Six months ago, I started on a conscious journey to my 50th birthday, giving myself one and a half years to really focus on preparing myself for the next phase of my life. Today I turn 49 and it’s time to look back and see if I am on track and then to look forward to what is next. This is my 264th blog post and that is probably the most amazing thing of all to me. I started out thinking I’d write once or twice a week, but my cousin pointed out that I needed to post more often if I wanted to maintain anyone’s attention. Well, I have few followers, but I am picking up more now than I did in the beginning, so that is a testament to sticking with something!
My biggest disappointment is my weight. I want to lose 20 pounds by my 50th birthday and in 6 months, I’ve only lost 4. Not really worth mentioning. But I am exercising though and I’m proud of that. I was a complete couch potato for the last several years but now I’m at least getting my heart rate up for 30 minutes or more at a stretch for three to seven days a week. Too bad that doesn’t lead to weight loss!
I did not specifically identify 50 things to do by the time I’m 50, because that is ever evolving. But there were a few that I did mention. One was to read 50 books for pleasure. I’m really happy to say that I’ve read 8 so far and that 7 were fiction…a major shift from my normal reading of primarily non-fiction books. Three were young adult literature (the Hunger Game series), a very interesting genre! Two were Dickens, a beloved author. The others were a Jane Austen book a Stephen King book and, Composing a Life: The Age of Active Wisdom, which I referenced in A Second Adulthood? I love to read and reading is something that has fallen by the wayside in the last decade. I’m so happy to invite it back into my life because it makes it richer and more thoughtful.
I wanted to get myself more physically fit and less expensive to maintain as I get older. I have had mixed results so far with this. I am exercising…a big plus! Weight-loss is something else. I talk a good game and I really do know the ins and outs…but I’ve not done it. For me, weight loss is a major mental and emotional commitment…one I need to make. I have added regular exercise to my routine and eliminated one prescription drug from my daily routine (on my doctor’s advice). Both of these are major successes!
I’ve shared busy times, stressed times, times of celebration, and the experience of seeing my first child go off to college. As one friend told me, this blog has already become a written scrapbook which is a legacy for my children.
My house is starting to shape up in all my fervor for change. I’ve given away about three carfuls of clothing, coats, and bedding to Salvation Army. I’ve cleared out my mudroom, my desk, my bedroom, my linen closet, my utility closet, and my attic stairs. There is so much more to do along those lines, but I’ve made visible progress. I’ve also made progress in finally finishing off the last of the unfinished walls left over from our renovation…A lot of work! I’ve done the trim and the ceiling and need to repair the walls before priming and painting.
More recently I challenged myself to run a 5k and write a novel. I ran in the 5k, or rather finished it including quite a bit of walking. I also made progress on the novel, but didn’t get even close to finishing it…it continues as a work-in-progress. Both of these are important goals for me and I will continue to train so that I can run a 5k from start to finish and get that novel not only down on paper, but shaped into something I’ll be proud to share one day.
Yesterday, I made progress on my goal of listening to more of my favorite music. I am awful at remembering the names of songs or even remembering songs that I used to love. I signed up for Pandora and listed about 10 bands I used to love when I was in high school…and lo and behold, it figured out a ton of songs that brought back so many happy memories! Each song that came on was an “oh, I LOVE that song” moment!
As I look forward to the next year, I see more music, more art, more reading, less clutter, more family time, and more travel. My older daughter will turn 21 in 31 days and graduate from UCR in May. When I turn 50 she’ll begin her first year of medical school. By then my younger daughter will be wearing braces and looking forward to 5th grade. And in between, I’ll be chronicling my journey through these transitional years…I hope you’ll stick around for the ride!
Find the Joy in the Journey and remember to stop and celebrate along the way!