Fifty by Fifty: My Bucket List


Over the years, I have created various bucket lists. I’m sure they still exist in notebooks or journals or computer files stored on an old hard drive somewhere. Clearly, they aren’t something I have spent a lot of time thinking about, much less planning to achieve.

A few of my big goals – the lifelong dreams I don’t need to see written on a piece of paper to remember – have been consistently pushed to the back burner for years, leaving me feeling frustrated and depressed. A little voice in my head was always asking “Are you ever going to make these dreams come true?”

After my 47th birthday, I think I freaked out a little (ok, a lot) about time passing me by without any forward progress. I started swinging blindly, taking action without thinking it through, trying to scrabble my way toward something, anything, before it was too late.

Thankfully, I came to my senses!

I took a pause before I did anything really stupid (like packing up and moving to a strip of land with a barn in Tennessee at a time my family really needed me here). After a lot of self-reflection, I came to the realization that I was jumping into things because I was afraid: afraid I was getting too old, afraid that if I didn’t do it right now I would never do it at all, afraid that I was stuck and my dreams were slipping away.

I decided to make another list, but this time one that would live on a new blog, front and center. A concrete list of things to motivate and inspire me, but also things I could reasonably, with hard work and persistence (in the form of small, consistent steps) achieve before I turned 50.

Now I wake up every day with a feeling of purpose and direction. I know what I’m working toward, and it excites me. It gives me a structure around which to plan, and helps me decide how to spend my time, energy, and money.

I’m sure the list will evolve and change over time (I actually don’t even have fifty things just yet), but this is what I have so far. I plan to share my progress on a regular basis as I baby step toward my dreams…I hope you come along on this journey with me!


  1. Get a passport
  2. Learn calligraphy
  3. Lose the weight and keep it off
  4. Go white water rafting
  5. Go zip lining
  6. Learn to drive a team of horses
  7. See Pink in concert


8. Ride in a bi-plane
9. Build a Habitat for Humanity house
10. Catch up on scrapbooks
11. Visit Alberta, Canada
12. Go to Harry Potter World
13. Section hike part of the Appalachian Trail
14. Run a trail half marathon


15. Tour New England in peak leaf season
16. Jump off a cliff into the water
17. Learn another language
18. Grow a successful summer garden
19. Build a successful blog (hopefully you’re reading it!)
20. Toastmasters (yikes!)
21. Go hiking in the Rockies


22. Watch a meteor shower where there is zero light pollution
23. Go horseback riding on the beach
24. Go horseback riding in the Rockies
25. Get a truck (tow vehicle)
26. Get a camper
27. Go snow-shoeing
28. Become Certified Financial Recovery Coach


29. Go rock climbing
30. Go tubing
31. Buy an awesome new wardrobe that suits my style
32. Write a book
33. Figure out where I want to live
34. Go kayaking with dolphins
35. Send Mom & Dad on vacation
36. Visit 15 National Parks


37. Go whale watching
38. Ride in a long distance trail ride
39. Start personal finance non-profit
40. Meet the man of my dreams
41. Get an Australian Shepherd puppy
42. Take a photo every day for a year (Project 365)
43. See the Northern Lights


44. Learn archery
45. Travel cross-country in an RV like I did when I was young
46. To be determined…
47. To be determined…
48. To be determined…
49. To be determined…


50. Spend my 50th birthday in Scotland

So, there’s my list so far. I hope to have a lot of new memories to smile over on my fiftieth birthday!

Do you have a bucket list? What are some of the things on it?