50 Things Everyone Should Do Before They’re 50

When is the perfect time to learn new skills, have fun, and take care of the serious adult stuff you've been putting off? Now, of course!

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Use your passport

passportiStock/KritchanutMany of us have a passport "just in case," but instead of waiting to win the lottery or for a lonely millionaire with a yacht to show up on your doorstep, take control of your vacations and book a trip out of the country. And yes, Canada and Mexico count, and will definitely stamp your passport. Or consider going to the place you always dreamed of as a child or the country of your ancestors.

Cry through a movie

cryiStock/Luka-LajstEmbarrassed to blubber in public? You're missing out on some serious bonding and catharsis. Nothing brings people together more than shedding a few appropriate tears over the latest drama. And don't worry about looking silly or weak—if Oprah can weep openly in public, we all can. These tearjerker movies will bring on the happy tears.

Write a will

williStock/milosducatiNo one wants to think about death but newsflash: It's gonna happen. Probably not today and hopefully not soon but death comes for everyone eventually. And when it does, do you want your kids' most poignant memory of that time to be the gigantic fight over your collection of rare pickle jars? So sit down, write up a will allocating the important stuff, sign it (preferably in the presence of a notary) and then tell everyone you care about where it is. Drawing up a will is one of the things smart people do to prepare for death, not to be morbid.

Get therapy

therapyiStock/vadimguzhvaIf your immediate question is "Why would I need therapy?" perhaps you should really ask "Why wouldn't you need therapy?" Even if your life is going great at the moment, everyone has their ups and downs, and a professional can help you strengthen your inner reserves and develop better coping skills. Plus, when else are you not only allowed but expected to talk about nothing but yourself for an hour?

Make a retirement plan

retirement-planiStock/RidofranzOne in three Americans don't have a plan for their retirement, according to a study done by the Federal Reserve, and even more have some savings but not an amount considered adequate to get them through their golden years. Don't be one of those people. First, cat food is gross. Second, it doesn't have to be super complicated. It may mean opting into your employer's plan, meeting with a financial planner and setting up a system, or it can be as simple as literally socking away a chunk of money (in your sock drawer) every month. The important part, though, is to start. Now. (Check out the savvy habits of good savers.)

Fall in love

loveiStock/GlobalStockIt's the ultimate risk. But like all risks, falling in love can provide huge rewards. Even if it isn't the love of a lifetime, learning to open your heart and be vulnerable can only help you grow as a person. And who knows? Maybe you will find that special someone. These romantic true stories will make you believe in love again.

Write a journal

journaliStock/AlessandraRCYou don't have to be an award-winning author to record your thoughts. Putting pen to paper is a great way to let off steam, count your blessings, and remember all the funny, crazy, interesting things that happen to you. And while you may not think your life is that exciting, we guarantee that your children and grandchildren will love to have this keepsake.

Get a pet

petiStock/fotymaAre you a cat or a dog person? Trick question—it doesn't matter! When it comes to the joy of loving and be loved by a pet, a guinea pig can be just as good as a Great Dane. Having a furry friend has innumerable health benefits, both mentally and physically. And owning a pet may even help you live longer, according to research done by Harvard.

Pay off your credit cards

credit-cardsiStock/seb_raOver half of Americans report "substantial" worries about money, according to a recent Gallup poll. And one of the biggest causes of money woes is debt, particularly credit card debt. Thanks to their ease of use (swiping a card almost doesn't feel like spending money at all!) and low interest rates, it's easy to quickly rack up more debt than you know how to do with. Overwhelmed by debt? Try debt guru Dave Ramsey's "snowball method"—it's a simple way to get started, one credit card at a time.

Look up an ex

exiStock/BrianAJacksonOkay, hear us out on this one: We're not saying you should actually make contact with this person, but looking up an old flame—start with Facebook— can either help you remember the fun times or make you realize how much better off you are now.
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