Yes, it’s the eve of the 28th anniversary of my 21st birthday or what others may claim as the age of 49.
Doesn’t matter how often I type it, write it, say it out loud, I’m having trouble believing I’m going to be 49 years old on March 2nd. That in another 364 days, I will turn 50. Fifty…half a decade. Where did the time go? As young teens, do you recall telling your parents how you wished you were older, so you could run your own house the way you desired, and not live under the strict rules your parent set for you? Of course, their reply would always lead to…”don’t wish your life away.” Pfft – yeah, what did they know any way?
Forty-nine years later – they were pretty smart.
When I sit and reflect on the last 49 years, I can remember one time sitting in our living room daydreaming about how old I would be in the year 2000. This was probably in the early 80s, one of those high school crisis years. And, in 2000 I would be 32 years old. Wow, 32 I thought. I’d probably be married, own a home, have 2 kids, a career, blah…blah…blah. I’m not sure why I was so mesmerized about the year 2000 back then, maybe I was thinking about my own parents age and thinking when I would be their age it would be such and such a year. Thirty-two seemed old at the time.
Then there were the times when my sister and I would pull out the Donny & Marie microphones we received one Christmas and belt out tunes, mind you – out of tune, most times. And, then when the microphones no longer worked – no big deal, there was this huge chandelier that hung in our living room. It was made of stained glass like panels and had a number of lights hanging from the center point. We would look up into those lights pretending they were hanging microphones and sing into them like the recording artists we were.
Other fun memories along the way in that same living room. One when I was 4 years old. My little sister had just been born, and my parents brought her home from the hospital. We were sitting in our living room, which at the time was actually my paternal grandparent’s home…and all I wanted to do was hold my little sister, but I couldn’t. Why? Because I had the chicken pox. Fast forward twenty years, and in that same room, I would be proposed to on Christmas Eve.
The trials and tribulations along the way during these 49 years have formed me into the person I am today. I would say that I really didn’t fit into my skin until my 40s. The teenage years were tough. I struggled in trying to figure out who I was. I’m not sure I have still figured that out today, but in high school I lacked self-confidence. I was conservative, I didn’t go against the grain. I made decisions I would regret later. But, that’s life, right?
Then off to college I go. First two years I stayed local and went to Penn State Altoona. Lived at home, worked when I wasn’t in class. It was really an extension of high school in so many ways. I didn’t really engage in campus-life, but the two years at a branch campus went fast. Next up…finish up my degree at University Park. This huge, intimidating campus I’m about to call home for the next two years. I still wasn’t overly outgoing at the time. And, I would travel home every weekend, not having really any friends to pal around with on campus. Then the second semester of my junior year, I made friends with a group of people from Reading/Carlisle area. Probably had it not been for a group project we had to do in one of my management/marketing courses, I would not know these people today. Who knew how these folks, my new friends, would change my life, and not only make the remainder of my college experience fun, but also remain life-long friends. And, while it’s been years since we have all been together, I know when we finally do make the time to visit with one another – it will be like we never knew it’s been 20+ years since our last meeting.
Fast forward through college graduation, first job out of college, second job out of college and a move into what would start my career in advertising sales, get married, buy a home, adopt pets, change career path…changed career path fails, go back to media sales career path, work through various trials and tribulations all marriages go through, move up into management, decide to try and change career path again, to come full circle and 14 months later return to media sales career. And, here we are today – the clock has struck midnight and I’m now 49. There you have it, 49.
Won’t lie – this is going to be a tough one to swallow. I’m not sure why, but it just is. Maybe it’s a combination of things. Things I feel I haven’t yet accomplished or should have accomplished by now. In my 30’s it bothered me I didn’t have kids, then I got over that as I approached my early 40’s, but now all my friends are becoming grandparents. I’m not jealous that this is happening, I’m elated for them, but there’s a part of me that is let down that I don’t get to celebrate the same joys. Perhaps that is why Rob and I hoard animals instead?
Anyhow, I digress. So, the title of this post is “What’s in a List?” A list of what, you may ask. Well, about a year and half ago, one of my colleagues would be turning 50 within the year, and he said he was going to put a list together of 50 things he wanted to accomplish before he turned 50. I thought that’s sort of a cool idea, so the idea has meandered in my head since then and over the course of the last month or so, I’ve really been giving some hard thought to those 50 things I would like to accomplish or perhaps change about myself in the next year.
It’s not as easy as you may think it is. In fact, I asked my colleague today if he ever made it through his list, or if he got to 50 items. And his answer was simply, no. So, I don’t feel so bad knowing he was unable to fulfill the list too.
They say, if you are to make your goals happen, you need to write them down and be accountable to them. So, not only and I writing them down, I’m sharing them with all of you to really make me accountable. In the next year, I’m going to attempt to check off as many of them as I can, and if within the next 30 days, before the end of my birthday month (because you all know, I celebrate all month long), I’m going to try and figure out the missing 15 or so to fill the list.
So, here goes…50 Things I Wish to Accomplish before I turn 50.
- Lose 50 pounds.
- Visit Napa Valley.
- Take a photography class.
- Walk the 1000 Steps in Huntingdon.
- Buy a mountain bike and bike with my sister along Mount Nittany.
- Tandem skydive with Rob.
- Spend a weekend with my college roommate and friends.
- Learn to play the drums.
- Learn how to swim (ok, probably not…but it is a legitimate thing I should do).
- Go to a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day.
- Own a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes.
- See Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
- Volunteer to become a Big Sister.
- Write a bi-weekly blog post. Ideally, I would love to do it weekly, but I know time will get in my way.
- Create an outdoor kitchen set-up on the deck.
- Build my blog followers to 1000.
- Mail handmade cards for Christmas this year.
- Develop a better sleep habit. Strive to be in bed no later than midnight M-F (it’s currently 12:26am).
- Develop a better work/life balance.
- Develop a better skin regimen, starting with taking off my make-up nightly. Nope, in 49 years I’ve never washed off my make-up at night.
- Make an appointment with an orthodontist. I want straight teeth!
- Complete master bedroom makeover.
- Organize my closet – perhaps get professional advice and design. Shoes are a huge storage problem in a very small closet.
- Send/make a RAK weekly.
- Create a household cleaning routine and stick to it.
- Sell some of my old rubber stamps and scrapbook supplies.
- Go see a movie, solo.
- Finish the quilt I started five years ago.
- Financial freedom from debt.
- Go to Old Luckett’s Store this summer for an antiquing weekend.
- Volunteer to serve Christmas dinner to those less fortunate.
- Take a trip to the Finger Lakes.
- Pamper myself with a trip to a day spa with my sister, preferably at The Hotel Hershey
- Celebrate my 50th birthday in Aruba with family and friends.
- Make plans to go to Alaska to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. (this is next year too)
- Clean out the attic.
- Finish this list.
And, there you have it. I’m short 13 items. Sure I could add a whole bunch of home improvement projects I want to do, but to me that seems like the easy way out. They will always be here as things to do, no matter how old I get. I want to challenge myself, and I have definitely done so with this list. So stay tuned as I progress through this next year, working on this list…working on life improvements…and approaching the dreaded 5-0!
How will you celebrate your next monumental birthday?