50 by 50: 50 Things to Learn, Accomplish, and Experience Before I Turn 50

Turning 50 Bucket List

50 Things to Learn, Accomplish, and Experience Before I Turn 50



I will be half a century old by the end of 2018. The first 26 years of my life were defined by my experiences in school, getting married, and working. The last 22 have been defined by the ages and stages of my children and my parenting at each of these stages. As I head towards completing 50 years on this earth, I want to use my time wisely and expand myself as I never have before. (Not that having three children was not expanding!!) I am not completely sure where I want to end up, but to help me in the journey I have made a list of 50 Things to Learn, Accomplish, and Experience Before I Turn 50.

Other posts and pages mentioned in this article:

50 Books by 50 Years Reading Challenge

Crockpot Meals for Two

20 Recipes for Two

Planning for College Planner

Easter Care Package 

Free College and Care Package Printables



50 by 50: 50 Things to Learn, Accomplish, and Experience Before I Turn 50 1

50 by 50: 50 Things to Learn, Accomplish, and Experience Before I Turn 50



I will keep you updated as I work on my list here and by posting on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #50by50. I would love for you to adopt the hashtag as well and post your goals and experiences too.

It was difficult to come up with my list and I have considered it for several months, but here goes…..  (completed items in red) Updated on December 27, 2018. I am now 50, so I have included comments on every item. I am excited to begin a new list. I did not finish everything on this list, but I know I did many things I would not have done if I had not made a list.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on one and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission to help pay for this blog. Thank you for your support! For more information, see the complete disclosure in the footbar.



Take an iPhone photography class

Take a “real camera” photography class. This was a biggie for me 2 years ago because there was a rumor that bloggers could no longer buy stock photos, so I thought I needed to take all my own photos. I did one online class, but have kinda forgotten most of what I learned…. 

Learn HTML (a computer coding language). I started a CSS/JQuery course, but did not finish it. I was WAY OVER MY HEAD. I would still like to know some computer coding, but DIVI is becoming so advanced, I am not sure I need it as much as I once did.

Become a DIVI expert. (DIVI is the theme I use on this blog. It has so many possibilities and uses and I want to know EVERYTHING!) I think I can say “mission accomplished” here. Not sure about the word “expert,” but I am able to do what I need to do for my blog and I know how to find the answers when I want to do something new.

Improve my Spanish to the point I can comfortably have a conversation with a native Speaker. (I went to Guatemala for the fourth time in July 2017 and my Spanish still need a LOT of work!)

Take a cooking class. I did not do this. However… I am feeling much more confident in my cooking skills and knowledge now. When the kids were younger I mostly “heated things up.” That was all I had time for. I did Blue Apron for about 2 years and I definitely recommend it for learning cooking skills. The directions are awesome.




Publish 50 new blog posts (updating old ones does not count). (52 completed!)

260 Workouts (203 completed. I fell short here, but I know I went to class more than I would have if I had not been keeping track. I plan to continue tracking my workouts.)

Teach a class (not including Women’s Bible study classes) Still looking for an opportunity to accomplish this one.

Write the College Planner I have been dreaming about (It is NOW AVAILABLE! THE FIRST and ONLY PLANNER for recording and organizing EVERYTHING a high school girl needs to get from her freshman year of high school to her freshman year of college.) See The Planning for College Planner .  

My 50 Books by 50 Years Reading Challenge. See the 50 books post for reviews of all of the books. I have also listed them below.

Financially contribute to my family 

Take all my own pictures for my blog (see “To Learn” #1 and #2): I put this on my list because there was a scary rumor going around that even if you bought your stock photos that you could be sued for using them. This rumor has been dispelled and I am happily mostly using stock photos. I take some of my own (like for care packages 🙂

Get all of our pictures digitalized, organized, and stored (All the film pics we took before about 2004) Almost everything is digitalized now, but still need to organize and figure out storage. Sounds like a project for my empty nest.

Grow and harvest vegetables again! (Darn those rabbits who always discourage me.) Tried really hard on this one, but bugs ate my zucchinis!

Make 10 recipes from “What’s for Dinner” by Curtis Stone

What I have made:

Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus with Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette)

Roasted Pork Loin with Rosemary Salt, Potatoes and Carrots

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders with String Beans


Make 10 recipes from “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime” by Ree Drummond

What I have made:

Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce

Chicken Marsala

Lemony Green Beans

Stove Top Mashed Potatoes

Buttery Parsley Noodles

Beef with Snow Peas

Shrimp Scampi

Oven Barbequed Chicken

Make 10 recipes from The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook” 

What I have made:

Pasta e Fagioli

Classic Lasagna (may be the best lasagna I have ever had)

Coffee Cake Muffins

Chicken Vesuvio

Chicken and Rice

Salmon with Asparagus and Herb Dressing

Buttermilk Pancakes

Shrimp and Grits

Slow Cooker Easy Pulled Pork

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Frosting

Go to a show at the Jenks Planetarium

Go to a fitness class that I have never tried. (I’ve done yoga, pilates, water aerobics, barre, and weight lifting/cardio stuff. I ran out of a zumba class about 20 minutes into it, so I may count completing a zumba class.)


See the musical “Hamilton” (Have the tickets!!) Yay!! Went in August 2019. LOVE IT!!

Attend a blogging conference (Went to Focused Blogging Conference in May 2017 and again in July 2018)

See my second child graduate from high school

See my first child graduate from college

Eat at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX

Eat at Boston Deli in Tulsa, OK

Eat at D’Vina in Tulsa, OK

Eat at  Michael V’s in Bixby, OK

Eat at Bin 35 Bistro in Tulsa, OK

Eat at Roosevelt’s in Tulsa, OK

Eat at Katy’s Pantry in Tulsa, OK

Eat at Ridge Grill in Tulsa, OK

Eat at Roka Bar and Asian Flavors in Tulsa, OK

See Journey in concert (Have the tickets. We have tried to see some of our favorite 80s singers/bands with little success so far. We made it to the Eagles. Sold our Chicago tickets because our child was in a play that night. Did not get to see Fleetwood Mac because the band was sick and they cancelled the concert. Sold our Billy Joel Tickets because one kiddo was singing the National Anthem at one football game and another kiddo was cheering at a different football game. We will have to catch some of these folks on the casino or Branson circuit when we are old. Darn! Had to sell our Journey tickets because it was college orientation for our son!!!)

Actually escape an escape room. (We are 0 for 2. The first one we tried was the night of the Fleetwood Mac concert after it was cancelled. We were depressed and not on our game, I guess. No excuses for the 2nd one. We are just that lame.)

Visit a state I have not been to. Not sure when this will happen, but here are the possibilities: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey (moved our son to New Jersey to attend Graduate School at NYU), North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

Go to a Drive-In Movie (Yep, never been to one.) FINALLY accomplished this one. It only took COVID to make it happen. I guess it always seemed much more attractive to go to the theater with the comfy seats and air conditioning. I still can’t say I went to a MOVIE at the drive-in, but we went to the Blake Shelton concert at the Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa. July 2020. You can see my picture at the drive-in on HERE on Instagram.

Try a “frugally” Pinterest project. (Make my own laundry detergent or something…. Not gonna happen. Think I was just trying to come up with something here.)


Totally Random and Without Purpose, but would like to do for some reason

Complete an adult coloring book Also not gonna happen because I have arthritis in my fingers and this one hurts!

Finish “Candy Crush” without ever paying any money. How many levels are there?!?? I have made it to level 5398 without paying anything. When will it end?!??


Planned Out Acts of Kindness

Pay for coffee order behind me in the drive-thru

Leave note of thanks and drinks for the UPS people

Leave note of thanks and drinks for the mail deliverer

Send a care package to a deployed military member – Sent my cousin’s son an Easter Care Package like the one I sent my college sons. For care package ideas for all occasions, see all my Free College and Care Package Printables.

Leave money on a vending machine


I am super excited and somewhat scared of my list. I am a truly non-adventurous person – notice no sky diving or cliff jumping. Leaving the house can be an adventure for me. The absolute most scary item is “financially contributing to my family.” I have not worked outside my home in 22 years. Yikes!! Pray for me! I would love to hear in the comment section below what is on your list of 50 Things to learn, accomplish, or experience By 50, or any of your “bucket list” items no matter your age.

Also, check out my progress on reading 50 Books.



50 by 50: 50 Things to Learn, Accomplish, and Experience Before I Turn 50 2

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Hey There!

I’m Laura

Welcome to Almost Empty Nest! I began this blog in September 2014 after leaving my oldest son at college and realizing that my nest was emptying. Join me on this journey as we explore the path of guiding our children to adulthood and rediscovering ourselves beyond the mom years.


  1. This inspired me to make a list of my own! I also have the “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime” cookbook and have yet to make anything from it. Oh and your list of places to eat has me looking them up, especially Vigola Oysters.

    • Awesome! I would love to hear what you make from the cookbook and how it turns out.

  2. I love this concept, Laura. I’m not sure what my list would entail. I made a lifetime goal list in my 30s and it’s fun to read and laugh about some of the things. I like your shorter term outlook which makes the list more doable and reasonable. I will enjoy reading your posts and will spend time thinking of my list. I may have to come up with a different title since one would have to be 65 Things To Do Before 65!!

    • Thanks, Donna. I have never made a list before. Brent thought it was my “bucket list” for my whole life. He said, “Your bucket list includes going to some fish place in West Tulsa?” I answered, “Unless you want to take me to Australia before my 50th birthday, then yes, it includes a fish place in West Tulsa.”

  3. What a great list! It is definitely inspiring. I have 2 years and 11 months until I turn 50 so I should definitely start my own list.

    • You’ve got lots of time to get some stuff done before you turn 50. I have to get about 2 things a month checked off my list to finish!

  4. Laura, thinks for reading my post to day and commenting. Your list is inspiring. And it is awesome that you have time ahead to do these things. I’m wishing you the best–go for it, accomplish. I had my third child at 42 and then enrolled in nursing school. I had been a secondary level teacher, but wanted something else. I loved the challenge and loved the work. I was where I wanted to be by my mid-40s. But goals never go away whatever our ages. I still have a bunch. GO FOR IT. Beth

    • Thank you! My pleasure commenting on your post.

  5. I love bucket lists! I’m particularly loving your goal to go to a drive-in movie. I want to take my kids to one and it’s a dying trend as far as the actual drive in movie places. Though Los Angeles does have a spot where they project a movie on the side of a large skyscraper. Have fun!

  6. Your list makes me full of optimism for your goals! I have seen you accomplish many things, and I have no doubt whatsoever that you will also see many of these things done. You are the epitome of a “lifetime learner” and that is inspiring and endearing. Go forth and conquer!

  7. Laura, I wrote you a long note, but I see it did not go– anyway, wishing you the best with your ambitious goals. I think you will accomplish so much. You can be proud of these first 50 years and raising such a great family.

    • Thank you so much! I have many great examples to follow from our family.

  8. I love your list – I was never that intentional about turning 50. It just crept up and surprised me! It’s been the years since 50 that have seen me do a few new things – blogging, stained glass lead-lighting, changing jobs etc etc. BTW I can’t believe you didn’t get to a drive-in when you were a teenager – it shows I’m a few years older than you!

    • Thank you! I am GOING to go the the drive in movie this spring or summer. We actually have one in Tulsa, OK and I am excited to go!

  9. What an inspiring list, Laura! I plan to copy many parts of it…but I will need to change the goal post to 65!

  10. I LOVE THIS! I will turn 50 in early 2019. This idea gives me inspiration. What a great bucket list. While You’ll be seeing kids graduate from college and high school … my first will graduate from high school in the spring of 2019. I’m following this post and watching for updates. I just might copy you! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you! If you make your post, let me know, so I can read yours. I also have a daughter graduating in 2019.

  11. I love this. You’ve inspired me to make my own list of what I want to accomplish in the next few years.

    • Thank you!
      Would love for you to share your list when you get it done.


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