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Q&A with Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

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

  1. Taking Belly Dancing Lessons
  2. Competing in a Pizza Eating Contest
  3. Doing “Research” at an Adult Bookstore and Watching a Peep Show
  4. Attending Services at Three Places of Worship
  5. Enduring a Week without Caffeine
  6. Auditioning for “Survivor”
  7. Eating Insects
  8. Having a Professional Shoot for My First Author Photo
  9. Being Hypnotized for Past-Life Regression
  10. Getting a Brazilian Wax
  11. Going Camping by Myself
  12. Getting an Extreme Haircut
  13. Crashing a Wedding Reception
  14. Taking a Homeless Person to Lunch
  15. Online Dating
  16. Going Vegan for a Week
  17. Going on a Police Ridealong and a Raid with the SWAT Team
  18. Taking Professional Voice Lessons
  19. Appearing as a College Mascot
  20. Shooting at a Gun Range
  21. Spending the Night in a Convent
  22. Volunteering at a Nursing Home
  23. Zip-lining
  24. Undergoing a Colonoscopy
  25. Performing in Public as a Mime
  26. Going au Naturel at a Nude Beach
  27. Dark Dining
  28. Singing on Stage with a Band
  29. Bell-Ringing for the Salvation Army
  30. Going Totally Unplugged for a Week
  31. Taking a Polar Bear Dip on New Year’s Day
  32. Tackling My First Major Home Improvement Project
  33. Doing a Radio Show
  34. Being Zookeeper for a Day
  35. Taking a Road Trip with My Ex Husband (and Another with HIs Girlfriend)
  36. Staying Up All Night to Watch Horror Flicks Alone
  37. Hosting a Party for All Strangers
  38. Floating in an Isolation (Sensory Deprivation) Tank
  39. Spending the Day in Public in Pajamas and Slippers (and Curlers)
  40. Babysitting Quadruplets
  41. Taking the First Available Flight Out—Anywhere—From the Airport
  42. Bartending on St. Patrick’s Day
  43. Failing a High Ropes Course
  44. Attending a Frat Party
  45. Driving a Segway
  46. Giving the Keynote Speech at My Alma Mater’s Academic Banquet
  47. Running a 5K
  48. Ghost Hunting with TV Professionals
  49. Riding Shotgun in a Race Car
  50. Bee-Keeping
  51. Undertaking a Week of My Own Style of “Speed-Dating”
  52. Going on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

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