50th Plans…And Then Came COVID

Celebrating My 50 While 50 – Update #1

Nearly two months ago, in mid-January, I celebrated the Big 5-0. Like many people do as a milestone birthday approaches, I’d begun pondering months earlier just how I would celebrate.

I was super excited about this birthday, because 2011 – the year I turned 40 – had also been a big year of a big change in my family dynamics. I spent the decade between then and now leaning into my new role as single, co-parenting mom of two adolescents, making sure they had the nurturing, the education and the extracurriculars (including some global travel) that would help them thrive and be prepared to discover their purpose. The choices and sacrifices I made during that season were more than worth it; but I was looking forward to launching this new decade with a special trip somewhere in that world that would serve as a kick off for more opportunities to explore never-visited American cities and states, and places around the globe.  

Then came COVID. The world stopped, and along with having to help my son celebrate his high school graduation virtually and my daughter celebrate her college graduation without a formal ceremony, I had to abandon my 50th looming birthday plans. 

Trust me, I know how minor these and a few other very disappointing setbacks were, given the tumult and loss unfolding every single day. I couldn’t complain (then or now), and I continue to seek ways to offer help and encouragement to friends and many others who are in need.

My past 12 months of pandemic living have been graced with many blessings, including a new job filled with meaningful work; an opportunity to telework from the comfort of my home; settling my son into a college of his choice where he gets to run Division I track, watching my daughter practicing “adulting” in a way that has made me proud(er) to be her mom, and everyone in my immediate family remaining healthy.

I know this hasn’t been the case for many people, including some of my closest friends and loved ones, and I don’t take it for granted. So, being the optimistic person I am, I turned my attention to creating a Plan B. For me that is my 50 While 50 List – i.e., a list of 50 things to do while I’m enjoying my 50th year. 

I asked readers of my author newsletter to chime in with suggestions, and boy, did they answer. Between the 30 or so ideas I already had on the list and their wonderful ideas, I’ve now got a lineup of 67 things to do! Lol And if you know me, you know I’ll fit at least 50 things in during 2021 and “carryover” the other 17 into 2022, if necessary.

I promised my newsletter readers that I’d be sharing periodic updates on my progress in this space and this is my first 50 While 50 installment. 

I’ve spent January, February and some of March keeping promises that are fun, practical, fulfilling and maybe a bit uncomfortable enough to stretch me, including:

  • Treating myself to a few favorite “non-everyday” foods whenever the whim hits me, including calamari and German chocolate cake. I haven’t gone overboard, but I’ve enjoyed leaning into those “why not today?” urges when they’ve randomly occurred.
  • Getting a colonoscopy. Not a fun task, but not a necessary one! It was uneventful, and it gave me peace of mind to check this off my list of responsible things to do.
  • Sitting in silence more than usual. As a writer, I often ponder and create in silence; but these particular quiet times have been filled with more intentional journaling, meditating, letting my thoughts roam free, praying, and envisioning some of my goals and dreams as reality. The process has helped me refine my goals and know myself even better.
  • Buying two instead of one. I’ve bought myself a bouquet of fresh flowers every two weeks, just because, for years. Since January, I’ve sometimes made it two – one bouquet graces a vase on my dining room table and the other is placed where I choose – my living room or family room or bedroom.
  • Taking time away. I spent a few days on the Chesapeake Bay, leaning into long walks, prayer time and socially distant meals and laughter with two of my closest sisterfriends. The experience was fun and gave me the clarity and courage to say yes to a few new things. 
  • Spa-ing. I treated myself to a mid-week facial with a fun millennial esthetician, whose chatty style and excellent work left me refreshed and renewed.
  • I sat in on a virtual masterclass about the book-to-movie process, with goals of learning how to someday see my novels on the big screen.
  • I secured three sessions with a life coach to help me refine my short-term goals and to create an accountability plan. This has been a worthwhile investment!

These are just a few things, and it’s only mid-March. I’m enjoying this process and along the way asking myself a question that a professional acquaintance posed to me in a recent conversation: What will you do differently? 

I’ve been leaning into that query in every area of my life, to ensure that I’m not just going through the motions or simply checking things off the list to say I’ve gotten them done. Either I am leaning into doing things the same as always because there’s a reason this way is best, or doing them differently because making slight changes will get me closer to the joy, the journey and the results that I want to be most impactful and lasting.

What about you? How’s your start to 2021? What are you leaning into? What are you willing to do differently? Regardless of whether this is a milestone birthday year for you, this can be a year that you set and reach new milestones, just because you’re worth it.

Share your plans in the comment section, and thanks for reading and cheering me on. As we all move forward and evolve as best we can, may we also remember our simple and significant blessings and pay them forward as best we can.

How Not to Give Up on Your God-Led Dreams

Recently I was invited by multi-published author, speaker and podcaster Suzanne Eller to join her in an online chat about what it means to live “Life Untapped” and remain steadfast in pursuing your dreams.

Listen in, then share your goals, desires and hopes – for the New Year and beyond. For our dreams are usually intertwined with our purpose, and when we lean into purpose and heed the calling in our soul, we are on the path to fulfilling some part of our destiny.

Be encouraged and either stay the course or start anew!

Evolve or Repeat

Evolve or Repeat. Is this phrase the mantra of 2020 or what??

Let’s truly take this message to heart the last few weeks of this “year never to be forgotten” and do the basics – wear our masks, drink our water, mind our business.

And then, let’s take it up a notch and do what will manifest our destiny – 

purge what no longer serves you; 

pursue what undoubtedly fills you;

push through procrastination; 

persist in nurturing your dreams (or in discovering them),

and transform into someone more purpose-driven and soul-beautiful than ever.

Even if you stumbled or mis-fired this year, the fact that you’re still here means your music is still playing. 

So take a chance on you. Heal, grow and evolve where necessary, so you can get up and dance, without having to repeat all of the lessons this year gave us – only the ones that fueled your hope, propelled you toward goodness and manifested joy.  

Bitter or Better?

We’re all works in progress, serving as “general contractors” of our very existence.

Managing your “life project” may be daunting or complicated or lead you down some unexpected paths;

But don’t dismiss opportunities to change and grow, love and serve, appreciate others’ gifts, and be good to yourself along the way.

Only you can decide whether your experiences will make you bitter or better.

Choose the latter and you’ll make the world around you better, too.  

Words, Indeed

I had such a thoughtful conversation with my 19-year-old son recently – about really seeing and hearing each other as human beings, worthy of uniquely full lives and flourishing dreams, and deserving of respect.

He is my introverted, yet self-confident “thinker” who uses words sparingly. So, whenever he launches into conversation with me, I listen – to hear what’s on his heart and mind, and to learn more about what he values and how he’s navigating life. It’s amazing to witness the man he is becoming and to learn from him as he grows.

When we, the teachers, are also open to being students, we stretch beyond our comfort zones, lean into unconsidered truths, and perhaps come out on the other side wiser for the journey.

Which do you prefer – flattering words that charm you or insight that informs and refines you?

Which do you believe will make for a better you, and as a result, a better world?

Perhaps this next generation has answers for us to consider. We’re never too old to evolve and appreciate the process.

Stacy Hawkins Adams

Be Present, Yet Stay Ready

I am all about practicing self-care and being as gentle as we can with ourselves during this pandemic; but make no mistake – it’s just as important to honor our life’s calling day to day, so that when we’re on the other side of this darkness, we’ll appreciate both how we’ve grown and the tangible wins from having done our part to build a bridge for others.


Not sure what your purpose or calling may be? Sit with yourself and ask what truly brings you contentment or leaves you full. 

Intentionally nurturing your kids or others? Leading from behind or having a seat at the table? Making people laugh?

Praying for and with someone? Baking to fill stomachs or to show others that they’re loved? Supporting someone’s dream in an administrative (wind beneath the wings) role?

Being a good listener or hand-holder? Standing up for the voiceless? Creating safe spaces for others to be themselves? Giving hope to those who have lost their way?


The list could go on and on, and your manner of execution could be simple or sophisticated. What matters is that you “do you” – which becomes an act of love to yourself that also graces the world, with powerful ripple effects that may extend far beyond your sphere, even unto future generations. 

Stacy Hawkins Adams

Got Clutter? How to Shed All Kinds

Get still and listen … to your heart, your intuition, your health, your hopes and dreams, and even your future self.
Then, seek wisdom from trusted loved ones – those who tell you the truths you need to hear versus what you want to hear, and those who consistently want to see you win.
And finally, stand tall in what your soul reveals. Take note of the tangible and emotional clutter that may be keeping you stuck. Summon the courage to evolve, elevate and fully enjoy this journey called life.
Clutter is inevitable in this busy and noisy world. Choosing to recognize and clear it is a vote for yourself.

Keep Growing and Glowing

Own who you “used” to be, whether amazing, challenged or in between.
Look back at that girl (or guy) and laugh, cry, shrug or applaud.
Give thanks for the lessons you learned and how far you’ve come.
Embrace your truths with humility, grace and gratitude.
Don’t let anyone make you feel less than or ashamed because you had to go through the growing process.
You could have chosen to stay stuck, remain angry or keep your walls in tact.
Instead, you pushed through. You learned more about yourself, and began to understand others.
Your heart expanded. Your fears shrank. Your dreams took hold.
And now…now you can stand tall in who you are becoming…still.
The old you helped shape the newer you, so that you could be a better you for the purpose you’ll live out today and hopefully tomorrow.
Doesn’t that make it all worth it? The twists and turns, surprises and sorrows, great rises and steep tumbles?
Be grateful for it all, grow from it all, and love yourself (and others) no matter what.
You purpose has given you wings. 

Stacy Hawkins Adams

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Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Don’t let the truths about yourself scare you; let them grow you.
If you had no work to do, life wouldn’t be called a journey.
It’s your choice whether to risk the messiness that comes with living fully or play it safe and end up with a pile of “What ifs?”
Be willing to do the work and create a masterpiece. This will be your legacy, and perhaps, the memories you someday cherish most.

– Stacy Hawkins Adams

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Set Your Intention & Surrender

I launched this first day of September a week or so ago with a morning trek along a path that was brand new to me. It was beautiful and breezy and serene.

I talked to God, and then I stilled myself to listen, even as my feet kept moving.
Subtly, yet clearly, the answers I sought came.

Then I saw it – that juncture in the road where the paved pathway met gravel – leading to uncultured, unknown territory and to a bend in the road around which I could not see.

I advanced a few feet, then retreated, deciding to explore more fully on another day.

For in that moment, I had all I needed – fresh air, exercise, a lush green setting and a visual reminder that at every turn, I am loved, worthy and deserving of joy.

And guess what? So are you.

That walk reminded me that even when we’re on the right path, we’ll encounter some pebbles, stones, rough patches and dirt. We won’t always know the end before we begin or even when we’re mid-journey. Yet, that’s why it’s so important to enjoy and treasure each step of the journey itself, for all the worth each phase brings.

In the right season, at the appointed time, we will discover the beauty behind those bends and truly value the extra effort it required to get there.

Wherever we are on the path, we can trust God’s goodness despite what the world or our circumstances show, and lean into the truths of how He has already blessed us. Think about your past 90 days and count the ways.

I’m convinced that our trek into the final months of 2019 are gonna be better than good – paved roads, gravelly paths, wood trails and all. Are you ready? I’ve got my walking/running shoes on and I am. 👟🕶💪🏾

Stacy Hawkins Adams