I had an early appointment for a lab draw this cold Valentine morning. On the way there I was listening to a podcast, Live Free Creative by Miranda Anderson. She just turned 39 and was talking about making a 4 before 40 list. She went over ideas from her fan base and her final list including why it was meaningful to her.
I turned 49 at the end of 2021 so I’m looking at the big 5-0 this year. I’ve got some health goals before that day but other than that I didn’t really think about making a list like she made. As I treated myself to a delicious cappuccino and some quiet writing time, I started brainstorming such a list.
I started with writing down some areas of life I usually make goals around anyway…books, health, family, creating, etc. I took a look at my bucket list (which I still need to write about). After some brain dumping and a little web research. This is what I came up with as my 5 before 50.
- Books – Read 5 significant books
- Art – Create 5 complete paintings
- Writing – Write 50,000 words
- Health – Walk 500 miles
- Family – Complete 5 scrapbooks
Keep in mind I’m a little behind in getting started on this. My birthday is in November so instead of a full year, I only have about 9 months to achieve this. (9 months…am I giving birth to my 50 year old self? Sorry…mom of 3…I had to go there.)
Even with a shorter timeline, I feel this is achievable and meaningful to me and my priorities in life right now. Below is how I came up with these five.
Books – Read 5 Significant Books
This was tough as I already have a goal of reading 50 books on my Goodreads (tsitra) list, not including re-reads. Reading is my brain-relax time so even though I read a lot, most of it is the literary equivalent of sitcom tv. I do read a lot of non-fiction as well in a variety of topics but those are of varying literary quality as well.
I did a little surfing on ‘Top 5’ and ‘Best Books’ lists. Most of them were either classics or popular contemporary fiction that I had already read. I stumbled across a list at oedb.org of the 50 Most Influential Books Ever Written. From that list I’ll choose my 5.
Art – Create 5 Complete Paintings
Art is such a core component of who I am. No matter my career hat (real estate agent, environmental educator, homemaker) art is always a part of my life. I’ve been experimenting a bit this past year with creating art for surface design and learning how to use Procreate as well as creating on-line classes. As a result, I have a stack of things I’ve painted but no ‘complete’ compositions. It’s a part of the process but it also feels strange to me as well. I’ll continue to amass my stack of painted things to scan and digitize but I’m also going to create 5 complete paintings.
Writing – Write 50,000 Words
This is a continual goal for me…write more…write more! I have several projects in mind for this year. These are mostly blog writing and guides for my new real estate website (unveiling very soon) but I’ll also count getting more regular with journaling and even these Coffee Conversations. 50,000 words is about 100 single spaced pages so while I actually have to prioritize writing (any writing!) to achieve this, it still seems very doable in 9 months. And, yes, this post will be the start of my count!
Health – Walk 500 Miles
Better overall health is my top priority before I turn 50. I have several goals I set at the end of 2021 that are weight, nutrition and activity related. I chose to focus on the walking because it will help me with those goals plus some bucket list items. It’s also easy to measure and achievable. While I’d love to ‘lose 50 pounds by 50’…it’s not going to happen. But this walking goal and my others will get me closer to ideal health.
Family – Complete 5 Scrapbooks
On the surface this seems to be more of a personal goal than a family goal. My family, which includes my husband, kids, kids-in-laws, grandkid, parents, grandparent, siblings, sibs-in-laws, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., is VERY important to me. I’ve spent my life prioritizing them and that will never stop.
My husband and I are empty nesters and in what I call our ‘2nd courtship.’ We spend a lot of time together and do a lot of fun things already. I regularly speak or text with my kids and other family members. Travel is hard to plan because, well, life. All of this makes measurable goals difficult for this category.
I started thinking about my photos and scrapbooks. I’ve been scrapbooking for nearly 25 years, not regularly but in bits and pieces depending on life. I’ve completed books both in paper format and digital. I have several books in progress in both formats as well. I’m always wanting to work on these but never seem to put it quite high enough priority. This goal will give me permission to move it up and make it a part of my schedule.
So how does this fall under the heading of family? Like my mom before me, I am my immediate family’s historian. Not only am I the main photo taker but I also remember and love sharing the stories that go with the photos. I feel at some point my kids (or their kids) will appreciate this bit of their history. Plus, I started working on an album for my 97 year old grandmother with a lot of her old photos and I NEED to finish it. She enjoys the ones I’ve competed for her so much that I feel this is a gift I can give her now.
So this is my 5 Before 50 list. It feels right to me. It’s very personal but so are birthdays, especially milestone birthdays. I’ll keep you updated with my progress.