As I come to the eve of my 49th Birthday, I have taken this time to reflect on not only the last year, but also where I am in life. I tend to do this more on my birthday than I do on New Year’s Day because New Year’s tends to be a giant party where there is little time for reflection. My birthday allows me to reflect on where I am and where I want to be. This year is a big one…49.
It is the last year that I am in a certain demographic when you complete a form. Soon I will get my AARP invitation for membership. I will automatically begin to get discounts because of my age. Fifty is half of one hundred, a half of a century. That is a pretty big things. I have persons that I consider dear to me that have not made it this far, taken way too soon, and missed too much. When I think about these things, I realize that there is so much in life that I miss out on because I put limitations on me. I allow what my perceptions of what others will think, feel or react persuade me not to even entertain the thought of coming outside of my comfort zone.
So I have made a list of things that I must do before I turn 50. It is not a long list. It is not an expensive list, but it is my list. I will share with you a few of them, but this list is not inclusive of all the things that I want to do this year…so here we go…Wendy’s 49 list…. This is in no particular order:
- Obtain a Boy Toy…every woman of a particular age should have a boy toy at their beck and call. I want to have one too. Not to have deep conversations with, just to take out to events, or to have dinner every now and then. Yep, I think the research and development for this will be fascinating and very exciting.
- Go to my college homecoming – Well actually, I went to an all-female college, so in actuality, it is the college across the street from mine, but I want to go this year because I need to. No, literally I need to go because that was one of the best times in my life, and I miss my Belle Sisters. It was also a time when taking adventures and doing something new was not as scary as it is today. Oh to be young dumb and stupid again.
- Run a 5K- Now to my friends that know me know that they have never heard these words come out of my mouth, ever. I am the chick that parks in the spot closest to the entrance of the store that I am going to. I have decided that I want to run in a 5K. Not for the race of it, but for the me of it. Something so far away from something that I have ever done or even have expressed a desire to do…but I am going to do it before I turn 50…even if it is a year from today. I will train, in my way, and find a fun one to do.
- Noodling- Yes, I am going to go Hillbilly Hand fishing this year. I know, not something that may women, let alone African American women do, but I am going to it. My crazy cousin first said that she wanted to do it and I was going along to support her, but now I want to do it as well. I see it as a challenge of so many pre-conceived notions that I have about myself. Things that I don’t think that I can, could, should or would do will be challenged by this experience and as I turn 50, that is something that I need more and more.
- Celebrate a new experience weekly- If I have learned nothing else so far in life, it is that new experiences bring growth. The older I get, the more I realize what I don’t know. My knowledge is limited because I limit myself to the things I am comfortable with. So this year, each week I am going to do something that is new for me. Not all of these new experiences will be planned, some may just come to me because I am open. Open to the newness of them all.
- Eliminating the words “I can’t” from my vocabulary. I think there really is no further explanation needed for that. It is sufficient to say that while I may not say it out loud, I have it on the tape recording that plays in my head. Some days it is stronger than others, and on those days I have to re-program my tape and remind myself that I can try, and that it is not about being successful at the attempt, but it is the attempt itself that is the success.
I can’t wait to see how this yearlong celebration of The Celebration of Me will look. What I do expect is that this New Year will indeed be a New Year. I look forward to the people that I will meet, the places that I will see.