I’m turning 50 on October 24. I started preparing months ago. Life coach, career coach, book coach. Pretty much anyone I thought could help me figure out what I want to do next with my life—and how to get there. So I could be a new and improved 50-year old version of myself.
I feel like I’m in the home stretch of the race and if I don’t achieve my goals now, I’m never going to.
I can already see myself sitting by the side of the road drooling and unable to find my way home. You laugh, but time and life are soaring by. Incontinence is coming sooner than I’d like.
Not that big-lady diapers are the end of the world. But you know what I mean.
It’s time to do something BIG while I still can. And to prove to myself that I still can.
My ideal would be to take a year off of work, travel Elizabeth Gilbert-style, and write a book. But I just don’t have the guts to do anything that drastic. Would my clients let me go for a year and then take me back? Maybe, but it’s not something I really want to find out.
The compromise I negotiated with myself is that for the next twelve months, I’m going to travel as much as I can and try not to worry about generating new business. Ron and I are going to Venice, India, Africa, Scotland and a few other places.
While we travel, I’m going to write as my client work-load allows. Really write. Hopefully every day. I’m going to write about what I see and taste and feel. Because I want to know if I can really do it–keep the writing up.
Also, I want to know if I do it, will I become as strong of a writer as I’d like to be? And even more important: will I like doing it?
For many years, my fantasy has been to earn my living writing about the things I want to write about. In my mind that lifestyle is liberating and creative. Every day would feel fresh and full of possibilities–like the first day of school used to when I was a kid. Writing better and more often feels like the first step.
On the other hand, a fantasy is just that—a fantasy. I know from experience that sometimes, when you get what you want, you learn that it really doesn’t suit you at all.
When I was 28 I thought I wanted to make tiny, perfect, gourmet chocolates for a living. A day apprenticing in a chocolatier’s kitchen set me straight on that.
When I was 39 I thought I wanted to create my own line of specialty foods. Earning about $1.50 an hour ladling molten fudge sauce from a giant stockpot into tiny jars helped me to understand that I didn’t want it bad enough to work for nearly free long enough to get my business past the start-up phase.
When I was growing up, I always imagined myself having two kids—a girl and a boy. In reality, I’m totally happy with my one perfect girl.
So my 50th birthday present to me is to give myself a chance to live out my fantasy and find out for sure. Will it really suit me, be all that I dreamed of? Only time will tell.
Check back in a year and I’ll let you know.