Living brave: 50 things for my 50th year


I turn 50 in 2018. I don’t even know how that happened; how I’m suddenly that old. Which I realize is such an old person kind of thing to say.

I was talking to a dear friend a couple months ago and she said she was making a list of 60 things for her 60th year and I was so struck by the idea I decided to outright copy it. It’s a way of looking at the world that is expansive and full of growth and possibility, and it allows you to intentionally plan ways to expand your horizons and grow forward. I’m going to do it every year from now on — so that 51 will have 51 new things for that year, and so on. You get it. So here is my list — committing to it publicly makes it real.

6 things about my work in the world:

  1. Grow my business with passion, commitment and love, bringing Brave Honest Conversations to individuals, organizations and communities and inspire a world where people have these conversations together to solve the challenges they face. No small dreams here.
  2. Pick some places I want to travel to and find some work to do in those locations. Like maybe I should plan a 3 day event in Iceland? the South Pacific? I’d be happy to go back to New Zealand.
  3. Write a book about lessons learned and what I see coming in the future from my 25 years in the field of high stakes, high emotion dialogue and brave, honest conversations. (Writing that one makes me throw up a little bit).
  4. Carve out the time to write that book and put it on my schedule. And then actually do it.
  5. Join a mentoring / networking group for women only.
  6. Create new training courses, workshops and products that inspire a world where people have brave, honest conversations at their dinner tables, the boardroom table and in their communities.

6 things that require me to be brave and believe in myself.

(Not that the other things on this list don’t require that, but these ones specifically do.)

7. Participate in the Revelation Project. A workshop, a photo shoot, a reveal to the world. Check it out here. Being fully seen in all my vulnerability — this has my knees shaking. It’s happening April 6th, so now I’ve put that out into the world there is no turning back.

8. Embrace my greying hair and my wrinkles. Or at least make friends with them and appreciate the road I’ve been on that has brought them to me.

9. Do 1 thing every week that makes me a little uncomfortable or scares me. Putting this list of 50 things out there is that thing this week.

10. Play more and let my wild child out more often. Dance in the kitchen, be silly, play games. Lighten up. Go sledding. Ride roller coasters. Skinny dip. Life is short and should include more moments of sheer fun.

11. Stay whole and centered on this journey. I’ve got this long list, and a new business I’m growing, friendships, family and a partner to stay connected to, and lots of ways I want to explore the world in 2018. Being thoughtful about my choices and remembering the things I need in my life to stay whole and in balance will help.

12. Practice self love and acceptance. I’m turning 50 and I think 49 years is enough time wasted thinking negative thoughts about my body and image. I look back at pictures in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and think how beautiful and alive I looked and all the time I was busy telling myself how I wasn’t pretty or sexy enough, thin though, fit enough — just not enough. I’m tired of that all old story. 49 years is enough time wasted on that.

7 things where I explore this beautiful world.

13. Rent a place on Vancouver Island for a few weeks again this summer and check out communities and locations for a future house.

14. Snorkel with turtles, dolphins and manta rays in Hawaii.

15. Get close to the elemental forces of nature exploring lava flows, lava tubes and black sand beaches in Hawaii.

16. Hike the Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island.

17. Bring some more live music into my life: going to see Santana, Ed Sheeran and a Hawaiin cowboy band this year.

18. Make an actual bucket list. I’ve travelled so many beautiful places, and said yes when the opportunity arose and my ideas of where I might go seem endless. I’m going to write them down and prioritize them.

19. Soak in some natural hot springs.

6 things where I let my creativity and artistic expression flow:

20. Take a pottery class (and make some new giant tea mugs).

21. Learn to make sushi.

22. Take more pictures and get more creative with photography.

23. Make jam, pickles, BBQ sauce and more with the bounty of the season.

24. Take an acting or improv class.

25. Write more, blog more, journal more.

6 things where I mark the transition in our lives with children leaving home and patterns in our world changing.

26. Create new family tradditions that reflect where our family is at now, so we keep the traditions that tie us together and build new ones that meet our changing family where it is at.

27. Sell our big house and downsize to a smaller, cosier, more simple space.

28. Do a 30-day challenge for a habit I want to develop or change. Which I will identify this summer. But I think this might really serve me when I carve out the time and practice the discipline to the write that book in #3 above.

29. Declutter the house so we can downsize, getting rid of all the things we’ve been filling this house with for 16 years that we don’t really need but someone else could use.

30. Get rid of cable tv. Or…because there is someone in the house who likes TSN and Sunday football maybe just stop watching the tv myself.

31. Celebrate the changes in our family — welcoming a new member through marriage, children carving out their own lives in communities they love. Mark those milestones with events and joy.

7 things where I move my body, get stronger, celebrate being alive physically:

32. Run 2 Spartan races in 2018, 1 of them with a dear friend, and 1 with my brother. These are such good markers of the state of my fitness that they are on my list most years.

33. Get a personal trainer so I am focused in building strength and endurance at the same time.

34. Participate in a paddle board regatta.

35. Just get out on my paddle board more often. Play hooky from work and life and go paddling for the sheer joy of it.

36. Run another City Chase race with family and friends for the fun of it. Its as close to Amazing Race as you can get without being on the show.

37. Take a cross country ski clinic so I can enjoy the never ending winter.

38. Snow shoe more often.

9 things where I learn, grow and think deep thoughts. This turns out to be mostly a list of books I want to read this year.

39. Read a book from a writer on every continent. Or maybe about every continent because I’m not sure there are writers from Antarctica?

40. Download interesting podcasts about food, climate change, travel, business, social justice and listen to them while I cook. Since I cook a lot, it’s like multi-tasking filling my mind and our bellies.

41. Read a fiction and a non-fiction book from each of the countries on my bucket list. Since I have to make a bucket list first (see #18) I don’t know which countries these are yet but I do know that when I travel I love to read about the places I go and read authors from those worlds.

42. Read Recovery by Russell Brand. Since Russell Brand is the Philosopher King of this era this exploration into the depths of his humanity should be insightful.

43. Read Behave by Robert Sapolsky.

44. Read The Nature Fix by Florence Williams.

45. Read Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris.

46. Renew my library card. And actually go to the library because its part of the community and I love books. And also not paying for them to be downloaded to my ipad might be nice too.

47. Read more poetry.

3 things about being grateful for this beautiful life.

48. Practice gratitude on a daily basis for all the good things in my life.

49. Continue to set intentions for each day about how I want to show up, and how I can be of service to others.

50. Celebrate turning 50. Because this is a beautiful life in a beautiful world and I’m so grateful.