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My 50th – an invitation to dream

by Lisa Chiodo

Post image for My 50th – an invitation to dream

 ’She decided to start living the life she imagined…’

‘Kobi Yamada’

Last night I lay in bed thinking, about my big birthday next year and what I want to do on the day. In my mind I have been planning a huge bash in Paris somewhere overlooking the Eiffel Tower. I have already started hinting to my friends and family that this would be tres magnifique and they should start saving for a European holiday.

paris for my birthday

Then my inner version of reality kicks in.

My little voice that tells me ‘don’t’ be ridiculous’ and nobody is going to come all the way to Paris for a birthday….no edit that, I mean for MY Birthday. It is a dream that is totally out of reach and I am not worthy of such a big dream. It will cost too much, we don’t have the money, we’ll have to travel, I’m not important….my dream will be a fizzer and everybody will know.

Don’t tell anyone, if nobody knows then my grand dream can’t fail, I can’t fail.

And I let myself think this way.

I crush my own dreams, like the dream of writing a book, of having a voice, of making a difference. I’ve been taking about this dream for almost ten years. Taking one step forward and then no further, then another step and stopping, no further…gathering information, keeping notes, subscribing to writing blogs and comparing my journal to the polished finished books written by my peers. I’ve been Peer Gazing and crushing my own voice in the process.

So last night unable to sleep, gazing at the ancient beams overhead my thoughts shifted to my Brother, I was thinking that he only made it a few months past his fiftieth birthday. That right now if I were him I would only have one year to live. This exact time next year I would be in the garden finishing the weeding, packing away the lawnmower  heading in for dinner, maybe whistling (I like to think of him whistling as he took those last steps).

I don’t know what dreams died unfulfilled with my brother that night, but I bet if he knew that he only had that one last year to live he would have whistled more often.

Dreams don’t need to be grand to live in our hearts, they just need to inspire us to be more than we are. My dream for our Italian life won’t happen by itself, being in Paris for my birthday won’t happen unless I decide it will, my first book will never be read unless I give up that little voice inside my head. Last night I decided to dedicate this year to my brother, to make it the best year ever, to make my life sing…..or maybe whistle.

As this is going to be the year that sings out loud, dances in the street, and culminates in Paris I’d love you to come along. Sing your own song, create a dream so big you can’t help but dance with the excitement of it, and then share it…..start here, with me, let’s do it together.

Go ahead….dare to dream x

Signature-00134 editand the gang x

dare to dream

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 budget jan February 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm

This link is from my Paris Dream Bookmark. When we go to Paris I am going to check it out. See if you like the sound of it. Maybe you could visit it for your 50th Birthday Dinner :)
budget jan recently posted..Siena is the perfect Tuscan day tripMy Profile


2 Lisa Chiodo February 25, 2014 at 6:09 am

thanks Jan sounds good maybe a bit small for our needs, we are thinking of meeting at Montmartre but this could be a nice place just for sam and I x
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Let’s have a Coffee and Chat – getting to know youMy Profile


3 Bronnie - Maid In Australia November 29, 2013 at 8:55 am

Oh Lisa, you are already living one of your dreams … I think you can make another one come true. I wish I could come over and help you celebrate your 50th. Maybe I should dare to dream for that too!
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4 Lisa Chiodo February 14, 2014 at 3:03 am

Wouldn’t that be wonderful, if you don’t come I’ll raise a glass of bubbly for you xx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..A rustic Italian kitchen – work in progressMy Profile


5 Melissa {Suger} November 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I love this post Lisa. It perfectly sums up all that is beautiful and wonderful about the way you write and exactly why you should stop being a selfish cow {my friend} and write that book. Now. Not tomorrow, not the next day but now. Seriously, don’t make me come over there just to MAKE you do it. When I come, there will be vacationing.
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6 Lisa Chiodo February 14, 2014 at 3:05 am

Oh you know I’m never going to live that one down. That Book, it’s always on my mind just have to get it out into the real world. See it’s just a clever plot to get you guys over here….come and make me lol x
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Christmas in Italy – send us a card per favoreMy Profile


7 Kerry November 13, 2013 at 9:20 pm

We both spent some time chatting about our dreams back in Maroochydore in Australia a few years ago. Both of us had some challenging times . Well done on achieving your Italian home, a work of love in progress.
I am just packing up to go home after my dream year . I based myself in Carcassonne in the south of France and spent the year travelling. I have to look at my photos to prove it really did happen, I really did see Petra or walk in Norway or visit Gallipoli with ny 11 year old nephew. People say how lucky and yes I am very grateful but do not feel like I have anything special about me. I just followed my dream , one step at a time and trusted . Part of that dream was sharing Paris with my sister in law for her 60 th birthday, something so unlikely. Paris was fantastic and apart from accommodation does not need to be expensive to be enjoyed. I head back home this month and am keen to see loved ones again. I will be back at work but am already planning my next sojourn in Europe. Your blog is inspiring and honest,and I look forward to your 50th with vicarious pleasure.


8 Lisa Chiodo February 14, 2014 at 4:00 am

I remember that day well Kerry, we seem so naive now thinking back on it, I’m so glad Bruce pushed us to step out of our comfort zone and meet up with you . Wow how wonderful your year in France sounds, like a dream that’s for sure. Did you really do all those things, I’m in awe!

Just following your dream and achieving so much, inspiring many including your nephew I bet. Arghhh Paris with your sister in law, fantastic, I’d love to be able to see Paris with my Mum and daughter but don’t think Mum would be up for the journey. Maybe we could catch up on your next European adventure xxx
sending love xx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..A rustic Italian kitchen – work in progressMy Profile


9 Sarah Hudson November 13, 2013 at 6:53 am

Hi Lisa – You definitely need to celebrate the big Five O in style and Paris would be amazing! I dared to dream for my 50th and my life turned around from that moment. Something happens when you turn 50 and its totally wonderful! I’m 56 now and have never felt better about myself so like I always told my kids “If you can dream it, you can do it”. You are living one of my dreams and I admire you in so many ways. Your earthy authenticity, your love for your family, your beautiful writing and photography, your courage …. you will find a way to get to Paris, you deserve it and you will create a bucketful of beautiful memories! PS My dream is to live in Europe for one year ( its my soul and heart home) xx


10 Trisha Thomas November 3, 2013 at 4:39 am

Oh Lisa, how beautiful, how touching, how heart-warming. I hope you brother knew what an amazing, loving and devoted sister he had. Your words about him are so moving. And, as always, you have helped me think about my own life differently. I am coming up on 50 at the end of December, I just celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary, and in August my first child left home to go off to University — and instead of being joyful and celebrating achievements, since August, I have been frequently running over the past in my mind wondering why I have not achieved more (why haven’t I published a book, when so many other people do so easily, why haven’t I been a better wife and mother, why don’t I have a beautiful house and gorgeous flowers on my balcony). I have joked with friends that I want to go hide behind the couch on my 50th birthday. But in the past few weeks I have been feeling a bit better, thinking perhaps actually I have done an awful lot in my 50 years and have so much to be proud of and grateful for. And yes, life is not over at age 49, I can still dream of so many wonderful things that I still want to do. Thank you for your inspiration.
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11 Olivia October 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm

But when’s the date?? I need to know if we can save for it! xxx
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12 Lisa Chiodo November 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Looks like it’s going to be the 21st!!!
can’t wait and it would be fantastic to see you xxx
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13 Rose October 29, 2013 at 10:40 am

You ARE my inspiration. If not for you, I would only consider this a dream. Your bravery, kind heartedness and dogmatic determination make you an inspiration. You bring life and joy to an extraordinarily dull life. Existence is still my enemy, but through you, my dreams see light. I will do my utmost to be in Paris. Just set a date so the dream can find where it needs to go. Love you always and beyond. Rose xxxxx


14 Sarah Shearer October 26, 2013 at 6:43 am

My dream is to earn enough through my writing to be able to open and run an animal rescue shelter, training animals and disadvantaged adults to visit hospices and spread happiness. A big dream for a little writer, but hopefully dreams can come true. xx
Good luck with your dream Lisa, see you in Paris next year :)


15 Lisa Chiodo February 14, 2014 at 4:02 am

Sarah you are one of the most determined women I know, if you set your mind to this you’d do it for sure xx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Chasing a Dream – putting on my Big BootsMy Profile


16 Duane Mortensen October 26, 2013 at 3:59 am

Dear LIsa, A little over a year ago I lost my sister. She had said she doubted she would make 60. Sh emitted by a few months. A few months ago I too nearly died. My blood pressure had spiked well over 200/110 and my blood sugar was over 480. Both should have killed me one way or another. Some how I didn’t have a stroke and die. I intend to make it to 100 now. At 56 that’s a big dream but at least I se life better now. You’ve found your dream and I see it doing wonderful things for you and your family You have such a wonderful life. I know it’s not always a bowl of cherries but you’ve chased your dream and are living it. I hold you high esteem for that. Brava and continue the dream.


17 Duane Mortensen October 26, 2013 at 4:22 am

Opps dang corrections… She missed by… and I goofed on- I see life….


18 Sonia October 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I loved this post I felt compelled to leave a comment. I applaud you for having the courage to live your dream RIGHT NOW.. moving your whole life and family to Italy. I live vicariously through you (from back here on the Gold Coast!).. hoping that ‘one day’ I too will have the courage to follow my heart and MY dream, to LIVE in Italy… Thank you for sharing your journey with us.. xox


19 Sylvia October 25, 2013 at 6:52 am

I think you are already a pretty inspiring dreamer! If you can think it it can happen, so get thinking & keep dreaming x


20 Lisa Chiodo November 1, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Certainly this dream will keep me inspired Sylvia, now to encourage others to create a dream xx
ciao lisa x
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..My 50th – an invitation to dreamMy Profile


21 Krista October 25, 2013 at 6:43 am

Feeling so emotional yet so happy and inspired after reading your words, dear Lisa. XOXO Thank you for your honesty and openness, your vulnerability and especially your courage in speaking truth. XO Wishing you comfort as you remember your brother and even greater courage and truth-speaking throughout this year. :-)
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22 CLAIRE LLOYD October 25, 2013 at 3:58 am

Absolutely the best plan for the year ever! Live the best year of your life and enjoy every second of it. You will never know who’ll be there to share your celebration until you are in Paris so go for it. I say that from experience I wanted my 50th birthday to be held on a Greek Island and guess what, it was! 40 people came from as far as Australia and as near as London. It was the most amazing time and never to be forgotten. Enjoy your year and all the years after x


23 Anne October 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Hi Lisa , forgot to add , you are in Italy and that was where you wanted to be ,, well done , and you have a partner who helps you with your dreams. :-)
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24 Lisa Chiodo February 14, 2014 at 4:03 am

yes without him I’d be lost I have to admit but don’t tell him that x
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25 Anne October 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Hello Lisa , a wonderful tribute to your brother , I lost a sister 7 years ago , very sad circumstances .. I love your dreams , I have a few and yes you are right , if you don’t put them out there , they are sure not to happen .. I need to put myself out there too or should I say my dreams.

I would be in Paris for your 50th birthday , I would help you celebrate , we would have a blast :-) I remember mine . I am a huge Formula 1 fan , and for my 50th birthday, my husband who works for Formula 1 and unfortunately was working , bought me a GRANDSTAND ticket for the whole weekend ,, I had friends there , but they were in the lower seats ( ha ha ) but at least I was able to see them and my husband… GO for it Lisa . xx
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26 Heather in Arles October 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm

This also made me cry, Lisa…because it hit so close to home. I am completely guilty of the same. Thank you for your courage and honesty in sharing your thoughts and dreams. You give honor to your Brother by doing so.
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27 Lisa Chiodo November 1, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Sharing from the heart has touched so may chords with people, once you loose someone close you have that link of understanding x
I have a little of my brother’s ashes that I want to sprinkle at Monza…he was an avid F1 fan and he and his friends would go. We sprinkled his ashes at turn six on the Grand Prix circuit at Albert Park.
sending love xx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..My 50th – an invitation to dreamMy Profile


28 Anne November 2, 2013 at 4:43 am

Hello Lisa , I have been to Monza , not in season though , this is where my husband wants his ashes sprinkled ,, I think it is lovely that his ashes were sprinkled someone he loved … My father in laws ashes are still in the Shed/workshop , the family don’t really know where to put them , but this is the best place I think , he was always in workshops … I have lost someone close ,, xx
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29 ros wilson October 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm

most beautiful post Lisa touched so many chords with me , made me cry and gave me hope all at the same time you are a beautiful writer thank you for sharing xxx Ros


30 Lisa Chiodo November 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm

thank you so much Roz what a lovely thing to say! xxx
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31 Catherine October 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Dear Lisa,
Yes do it for your wonderful bro! And you know what? You are already doing it. I know there is always more that should be written, thought out, sent off, attended to, but you are on that path. Fifty, whether you celebrate in Paris or not, is going to be a blast!
Bon courage ma chère!


32 Lisa Chiodo November 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm

It’s easy to forget just how much we have achieved and that yes we really are living our dream. It is now something for us to create, our life here in Italy is slowly taking shape and I love it x
Bon Courage….I like that merci
sending love xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Thinking outside the Box – sharing the dreamMy Profile


33 jann October 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Lisa, what a beautiful tribute to your brother! Silence those nagging voices in your head (“monkey mind” writing guru Natalie Goldberg calls it)–apparently all writers are similarly afflicted. xxxxxxx Onward to Paris!
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34 Lisa Chiodo October 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Ah then that monkey mind must go! I’ll have a look at Natalie and see what she thinks about this monkey lol . Onward to Paris, sounds like a great motto for the year! xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..My 50th – an invitation to dreamMy Profile


35 Nina Hansen Machotka October 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Dear, dear Lisa. Believe it or not, with these self-doubts, you’re building toward realizing your dreams (and you’ve accomplished so much already!). The other bloggers have posted my thoughts exactly…plant the seeds! Also, don’t worry about the state of your “book”–the notes, the journals, etc. My book started from old emails to friends describing our life here…you’ve got a beautiful blog (MUCH more polished than emails!) that’s been telling your story. What a wonderful jumping off point! And believe me, my book is far from polished…yes, it got more polished once my publisher said yes…but I still cringe at times when I re-read certain parts. What the heck. It’s out there, people like it, warts and all. And as I say in the chapter “A Dream in Ruins”, if you don’t go after your dreams, they end in ruins. Well…our dream and your dream of renovating STARTED in (the) ruins. No place to go but up, eh? xoxo, Nina.
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36 Lisa Chiodo October 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Nina I have so many projects and posts I want to write, places to visit, things to do with the kids. and a husband to love….life is filled to the brim and overflowing! I’m so glad to hear that this is how your book started out, who would think it would end up being read by an Aussie in Malpertus!! Yes we started in the ruins, how perfectly put, and now we are building it stone by stone…. here’s to a life well lived xxx
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37 Millie October 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Dear Lisa
I am so sorry you lost your brother, what a beautiful tribute to live this year for him and GO to Paris and celebrate your life and all the dreams that you have for it. Never let them go…..and I cannot wait to pick up your book like I know I will one day. Love and hugs xx Millie
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38 Lisa Chiodo October 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Hi Millie, this year is one for big change, changed habits, lifestyle, health and dreams! Paris will be the culmination yet it still seems so far away. Life keeps getting better day by day, this was one of those paradigm shift moments for me, time to start planning the next fifty years!!! xxx
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39 Francesca Muir October 24, 2013 at 11:01 am

I love your dreams Lisa and whether you realise it or not you are making your dreams a reality – you just need to keep believing in yourself. Put it out there MY 50th in Paris 2014 and plant the seeds now – they will grow in a form better than you could have ever imagined. You are an inspiration and I love your tenacity and courage. Ignore the inner voice. Send the invitations. Plant the seeds. They need time to grow! F xx
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40 Lisa Chiodo October 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm

That tiny seed is already growing Francesca, my mum is now talking about coming which would be wonderful. We are starting to think of it as a reality now and planning towards the day. When that inner voice pipes up I tell her to get back in her box….xxxx
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41 Charmain Giuliani October 24, 2013 at 9:46 am



42 Lisa Chiodo October 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I can’t read the line about him in the garden xxx
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43 Margaret | Destination Here&Now October 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

You might not realise it Lisa but this is one of the things that draws me to your site. I come here when I can because I feel like you give ‘me’ permission to dream. And it makes me feel like I’m not alone in wanting to step outside the lovely life I have here with friends and family and reach for something else, something different, if only for a time. Artists are the worst at sabotaging themselves with self doubt. Don’t listen to that litttle voice Lisa. And don’t spend too much time comparing yourself to other writers or bloggers. Just be yourself. It’s what you do best. Reach for Paris with open arms. It doesn’t have to be a five star dream. It just has to be yours. I loved this post. x
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44 Lisa Chiodo October 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I know this feeling Margaret, so many of my friends are dreamers. I have my go to places online and having you all here is so special. Since writing this post I’ve felt happier, with a purpose, able to relax with the family and less pressured to always be ‘doing something’ to take a little time out for me.

Now the dream of Paris is out in the universe who knows what will happen, I’d love my Mum to come…shhhh just another dream lol xx
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