I turned 50 in October. The official celebration started in July with a European cruise and if I calculated right, I had close to 50 activities to mark the milestone. I’m so lucky to have great friends and family to celebrate with.
My actual birthday was spent in Washington, D.C., hanging out with my pals from Counselors Academy during the International PRSA Conference. My friend Chuck asked me to name 50 things I was grateful for. What a fabulous question—and one that is very difficult to answer. Not because I don’t have 50 things, but rather, which 50 to list.
After family, friends, health and great job, here are the remaining 46. And just for the record, I started this blog on Oct. 22; I wanted to take my time and really think about what should go on this list.
5. A love of books that started when I was a little kid. My folks gave us an extra 30 minutes at bed time IF we were reading. I did then and most nights still try to read before going to bed.
6. The complete devotion of my four-legged family members. There is nothing that compares to the unconditional love you get from your pets.
7. Travel. Whether it is a quick weekend getaway or a lengthy vacation, getting out of town is something I always hope I’ll have the resources to do.
8. A good manicure and pedicure. Might be a little girly, but I always feel better when my fingers and toes look good.
9. Food delivery. I’m not much of a cook, so when I can get food delivered, I am thrilled.
10. An appreciation that good wine doesn’t have to be expensive.
11. A Target store less than a mile from the office. You know, for those days when you accidentally spill something on your clothes and you have a meeting in 15 minutes.
12. A grown-up relationship with my grandma. She passed away a couple years ago, but I will always treasure our “Grandma Days” when we’d run errands, have lunch and just catch up on life.
13. Patio weather – when the temps drop to the 70s/80s in Arizona, I remember why I love living here.
14. Family outings. Although sometimes stressful, Fink Family Fun and Frolic are always memorable.
15. Nutella. This is a relatively new discovery for me. Yes, I’ve heard of it before and had it out in restaurants but only recently bought a jar to have at home. Just. One. Spoonful.
16. Live theatre. I saw my first Broadway show (Cats) in 1986 as part of a college graduation trip to New York City. I’ve been hooked ever since.
17. Handwritten notes. Writing them and receiving them.
18. Online bill pay. I’d rather save my stamps for the handwritten notes listed above.
19. An abundance of restaurant choices and finding comfort in the old standbys.
20. My mom’s lasagna, lovingly made for me each year for my birthday.
21. My mom’s strawberry pie, also lovingly made for me each year for my birthday.
22. That we were the house where all the kids hung out on the weekends. And for lots of my friends, is still the house they stop by and visit when they’re in town.
23. Family traditions.
24. Technology. I sometimes wish I could completely disconnect, but am glad I have access to the power of technology and keeping me connected to those near and far.
25. My cleaning lady. It may sound like a luxury, but I value my free time so to have someone come in and take care of that chore is worth every penny.
26. Carport cocktails. Because sometimes you just need to unwind in the ‘hood with the neighbors.
27. The ability to volunteer my time with worthwhile organizations. I give money, too, but there is something so much more fulfilling when you can interact with those that benefit from the services of the nonprofit organizations in our community.
28. My fireplace. Something so peaceful about a fire in the fireplace.
29. Candles. In case I don’t have any logs, candles provide the same feeling for me.
30. To be able to put words on paper to express feelings. I didn’t keep a diary or a journal growing up, but have started to do it for certain occasions and things I want to remember.
31. Reliving memories by reading the journals.
32. I mentioned friends above, but it is deserving of another mention. It is comforting to know I have friends from all aspects of my life. From elementary school through high school, college friends, work friends and some that transcend all of those aspects.
33. Our first responders and the military. I remember my grandma always commenting on how wonderful it was that these “young people” would dedicate themselves to public service. She was right, it is wonderful.
34. The many teachers I have had. Those that were part of my formal education and those people that have come into my life to teach me something more subtle.
35. My crockpot. I don’t cook (see #9) so when I do, the convenience of plug it in and go is something I really need.
36. The hard times. Because they make you appreciate the good times.
37. Some family heirlooms. I have both grandmas’ wedding rings and I wear them for special occasions. I like knowing that they are with me.
38. Both grandpas were small business owners. They treated people right and were successful. I learned that (and more) from them.
39. Patience. I am grateful when I have it! And when I don’t, I hope I learn from it.
40. The little old lady in the park that I see almost every morning when I take Hildy for her walk. She smiles, waves and says Buenos Dias. Makes my day.
41. That I live near a park that is full of people – families having picnics, dog walkers, Frisbee golfers, etc. You can’t be grumpy when you hear people laughing and having a good time.
42. Real photos. Yes, most of my photos are digital and are in online albums. But I so love looking at the old photos that were taken when my folks were little.
43. For getting fired from every professional job I’ve had (except this one). At the time, each one was devastating, but in the long-run the absolute best thing to have had happen.
44. That I don’t have to parallel park too often. I have been known to drive around the block a few times just to avoid having to back into a space.
45. For the amazing, inspiring and life-changing experience I had in Israel and the impact it has had on my life since then.
46. That I can easily say “I love you” to family and friends…and mean it.
47. Choices. Sometimes I make good ones, sometimes I make not-so-good ones, but a choice is a choice and I’m grateful for that.
48. That I’ve never really “gone without.” Sure there were times, still are times, where I couldn’t have something or wasn’t allowed to do something. But looking back, none of those things were that important and in the long-run always meant something better was waiting.
49. No matter how bad it might seem today, the sun will come up tomorrow and you have one more day to make it right.
50. That turning 50 makes me appreciate all of the above (and more). I’m excited about what comes next.