Passages was released when I was in my twenties. Author Gail Sheehy did not invent the concept of lifespan development, but she was the first to popularize the concept. In her book Sheehy collected research to summarize what to expect when you are 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70. I hoped this book would serve as a travel guide into my adulthood, until I read that in your twenties you could have a year or more of basically rough times. Passages was full of rotten news for me as a twenty something. The book was promptly donated to Goodwill.
Surprise! Sheehy was on the money with her predictions of years of rough times, but by then the book was long gone and I was without a map to navigate into my thirties. On my thirtieth birthday I bought a clock to symbolize how fast time passes. I vaguely remember sitting on my couch in New York folding laundry and studying late at night. By then I was married--managing a toddler and graduate school classes, with a part time job on the weekends. At that point developmentally my goal was to make it through the day without losing my sanity or my car keys.
Approaching my forties I chose to set concrete personal goals for the decade. Sweetness and I were settled into good careers, our now 2 children were growing more independent, and it was time for me to do something specifically for myself. I joined weight watchers and bought the book Organizing from the Inside Out by Julia Morganstern. With these guides I slowly lost weight, removed clutter, and found time to write. I donated the thirty year clock to Goodwill. Instead of waiting for time to pass, I had learned to be intentional with my time.
2012 marks my fiftieth year on this planet. Half-way to a hundred! In honor of the tradition set in my fortieth decade I have a plan. Over the next twelve months I will be trying 12 new things. It will be a year of firsts, one month at a time. I am renewing my commitment to this blog, to give regular installments of my "passage" through fifty. This year you will also find book reviews, fun family ideas, snippets of a writer's life, and optimism. To assist me in my journey this year I have bought . . . you guessed it, a book! It is called 52 small changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You by Brett Blumenthal. I will blog my small changes and let you know if you might like to purchase this one for yourself.--or if you'd be better off waiting for Goodwill. Happy New Year!