55 Things Follow Up and What’s Next

Now that I have completed my 55 things series for 2020 I thought I would do a follow up post.

Why 55 Things?

Last January, when I first announced the 55 things series, my premise was that since I was celebrating my 55th birthday I would, over the course of the year, publish 55 addition posts. The truth is that there was something else that brought about my decision to create this series. I just wasn’t ready to blog about it at the time. It wasn’t until April that I finally published this post where I wrote about the issue that prompted me to write more – Parkinson’s disease.

After receiving the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in December of 2018 I began paying closer attention to things I was experiencing physically – beyond the tremors. I identified several things that are likely related to, or as a result of, Parkinson’s disease. The most disturbing of these was that I was often stumbling over my words when I was speaking. If someone asked me a question, even though the answer was clear in my mind, it took a moment and some effort to translate it into spoken words. Sometimes this would also happen mid sentence, the words would get trapped, and I would struggle to complete my thought. Losing my ability to communicate is a very frightening thought. I also noticed that the same was happening with my writing. The thoughts or words are clear in my mind but they seem to get trapped and it takes a lot of effort to turn them into printed words.

I am extremely happy and grateful that my speaking seems to have gotten better, but I still find myself struggling with writing. It takes me much longer to compose a piece than it use to. I have always enjoyed writing and view it as valuable form of communication. I don’t want to lose my ability to write, so last December I decided that I must use it or lose it. I needed to write more and since my blog is where I do most of my writing nowadays making a commitment to blog more was the best way to accomplish this. Thus my 55 Things series was born.

The Outcome

After completing all all 55 additional posts I did a bit of an evaluation to see how I may have benefitted from it. Here is what I discovered:

A. First of all a small confession: As I looked back through all 55 posts I discovered that I somehow skipped # 43 (oops!), but as I continued to scroll through I discovered that I had two posts for # 8 (phew!) so there are still 55 posts in this series. I just can’t count. LOL!

B. I am still struggling with writing. This condition hasn’t gotten any better but I don’t think it has gotten any worse. If I can maintain I am good with that. πŸ™‚

C. This commitment kept me motivated to write in times when the worries of the world threatened to keep me from blogging.

D. Statistically my blog has done well. In 2020 I published more posts, had more views, more comments, and more likes than any other year.

Over all I am quite happy with the results. I am most grateful for those of you who take the time to read and especially those who have encouraged me through your comments on my posts, or telling me in person that you enjoy reading. I truly appreciate your support.

What Now?

55 Things is certainly done, but with so many positive outcomes I don’t want to just stop. I need another challenge or commitment to keep me on track for this year. It is true that I will turn 56 tomorrow but “56 Things” is just not doing it for me. After thinking long and hard about it I have decided to do a Word of the Week series. Words, after all, are what writing is all about. Like last year these will likely be short posts. I will select a word, give the definition and share a thought or two about the word. Again the goal will be to keep me writing and you reading.

Thank you so much for being with me through 2020 and please continue to visit as we all strive to make the best out of this next year.

34 thoughts on “55 Things Follow Up and What’s Next

  1. Well l am always behind in my reading Ruth but a happy belated 56th birthday although, here we are on the 24th , so you are now 56 and nearly 3 weeks older πŸ™‚

    I would tease Suze with , well you are now closer to ’57’ than 56 πŸ™‚

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  2. I am sorry I am behind here in Reader or I’d have wished you happy birthday sooner than this, so here’s a belated happy birthday to my Michigan friend now. I think you did a great job on last year’s series of “55 Things” and I enjoyed reading them just as I will enjoy reading your new posts about words. We are all here and waiting. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes Linda and for being a devoted reader. I am sure you understand how setting a goal for the year helps keep you motivated. (Your annual miles walked are amazing) So I decided to take a page from your play book and set another blogging goal for this year. I posted my first “word of the week” post on Wednesday a little later than I had planned but I did want to fall behind. I’m sure you will come across it soon. πŸ™‚

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      1. Thank you Ruth – I enjoy your blog very much. I got really behind in Reader and last night felt a little overwhelmed by all I had to catch up on and decided to step away. I don’t like being that far behind – this is why I decided to just post twice a week for the time being, to see if it will help me stay better caught up in Reader. I enjoyed today – stayed out walking a long time because at last the sun put in an appearance and I hated to come home!

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      2. I could never catch up if I tried to read all of the posts that come up in my reader. I try to catch all of certain peoples posts and some of others. There is just not enough time to read it all. Spending time out in the beautiful sunshine was a great choice!

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      3. It was sunny again today Ruth so I enjoyed another long (5-mile walk) in the sunshine at my favorite park. It is getting difficult to keep up, that’s for sure and I am hoping that eliminating one long post per week for me will help things. I hate being two or three days behind but I eventually catch up. I may have to try your way going forward.

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      4. I did – we had two sunny days, yesterday not as much as Saturday and I am hearing mixed precip for Thursday into Friday or Friday into Saturday. Ugh – I guess it had to happen again sooner or later.

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  3. Happy Birthday, Ruth. Your posts are what keeps you facing any issues in life because it feels good, gives you satisfaction when you express it in words or photos. Always find a way to cope, we all the the abilities we just need to find it when needed. God bless your future.

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    1. Thank you Rebecca. Yes, there are so many good things and people in my life I’d be a fool to give up on things just because they are difficult. Thanks for your encouraging words. God Bless you.

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  4. Ruth
    Thank you for sharing
    We all have loved your 55 things. We will love that you continu your writing. You inspire with your Courage and loving prayers for your health.

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  5. Ruth I’m sorry to hear your news. I’m so glad you are finding ways to keep fighting – your blog being one of them. Will pray for peace, endurance, health and strength for years to come. All the very best.

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  6. Your battle with Parkinson’s is inspiring. You have a true warrior spirit. I am glad you will continue to write. #3 is right when she says you have a gift for words. I find that words are beginning to elude me. My thoughts will be on the tip of my tongue, but my brain takes a minute or two to find them. I truly believe it is important to challenge myself mentally to keep my brain from turning to mush. I think the word of the week is a great concept and I am excited to see what you come up with.

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    1. There are so many good things in my life to keep fighting for and I have a wonderful group of people to support me. Thanks for being one of them πŸ’–. Yes! Keep challenging yourself – we will do this together (even with so many miles between us).

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  7. I was unaware of your struggles with Parkinson’s disease, and I’m sorry about that. Your posts were marvelous all year, and I enjoyed reading them. I’m pleased you have a plan to keep writing regularly. I’ll be praying for you.

    Happy Birthday!

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    1. I don’t like to talk about my struggles. I just try to keep aware of what’s going on and find ways to overcome them. I’m so happy that we became blogging friends Anne. Thank you for the prayers and birthday wishes. πŸ™‚

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      1. I worked with people with various disabilities for many years. I realize that things could be much worse so I am grateful for what I have today. I also have known both types of people and those who chose to be positive seem to have much better lives. I don’t think it’s possible to be positive all of the time so when I start feeling sad or angry or frustrated I allow myself a moment to “wallow” but I know that I can’t stay there so I find a way to move on. This is something that my very wise sister taught me.

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  8. Thank you for sharing all this and being vulnerable. While I remember reading your diagnosis post, I had no idea how it really impacted your writing. Your posts were great last year. Maybe even better. Always inspirational and full of wisdom.

    I like your “word of the week” idea and look forward to the new series.

    And Happy Birthday to you tomorrow!

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