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A gift to yourself: 50 Fun Things

Teresa Thomas' idea caught on so quickly, she's turned it into a class and offers a crash course on what she's calling "50 Fun Things."

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minneapolis woman took a new approach to growing older and reimagined the so-called bucket list and a created a 50th birthday list to tackle 50 goals and simple joys she wanted to experience over the course of one year.

Teresa Thomas’ idea caught on so quickly, she's turned it into a class and offers a crash course on what she's calling “50 Fun Things.”

“That particular year leading up to my 50th was filled with some depressing stuff and I thought, you know what, I want to take charge, when I turn 50 I want to turn around my life, experience more joy, fulfillment and have fun with my friends and my family,” said Thomas. “I put together a chart of 50 things I wanted to do, I handed it out to my friends, and they all signed up for the kinds of things they wanted to do with me, which was amazing.”

Her list included everything from travel to entertainment but Teresa began with prioritizing simple affordable joys, drinking what she called a fancy cup of coffee, even sitting on a porch.

“You probably have some fun joys in your life already, that you have forgotten about. Maybe it's something that lights you up but you've lost that sense of appreciation. When you start paying attention to those things you appreciate, more of those things come into your awareness,” said Thomas.

Thomas’ ideas came from one guiding principle.

“I ask myself, does this feel radiant? Does it bring me energy?” she said.

Since September, she's conquered more than 30 goals, she's driven a Tesla, painted a picture, posed for a new headshot, tried karaoke for the first time, planned a dance party, even combined a work trip with an escape to the beach, after she vowed to take one vacation per quarter.

“The usual Teresa would have said, ‘oh I can't take the time, I don't have the money, I can't do it’. It is making me more aware and how I of what I want my life to feel like and how I want to participate in life,” said Thomas.

Thomas still has more to accomplish. She’s planning a celebration when she pays off a credit card.

“Setting that intention, seems like a negative, but I am framing it as a positive how will feel when it is done and that motivates me,” she added.

All her fun caught on, among her kids, her coworkers, now evolving into a 50 Fun Things workshop.

Thomas teaches people how to apply this as a tool in their career, or marriage, sharing how the real milestone isn't a birthday, but how a one-year challenge quickly became a lifelong practice.

“My life is transforming changing and becoming how I really want it to be, but it was by starting simple and being playful with it,” said Thomas. “I am happier, more content and excited about my life.”

Thomas is teaching a workshop at Stem Wine Bar in Northeast Minneapolis on March 18. Sign up on Eventbrite here if you’d like to attend.

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