I turn 50 in August 2023 and I’ve decided to do 50 ‘things’ before I tick over into the next decade.
The last few years have been rather odd shall we say, what with the pandemic forcing us to staying close to home. I haven’t yet done a great deal of travelling since.
I’m not complaining, I’m incredibly content with my life. I love where I live and never have a huge urge to travel to new and exotic places.
That said, as I approach a new decade in my life I am chosing to make changes and do more of the stuff that challenges me, more fun stuff and some stuff that is downright scary.
We only grow and learn through taking action, acting with courage and stretching ourselves out of the comfort zone.
Here’s my 50 things: what I’ve Done, what’s In Progress, and what’s still to do
This was a fascinating thing to do. I ended up with a box of white mushrooms that I started first, then the chestnut mushrooms a few weeks later. At one point I had so many mushrooms I was giving them to friends. I was harvesting for around a month and I’ll definitely be doing this again.
I have actually had lychee a long long time ago and from memory I didn’t like them. However it was on a plane and I’m certain this isn’t the best place to try something new! I wrote that down as a non-experience and bought myself three, they’re so small after all. Turns out it was two too many lychees for me. I don’t like them – an odd taste like eating a bottle of perfume.
The rules on this were that I should buy something I wouldn’t normally. I have internal battles with what is ‘normal’ in terms of clothes – something I’m working on and sounds ridiculous when I verbalise it. Anyway, I bought this scarf because my ‘normal’ choice would be plain and no pattern. The wonderful surprise I really LOVE this scarf. It has wise owls on it and makes me smile. Result.
Over the past few years have learnt ways to appreciate art in a slow looking way. I added gallery visit onto my list to do something out of the ordinary and visited the Manchester Art Gallery. A great time was had, browsing all the gallery rooms, looking at things I’d normally quickly dismiss as something I didn’t like. With slow looking you get to appreciate a piece of art, slow down your pace and just ‘be’.
Full disclosure – the photo is not me!! It’s an image from Canva. In my head this is exactly how I look, practicing moves by the sea at sunset, ninja like and calm. In reality I tried (for the 3rd time in my life) a non-contact kick-boxing class. The result was a great workout (including the 5km run there and 5km back). I had big dreams of this becoming a regular thing. In the past when sports massage was my main income stream I shied away from martial arts in fear of hurting my hands. Annoyingly I hurt my hands on the very first class and haven’t returned since. The strain I suffered caused me pain for over a week. Ah well. Perhaps this just isn’t my thing.
Rather ambitiously I set out to knit a pair of socks. I didn’t get far and the 4 or is it 5 needles are still in pretty much the same position as this photo. I changed the challenge to knit a scarf for a friends birthday – that meant a quick knit was needed. I forgot to take a photo of it finished, but I promise you it was delivered in time for the birthday.
With pizza!!! Best film viewing for a long time. I’ve never done a drive-in cinema. Over the Snake Pass we went to Bamford on a dry evening for wood-fired pizza and 4 short films about climbing. Grand evening.
My anticipation of this event swung from stupidly excited and not giving a stuff about being a total novice on a heavy, slow and amateur bike….through to why the heck am I even thinking I can do this. The event is a 5km uphill cycle event (with over 320m ascent) right on my doorstep. It draws local cyclists, elite riders and even Dame Sarah Storey on this occasion to enter. What right did I have to do it?!
Courage in large doses were applied. Overcoming my nerves got me to the start line to ‘just do my own thing and get to the top’. And I did (left pic). Slowest time in the event (easily 2.5x the winning time!!) but still a fabulous result in a super friendly event with copious tea and cakes afterwards. Thanks Glossop Kinder Velo…I may just be back for this next year.
My new bike performed well. We had to keep the box – obviously being guarded by Tigg and Hobbes. Other pics are from a cycle around Ladybower (top right) and latest shopping trip complete with Christmas panniers. As you’ll see lower down, there’s plans afoot.
OMG I had THE best time making myself a blown drinking glass. The friend I went with made a bauble that was stunning. Nothing got broken, no-one got burnt – you know, all those fears I felt beforehand were superceeded by a fun and exhilarating experience I want to do again!
10. Try a new vegetable – I forgot to get a photograph of the Scorzonera kindly given to me by a friend. He’d grown it on his allotment and when I was handed a bunch of twig looking muddy things I wasn’t too excited. Cooked and eaten as a buttery side dish it was lovely. I’d eat it again.
For over a decade I’ve been seeing these trees up on the Bleaklow moors, passing them on runs and walks. I’ve often thought it would be fun and a delightful sight if one was decorated for Christmas. So I decided I’d do it myself. Decorations were 50 or so pompoms (I wanted to avoid plastic) all tied on to a remote and isolated tree on a perfectly snowy day in mid December. All decorations were removed before the 6th day so no litter on the moors from me. A few friends knew where the tree was and one did find it to his delight.
I’m not a particularly girly-girl and it’s been a long long time since I had nail varnish on my nails. Plus I’ve never had a manicure so it was added on my list. I’m liking the results with the sparkly teal varnish and have even got myself a bottle to do my nails myself. Good result.
In Progress (13-17)
13. Read 12x fiction books – I started my 9th book a week or so ago. Book lists will follow later.
14. Read 12x non-fiction books – 9th and 10th books are in progress
This has been a goal for a long time. It’s a big challenge and I’ve apparently not chosen the easiest of easy patterns, partly because I’m doing raglan shaping (I had no idea what raglan was til a friend explained). Hey, if you’re doing something may as well not take the simplist way though eh! Top left – test square for tension. Top right – Hobbes ‘helping’, so far he’s not chewed through any wool but apparently it smells great. Bottom left – first few rows of the front. Bottom right – shaping under arms on the front piece. I’m now at the ‘shape neck’ stage and need to see a friend to help me decipher the pattern. 2 months to get to this stage…7.5 months left to complete all 4 pieces, plus neck band…and obviously sew it up.
One of the gym based challenges I’m doing is to do 5 pull ups. I’m at the 0 stage and currently working on band-assisted pull ups and hanging for 30sec intervals to build up my grip strength. I’d like to get this one done by the start of June, sooner ideally but it’s a long term, slow build exercise for me.
17. No sugar January – this is going well so far. My rules are no processed sugar, no cakes, biscuits, chocolate, fizzy drinks. There’s a lot more protein being eaten which is never a bad thing. I’m also incorporating Dry-Dry January. I’ve been alcohol free since April 2021 and in January I cut out alcohol-free drinks too.
Left to do (in no particular order) (18-50)
Stand up paddle boarding
15 trigs challenge
Make an item of clothing and wear it (sewing machine is out and I’ve made non-wearable things as practice)
Run a marathon/ultra
Stand under a waterfall
Walk or cycle Hadrians Wall
Cycle coast to coast
Have a massage
Visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Take someone wild swimming for their first time
Ride an ebike
Spa visit (booked for late January)
Self created triathlon
Bike tour with partner
Bike tour with friend
Flight simulator experience
Cookery class (probably Indian)
Bounce Below experience
Canoe across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales
Climb a Scottish Munro (Ben Lomond?)
Cycle to fetch cottage cheese from Longley Farm
Cycle the Hope loop
Deadlift bodyweight x1. 5
TGU 1/4 bodyweight
I have until 30th August 2023 to complete the list so there’s a constant action plan on the go. I’ve got my 50 things written out on a board nice and visual. Some of the challenges are time bound, limited to when conditions are right in terms of weather, others when I’m fit and strong enough. A couple may end up happening at the same time. I’m feeling positive that with 7.5months left I’ve enough time to do them all…whether they are all successful, liked or not is another matter. But I’m doing them to test myself both physically and mentally, to take bold action with courage and regain some adventure and freedom.
I’d love to hear if you’ve set any challenges for yourself this year – are they ones you know you’ll accomplish, or like me, is there something you’re going to start and not know if you’ll finished? Leave a comment below.
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