by Jordan Killam
When Sherry Stanfa-Stanley turned 50, she felt as though something big was missing from her life. She sold her house, downsized to a condo, and hit the road in search of self-actualization.
Sherry named the journey “52/52” since she created a list 52 items long, all to be accomplished by her fifty-second birthday. We met up with Sherry to discuss her experiences while completing the 52 self-prescribed tasks – some frightening, some hilarious, but all well worth it!
When and how did you decide on this project?
I was a new empty-nester, living in the same house and working the same job for 20 years. I knew I had to do something to climb out of that crater. The 52/52 Project started with a list: not a bucket list exactly, more of an anti-bucket list. I challenged myself with a year of weekly experiences which pushed me outside my comfort zone and which, in their own way, made me squirm.
What was the scariest moment (or moments) of your 52/52 adventure?
I went on a raid with the Toledo vice squad and SWAT team.
I literally hyperventilated on the zip-lining platform.
When I went au naturel at a nude beach, I tried adopting a two-year-old’s thinking. I shut my eyes and told myself, “If I can’t see anyone, then nobody can see me.”
The moment that made you laugh the most?
I’m not sure I ever laughed so hard as when I accidentally caught the bridal bouquet at the wedding reception that I had crashed.
I have always wanted to:
Or what have I never wanted to do? That’s a question for next year. I’ve already started a list.
Sherry Sanfra-Stanley completed 52 tasks by the time she turned 52
- Taking Belly Dancing Lessons
- Competing in a Pizza Eating Contest
- Doing “Research” at an Adult Bookstore and Watching a Peep Show
- Attending Services at Three Places of Worship
- Enduring a Week without Caffeine
- Auditioning for “Survivor”
- Eating Insects
- Having a Professional Shoot for My First Author Photo
- Being Hypnotized for Past-Life Regression
- Getting a Brazilian Wax
- Going Camping by Myself
- Getting an Extreme Haircut
- Crashing a Wedding Reception
- Taking a Homeless Person to Lunch
- Online Dating
- Going Vegan for a Week
- Going on a Police Ridealong and a Raid with the SWAT Team
- Taking Professional Voice Lessons
- Appearing as a College Mascot
- Shooting at a Gun Range
- Spending the Night in a Convent
- Volunteering at a Nursing Home
- Undergoing a Colonoscopy
- Performing in Public as a Mime
- Going au Naturel at a Nude Beach
- Dark Dining
- Singing on Stage with a Band
- Bell-Ringing for the Salvation Army
- Going Totally Unplugged for a Week
- Taking a Polar Bear Dip on New Year’s Day
- Tackling My First Major Home Improvement Project
- Doing a Radio Show
- Being Zookeeper for a Day
- Taking a Road Trip with My Ex Husband (and Another with HIs Girlfriend)
- Staying Up All Night to Watch Horror Flicks Alone
- Hosting a Party for All Strangers
- Floating in an Isolation (Sensory Deprivation) Tank
- Spending the Day in Public in Pajamas and Slippers (and Curlers)
- Babysitting Quadruplets
- Taking the First Available Flight Out—Anywhere—From the Airport
- Bartending on St. Patrick’s Day
- Failing a High Ropes Course
- Attending a Frat Party
- Driving a Segway
- Giving the Keynote Speech at My Alma Mater’s Academic Banquet
- Running a 5K
- Ghost Hunting with TV Professionals
- Riding Shotgun in a Race Car
- Undertaking a Week of My Own Style of “Speed-Dating”
- Going on a Hot Air Balloon Ride