And chances are by the time you hit the half-century mark you've spent a good deal of time on a marriage, raising a family and/or having a career, with little left for your own interests.
So, More magazine editor-in-chief Susan Crandall visited The Early Show to share some suggestions for what you should consider doing before turning 50.
Reaching a milestone in age can often be a very traumatic experience, but it also gives you an important opportunity to take inventory of your life. What have and haven't you accomplished? After living through the anxiety-filled 30s and 40s, the next milestone is 50.
By the time you hit that half-century mark, you most likely have been in love and married, raised a family and settled on a career. Perhaps you have even done any one of these things more than once. Sound like you've lived a full life? Been there, done that? Not by a long shot, according to More magazine editor-in-chief Susan Crandall.
Crandall suggests considering the following 10 things before you say hello to the big 5-0:
- Be Adventurous: Embark on a new experience. Travel to new destinations. Crandall detailed her recent trip to Africa as part of the magazine's "April Spirit of Adventure" issue. She climbed Kilimanjaro with her daughter and friend who turned 50 during the climb. Other suggestions: sign up for volunteer vacations or drive cross-country. You can volunteer to track wildlife, excavate the Anasazi ruins, or teach English abroad. Crandall says driving cross-country is an amazing way to see what America has to offer and learn about people in different areas.
For volunteer vacations, go to Earthwatch.org
- Adopt Something: Adopt a baby, a pet, or enroll in "Save the Children" to sponsor a child in need. Crandall adopted a tree in a forest preserve near her house as a 20th anniversary gift to her husband.
- Reconnect with a Friend: Google an old friend you have lost touch with. Crandall rediscovered her best friend from high school two years ago. Now, they do a 100-mile bike ride together every year.
- Scare Yourself: Almost anything qualifies, but it doesn't mean you have to be a daredevil. Crandall says consider anything from public speaking to karaoke to open-mike night at a local comedy club. Additional suggestions include auditioning for a reality show, to moving cross-country by yourself, to launching a business to entering a modeling competition. In fact, More magazine hosts an annual 40+ model search.
To enter the magazine's model contest, go to More.com
- Realize a Dream: It's never too late to realize a dream. Visit a place that's called to you -- perhaps Paris or Rome - or start a new career, whether it's opening a bakery or going back to school to become a doctor. Featured in April's More magazine are women realizing their life-long dreams, including Dawn Swanson, who went back to school to become a doctor.
- Learn Something New: Consider learning a new language or taking cooking or art lessons. You may even want to combine any of these new experiences with a fantasy destination (as mentioned above). For instance, learn a language first-hand in a foreign country of your choice, take art lessons in Paris or a week-long cooking course in Tuscany.
- Change your Hair: Whether it's a cut, color, or both, make a dramatic change. By this age, we have often established a default haircut: It looks good, but you've been wearing it for years. Try something new. It's a big change but a small risk, as hair always grows. If you are already dying your hair, consider letting it go gray.
- Keep Your Medical Tests Current: Make sure your medical checkups and tests are up-to-date, including a mammogram exam. And by 50, all women should have a colonoscopy.
- Discover Yourself: Get to know your family as people, not relatives, by writing a letter to your kids (or other family members) telling them the most important things you've learned. And then ask them to write one to you.
- Do A Good Deed: Perform a random act of kindness. Treat someone anonymously. Sign up as an organ donor or give blood.