Ways to Celebrate the Big Five-O

five-o

The Big Five-O

About two months ago I decided that to celebrate the big five-o, I would create a list of fifty things I wanted to do during my fiftieth year. Finding fifty fun firsts has proved more difficult than I expected. Last night, I decided I’d better put pen to paper and come up with a definitive list (although I reserve the right to edit the list slightly as the year progresses) of things to do to celebrate my 50th birthday.

After all, I’ll only have a year to complete the fifty things—and as someone kindly pointed out, doing 50 things means doing about one new thing per week starting June 9, 2016 and ending on June 8, 2017. I decided to create five general categories of things to do: First Readings, First Visits, Physical Firsts, Creative Firsts, and Adventure Firsts.

First Readings:

Believe it or not, I need the titles of four more books to read. Finish Les Miserables by Victor Hugo sits at the top of my list. I started the book about ten years ago and I gave up at about page 896…so. many. bad. things. kept happening to the main character that I just couldn’t take it any more. I’ve seen the movie and the play, but I regret not finishing the book. I downloaded it today for free on my Kindle.

So, hit me with your favorite must-read titles.

First Visits:

I need two more places to visit—we’ll see the other eight places on my list whilst driving to Alaska this summer. This won’t be my first time to Alaska. I spent the summer I turned 16 working in Cooper’s Landing, Alaska, and earned my first driver’s license in Seward, Alaska. I also visited Kenai and Soldotna as well as Anchorage—so those places can’t go on my list.

This time, I won’t be flying to Alaska, so the stops along the way will all be new. So far, I want to camp inside the Arctic Circle, visit Lake Louise (in Canada), camp in the Yukon Territories, visit Waterton Lakes National Park, see Mt. Denali (McKinley), visit McCarthy, soak in Laird River Hot Springs, visit Chicken, Alaska (and re-read the book Tisha).

Any other ideas of places to stop and visit on our route?

Physical Firsts:

Completing a marathon, hiking the Grand Canyon from rim to rim in one day and beating my personal record for a half marathon top my list of physical challenges. I live in a one-grocery-store town, so learning new sports or taking dance classes wouldn’t work.

Maybe some of you could suggest some physical feats (long hikes or awesome mountain biking trails) that I could add to my list (I need five more).

Creative Firsts:

Part of my Life Plan for this year includes discovering ways to earn an income (hey, it doesn’t have to be a lot of income) from writing and photography. Needless to say, I filled my list of creative goals with specific steps for my writing and photography. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Adventure Firsts:

As an introvert, some of my adventure firsts might not seem that exciting to some of you. I want to take 10 students on an overnight mountain biking trip to Sedona and prepare 50 goodie bags to give to random homeless people—both really-hard-for-me to do things. I’d also like to kayak next to a glacier, watch a glacier calve (although after watching some on video, I don’t think I want to be caught in my kayak next to the glacier when this happens…), go canyoneering in Zion National Park, fly in a hot air balloon, hand write letters to 50 people I’ve never met, and backpack to Havasu Falls.

I still need one more crazy adventure—any ideas?

I didn’t think that hitting the big five-o would bother me, and for the most part, it doesn’t. But I do feel a sense of regret for all the things I haven’t accomplished yet that I would really like to do. Creating a Life Plan earlier this year helped me realize this and provided an impetus for committing to changes in my life that will help me accomplish some of those goals.

Life is a precious gift–one that we can easily fritter away instead of making it count.  I’m choosing to celebrate with intention.

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What kinds of plans and goals have you made for your year?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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