Birthdays! We all have them, every single year. There is no escaping the passage of time. I have some friends who just ignore them, some who don’t seem bothered by them, and others who lament each and every one. It’s personal. I fall somewhere in between.
The phrase everyone throws at you when you are struggling – “Age is just a number” – always sets me on edge. It’s just not true. With age comes challenges – loss of loved ones, physical limitations, medical challenges, worries about retirement finances and, whether we believe it exists or not, dealing with “ageism.” We live in a society that admires youth and innovation and often forgets that wisdom should be honored as well.
My panic birthdays are the ones that are multiples of five. It started the year I turned 40 and never abated. For some reason, the years in between (ex. 41-44) aren’t a problem for me. But those divisible by five seem like major milestones. I find myself unnerved, and thoughts of what the future might hold rear up. Suddenly many of the people I knew were dealing with unexpected challenges. Would this happen to me?
January 2020 was one of my most significant birthdays yet. I turned 65. WOW! Suddenly I would be on everyone’s official senior citizen list. Not only that, but I also had to apply for the OAP (old-age pension in Canada). Who named this? Could there have been a more awful choice? It’s right up there with another word I think is appalling – GOUT!
For my 60th, I published my first book and had a huge launch party to celebrate. That accomplishment changed the focus of my entire year to something positive, a milestone I dreamed of but never thought I’d accomplish. I needed to bring that same change of focus to this birthday. As I didn’t have a new book anywhere near ready, and I would be in Kingston, Ontario, visiting my daughter, my options were limited. From somewhere deep inside, an idea arose that felt just perfect – The 2020 Year of Marilyn Bucket List Challenge.
Excitement filled me. What shape would this take? What did I want to include on it? I decided everything on this list had to be attainable, whether I achieved it or not. Listing 10 vacations I wanted to take that year wasn’t realistic – but creating a dream list of future vacations was. And it couldn’t be about worrying whether they were all crossed off by the end of the year, it was about the journey. In the end, I will choose to celebrate what I did finish!
Want to create a Bucket List Challenge of your own? Just copy the questions below onto a word doc, set the start date (your birthday is always a good one) with the end date a year later, then start filling in a list that is right for you. I have put examples in parentheses of what I chose to get you started. You can also have a look at my full list and see what I’ve already crossed off HERE. And remember, it doesn’t matter if you cross them all off. Whatever you finish is what you celebrate. Any you missed can go on next year’s list if you choose.
Join Our Quarantine Conversations with Marilyn R. Wilson Monday, April 13 at 11 am PDT Get your tickets here