50 things to do before I am 50 – 50×50

50 x 50 list

I visit the doctor. I tell him what’s wrong. He makes notes, asks a few questions. I answer them and he checks my body. It all seems to be in working order, but he’ll refer me to a consultant, just to be sure.

The doctor wonders whether the issue could be psychological. He asks, ‘have you been under any stress recently?’. I smile, look at him, and explain.

In the past few years, I left a long-term job to go freelance. I have gone through a divorce. I have sold my house (a very long and protracted event) and moved, but have not found a place to call home. Now, I am in the midst of trying to make ends meet financially. Some freelance funding dried-up, stopping some work I was doing. Plus, with all the other stuff going on, I seem to have lost a little direction in recent months. So, perhaps a little stress.

Having explained that, I added that I didn’t think I was worrying about things though. My smile must have convinced him. You can hide so much behind a winning smile. He continued to arrange my trip to the consultant.

Mortality Meanders

Explaining all this to someone was liberating. It got me thinking that perhaps my life wasn’t reaching anywhere near its potential. A trip to the doctor also brings to mind one’s mortality, even if the trip is for something minor. In addition, I have a major birthday on the horizon. I am not quite as young as I once was, a condition most of us find ourselves suffering from.

Amongst all this I found a little motivation, and perhaps determination. It is a cliché, but we only have one life. It is time to focus on the one I have.

50×50

I have been told that the best goals are SMART ones, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed – or variations on that theme. That seems like a good idea, and so I am coming up with 50 things to do before I am 50, my major birthday. Specific things within a specific time frame. It is not a bucket list. It is more like a big-ass to do list.

Some things are big, others little. Some are complex, others simple. Some are very personal, others less so. Some will be private, others public… some may change that status as the days roll on. The list may well change too, as some things become either impossible, or completed things lead to further ideas and developments.

The complete list lives here, but I will be posting progress, victories and defeats here. I’ll be using the 50×50 tag on each post. The list is almost complete, and as soon as it is I’ll put it on the page. There are a few things I want to think about before it goes public and make the goals as clear and specific as possible.

However, I am already working on several things on the list. I could refine and define the list a little more, but I am always over-thinking things. It is time for me to just get on and do, to get on and do 50 things by the time I am 50.

To wrap things up, and if you were in any way worried, I went to see the consultant and got confirmation that there was nothing wrong. Got a prescription and a little advice, so all should be well within a short while.

Remember, lives aren’t all glossy and sweet and photoshopped and happy all the time. Lives are messy, mine is and I’m sure yours is too. I don’t want to just share the sweet edited highlights, so this blog may be a little more open in the coming months. In the meantime, I need to finish my list… and look for more work… and build my relationships… oh, well that’s two things for the list. Do let me know what your goals are and how you keep motivated toward them in the comments. See you soon.

How to banish the blues?

It is better to move toward a dream that appears out of reach, than stand still watching a nightmare on the horizon
I get the blues. I don’t know if it is a side effect of a creative nature, or just that I can be a little miserable. Being creative involves digging deep into our emotions. As such we share a lot of time with some of our deepest, darkest feelings. We also share time with the lightest and happiest moments we have. Creatives can swing quite easily from one feeling to another.

At times I find myself with an attack of the blues. I find my emotions just flip to the negative. I get overwhelmed and I find myself unable to see the positive in anything. I wouldn’t say it is depression*, because it isn’t a constant feeling. I just flit from being happy to flirting with sadness.

Unable to see the positive

During these moments I find myself unable to be positive. I find myself dwelling on an unknown future, and bringing it into the here and now. What if x does, or doesn’t, happen, then things will be terrible? What if I am still in this same position one, two or six months from now? I feel like things will never get better, will never change, things will always be this way.

Or, I do the opposite. I bring the past into the present. If only I had done this, or if only I had done that, and why couldn’t things have happened differently? It’s because of those things that I am here, in this situation now. It is all my fault.

Both the above are projections of events I have no control over in the present. I don’t know what the future holds and I can’t change the past. However, I am letting it affect how I feel. When the blues hit, I can be paralysed into inaction.

What can I do about this?

The solution is to let the present affect the future, and accept that the past is done. I can only control what I do here and now. If I am fearful of a certain future, then it is down to me to avoid it and make the necessary changes in the present. Dwelling on a future that might or might not happen has only one outcome, it makes it more likely to happen.

I remind myself where I would like to be, what I would like to be doing; I realign myself with my goals and desires. I then take the next practical step that will bring that goal closer. It may be something tiny, such as finding out a piece of information. What this does is push to one side the negative thoughts that were stopping me from from acting.

The story of the blues

The blues still return. I still fear certain futures and regret certain past events. These feelings will never be far from me. But I can stop them from controlling me, and you can too. This isn’t the only way to cure the blues, and I’d love to hear what you do, just leave a comment below.

It is better to move toward a dream that appears out of reach, than stand still watching a nightmare on the horizon.

I have uploaded desktop versions of the image above to pinterest for you to download and use. Currently in two sizes, click and download, 1920 x 1080 and 1024 x768

*If you do think you may be suffering from depression please talk to your doctor, or seek medical advice. This post is not written to be a cure for depression, but to add a little colour to the blues.

It’s my birthday, and I’ll cry if I want to

I thought I would spend today doing exactly what I did 46 years ago; eating, sleeping and crying. In the end I have only managed the first two, but the night is young as yet. I’m not saying I wanted to cry. It just sounded like a good opening and with recent events in my life a little wallowing would be within acceptable norms.

party darren

But, it is all a matter of perspective. I am currently in flux in every, yes pretty much every, aspect of my life. I mentioned this before and everything is still ongoing. I could spend a moment, or longer, and do a Lesley Gore and wail away. I could rant about the unfairness of things and wallow in self-pity, and perhaps shed a tear or two.

However, to be perfectly honest, I feel happier and more alive than I have for years.

It’s my birthday, It’s my party… and the future is full of opportunities, so there is no need to cry, I’ll leave that to Lesley.