, just by SHARING publicly & expressing these feelings in a way people can relate to so readily. THANK YOU. =) You’ve got a TALENT.


  15. Excellent. All of this. And for us, too, as it seems we will get more Shauna and I can go on and imagine thst we’re BFFs for another 10 years.

  16. Will Ziggy feature in the newsletter? “Ziggy’s Cat Corner”?


  17. Far out Shauna, you are super-inspiring! I love this post so much – I just turned 40 a few weeks ago and have been plagued by a vague “right, I need to get my shit together” feeling every since that I haven’t quite been able to act on (hence I am on the sofa right now dicking about in the internet in pj pants, a hoody and slippers and have just split coffee down my front and gotten jam in my hair). I’m going to work on those four questions today and keeps the answers where I can see them.

    YOU RAWK! keep rockin’ and writing!

  18. I’m right there with you!! Except my 40 goal is only 11 months away! Eeep! I do not possess pants which aren’t jeans or grotty trackies and I’m frightened of the hairdresser. It has been a year since child no. 2 was born and I can’t keep using tiny children as a reasonable excuse forever. I’ve only done 841 steps so far today. Also feel you on the olive-jumping, I’ve been there too.

  19. Love, Love, Love this post! I proudly claim my 41 years. I feel like my 40’s have been the best thus far (or that I remember). I have had some significant challenges in the past year and a half and I feel like I have I earned my woman card. Despite challenges, I have been presented with amazing opportunities and experiences. I feel grounded, calm, and powerful, almost as if I have finally showed up to my life. After having two babies in my late 30’s, I decided 6 months ago, it was time to feel foxy again. I began working out again, being very deliberate with how I eat and dress, and doing the mind shift from being solely “mom”. It has been a great transformation. Have fun with then ride!

    Side note, had to laugh at the Outlander comment…who doesn’t think that?? I almost look forward to this season being over so I can concentrate on something other than men in kilts fantasies.

  20. Great post and blog! I turn 40 September 1 and began a personal transformation of my own. I want to kick 40’s ass and only get better from there! Having a blog is a great way to keep accountability and document the process.

  21. Woohoo this is exciting and inspiring! I’m on that countdown to 40 as well – I’ll be there just a couple of months before you. I need a plan… really looking forward to hearing more about yours!

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