50 challenges complete

I am so glad that I had the inspiration and applied some perspiration to get all my 50 challenges done over this year.  It’s provided much amusement, mental and physical stimulation and kept me sane over a stressful period.  It has worked as a re-set for me too, to know that it makes me happy to do new things, to remember to spend time focusing on what I want, to meet new people and broaden my horizons.

I wrote the list in June 2019 and have  largely carried out the original plan, obviously there were a few pandemic related tweaks along the way, meaning that more challenges were home based than I would ideally have liked but overall I feel super happy with all of them. I thought I might find activities that would become new hobbies but in practice I think I might have found that it’s the doing of new things that is my new hobby.

When I look back on these 50 challenges and what they have brought me:

  • I have started an Instagram account and linked up with (mainly) women all over the world, as well as some a bit closer to home
  • I have created and launched a website
  • I have realised just how much I enjoy physical activities, especially outdoors
  • I recognised how much I both crave and enjoy new stuff particularly as the antidote to routine and/or stress
  • I have been struck this year by how kind humans can be (when they aren’t being horrible)
  • I think I have set a good example to my daughters through being open to seeking out new ideas and activities. Hopefully I might have inspired one or two other people too 🙂
  • At the start of the year I was impressed with our full recycling bin and small black bag rubbish.  Now I’m wondering how to reduce the recycling bin content, recycling is great but reduction in consumption would be better.  This year I started bulk buying for more volume, less packaging.
  • I have now given up red meat and feel good about that, I’m eating chicken only occasionally, fish more frequently and enjoying lots of veggie feasts.  I have reduced my dairy intake.

Let’s take a look at the 50 Challenges:

Take me away from all this….(much needed escapes from 2020)

My reading challenge has been great, I’ve found some amazing books this year and been transported away to other cultures and locations.  Making more effort to diversify my reading has been well worth it, I have learned so much and interestingly some of those are from some absolutely extraordinary non-fiction stories which wasn’t something I expected. Going to Ronnie Scott’s also features in here, lockdown dodging and totally entertaining. Escaping more literally I really enjoyed visiting Portugal for the first time, I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Lisbon, the amazing beaches and seeing if I can break the record for the most pata de nata eaten in one day.

Most fun?

Top 3 would be 1. the cousin’s lunch, perhaps with the rosy glow around it in hindsight of actually being out in a group.  I felt like the horseback archery was a kind of ultimate challenge, outdoors, physically and mentally challenging and a little window into a whole new world of horseback combat.  Lastly in this category I’d put the arial silks, I was a bit amazed that I could do this and was impressed at my strength and flexibility – who knew!

Biggest Fails?

The purple veg was a surprising entry here, the sweet potatoes did literally nothing except grow some leaves.  The choux pastry was not a success either, although having a dodgy oven wasn’t a help I suspect. 

Hardest?

I found sewing the scrubs were mind bendingly difficult, I had to redo several sections and felt that the results overall were pretty average. Physically the pole fit and doing handstands were both really tough, I ached in new places for several days after those sessions. Curling started off seeming impossible but quickly got easier, horseback archery was hardest from a coordination perspective.

Feel good factor?

The lingering good feelings have come from microlending to women with small businesses in Malawi, looking at my website, supporting my local foodbank and enjoying the spaces I decluttered and that are still just about in order! Also, that elderflower cordial lasted for a couple of months and was absolutely delicious

Long lasting impact?

Eating a wider range of plant foods and consulting a career coach will I think give me the longest lasting impacts.

Less impressed by…

Tarot card reading, a bit average and I didn’t need to pay money for a lecture about how much life would be on hold until later in February 2021. Accupuncture, nope nothing.  Had a nice chat with the lady at the beginning and always happy to have a lie down but that was about it. Healing for energy balancing, ruined by the hard sell afterwards on trying to get me to sign up for a course of ten.  Irritation is not really a recipe for inner calm.

Didn’t like…

The make up challenge, I didn’t like how a full face of makeup looked on me and made me think about all that is wrong with women having to present themselves in a certain way for societal ‘approval’ – ref ‘Women don’t owe you pretty’! (thank you Florence Given).

Most disgusting

Cricket protein was pretty horrible.  Followed up by the Polish pastry things that were essentially a waste of some perfectly good ingredients.

Scariest

Track cycling!  I so nearly bottled out of this and had to have serious stern words with myself to do the whole thing.  To be fair to my inner wimp it was a very dark and stormy night, I hadn’t been on a bike for several years and the steep banks of the track were covered in wet leaves. The other thing that definitely had its moments was the axe throwing, they were extremely sharp!

Which one I wish I hadn’t done…

Trick question.  None.

Which ones I couldn’t do that I most wanted to?

I got so close to being able to do the riding side saddle so that was a shame it didn’t work out.  I’d also like to see the Northern Lights, complete an escape room challenge and have a surfing lesson.

The results in numbers:

Scoring had 5 categories and because of the inclusion of cost, accessibility and a green score the top scoring activities weren’t necessarily my favourite ones. That list is really represented by the ‘Exhilaration or Delight’ factor. The lists below are shown in order and with the week number when I completed them.

Overall top 3

#26 handstands

#25 dawdling

#33 re-use

Exhilaration or Delight – top 10:

#42 jazz club

#4 micro lending

#30 horse archery

#25 dawdling

#44 track cycle

#3 cousins @100

#36 silks

#27 archery

#10 new city

#26 handstands

Do this again – top 10:

#4 micro lending

#42 jazz club

#25 dawdling

#27 archery

#10 new city

#26 handstands

#46 family tree

#28 plantfood

#35 poledance

#13 activism

#12 women in film

Easy to access – top 3:

#26 handstands

#28 plantfood

#17 lifelong learner

In the category for ‘50 shades of green” 16 activities scored a prefect 50/50.  Whilst on cost there were 7 challenges that got a top score for ‘Thrifty@50’.

So that was my 50 challenges! Now I just need to make a plan, based on what I have learned, for 2021.

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