February 22, 2023

My 50 x 50 List (& what we can learn from Creating One).

Nearly every morning, I sit on my back porch, a hot coffee in my hand and my little cat Tino sitting somewhere near, scanning the shrubbery for critters, and I write.

Sometimes I write about my dreams from the night before. Sometimes about my plans for the day ahead, capturing these thoughts in ink on paper.

On one such recent morning, I was inspired to write a 50 x 50 list. Fifty things to achieve by the age of 50.

I’ve lived a vibrant, globe-traversing, adventurous, inspiring, and entrepreneurial life to date, but for the past few years, I’ve been sitting still for longer than I used to. And the creepy, sleepy Covid dream we were all a part of wasn’t to blame for all the sluggishness I felt.

Lately, I’ve noticed an inner stirring to do more. Not just more travel, but all the things I’m drawn to do. Fun things. Impactful things. Outrageous things.

And to exercise these things with more intention.

So, cozy-ing up on my porch as the morning sunlight tap-danced through the tree leaves, Tino hunting small birds she found hopping and chirping in the shrubbery, I took pen to paper and started with the first six things that came to mind.

My favorite classical piece to listen to is Johan Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” If ever I don’t cry listening to this piece, I assure you, the tears are welling up at the door.

The first thing on my 50 x 50 is to see a classical orchestra in Europe. A full symphony that includes Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, Brahms, and, of course, Pachelbel—all the greats.

Why in Europe? Because I crave the old-world feel of each sonata resounding through timeless concert halls. I want to be transported through the heavens as the chorus of strings and piano keys reverberate off statued walls and domed ceilings, as they have done for centuries.

The city, the situation, the setlist. Those details aren’t as important. Perhaps it will be the Vienna Philharmonic or the Berlin Philharmonic. I suppose the venue depends on if I want to dine on wine and cakes after or feast on sausages and beer.

The other items on my evolving list of 50 x 50 are a mix of personal and professional pursuits, such as joining a week-long sailing adventure so that I feel what it’s like to live on the ocean for days at a time. Hike and camp Patagonia so I can experience another epic natural landscape that takes my breath away with its sheer, vast beauty. Own property where I can build a house (and install a free-standing bathtub with a stunning view of the jungle or ocean). Write at least two more books (I can feel them stirring in the corners of my mind already).

My list also includes things I can easily do in a weekend without much forethought. Tasks like planting my own tomatoes with the aim of making pasta sauce or salsa for my friends. Try aerial yoga without fear of failure (or falling). Accomplish a headstand without the help of a pole or a person—you know, things within reach that I seem to never get around to doing.

But by including them on my 50 x 50 list, I’m embellishing each goal with more purpose.

As I’m winding this past year down (still), and looking back at the shiny, sparkly highs and the hard, dark lows, this restless feeling to do something more than simply plan out the next year’s aims has crafted itself into possibility and imagination.

Reflecting further, my 50 x 50 serves more as a tool for gaining personal fulfillment than a to-do list.

Intentionally inserting these experiences into my life will create movement, fulfillment, joy, and accomplishment. These are goals that drive me and speak to every part of me—the silly, the challenging, the diligent, the light.

Pursuing the items on my 50 x 50 list will give me personal inner strength. A strength that then blossoms into proof of my own sense of self. Proof of my wide range of abilities. Proof of my capacity to go further and do more.

Proof I can create space for the things that I love.

And as the 50 x 50 are ticked off one by one, I’m sure I’ll feel pretty damn proud of myself .

Reading this, I hope you are inspired to create a list for yourself too. A 50 x 50 (or 30 x 30 or 70 x 70) to use as a personal tool to make your own life that much greater.

When creating your list, ask yourself: What do I want to experience? What do I want to feel? What can I do to tap into that feeling?

As the days pass, make intentional choices that draw you closer to the things on your list. Pay attention to how achieving each item impacts you and changes you in some way. I bet you’ll feel pretty damn good too.

If this post ignites inspiration in you, I invite you to share a few things from your 50 x 50 with me. Maybe something on your list will find its way onto mine.

Here is the start of my 50 x 50. It’s still growing because rather than haphazardly listing interesting things that just sound good, I’m only adding ideas that I genuinely want to accomplish.

1. See a philharmonic orchestra in Europe.

2. Try aerial yoga.

3. Do a headstand without help.

4. Write two more books.

5. Grow my own bananas.

6. Own (and be able to care for) two baby cows.

7. Own property (probably before the cows).

8. Personally write and mail physical Christmas cards.

9. Own a bathtub with a view.

10. Become ordained so that I can marry my friends.

11. Grow my own tomatoes and make pasta sauce for my friends.

12. Visit Somoto Canyon (Nicaragua).

13. Meet Oprah.

14. Win an award for writing.

15. Go on a sailing adventure for at least a week.

16. Visit the Pyramids and River Cruise on the Nile (Egypt).

17. Hike Patagonia (South America).

18. Get Lasik Eye surgery.

19. See the Northern Lights.

20. Visit Milford Sound (New Zealand).

21. Stash a supply of inflatable guitars for spontaneous jam sessions in my kitchen.

To be continued…

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