My 55th Birthday Yearlong Plan

. at . 10 comments

In some stores I can now get a senior citizen discount.

In some stores I can now get a senior citizen discount.

It’s just a number. And yet this number, this year, has got me all worked up.

I’ve never been a woman who was bothered by her age. So it has surprised me that this birthday, my 55th one, has found me resistant. Sad. Maybe even a little depressed.

After some prayer and lots of thinking I see that I am not satisfied by where I am in life. Some of the dissatisfaction is due to some of my choices (over-weight, no six-pack) and some are due to the consequences of other’s actions (failing stock market, a divorce I didn’t want).

I could go on. But you get the picture. By 55 I thought I’d be in such a different place in so many areas of my life.

This is nooooo way to live. So I came up with a plan.

I am going to do things this year that help me to focus on others, need God’s help to accomplish, and a few things that are just out-of the ordinary fun for me.

My list may change. I may not accomplish all of them. But I will have a different focus by March 12, 2014. So here are some of my ideas.

I want to . . .

One. Collect 55 Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. I already started this after the collection in 2012. I knew I needed to spread out this project over a whole year because of the financial investment. They are due mid-November.

Two. Raise almost $4,000 so I can go to India July 25- August 10. Our team will (1) put on a conference for 500 women, (2) buy, pack, and distribute shoeboxes (not Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes), and (3) buy 60 sewing machines for four sewing centers.

Three. Practice gratitude 55 times. This could be done in a journal, gratitude letters, or through Friday’s Fave Five. Or???

Four. Move 55 minutes daily. This means that I will walk/exercise this many minutes each day. Right now I walk and exercise 30 minutes a day. I started this because of a bad hip and back. My plan is to be diligent and consistent so I can become fit and more energetic.

Five. Write 55 posts. I do like to write, but I don’t normally give myself permission to take the time to do so. And when I do write, many times I don’t finish it. You should see how many drafts I have in this Wordpress blog.

Six. Create 55 times. That means at least once a week I will engage in something creative. I just feel so much better (emotionally) when I set aside time for this.

Seven. Read 55 books. I was going to read the classics, but decided to read my own books. I am always trying to declutter, but I cannot get rid of my books unless I have read them first. Some I read so long ago that I don’t know why I’ve kept the book.

Eight. Do 55 things from previous bucket lists. I don’t actually know if I have 55 things left to do. But I would really like to experience all the things I’ve previously dreamed up. Plus it is satisfying to cross things off a list.

Nine. Bake 55 pies. Why pies? Who knows? It sounds fun. And tasty. And there are a ton of different types of pies. I don’t plan on eating all of them myself. So you just may get a pie!

That is my list from the sober to the trivial. The first three items (shoeboxes, $ for India, continuos gratitude) will certainly need God’s blessing in order for me to “succeed.”

There are more than likely too many things here for me to accomplish in one year. My daughter certainly thinks so. That’s okay. I really enjoy coming up with ideas. And focusing on these things instead of where I am “not” has got to improve my mental, spiritual, and physical outlook.

 Your Turn . . .

  • Have you ever been bothered by a birthday? If yes, why? What did you do to get over it?
  • What would you like to accomplish in honour of your birthday this year?
  • Please consider helping me buy items for a shoebox or helping me raise $ for India. More information will be posted here soon.
  • If I were going to bake a pie for you, what kind would you like?

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gillian Rouge  |  . at .

    Wow, that’s an ambitious list Susan! But doing each of them once a week will almost get you there. Look forward to helping you achieve some of these goals :)

  • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

    I know it is ambitious, Gillian. But I am really more concerned about the process. And I am concerned with how my heart/soul are at the end of my birthday year. . . . It will be fin to do some of these things together.

  • 3. CatieAn  |  . at .

    I read your post and am proud of your tenacity and your determination. I just turned 63 and I honestly haven’t really thought about my age when I have a birthday. The number seems unreal and the ages of our children are mind boggling….but maybe that is the difference–in the places we are in our lives.
    Whatever the reason, the rehauling of ones life is a major step and should prove fruitfull in ways you won’t know until you get there.
    I am here to cheer you on.
    I would love to hear more about your trip to India.

    • 4. susan2009  |  . at .

      Thanks so much for your support, CatieAn. :)

      Normally my age doesn’t bother me which is why I am taking drastic steps to overcome my aversion to being 55. I am looking forward to seeing how this year and my purposeful actions benefit me and OTHERS.

      I will be doing an India post soon. While I am excited about this opportunity, I am also scarfed.

  • 5. catladymarsha  |  . at .

    Better to to have too many ‘to dos’ than to run out, I always say, and I’ve never run out – never :-) I love how you always challenge yourself, Susan. But, remember to be kind and take a break or two. We hopefully have a pizza night coming very soon – keeping all my fingers crossed for that one.

    • 6. susan2009  |  . at .

      Yes, you are an “active” to-doer that’s for sure, Marsha. And a role model of self-sufficiency. I love how you challenge yourself, too.

      I will be kind as I ambitiously pursue my 55th year goals. I know you will also say something, if I get to be too unbalanced.

      I am looking forward to that pizza celebration. In addition to crossing my fingers, I am praying for God’s favour and speed.

  • 7. Denise Drake  |  . at .

    It will be EXCITING to be updated on your list. Next year I turn 50. I thought it would be fun to have an “Open House” birthday party. Friends and family can simply come and go as they have time. No presents– just a whole day spending time with people. I think I’ll have cupcakes and refreshments and a huge timeline with pictures. Also pictures in albums out and any other things about my life that others might find interesting.

    • 8. susan2009  |  . at .

      Your idea of an open house is such a delightful one, Denise.

      The addition of the timeline with photos is a cool idea. I bet as you work on that project, you’ll see again and again how loved you are, how much you’ve accomplished, and all the times God has “shown up.”

      I look forward to this birthday open house.

  • 9. Shelly Burke  |  . at .

    LOVE THIS! I just turned 46. I’m not at a place I expected to be either; in the midst of a divorce and figuring out what’s next. I knew my “nest” would be empty after our daughter graduated, but didn’t expect it to be empty of husband too (I wanted to save our marriage but he wasn’t interested in getting rid of the girlfriend). One thing I’m doing before I’m 47 is running a half marathon in September. Actually I don’t care if I run or walk…I’m going to finish it, with my two sisters.

    • 10. susan2009  |  . at .

      Way to go, Shelly. I wish you much luck in finishing your September half-marathon. And I also hope it brings you the emotional satisfaction you are looking for. How awesome that your two sisters are doing this with you.

      Goals and the support of family will help you make it through this tough time.

      That and God are helping me through this awkward year.


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Pie Record – 55 Pies in 52 Weeks

1. Raspberry Freeze Pie
2. Derby Pie
3. Apple Pie
4. Dark Chocolate Cream Pie
5. Strawberry Yogurt Pie
6. Toll House Pie
7. Tamale Pie
8. Turtle Pecan Pie
9. GF, DF Apple Crumble
10. Upside Down Apple Pie

Creative Endeavors – 55 in 52 Weeks

1. Planted Spring boxes.
2. Played Scrabble in Spanish.
3. Created Salt Clay Crosses.
4. Making Mother's Day gifts for the ladies in our church.
5. Copied 2 cards at a card party.
6. Wrote rough draft.
7. Cut a hardback book into a Kindle cover
8. Boiled cans of sweetened condensed milk to make dulce de leche twice.
9. & 10. Met 2 more times to make Mother's Day gifts for church ladies.
11. Hemmed pants - Hey, it involved a thread & needle.
12. Sewed a lime green felt piggy bank. Filling it with quarters. This is for Women' s Retreat 2015.
13. Made Chai ice cream & ginger cookies for India DInner Fundraiser. (Thanks, Gillian.)
14. Researched & prepped initial dragonfly project for CM at work. (Thanks Trudy for doing the rest!)
15. Built a table (with my daughter).
16. Decoupaged the table.
17. Assembled candy bar with specialized wrappers.
18. Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
19. Decorated my daughter's Christmas Tree
20. Decorated a wreath
21. Made thumbprint snowman ornaments
22. Decorated my Christmas tree
23. Cooked up bottles of fudge and butterscotch sauce
24. Created a melted crayon picture
25. Baked Earl Grey Cookies
26. Created Sharpie art on my white mug
27. Made a candle in a tea cup
28. Whipped up some cream cheese mints
29. Hand sewed 6 heart shaped tea bags to hold Russian Morning #24.
30. Hand sewed 6 heart shaped tea bags to hold Masala Chai.
31. Baked Lemon Marshmallow cookies
32. Put together a mini teacup pincushion
33. Hand-tied a no-sew fleece baby blanket
34. Decoupaged eyeballs to bottom of glass
35. Glued together a teacup birdfeeder.
36. Designed a diaper bag name tag holder (for nursery at church).
37. Hand tied a no sew fleece baby blanket
38. Weaved 4 ribbon book markers
39. Made another teacup candle
40. Designed and helped assemble magnets for the Women's Annual Tea
41. Sewed 7 teabags for Earl Grey Tea
42. Chalkboard lids for cute jars

Book Record – 55 Books in 52 Weeks

1. Fearfully & Wonderfully Made by Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey
2. Acts of Love: The Power of Encouragement by David Jeremiah
3. Plan B by Anne Lamott
4. The Mysterious Voyage of Captain Kidd by A.B.C. Whipple
5. The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
6. Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn
7. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
8. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
9. Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science by John Tiner
10.The Quest for Character by Charles Swindoll
11. Masters of Mystery: 56 Short Stories of Mystery, Intrigue, & Suspense (by different authors)
12. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
13. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
14. Secrets of the Vine for Women: Breaking Through to Abundance by Darlene Wilkinson
15. Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen
16. Wholly Sanctified by A.B. Simpson
17. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
18. Teaching Kids Authentic Worship: How to Keep Them Close to God for LIFE by Kathleen Chapman
19. A Shorter Life of Christ by Donald Guthrie
20. Whole Prayer: Speaking and Listening to God by Walter Wangerin Jr.
21. Carpe Mañana by Leonard Sweet
22. Sadako and the Thousand Paper cranes by Eleanor Coerr
23. Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
24. In His Steps by Chalres Sheldon
25. Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit Written & Compiled by Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen
26. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent
In My Father's House by Corrie ten Boom with C. C. Carlson
27. Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging by Brennan Manning
28. The King in the Window by Adam Gopnik
29. In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado
30. Valhalla Rising by Clive Cussler
31. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
32. Unleashing Your Potential: Discovering Your God-Given Opportunities for Ministry by Frank Tillapaugh
33. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
34. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
35. The Telling by Ursella Le Guin (library)
36. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov (library)
37. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan (library)
38. Traveling Light by Max Lucado
39. Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
40. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhug h
41. The Accused by Nancy Rue
42. Daniel Boone: Wilderness Scout, A story of the greatest frontiersman by Stewart Edward White
43. Seven Guides to Effective Prayer by Colin Whittaker
44. Prayer: Life's Limitless Reach by Jack R. Taylor
45. The Magnitude of Prayer by Kermit R. Olsen
46. Prayer Changes Things by Charles L. Allen
47. How to Make Prayer Exciting! by Bill & Pam Malone
48. If God Already Knows, Why Pray? by Douglas F. Kelly
49. Praying Together by Rosalind Rinker

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