Monday, November 12, 2012

Welcome to your fifties - my list

This post was inspired by a young woman's blog about the year leading up to her 30th birthday.  I wish I had found it when I turned 49, because just maybe I would have started my blog sooner and set out to make a list and see where it would lead me.  Unfortunately, I did not stumble upon it until recently. And, to be honest, I am just a smidge suspicious of such lists.

These days, as I approach my fiftieth birthday (three months away), I seem to be constantly finding links to essays and articles about lists - the things you want to accomplish before ---.  This has me thinking a lot about my life, where I've been and where I want to go.  I think I am in what is refered to as a "reflective stage" in life.  I guess we all go through that at one point or another, maybe more than once for some.  While I have been through a lot of turmoil and change since I became an adult, I have not really felt I had the need or time to give much thought to reflecting upon my life.  That is not to say I have never turned inward to look at myself.  I've done that plenty.  I'm a champ at looking at myself and trying to figure out what I am doing wrong...but that is not the kind of thing I am talking about.  I am talking about taking stock of your life, making the decision to make changes and then seeing them through.

So here is my list...
  1. return to school - creative writing and marketing/communications
  2. write for at least 30 minutes every day - i do have a full time job
  3. publish on this blog no less than three times each week
  4. learn microsoft office suite like a pro
  5. train like a pro for the spring rowing season - starting now my mentality is up, up, up!
  6. break an 8 minute 2K at CRASH Bs in february
  7. finally organize - the right way - my home office
  8. get my house in order and repaired just in case i want/need to sell it
  9. take a 50th birthday trip to a country i've never seen
  10. throw out or give away every single item in the house that is not important or useful
  11. get my finances in order
  12. update my will
  13. organize the last 21 years of photographs into books for the girls
  14. find a church community that will feel like home to me
  15. do something social at least once a month
  16. read a book each month 
  17. get back into going to concerts
  18. do more out-of-door activities with friends, my dog or just myself
  19. commit to a philanthropic group and participate at least once each month in some way
  20. commit to yoga for a year
  21. finish a knitting project for each of my children - scarf would be easiest
  22. pick needlepoint back up and finish one canvas by 12.31.13
  23. return to serious baking and make it a part of my life again
  24. make one really interesting and possibly challenging meal each month - this is a BIG reach for me, so I need to start small
  25. communicate with my family of origin members on a monthly basis by writing to them - i have kinda fallen off the face of the planet and i think they are rather annoyed with me
For now this is my list.  I am going to get a head start (by three months) and see how many of these things I can cross off my list by my fifty-first birthday in February of 2014.

Since 1987 I have been a wife, a mother, a single mother, a wife again, a widow and a single mother again.  I have never really done anything for myself.  I know, really?  Nothing for yourself?  Be honest.  Well, I am not a martyr, not even remotely so.  However, somewhere along the way I made a decision, and I am not sure it was conscious, to be the one who makes sure everyone else has what they need to be happy, fulfilled and successful.  I did that for my first husband Avery.  I worked and supported us while he went through graduate school and completed his Masters in English Literature.  When he decided he's rather go to law school than complete his PhD, I threw my support behind him and continued to take care if the day-to-day in order for him to realize his dreams.  After all, his dreams were our dreams, right?  I never gave one thought as to what I really wanted out of life once we decided to get married, except eventually I wanted to have a family.  I wanted to be a good wife and mother.

Fast -forward to today - I have (almost) raised three children.  One will embark on her life after college next year, the middle one in two years and the youngest, well she still has a ways to go.  (Keep your fingers crossed, please.  I could use all the support I can get!)  But essentially with two children soon settling into their own lives, one still working on it but away in school, and the recent end of a very important three year relationship, my house is all but empty now.  I have a lot of time on my hands to think and mull over things without the girls to look after or a beau to plan things around.

I think this is an important time in my life.  For the first time since 1987 it is all about me.  I still have some responsibilities to my children, but I no longer have 24/7 responsibilities to anyone other than myself.  It will be good for me to spend a lot of time alone, doing the things I used to love and challenging myself to do some things I have thought about, but have been too busy or too afraid to try.  I kind of look at this time in my life as NO MORE EXCUSES!  There is nothing, except finances, standing in my way and I am not going to let finances get in the way of opening myself up, reaching for a career rather than just a job, and having the life I deserve to have.  I can figure out the financial end of it.

Is there anyone out there who is, or has been, at a similar crossroads?  Were you nervous, frozen or running toward change?

1 comment:

  1. I really love this post! Based on observation (not from experience) it seems parents (mothers most especially) become a slave to their children and along the way forget about themselves. It seems you are entering into a new phase of your life with the right kind of perspective. This is the time for you to do what makes you happy, what interests you, and find some real purpose to your self/life that doesn't include being a mom. That opens the floor to some real opportunities. The attitude you exude in this post definitely seems like you're headed in the right direction!