Today I turned 49. I have never felt better about the woman that I am and who I am about to be. Every. Single. Day.

I used to cringe at the thought of almost being 50 and now, I truly welcome it.

I am speaking my truth more than I have ever done before…EVER! Not sure if it is always going down so well with others in my life but I don’t really give a shit…it is my truth and it is time for me to find my voice.

And as much as I love my shoes (those of you who know my life on FB, totally know I am a shoe whore and I don’t apologize for it!) and have taught myself to be ok with receiving as I get older, I have really been thinking about the moments I enjoy the most. Some of those moments have come from happy times and others have come after some broken, sad times but the fact that I have felt them and listened to my inner self, tells me that it is clear that I must create something for this momentum I am feeling.

And those of you know me and my story, also know that I have struggled beyond belief with health issues for over 20 years. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and it is a kick-your-ass-and-take-names autoimmune disease that does exactly that to me quite often. In working with a gluten free coach a few years ago, Janelle gave me some sage advice: “Rupa, you are going to have to find joy in life and in other things outside of food.”

Are. You. Kidding. Me??!

I truly wanted to to punch her through the phone that day. It was after a week of getting rid of what felt like a million more things from my daily diet and although I felt better than months before, I felt like I was losing a big part of me. She allowed me to have my pity party right then and there but then I also put it to rest like a familiar book that had a spot on the bookshelf already.

It was time for me to find joy in other things…in life…love…work…travel…friendships and so much more that was out there for me.

That was over 2 years ago. And as I truly let go of what life was and paid attention to what it could be, all the possibilities it held as I healed my body and mind, I started really seeing gave me joy and started to honor that part of myself.

A part of me that I had struggled with for most of my life started coming to life because I was listening. It was that simple.

And so on my 49th birthday, today, I wanted to share with you the challenge I have created for myself from that part of me I recognized and started to love.

I have decided that between today and this time next year when I turn 50, I want to give back in 49 different ways.

Maybe it will be paying for the person behind me in the coffee shop so they walk away with a smile.

Or maybe it will be volunteering during the holidays for a charity drive.

I was also thinking of giving away my time for a handful of women who needed help with their own health issues…maybe discussing what I’ve been through so they know they aren’t the only ones.

I’d also love to get a group of entrepreneurial women together who are struggling with business issues and do some brainstorming with them and help them create some magic in their lives!

I’ve actually done all of this funnily enough and the one thing I remember about all of it is the pure joy I received when it was happening! So now it is time again to get back into this feeling and so here I go!

Calling it 49 Ways of Giving Back: An Experiment in Finding Joy (the name may change but that is what I came up with on the fly for now).

I’d love to know your suggestion(s) on one thing I could do this year!  Share below your thoughts and I will note them all down on my white board in my office and you’ll see a Blog post or a note on FB every time I do one!

And on a final note…must dance to this on my birthday…yeah, you, too!! It’s necessary: