Monday, 9 March 2009

birthday list

No, not a list of the presents I want! This list is about a different kind of hope.

Some time ago my friend Gai blogged about the 49 things she wants to do before she’s 50. I found it a very inspiring list - a mixture of treats, challenges, resolutions and plans; things that can be ticked off in one go and things to incorporate into regular life. I thought I’d have a go at my own list. Trouble is I’m ten years older than G, so I decided to make it 50 things to do before I’m 60. It’s my birthday this week, so I’ve got a year to do all the things on my list.

I well remember that after I passed my fiftieth birthday I got a bit gloomy, feeling that there wasn’t much to look forward to, just the downhill slope towards old age. In fact that was untrue, the past nine years have brought lots of wonderful experiences, including a major move to a different part of the country, a lifestyle shift and the birth of three grandchildren. But I know that in my low moments I can lose sight of the good things and forget what it is that I enjoy doing. So this list is to remind me of all the stuff I have to look forward to and remind me that I can still make a contribution to the world.

  1. Visit Cambridge
  2. St Ives holiday with all the family to celebrate our 60th birthdays
  3. Walk (part of) the Kennet and Avon canal
  4. Make a daisy chain
  5. Increase exercise to 10,000 steps per day
  6. Reduce BMI to a healthy level
  7. Find a tai chi, yoga or pilates class
  8. Practise meditation every day
  9. Learn more about meditation and other spiritual exercises
  10. Keep a thankfulness diary
  11. Plan a retreat
  12. Take some kind of pre-retirement course or life coaching
  13. Reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill
  14. Where reasonable, avoid buying plastic
  15. Increase loft insulation
  16. Grow some vegetables and herbs
  17. Take part in Earth Abbey’s GrowZone
  18. Start a wormery
  19. Make bread once a week
  20. Take grandchildren on the miniature railway at Ashton Court
  21. See theatre regularly
  22. Read two books a month
  23. One book in five to be a challenge of some kind – maybe a non-fiction book or a classic I’ve never got round to
  24. Go to a couple of major exhibitions (maybe in London)
  25. Give myself a weekly treat
  26. Conquer lace knitting
  27. Use the screen printing equipment I bought two years ago
  28. Take an art or textile course
  29. Get my Central Park embroidery professionally framed
  30. Get properly fitted for a bra at Rigby & Peller
  31. Clear cupboards and recycle junk
  32. Learn how to make an egg custard with confidence
  33. Continue to explore faith and doubt with my spiritual director
  34. Do work filing once a month instead of a marathon when life becomes impossible
  35. Make a simnel cake
  36. Go to cinema once a month
  37. Finish my "cortona" quilt
  38. Research what I need to do to complete my OU degree
  39. Make a range of "earth friendly" cotton shopping bags for the Arts Trail
  40. Finish my mother’s florentine canvaswork. This was started in the 1960s. It’s never going to be the rug that was originally intended as some of the wool has run out, but could be a substantial floor cushion
  41. Have a pedicure
  42. Write up detailed job notes for my successor at work
  43. Start an Etsy or Folksy shop to sell my handmade items
  44. Apply for my bus pass, so I can go on jolly jaunts on local buses around the country
  45. Get an indigo vat going and do some dyeing
  46. Invite someone else to join in the fun of indigo dyeing
  47. Try to save up some money to get my grandmother’s old armchairs reupholstered
  48. Reawaken my interest in wildflowers and foster my granddaughter’s existing interest in flowers by teaching her the names of wildflowers and collecting some to press
  49. Sort out the hopeless tangle that is my "jewellery box" and put things neatly (if temporarily) in nice new boxes in tidy little compartments
  50. Make another list ready for next year!


  1. fantastic list! I'm particularly taken with the wormery! xxx

  2. Just found you (via Poshyarns, I think). That's some list. I manage no 19 a couple of times a week (courtesy of a bread machine), made a start at 31 and 49 (but got bored far too quickly) and I'm a master at no 25. I'll pass on 41 (my tootsies are for my eyes only) but 35 sounds delicious.

  3. I really like the variation in levels of difficulty in your list - some seem immediately achieveable while others are huge challenges. I have been thinking of drawing up something similar as I reach my 45th birthday. I feel like this is me hitting "middle age" and needing some direction in my life. I might have to steal some of your ideas!

  4. steal away! I nicked some of these ideas too!