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The Power of 50 Fun Things – By Susan Vagnoni Murphy

People know me as my business, The Humane Marketer, yet for some golden years I was an actress traveling the country and living my passion. Marriage, jobs, my children, divorce, and a series of events derailed my performing career and took me far from what feeds my soul to what I needed to do to survive. This is not a unique story. There are so many of us who sacrificed something we loved for what life brought our way. I am not bitter – I just really miss the energy I get from the theater and I didn’t know how to bring it back.

Enter Teresa Thomas and her 50 Fun Things Workshop.

The Discovery: At a Women in Networking (WIN) breakfast I was first introduced to the model. The idea came to Teresa on her 50th birthday where she felt she needed more excitement and expectation in the everyday work and home life she was living. Teresa presented what I thought would be an enjoyable activity; it turned out to be a life-changer.

The process centers around the grid she gave us to fill in with 50 things that would bring us joy and that we want to make happen during the year. One of the things we were told was not to limit ourselves in putting down what we desired.

My Sticking Point: I had wanted to get back to New York City and visit Steve, a fellow actor and dear friend of mine from the good old days. I hadn’t seen him in 30 years. Over that period of time, he had become a major part of Pearl Studios in Manhattan (he knows Hugh Jackman for Pete’s sake!). The studio has the largest rehearsal space available in NYC and the Broadway shows are cast and rehearse there. Nirvana!

For about 5 years, I had been trying to rustle up the time and the money to go and see him and get my theater geek on. Vacations are a rare occurrence in our family and I could never make it work. Then this year, I heard Steve was retiring early and would be moving back to the Midwest in July!

It was now or never. Dare I put this wish on my 50 Fun Things list? I dared.

In Motion: When Teresa heard about my Fun Thing with an expiration date she was determined that it would happen. She suggested I announce my Thing at the next Fun Things Workshop and ask if anyone had some projects I could do. The funds raised would be earmarked only for the trip. I announced it and I got some extra work right there in the room. Then friends and family who heard about it sent “fun money” to use on my adventure.

Hey, this might actually happen!

I called my friend in NY to see if he was up for a visit and he offered to have me stay at his home and to pay part of my airfare. He actually did so much more than that. I got on a plane in early May and had a fantastic time touring the amazing studios, seeing a Broadway show again (on Broadway), doing Macy’s and the Empire State Building (last time I was in NYC I was a poor actress and never had the funds to actually go up into the observation floors).

As an added bonus, I visited the September 11 Memorial and Museum. I knew someone who was lost in the Pentagon that day, so it was special and moving to see the museum and honor her memory.

Reflection: Once I had committed to it, the thing I had been trying to make happen for over 5 years was accomplished in 3 months. I can say without hesitation that this much-needed, spirit-refreshing break would not have happened without 50 Fun Things, and I am very grateful.

There is truth in putting something on paper and announcing it out into the world to make it happen.

If you would like to learn more about the 50 Fun Things Workshop, here is a great piece Kare 11 did with Teresa.

You can check the WIN website for an upcoming 50 Fun Things workshop.

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