50 Ways to Celebrate 50 Years

I love celebrating birthdays….OTHER people’s birthdays!


I have this strange  love – hate relationship with acknowledgment.  Sure, it feels good when a friend remembers or offers to celebrate with me, but at the same time, I do NOT like being the center of attention.  Bottom line, I’d rather celebrate someone else’s birthday than my own!

But here I sit, EXACTLY 365 days away from turning 50 – and I’m realizing it’s kind of a big deal.


Don’t get me wrong!  It’s not that I’m all of sudden seeking or wanting birthday attention.  It’s just that I can’t stop dwelling on this concept of turning 50 YEARS OLD.

It’s technically not the half way point of one’s life (unless they live to be 100), but it IS one half of a century, and that’s a big number to wrap my brain around.

When I was younger, and turning 50 felt a LONG way away – I had a preconceived notion of what that would look like – frumpy, frazzled, middle aged woman, dressed in a stained apron, baking cookies.  Kind of 1950’s – I know!


Regardless of the picture in my head, my prior belief was that turning 50 was the beginning of the end, the prime had passed and it was all downhill from there!

The good news is…..NONE OF THAT CRAP IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here I am, in the best mental and physical shape of my life!  I don’t for a second view this impending birthday as an ending, but rather a beginning.  I feel a sense of freedom that I’ve never had before.  It’s not freedom based on the age of my children, our financial status or having paid my life dues.  It’s an internal freedom – a freedom to do and go and be ME  – authentically!  A freedom to LIVE LIFE without inhibition.

Why the heck am I writing about this today, when I have a whole year before I turn 50?


Because I’ve decided to not wait until October 27, 2015, my 50th birthday, to celebrate being 50!

If you think about it – TODAY is the first day of my 50th year.  So I’ve declared this a BIRTHDAY YEAR – as such, I will celebrate throughout the entire year!

That’s a little daunting, to say the least.  But also somewhat exciting, with a bit of liberating mixed in.

Looking at the scope of my whole life, it feels kind of like an intermission; a rest period, a break from the action, time to stand up and stretch before hunkering back down for the rest of the show.

Or as my BFF and favorite Aunt Barb called it – my halftime show!  I won’t be hiring a marching band, pom pom girls or baton twirlers – but that doesn’t mean I can’t fill this year with some HOOPLA of my own!



  1. Buy fresh flowers
  2. Go dancing – with my husband
  3. Go dancing with my girlfriends – because that’s a whole different experience than #2!
  4. Drive somewhere I’ve never been, using an old fashion road map to get there (NO GPS!)
  5. Stay in my pj’s and watch 3 movies in a row
  6. Spend the night at a bed & breakfast
  7. Open up my memory box – and read every card and diary entry from my childhood
  8. Have (or go to) a Sip & Paint party
  9. Get a facial
  10. Keep a journal / scrap book documenting my celebration this year
  11. Visit a vineyard to experience real wine tasting
  12. Go to the theater to see a play
  13. Dig my flute out of the junk closet and PLAY it again (maybe take lessons?)
  14. Plan a girl’s ski weekend
  15. Make a photo wall – blow up and frame my favorite pictures from the past 50 years
  16. See a ballet
  17. Get tickets to a concert (U2, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5)
  18. Experiment wearing new lipstick colors
  19. Go on a weekend bike trip (New England, Colorado?)
  20. Make chocolate fondue
  21. Travel back home to Connecticut for a walk down memory lane
  22. Buy a convertible sports car – a girl can dream, right?
  23. Take a surfing lesson
  24. Go to the park – and swing
  25. See a live comedian perform
  26. Prepare my childhood favorite dish – Chicken Divan – and don’t attempt to make it Paleo
  27. Grow a vegetable garden – this could fall under the “a girl can dream, right?” category too!
  28. Write a letter to my grandparents – recalling memories I had of them growing up, things that have stuck with me and traditions I have passed onto my children
  29. Drink an expensive (relative to my norm) bottle of wine
  30. Get a tattoo!
  31. Visit an art museum (in Norfolk….or New York?) with Peter
  32. Return to Burlington, VT to reminisce on my college years
  33. Watch the sun rise at the beach


Clearly my celebration list is a work in progress.  Celebrating me and my life is not something I do naturally.  This will surely be an interesting year as I dabble in and practice this thing called CELEBRATION.  Since today is the first day of my 50th year – I better go get this party started!

with Gratitude, Joy & Love,


  1. Tami Dierberger says:

    Happy Birthday to one of my favorite persons EFFER! I hope your day is filled with everything that makes your heart and face smile. In honor of you, I have printed your list of 50 things to do, I will work through this list and think of you each time I complete one. I may need your help on a couple:) I love you BIG! Tami
    PS…I changed my email on this comment so hopefully that will change it so that all your posts come to this email address.

    • Tami – I love that you are printing the list off to work through it too! But what I’d really encourage you to do is create your own personal list of ways to celebrate YOU and your LIFE! Many of them may be the same – but you might discover something in this process. I know I did!

  2. #14!!!!! Let’s start planning!!! Happy birthday!!!

  3. Funny how buying MORE ShOES was not on your list! But How about buying more HiP shoes so you can remind your inner self that ( as the song says) “These shoes were meant for walking, and that ‘s just what I’ll do”
    Keep moving my friend through your 49,50 and beyond. From my perspective it is glorious all the way!

  4. You GO Girl!!! I am now 52 and it just gets better and better, TRUST me!!

    Also, got my first tattoo last April !!!!(hahaha) Wish I’d thought of your idea the year before I turned 50, but you know what, that’s okay…..I’m living life a moment at a time and trying NOT to take any of it for granted.

    GREAT to hear from you Debi!!!! Take care:)

    • You did??? Got your first tatoo?! What did you get….and where did you get it? You can CELEBRATE your life at any age! It doesn’t just have to be for the 50th year! That’s just when the idea hit me. It’s a pretty amazing experience already – the idea of intentionally and purposefully CELEBRATING life!

  5. Catherine Cantine says:

    I love the idea of starting celebrating my birthday in the year of turning 50, which would be January 2016 (my birthday is August 26). I share my birthday with a twin sister, and if I can get her to do this with me or include her in some of my plans, then that will be the best gift she could give me. Thanks for sharing! I’m looking forward to enjoying my life moving forward.

    • Hey Catherine – somehow this awesome comment slipped through the cracks, so i’m now just reading it (3 months later). Hope you were able to enroll your sister in a year of celebration – the big and the little.

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