50 by 50

Anne Lamott, Elaina M. Avalos, elaina avalos, 50 by 50

In April 2026, I will turn 50. This year feels like a big birthday, as I turn 45. But gosh, there’s a lot I’ve still got to do before hitting 45 and six weeks won’t do it. So, after a friend posted about her 40 before 40 (that she’s now added a few more items onto for 50 before 50), I’ve decided that I’m going to join in the fun. I am not sure how long it will take me to come up with the full list. Some of this might be ridiculous stuff, big stuff, or things that only matter to me, but I’m starting to work on this list now. I may keep some private. But, I’ll share periodic updates. What would you add to my list? Have you ever done something like this for a milestone birthday? I’d love to hear all about it!

1. Start camping again.
2. Travel to France or Scotland for my 50th birthday (I mean, I’ll take sooner too).
3. Trip to the NC mountains in the autumn.
4. Trip to upstate New York to meet family & see where my grandparents grew up & my mom lived.
5. Fall in love.
6. Start a family. I hear I’m kind of late on this one. Whatever.
7. Get a book contract.
8. Learn Spanish. Like really learn Spanish.
9. Take a dance class (salsa, ballroom, etc).
10. Go to the Pat Conroy Literary Festival in Beaufort, SC.
11. Attend one of the wine dinners at the Beaufort (NC) Wine & Food Festival.
12. Take at least one random (can be a quick day-trip) road trip every few months.
13. Eat at Chef & the Farmer again.
14. Take a few of Chef Marcela’s cooking classes.
15. Western NC Winery Trip (preferably soon). 30 April-01 May 2021
16. Get back to Wolf Trap for a summer concert.
17. Convert website to business plan & learn (really learn) SEO.
18. Make good use of my ridiculous Pinterest time investment.
19. Get a little better with time management (don’t laugh).
20. Finally make a decision about what I want to be when I grow up.
21. Live in a pretty little home with my dream backyard & grow lots of veggies, herbs, and fruit.
22. Hit my target weight (and stay there). I’m on my way having lost 18 pounds so far.
23. Dedicate more time to painting & crafty mccrafterson activities.
24. Cook my way through Deep Run Roots by Chef Vivian Howard (see #13 – that’s her restaurant).
25. Cook my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I own both books but haven’t cooked enough in either.
26. Get a tattoo.
27. Go skydiving.
28. Get a wedding planning & event planning certificate.
29. Go to Indochine (Thai/Vietnamese restaurant in Wilmington, NC).
30. Visit Ocracoke Island & go shelling.

Okay, I think I have to take a break there. I am sure I have more things to add to my list!

Dreaming About What Comes Next

event planner, event management, wedding planner, coastal carolina events, elaina avalos, oprah winfrey

The cat is out of the bag. I don’t need to hide it anymore. My employer knows that later this summer, I will begin moving on to the next phase of my life. While I actually wanted to do it sooner, I let some things get in the way and then it seemed to be too challenging to find what I wanted. As such, my plan is to aim for summer with the expectation that the economy will continue to get better and opportunities in the field I’d like to move into, expand. I’m dreaming about what comes next.

But whatever happens, I think I finally feel the freedom and the ability to dream again. I am ready to hope again – about what might be possible in the future. After a couple of painful years, I had to get to know myself again. And while the delay has frustrated me – to the point I have been just freaking angry at God, I think I get it all now. Or at least part of it.

Last summer, I started working toward some things and then let those fizzle. But as I prepare for my 45th birthday, I know what I want. I know the type of life I want, the dream I have, the career I’d like, and yes, even the type of relationship I want. I know what I want. It’s not just that I want these things, I think they’re part of what I should be doing with life now. Not pursuing those things I’m meant to, just isn’t going to work for me any longer.

event planner, event management, wedding planner, coastal carolina events, elaina avalos
https://www.pinterest.com/elainaavalos/vision-board/

The thing is, I’ve got things to do and a lot life to live. This afternoon, as I think about what lies ahead, as I enter my 45th year, I’m thankful I’m ready to dream again. I’m thankful I can hope again. And I know that what’s meant to be mine, will be mine.

Inspiration and Vision Boards

Between my temporary role opening an event venue, past events I’ve planned, recipes, decorating inspiration, novel inspiration, and about a million other things, I adore Pinterest. I use it all of the time and sometimes like a search engine – especially when searching for something related to events or novel writing. I used to do this very thing when I was a kid, using my favorite magazines to collect vision boards and design inspiration. I only have one scrapbook of images left. If you can believe this – it’s from Victoria Magazine and is largely event, entertaining, and wedding inspiration. Now instead of magazines, I use Pinterest for my inspiration and vision boards.

Do you use Pinterest? I’d love to follow you there. Share a link to your profile (or follow me and I will follow back).

The First Step Toward Change

elaina avalos, take the first step, accomplish goals, chasing dreams, nathaniel branden

My apartment is a disaster because I’m halfway through taking down the Christmas decorations. I have a second bedroom to organize & clean out {went from a 4 bedroom house to a small 2 bedroom apartment}. I have a bunch of food to meal prep for my week and I need to write. I’ve been up since 7:00 AM, but I’ve accomplished next to nothing. Nonetheless, I am reminding myself to apply liberal helpings of grace on myself. I still need to {and will} accomplish what’s in front of me {the above mentioned items are just the tip of the iceberg}. So while the day isn’t going as planned & there’s a huge mess, I also know that this year and last, were hard and exhausting. I’m getting back to normal. But after what I’ve been through, I can’t expect perfection nor should I. I am aware of my limitations and my strengths and what I need to do, to accomplish what lies ahead. That is the first step – awareness of what I need to do to change and acknowledgement of my current limitations.

In a world where we’re constantly inundated by what everyone else is doing and accomplishing – shared online in a perfect photo – it’s overwhelming and honestly, it’s discouraging. While there are many out there I am encouraged by – it’s usually those who are real about life – in their triumphs and failures, that are most encouraging to me. But I have already taken the first steps, not only to accomplish what I want to accomplish while away from the office, but in the upcoming year, too. Those are the first two steps of change – awareness and acceptance.

If you’re anything like me and you are holding yourself to standards that are based in superficial or artificial requirements or because you’re comparing yourself to others – give yourself a break. While the goals are still ahead, the Christmas mess still needs to be cleaned up, and my healthy meals still need to be made – what good is beating myself up? What do you accomplish by beating yourself up? Usually very little except keeping yourself stalled in place.

Take the first step toward change. Then take the second step. And then give yourself some grace along the way.

How do you motivate yourself when you have a goal to accomplish?