As the old adage goes, time doesn’t wait for anyone.
When you are in your teens, it seems like you have so much time left in life that you can do anything you’d like. This impression makes you delay things, thinking there will come a better moment in life to do this or that.
As you grow older, you start to realize more and more that this whole idea is just pure deception.
Obligations start to pile on, you get a job or even start a family and all of a sudden, most of your plans become hard, if not impossible to realize.
This happens to everyone, so don’t worry about it.
Instead of worrying, which will not really get you anywhere, you should set your mind on planning how to realize as many of your dreams and desires as possible while you still have some left.
This is my personal list of 20 things you’d better do before 50.
1) Travel, a lot. There are so many places in the world every single one of us wants to visit. Still, we keep making up excuses and postponing. Don’t do it. Instead, travel as much and as often as you can. You don’t even have to have a lot of money to do it, with all the options available to travelers these days. You just need to make a decision and start visiting all the wonderful places that make you smile every time you see a picture posted on the Internet.
2) Try to learn at least one foreign language. Many believe that learning a new language can only help you advance your career, but it can, in fact, do so much more for you. It will help you meet new people from other countries and really communicate with them. There is so much to learn out there, why would you want to limit yourself?
3) Learn to play a musical instrument. You may think this one is not for you, as you are just not talented, but no one expects you to become a rock star. Playing guitar or piano can be a great, relaxing experience, even if you miss a few strokes. And you really want to do it sooner rather than later. If you think it is hard now, wait until after your 50th birthday and give it a try.
4) Try to live in a different country for a while. This may be a bit harder if you already have a family, but where there is a will, there is a way. Living in a new country, learning about new culture and meeting new people can be a real eye-opener.
5) Conquer some big fear you have. It doesn’t matter what it is or how trivial it may seem. Before you turn 50, you should look at least one your big fear straight in the eye and say: “I’m done with you”. It is a terrifying, but truly liberating prospect.
6) Go on a cruise. I know that most of you are probably thinking that cruises are expensive. They are, but again, with right planning, you can fit it within your budget or save enough money to do it. A cruise is not just about traveling the world, but also about being out on the open sea, realizing that in comparison to such a vast space, your everyday problems are rather minute. At least for a few days, you will be able to set your concerns aside.
7) Bury a time capsule. This is actually an idea that I’ve stumbled upon by accident, but really took liking for. Burying a time capsule while you are young, holding your dearest memories, only to open it years down the line sounds like a really overwhelming emotional experience.
8) Volunteer for a cause of your choosing. I will not try to tell you what you should or shouldn’t support, as it doesn’t really matter. Find a cause you are really passionate about and do more than just verbally support their ideas. Get actively involved and it may help you learn a thing or two about yourself.
9) Try some exotic cuisine. You shouldn’t be afraid to experiment and try new things in life. You might be pleasantly surprised by some dishes that you’ve never even heard about.
10) Reconnect with an old friend. If there is one great thing about technology, it’s that it made easy for us to reach out to people around the world. Look for an old friend that you’ve lost contact with some time ago and try to reconnect. Who knows what it could lead to, in both personal and professional areas.
11) Embark on an adventure. Don’t allow to reach 50, turn back, and think to yourself: “I’ve lived such a boring life”. Do something that really excites you but seems to crazy to try. Go on a treasure hunt, help your local police solve a case, or whatever else may work for you. Just do something.
12) Make one big dream come true (or at least do your best to make it). We all have those special dreams that we never talk about. Most of us spend entire lives never reaching out and trying to seize that one big dream, simply because we are afraid of failing or being embarrassed. Conquer your fears and just go for it. You want to publish a novel? What’s stopping you? It doesn’t have to be a bestseller.
13) Do something nice for a total stranger. I am not talking about giving a buck or two to someone on the street. Do more than that for someone you’ve never met and who is not part of your life, but you know they are in need of assistance.
14) Build something on your own. It doesn’t have to be much, a simple shed or a porch will do. When you turn 50 and look back to your yard, it will make you feel proud. Just don’t be discouraged by initial failures if you are not a skillful builder.
15) Spend a night or two in wilderness. Find a remote, untainted place in the wilderness and bring your best friend(s) with you for an experience of the lifetime. Free yourself from all technological wonders and just enjoy the nature and conversation.
16) Learn to say “no”. If you don’t learn to say “no” before you turn 50, the odds are, you never will. Learn to say no to your bosses, when they cross the line, and to people close to you who rely on you too much. Being nice is good and all, but you don’t want to be that guy others take advantage of.
17) Take a walk in the rain. Sounds simple enough, but have you actually done it? I am not suggesting getting out in the storm, but warm summer rain will not hurt you. Just try to feel the nature without resisting it.
18) Treat yourself with an experience that you just can’t afford. Not suggesting to have your electricity cut off because of not paying bills here, but at least once before you turn 50 go out and do something that just seems out of your price range. Have a dinner at an expensive restaurant or pay for the best seats when your favorite sports team is playing. Money comes and goes; memories will stay with you forever.
19) Explore your career options. Don’t get stuck in a job you really hate just because it pays well. Always be on the lookout for the things you are passionate about and when an opportunity presents itself, seize it.
20) Learn to be happy. I know this sounds like a cliche, but learning to be happy is hard. How many people do you know you can say are truly happy? Find the things that make you happy in life and actively pursue them. If you master this skill, by the time you turn 50, you will be satisfied with most things in your life.
Turning 50 is a major milestone.
For many it means that you’ve LIVED despite all of the curves that life threw your way!
But, before you turn the big 5-0 (or even if you already have), make sure to try at least one of 20 things you should do, from adrenaline-pumping activities to experiences that help you grow.