50 things to do before you’re 50

When I was 35 I made a list of 40 things I wanted to do before I was 40. It was quite a mixed list – everything from riding the wooden escalators in Macy’s in New York to making my own lemon curd. I wasn’t sure how I’d get on with it to be honest. I did wonder if once I’d bought the notebook I might let it fall by the wayside, but actually I really got into it. Having a list gave me a sense of purpose – something to focus on when I was feeling a bit lost or bored or not sure what to do on a Sunday afternoon.

I turned 40 in April and although I didn’t manage everything on the list I came pretty close. (You’ll have to go and read it to see which I missed.) In fact I enjoyed it so much that I decided to make another one.

50 things to do before I’m 50.

It’s kind of scary to think about. 40 feels like a pretty cool age, prime of lime and all that, but 50? I don’t know. 50 feels different. 50 feels OLD. Like a proper grown-up. Am I still going to be able to wear t-shirts with cats on when I’m 50? Can I still eat party rings and read Nancy Drew books? It feels like uncharted territory.

When I first wrote the 40 things before 40 post I didn’t have 40 things on the list. I wanted to get it started though, to get the ball rolling, and then I added more things to it as I thought of them. I wanted to do the same with my 50 things before 50 list. Ten years is a long time so I have plenty of time to add things as I go along. Who knows what opportunities might present themselves or what new interests I might stumble across?

This is just a starting point then, so if you have any suggestions please do let me know, the more specific the better. I find that having really specific goals gives me a much better focus and is far more satisfying to tick off.

Here’s my list of 50 things to do before I’m 50:

  • Stay at Gladstone’s library
  • Take a road trip in a convertible (ideally a blue roadster so I can pretend to be Nancy Drew.)
  • Go to the airport and take a random flight
  • Make a Baked Alaska
  • Become a Granny (bit out of my control but I’m adding it anyway)
  • Stay in an old school VW camper van
vintage vw camper

Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

  • Drink a ‘Mermaid Tattooist’ at El Baron in Cartagena de Indias, Columbia
  • Read the complete works of Jane Austen
  • Have my colours done (Bridget Jones’ mum style)
  • Take a train through New England in the fall
  • Blow glass 
  • Make croissants from scratch
  • Meet Reese Witherspoon. I don’t normally get silly about celebrities, (apart from when I interviewed Antonio Banderas, but honestly I didn’t realise I was flicking my hair about quite so much), but Reese is my one true celebrity love. Snaps for Reese. You never know, maybe she has a Google alert for her name and will see this and invite me to tea.
  • Have an underground net adventure (this
  • Cruise the Norwegian fjords 
  • Visit the Vent Haven Museum in Kentucky, the ‘world’s only museum dedicated to ventriloquism’.
  • Turn a piano into a cocktail bar (might need to develop some DIY skills for this one)
  • Ride the steepest passenger railway in the world. (It’s here.)
  • Carve a spoon with Barn. Years ago I cut this out of the Guardian weekend magazine because I love this approach to life and I’ve had it on my fridge ever since. Turns out that ‘Barn the Spoon’ is now a bit of a celeb and has written a book and runs spoon carving workshops.

50 things before 50

  • Operate a lock (the canal kind, not just a door.)
  • See penguins in Antartica
  • Make my own sushi
  • Look out onto Dealey Plaza from the sixth floor of the old book depository
  • See inside Buckingham Palace
  • Read a Mills and Boon 
  • Visit every country in Europe (I didn’t realise when I added this one quite how many countries there are in Europe, but I do have ten years and I’ve done 14 of them already.)
  • Play all three courses at Hastings mini golf, the ‘spiritual home of crazy golf’
  • See a play at the Globe Theatre

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