50 things for which I’m grateful, appreciative, and mindful

I am turning fifty today. There. I've said it. I'm not entirely sure what to make of this...achievement.  It's certainly forcing me to think about my past and future in ways I've not thought of either before. And it's certainly forcing me to take stock in a way I haven't done since...well, since I turned forty! The last ten years have taken me in directions I never expected and have enabled me to do things I never knew I'd do. The last ten years have taught me to be mindful.  I'm witnessing my life today by writing down fifty things for which I'm grateful, appreciative, and mindful. They're in no particular order because they don't have to be. They just are.

sand dunes - china

1. my long, rich, deep, trusting, loving relationship with Anne

2. my beautiful inherited home

3. being successful at sustaining drydenbks as a viable business

4. knowing I am stronger and more resilient than I think I am

5. kind people

6. my health

7. being able to contribute the maximum into savings vehicles

8. being able to share my expertise and passion with others through my work

9. appreciative people

10. being on my own clock

11. my reputation as someone to be trusted professionally and personally

12. serendipitous meetings, conversations, and events

13. being born, growing up, and living in Manhattan

perito moreno glacier - Argentina

  14. being able to leave Manhattan to travel

  15. being open to learning new things

  16. an unfailingly supportive business community and “tribe”

  17. good friends

  18. stories and storytelling

19. reaching a point where the good memories of my parents are replacing the bad

20. knowing and trusting that we get what we need when the time's right

21. the depth of love I can feel for others

22. being told by my financial adviser that “You’re still young enough to…”
moose - maine

23. laughing with friends

24. quiet, still moments    

25. animals                     
penguins - patagonia
26. when a poem, or a line, or a story idea stays long enough for me to write it down

27. the support of writers who encourage me to write

28. knowing that to give is the nicest way to receive

29. the breadth and depth of our precious natural world

30. how fun it is to make Anne laugh

31. being able to take honest stock of myself

32. understanding the difference between wanting and needing
33. being someone who can value the journey as much as the destination

34. having scars to remind me that healing follows pain

35. my ability to inspire confidence 

36. beaches and the ocean

37. loving and being loved by Anne’s family

38. knowing I’d make my parents proud

39. having been adopted 

40. feeling rooted and feeling safe enough to fly at the same time

41. having a partner who pushes me to be less fearful

charley noble
42. having Charley Noble in our lives and hearts far longer than the vet predicted 

43. being awake to hear what the universe means for me to hear (most of the time)

44. knowing that reinventing myself is possible

45. seeing how many of the items on my “Someday I will…” list that I wrote over fifteen years ago have been crossed off

46. being able to add to a new “Someday I will…” list

47. understanding this life is a gift

48. being pretty much the kind of adult I imagined myself to be when I was a kid

49. having enough

50. having the luxury to dream of more

                                                                                                                 (c) emma d dryden, drydenbks llc


  1. HAPPY, HAPPY 50th Birthday, Em!

    Lovely, lovely list. These are the reflections of a very beautiful soul at peace with herself, and with a tender heart for others and this world. Thanks for being such an inspiration. xo

  2. a beautiful list. Happy birthday!

  3. Anonymous4/20/2014

    And this post shows the dignity, grace and deep love of our friend Emma. Happy birthday dear Emma. We love you. Janet and Roz

  4. Anonymous4/20/2014

    What wonderful list. It shows all the love, dignity and grace in the world! Happy birthday dear Emma. Much love,
    Janet and Roz

  5. Happy birthday Emma! This is a wonderful list, and I love how you embrace life and turning 50. xoxo, David

  6. Happy birthday Emma! That's a wonderful list, and I love how you embrace live and turning 50! Enjoy your day. xoxo, David

  7. Lovely list. Happy birthday Emma! I hope the day is as spectacular as you are.

  8. Welcome to maturity, whippersnapper! Keep looking forward. Happiness is having something to look forward to. Happy birthday, happy Easter.

  9. Happy Birthday! What an amazing list! I know the next 50 years will be even better. : )

    Lisa Rose

  10. Happy Birthday! What an amazing list! I know the next 50 years will be even better : )

  11. What a wonderful 50 Birthday list, Emma! I hope you are enjoying every second of this day and that you will continue to enjoy the next 50!

  12. Happy birthday to you, Emma. This is a lovely list.

  13. Thank you for sharing your list, Emma. The depth of your thoughts has pushed me to dig a little deeper, myself. Enjoy this day!

  14. Anonymous4/20/2014

    Dear Em, You always had a way with words....so fortunate to know you for 40 of your 50 years! All love, B

  15. Sara-Lynne4/21/2014

    Happy Birthday, Emma. You gave yourself a great present by writing that list and capturing all those blessings.

  16. The comment I left yesterday (using my phone) disappeared into cyberspace, so I'm back to say what a wonderful list and a wonderful life! Welcome to the 50s! May they be a time of growth, and love, and laughter, and all good things.