49-4-49. A Year in Review

I have completed my 49-4-49 project! As a reminder, the project was to do 49 fun activities and adventures starting on my 49th birthday last April, and ending on my 50th birthday this April. The idea was to challenge myself and do new things to make the year even more fun and fulfilling.

Although the project happened in fits and starts, going a few weeks without doing anything and then fitting a flurry of four things in a week, the project was a daily reminder to celebrate life. Every day I was thinking about the project and therefore my birthday – whether it was planning the next activity, thinking of the last one, sharing the activities with others or feeling alive doing the actual activity. It made the year feel long in a way (time does seem to pass faster as the years progress, don’t you think?).

When I was doing an activity with others I’d ask them, “What made you decide to take an improv course or do a beef butchery course?” And they’d usually ask me the same, and I would reply, “I’m doing a project of 49 fun things and adventures between birthdays.” To this, they would often say, “Oh, like a bucket list?” and would ask what else I had done. When I told them, the most common reply I heard was “That is so inspiring” and they would start to think what they’d like to do.

For me this hasn’t been a bucket list, it’s not things I want to do before I die. This project is about doing the things I want to do to celebrate life on a daily basis and doing things that make me feel alive.  This is about living in the present and not putting anything off.

 A few things I’ve gotten out of the celebration:

  • Being grateful for the opportunities

  • Feeling alive doing new things and things I love

  • Learning what I like and don’t like (I like things that push me, make me uncomfortable, where I have to overcome my fear)

  • Asking others to join me and being ok to do things on my own

  • Seeing more and more things that seem fun and adventurous

  • I’ve enjoyed connecting with people on things other than the weather, commuting or the news

  • Inspiring others

  • It’s not just about doing the activity, it’s enjoying myself

My list grew beyond 49 as I started being open to ideas and sharing with others as they shared ideas with me. So I still want to kayak on the Thames (I missed the window of summer last year to do this and it wasn’t pleasant enough this spring so I’ll do it this summer), do my Swiss activity that was postponed due to weather, and abseil down the orbit in Olympic Park which I learned about while climbing the O2 area.

What activity would you do that you’ve been thinking of but never done?

Next is my 50-4-50 project – this has a different spin on it, it’s not about me but others. Stay tuned.