Last year, I turned 50. I was one of the first of my friends to hit the big 5-0 so I got a head start on my celebration and was ready to give advice as they were all hitting this milestone. I celebrated with dinner and a cocktail on my real birth date. But I have to be honest, I made turning 50 into a year long party complete with travel, service, and family time. Here is my list of fearless and fabulous ways to honor your fiftieth year of life.
I visited places I have never seen but also went back to some of my favorite locations. I started the year in New York City. My parents treated me to my first trip to The Big Apple. We saw the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza, had dinner at Tavern on the Green, saw the Museum of Natural History and visited Ellis Island. We even saw Wicked on Broadway, which was absolutely amazing. Spending this time with my parents was a great way to reflect on my half century on this earth. We had some good laughs and I am so grateful for this time with them.
Although it was hard to top that trip, My husband, son and I traveled to Japan over the Christmas and New Year Holiday. My daughter was studying there so we decided to see her for the holidays. Since it was my 50th birthday and also my husband and my 25th wedding anniversary, we had more than one big occasion to celebrate. It was truly wonderful. I have written one blog about it and plan to write more soon.
In January, I went to Orlando for the PGA Merchandise Show. My husband and I own a golf club so we spend January preparing for our busy golf season, and one of our tasks is to buy merchandise for our Pro Shop. I added a few days to see my parents in Boca Grande, relax on the beach and walk around Disney’s Boardwalk. Of course, I blogged along the way and you can read more about my Florida adventures here.
In the Spring, my daughter, husband and I went to Chicago for a few days. We drove and the weather was perfect for walking around and sightseeing. In addition to the famous sights such as Navy Pier and the Museums, we visited some graduate schools my daughter is considering. We saw Loyola, Northwestern and University of Chicago. We walked a lot, laughed a lot and had a fantastic trip. I am so grateful for the family time I enjoyed this year!
In May, I want back to Boca Grande for a short trip to celebrate Mother’s Day with my Mom. My kids had other plans for that weekend so I decided to go to Florida and spend the weekend with my parents. I have been to the island many, many times and first visited it when I was about 18 years old. I try to get back there as often as my schedule and budget allow.
July of course is our annual trip to Mackinac Island with my husband’s family. I have also been visiting this island since I was young and it is one of my favorite spots. You may have read my blog about it. This trip was special because I realized more than ever that my kids are growing up and thinking about next steps in their career and college paths. It will be hard to get everyone in one place to celebrate as we all grow and more forward. My nephew is going to medical school in Florida, my daughter just returned from study abroad in Japan and is looking at graduate schools and my son is applying to colleges now.
In August, my friends and I went to Bermuda for a long weekend. We flew from Detroit to Boston then to Bermuda. Our flight was delayed so we missed our connection and ended up having to spend the night in Boston. Although it shortened our trip to Bermuda, we still had a blast. It was so enjoyable to spend a few days at the beach with close friends and not have a schedule. We stayed at The Fairmont South Hampton and used their shuttle to get to the beach each day. Although there was really no need to leave because of the great amenities and restaurants, we left the resort to shop and have a Rum Swizzle at the Swizzle Inn.
In October I went back to Mackinac Island for the Albion College Alumni Grand Getaway. Mackinac Island in the fall is an experience not to be missed. The crowds are gone, the weather is crisp and cool and it is a great time to enjoy the island. My husband and I love visiting at this time of year.
In December, my daughter and I went to Scottsdale, Arizona to visit my sister and her kids. It was a significant trip because my sister has lived there for about a year and a half and I have not visited yet. Also, my daughter applied to Arizona State University for graduate school and she really wanted to tour the campus. We had so much fun catching up with family, sightseeing and celebrating my birthday. Within a week of my returning home, I turned 51 and wrapped up my year long celebration.
This year, I made a commitment to give back. I made financial contributions to organizations that are meaningful to me but I also gave my time and talents. I serve on the Albion College Alumni Board of Directors, which meets several times per year both in person and by phone. I have presented the merits of Liberal Arts and how Albion College made a difference in my life and career. Also, I have met some kindred souls who have taught me and inspired me.
I additionally volunteer with Impact 100 Metro Detroit. This organization is comprised of women who want to fuel transformation in Metro Detroit by supporting local nonprofit heroes and providing high-impact grants. I help with social media marketing and thoroughly enjoy learning from and with these women.
This year has helped me to slow down and focus on what matters. Turning 50 is not so much a number but a state of mind. I made an effort to turn off my computer, put down my phone and really focus on what matters to me. I was able to see most of my son’s baseball and football games. I took both of my kids to see colleges that interest them and helped them fill out their applications for admission. I helped my daughter get an internship and move into her first apartment. I spent more quality time with my parents than I have in a long time. And I saw my sister and her kids which was huge because I had not seen her in so long. In addition, my husband and I made time to go to out more and accept the fact that we will soon be empty nesters. We took stock of what we used to love before we had kids and start doing those things again.