On October 31, 2018, my 55th birthday, I posted 101 Things to Do in 1095 Days to be completed by October 31, 2021. I’m a few days late, but today I offer a final update.
On October 31, 2021, I was graced with yet another opportunity to return to the city of my birth – San Diego, one of the most gorgeous spots on earth. I headed to a Coronado Island beach to enjoy the day and reflect on the 58 years I’ve walked this earth, before a week of indoor conference sessions.
My birthday – shared with Halloween – has always been a day of mixed feelings. In my 20s, the convent tradition was to not celebrate birthdays as we focused on the feastday of our named patron – mine being St. Jude, patron of impossible cases (October 28).
On my 30th birthday, I bucked the convent tradition and celebrated with my family of origin at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants:
On my 31st birthday – some might call the golden birthday – I chaperoned a group of high school students to their annual retreat and, that evening, wrote the letter requesting official dispensation from my vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience – bringing an end to my life as a Catholic nun.
By my 32nd birthday, my then-fiancé and now husband gifted me with a sweatshirt I’ve worn every Halloween since — as we balanced my birthday festivities with Halloween activities for our children.
With the roar of the ocean in my ear, sand in my toes, and the warm sun on my skin – I reviewed my 101 Things to Do post: some I’ve completed, others deleted. Rather than listing the original 101, I summarise and highlight:
Averaging about 80 clients any given month I stay plenty busy. I also lead webinars and do quite a bit of ghostwriting for clients. This has replaced much of my business blogging – but I did complete AtoZ Challenge: 26 Pointers for Becoming a Strong Nonprofit Fundraiser.
The pandemic slowed most work-related travel – although as I mentioned above, I’m in San Diego for the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference.
I completed and self-published a book: Promised Land: The 10 Commandments for Nonprofit Strategy, Communications, and Fundraising.
In addition to my writing efforts, I also had the pleasure of doing a TEDx talk – which then led to being a guest on two nonprofit sector podcasts:
I’ve adjusted my blog writing to post directly to Medium.com. And I found the magic of Medium publications! I’ve become a writer for a few publications and have grown my audience.
- Boomerangs – Baby Boomers on the Rebound – writing about life experiences
- Middle Pause – For the woman in the middle
- Dancing Elephants Press – positivity at work
- The Writing Cooperative – a global community of people helping each other write better
Some of the articles I’ve written:
- Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
- How the Chinese Language Forced Me to Stop Being Busy
- 4 Tasty and Easy Autumn Meals
- 2 Reasons to Consider a Sun Lamp
- Have You Found the Perfect Moment
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I’ve taken some online workshops on getting the first page “just right” and creating a strong outline and synopsis. And I logged in to NaNoWriMo on Nov 1 to find this same goal of completing 50K words of my WIP with a working title Walking Through Fog. This is still my goal! I’m taking improving my craft seriously and hope to keep making progress.
I’ve taken up swimming – and otherwise bike or walk. I’m still hoping for a companion to hit the Forest Preserve and most bike trails, but I did complete the 33 mile North branch last summer. I focus a good deal of biking on the gorgeous Chicago lakefront. As winter rolls in, my stationary bike is getting more love and attention.
Travelling – Despite COVID, I did take a few trips through a combination of flights and road trips for family and for work: Connecticut a few times; Washington DC; Seattle, WA; Bay Area of SF, California; Idaho; Salt Lake City; Jackson, Mississippi; San Diego.
PREPARING FOR RETIREMENT
House Projects: Front porch repair is complete!
Paint living room – work in progress – currently stripping and sanding wood trim as step one in the process.
My aim is to be finished before U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Also paved a bit more of the backyard and side of the house – and built a box for a projector screen for our evenings outdoors.
My hope in creating this list was to accomplish at least SOME of them. If I needed to give myself a grade, I’d likely say I score a B-/C+. I did really well in some areas and less well in others. I’m pleased with my progress and look forward to what the next year — the beginning of my 60th year — will bring.