What are the 56 things I'm proud of as another birthday on March 16 this year - when I turn 56. What have I done in those years that I'm proud of, grateful for, achieved?
Frankly, 56 isn't enough, I need to be 100 at least to write everything that has touched my life and so many of them are what I call 'box tickers' - saw the Pyramids, New Year's Eve in Dublin, paraglided in Hawaii. But there are others that are those more insignificant things that make your heart skip a beat and make you feel fortunate and gracious.
You also need to understand that my work has given me opportunities to do some things that others take for granted. I've been a climbing and abseiling instructor, skiing instructor, white water rafting guide, bushwalking leader and so on. So for some people going rafting would be on their list. For me - that's work (although still exciting).
I know that as soon as I write this list, I'll think of other things I've done/seen/found that would supersede this but hey, gotta start somewhere.
So here we go. My 56 in no particular order. Ready. Set. Go.....
- Birthed three amazing children who have grown into amazing adults. Born 1998, 2000, 2002
- Swam with giant manta rays. 2011
- Sailed to Komodo Island to see the dragons. 2011
- Working at an orphanage in Cambodia. 2009
- Walked on the Great Wall of China in winter when there were no westerners around. 1985
- Lived in Hong Kong for a while with the most delightful Indian family. 1997
- Walked on fire. 1995
- Spent hours watching orangutans being themselves in a rehab. centre. 2009
- Expedition Leader in South Australia on an ANZSES trip monitoring southern right whale behaviour (Head of Bight) and exploring an old whaling station (Fowlers Bay). 1994
- Expedition Manager for Earthwatch called Australian Reef Culture - monitoring and researching soft and hard coral spawning off Magnetic Island. 1994
- Took 28 years but finally, lead climbed Little Thor (Grade 20) at Mt Arapiles that's been my nemesis for many years. Then led Pilot Error (Grade 21). Thor was clean, took a lead fall on Pilot Error. Not fancy but I did it. 2016
- Slept in the outdoors for over 2,200 nights of my life.
- Travelled to over 50 countries and still counting.
- Fell truly in love with an Icelandic man with an open heart and for the first time in my life felt appreciated, respected, honoured and loved. Unfortunately, he passed away and my heart still aches. 2016
- Rafted the Zambeze. 1994
- Survived two narcissists in my life.
- Took control of my financial future. Now!
- Wrote two books that are published and one won an International Award 2010 & 2012
- Finished by Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education. 1992
- At 16 walked in the Grampians on a school camp and five of us got lost. My dad always said, 'if you find a river, fence or track follow it.' So I did and we all made our way back to camp - before everyone else!
- Dux of my year in 1978.
- Sent over 100 letters typed on a good old 'typewriter' to protect our old growth forests - 1977 - 1980.
- Volunteered - a lot, actually around six weeks a year. Ongoing.
- Quit smoking. 1985
- Saved a man's life in a car accident. 2016
- Rode a camel in Jaisalmer into the desert night. 1986
- Hot air ballooning over The Serengeti. 1995
- My parents are still alive (84 and 85) and my two older brothers and we all get along beautifully. Ongoing
- Renovated four houses.
- Climbed Mount Kinabalu in Borneo with my kids. 2010
- Worked with young male offenders in the outdoors, toughened me up and gave me a perspective of how other peoples lives can be. 1991 - 1993
- Spent an afternoon listening to the Dalai Lama speak at an event. Magic! 2001
- Taught myself Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Ongoing
- Was a vegetarian for five years including during my first pregnancy and partly into my second. 1995 - 2000
- Learnt to fly fish and caught an 8lb rainbow trout (which I released back into the lake). 1985
- Became a certified scuba diver but then burst my eardrum. Doh! 1990
- Swam with dolphins and seals when 7 months pregnant with my first child. Brilliant. 1997
- Learnt how to not care what other people think of me. Ongoing
- Learnt what true friendships and not settle for less - discarded those that are just passing through my life. Ongoing
- State records in Shot Put, 50m butterfly in the '70s.
- Made gift hampers for a community I was living in for those who were having a tough time. 2005 - 2009
- Protested environmental issues since 1979 - Gordon below Franklin River, Lake Peddar, Cattlemen in the High Country, Women's Right to Choose Abortion, Asylum Seeker support, Soup Kitchen support at Christmas + more. Ongoing
- Made myself a living out of teaching creative activities such as sculpting, mosaics, repurposing etc. 2003 - Ongoing
- Spent two nights at the Mount Kenya Safari Club with a girlfriend and two of the most lovely senior gentlemen I've ever met. 1995
- Spent a night on The Ark in Kenya (with same people above) 1995
- Managed to do 7 static chin-ups in my early 30's plus 3 one-handed chin-ups. Now I could do....3 on a good day. Doh. 1996
- I can't run but I've walked 35kms in one day just for fun. 1995
- Took the plunge and had a knee replacement at 47 despite the hesitancy of the surgeon. Was XC skiing three months later! 2008
- Made friends from all around the world that I'm still connected with and enlighten me on their own travels, lives, cultures, journeys, adventures and families. Dalia, Wayan, Semesa, Siggy, Pha. Ongoing
- Chosen true friends to be in my life and let the others go. 2016 and 2017.
- Built a Facebook network of 7,000 members who are passionate about repurposing and upcycling. Ongoing
- Created a Facebook page for locals in my community to Buy, Swap, Sell with over 4,500 members. Ongoing
- Watched my daughter graduate secondary school with her amazing friends and receive a Lifeworks Achievement Award. 2016
- Dinner with a Fijian family (he was my taxi driver), sharing stories of life in Fiji and Australia, playing with their children and drinking kava (which is like drinking mud).
- Taught myself to weld, do basic plumbing, can swing a hammer and fix, mend, repair and restore most basic household problems - except anything electrical.
- Raised over $10,000 for charity. Ongoing
Now it's your turn.
What are your Top 3 lifetime achievements?
Leave a comment below.