This is the final year of my fourth decade in life, and the big idea is to come up with a list of 50 things to do before I hit 50.
I’ve always been big on birthdays, but the big 50 is truly special for me simply because when I get there, I will have outlived my father, who died at 49.
Traditional bucket lists focus on fun experiences people would like to have, but bucket lists can be great for setting and reaching goals, as well.
A Goals Bucket List can help you get in touch with what you feel is important and need not be too individualistic, as most bucket lists go.
Having taught a grief class for many years now, I realize that death is no stranger, so an exercise in preparation for writing a bucket list, morbid as it may sound, is to write your own obituary.
Doing so allows you to look at what you’d like your life to include, where you would like to be, and what achievements you should pursue for your own peace of mind.
A Goals Bucket List can function in the same way. List down what you’d like to have done in five years, or 10, or 20, and see where you can go.
The birthday bucket list can be a tool for discovering and creating what is most important. It can be used as a stress relief tool, too (just as long as you set reasonable deadlines and don’t stress over your list), or a life development tool, or whatever you’d like it to be.
Then again, you can make a list, and plan all you want, but if it isn’t part of His grand plan for you, then some of the items on your list may not happen. You need to be open to that reality, too, and learn to surrender to it in peace.
Some of the things I’d like to do before I hit 50, or in the year that I am 50, are the following: Run a race in one of my favorite cities; write a third book; make another indie film; grant 50 children their wishes; travel to Batanes, Bali and Palawan; and spend a weekend in New England.
I’d like to experience antigravity yoga; help improve maternal and child care in the farthest parts of the country; continue to help break the chains of stigma in mental health; set up a grief coaching center—and the list remains a work in progress.
Dreams and goals
If you are stuck and don’t know where to start, you can ask yourself the following questions to help you get started:
What are the things you want to accomplish in life? What are your dreams and goals?
What things would you do if you had unlimited resources, time or money? (Hey, dreams are free!) What is it that you would like to achieve in the next year or the next five years?
What are the experiences you want to be part of in your lifetime? Any skills or a language you have always wanted to learn? That would be Italian for me, but that’s not on top of my list. Any special location you want to visit? Anybody you really want to meet in person?
Are there activities you’ve always wanted to try but never had a chance? And the most important question—what, in your own sphere or capacity, is the most valuable thing you can do for the world?
With every birthday, I also like to do a life review, and pause to give thanks for all the people and blessings that have been brought into my life.
The year just past has been quite spectacular, to say the least, though there has been much sadness, too. However, you get to that age when you learn to accept that the joy and the sadness are always often in tandem; it’s never one without the other.
I look at the woman I was a decade ago, and I hardly recognize her. I think evolving is part of growing up. It would really be such a tragedy if the way you were at 29 is the way you still are at 49—and that includes looks.
Yes, keep a fit body, but allow Mother Nature to do her work with you, too. The formula to looking young, I think, is really simple: Be kind and gentle in spirit, keep a happy heart and Mother Earth often rewards you by being kind to you, too.
Learning to surrender everything in prayer, and leaving what you cannot control (and there are many things in this life that are truly beyond our control) in God’s hands makes everything so much lighter.
Don’t lose precious sleep over problems; lack of sleep ages you, and it’s murder on the skin and the eyebags. Let God take care of your problems. He’ll be up all night, anyway.