Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Week 60: Final Week of My 50's and My Next Project

This final week of my 60 until 60 project has been a big one, spent entirely with Scotty, my youngest kid.  We've been road-tripping from Colorado to Florida's gulf coast, with a stop in New Orleans to enjoy a Mardi Gras parade and a 4-day cruise to Cozumel in between.

Tomorrow morning, we'll pick up my other son, Matt, and his wife, Stella, who arrive at 6am at the Tampa airport, and I'll have 3 more days of celebrating with them! What a perfect start to my 60th birthday and Florida adventures!

I started my project as kind of an experiment in living my "Carpe Diem" motto. I thought.. If I only had 60 more weeks to live, how would I want to spend them? I wanted to maximize time spent with people I loved, see new places, learn new things, and do things that would make me happy. I've been very intentional throughout the year, as I executed my goals, to think about what made me happy and why.

I also thought a lot about the times when I was unhappy, recognizing that unhappiness is part of life, but that rather than be a victim during those times, we can treat them as a challenge, and a chance to learn, grow, become resilient, and cherish the happy times even more.

There were a lot of learnings throughout the year, but one thing is clear. What I value most is something that is free: loving relationships. I'd been nervous that since I'm single and my kids are grown that my retirement years might be very lonely. But I haven't been lonely at all! This last 60-weeks has probably been the happiest, least lonely, time of my life.

A lot of people have asked me, 'what's next'?  One thing I've learned about me is that I like having a project of some sort...  The 60-until-60 project (with its 60 goals) has given me purpose and structure..  something else I've learned that I like!  I'll keep working on my never-ending list of goals (I have enough to keep me busy for many lifetimes), but I think the big one that I will focus on next is:

Create a Special Holiday: Carpe Diem Day - May 30

More about that as well as my "Single Snowbird Adventures" in weeks to come!

Goodbye to my fifties! Sixties, here I come!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Week 59: 60 Celebrations Slideshow

OK, people, we are coming in for a big finish to my 60-week birthday party. Last week I made my playlist and this week, I've been working overtime trying to get all my slideshows finished. As I mentioned in my Week 36 blog post, creating these slideshows has been a big challenge, partially because I was using Windows MovieMaker and that meant using an old laptop that was painfully slow.

I bit the bullet and learned to use iMovie on the Mac. Well..  didn't really "learn," but figured out at least the basics, but I'm struggling. I couldn't find a very comprehensive tutorial, so I'm still very slow, but at least it's me and not the computer.

I figured rather than try to finish every slideshow, instead  I would create a "summary slideshow" that has just the selfie from each of my one-on-ones!  Even though I'll finish all the individual slideshows, that does become a little excessive to watch.

Today's my last day at home before I head out for my final big birthday excusion: Roadtripping with my son, Scotty to Florida with a stop in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and a cruise! Then my other son, Matt, and his wife, Stella, are going to fly out to meet us in Florida for the big day!

I really have wanted to do this snowbird thing, so I'm planning on staying in Florida until early May, but I've been feeling very sad about leaving my grandchildren...  I made a video of all the fun things we did over this past 60 weeks which will help me from missing them (I hope!)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Week 58: My 60-Song Playlist

My 60-song playlist is just about ready to take on the road! This has been a goal I've been working on throughout my 60-until-60 project :

Put together a playlist of at least 60 songs by gathering songs from friends

Throughout my project, as I've actively celebrated with friends and family, I've asked them each to pick out a song for my playlist.

I told them the song would serve 3 purposes:

  1. I'd use a clip of it as background music for a slideshow of our celebratory outing
  2. I'd add it to a playlist that I'd play on road-trips, at my party, or whenever I wanted to reminisce about this awesome 60-week project
  3. I would think of them whenever I heard the song
The hardest part of creating the playlist was getting 60 people to pick out songs! Creating a corresponding .mp3 file turned out to be easy, thanks to this handy dandy free YouTube to .mp3 converter app. Then, I simply dragged into iTunes for my Playlist.

This is one of those goals that worked out much better than anticipated! Since I've been collecting these songs, I hear special songs all the time! Usually, I hear them on the radio when I'm driving, so I can't always text, but there have been times...  when I'm at a summer concert.. when I'm out at a pool or a beach.. or even out shopping..  when I've been able to record a clip and text a friend letting them know "our song was playing."  Here's the clip I took when "Desperado" was playing that will always remind me of BFF, Lisa, and the Don Henley concert we went to together at the Minnesota State Fair.

As I was compiling my songs this week and needed one more song to make it to 60, I remembered this version of Hallelujah, that I'd written for my Dad's memorial service.  This recording even has my friend, Brian, singing.

There are some other special songs on my list..  songs that I'll never hear on the radio because they were created by one of my musically talented friends.  My son, Matt's, song is a remix of two pieces that he combined.  Even though I'll never randomly hear these songs on the radio, I hope to play my 60-song playlist at least once a year. 

Listening to music is one of those things we all can do, no matter how old or sick we are.  Not to be morbid, but it does give me comfort to think that one day, I can be listening to my playlist on my deathbed!

I can see it now..  I'm in the hospital, my kids gathered 'round:
    Kids: "Go to the light, Mom!"
    Me: "Not until I listen to that play list one more time!"
    Kids: "Not AGAIN! That's almost 4 hours, Mom! Did anyone bring Mom's playlist? Mom, do you still even KNOW these people? Can we fast forward through this dorky one?"

Actually, I'll undoubtedly have more playlists with more "special songs."  I think I may make one of these playlists every year! So, be prepared, kids. I'm not going to the light without listening to my songs!

Speaking of playlists and special songs, I want to give a shout-out to my niece, Rebecca, and her Instagram page (vodkanvinyl).  She posts song of the day prompts every day and much more for the music-lover!

This goal really helped me have more of an appreciation for music and the varied tastes of the people in my life. I love that almost every genre of music is represented, from country to rap to classical. I discovered some new songs that I love and some new songs that, while not quite my taste, have expanded my knowledge.

More than anything, I love that I can conjure up special memories of special people with these songs. I'm leaving for a long road trip (Colorado to Florida) next Monday, so the 60-song-list will gets its first run-through from beginning to end!

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Week 57: A Request for Carpe Diem Birthday Cards

My sister gave me a set of Carpe Diem Pop-Up Cards!

We are on the final countdown of my 60-until-60 project and that means I have to get serious about figuring out how to accomplish one of the few remaining goals:

Plan and host my 60th virtual/real birthday party

My actual birthday is on Wednesday, February 26th.  It's a terrible day to have a birthday party at home because it's on a Wednesday (and even Ash Wednesday this year!) and it's COLD in Colorado! 

I've got a whole plan worked out with my kids which includes a family party, road trip to Florida, New Orleans for Mardi Gras, a cruise, ending up in Sarasota, Florida where I'll be spending the rest of the winter.

However, I want to have a big party back home in Colorado when the weather is warm, probably on May 30.  

What about my virtual party? Believe me, I have experimented with a lot of ideas over the years, and I've come to the conclusion that I need to keep it simple if I want people to participate.  

I just have this easy request: 

Please send me a card, note, or photo of a "Carpe Diem moment"

Q: What does "Carpe Diem" mean?
A: It's latin for "Seize the Day," made popular from this clip from "Dead Poet's Society."

Q: What exactly is a "Carpe Diem moment"?
A: A moment when you were finding joy in life. 

Q: What's your address?
A: 2727 Limestone Place, Superior, CO 80027

Q: Do I have to send this to you in the old-fashioned snail mail?
A: No, but it's preferred because I'd like to use the cards and photos I get as a collage for my May 30th party.

Q: Do I have to buy a card?
A: No, this can be a photo, a letter, a home-made card, or anything. Feel free to be creative!

Q: Why do you always assign "homework" for every party you throw?
A: I like to push you out of your comfort zone. You're welcome.

Q: Does my "Carpe Diem moment" have to be true or can it be fictional?
A: It can be whatever you want. It would be nice if you describe an experience that you had or are anticipating.

Q: Where can I post it on Facebook?

Q: Are there other communication options?
A: Yes, you can send via email, text, WhatsApp, YouTube or send by carrier pigeon.

Q: What is the deadline for this?
A: The sooner the better, but by May 20, 2020 at the latest.

Q: Do I have to do this if I don't know you very well?
A: Nobody HAS to do it, but I will be very grateful for anyone who does it, especially people who don't know me well! 

Q: What happens if I don't do this?
A: I will nag you relentlessly until you do.

Q: Do you need to get a certain number of responses?
A: Of course, my hope is to get at least 60 since that is the theme number for my 60 until 60 project. But I realize that is probably unrealistic, so I'll be happy with whatever number I get.

Q: This doesn't sound like much of a "virtual party." I was looking forward to a scavenger hunt or a challenging game. What happened?
A: I can provide a list! PS. I love you!