52 at 52: Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

Say hello to today’s guest blogger, Sherry Stanfa-Stanley. Sherry was a co-Midwest Writers Workshop Fellowship fellow  in 2011. She’s got a new project going on this year that’s hilarious and heartwarming and, depending on how things go, could lead to a spot on Survivor.

Sherry, sober, in the middle, auditioning for Survivor.

Sherry, sober, in the middle, getting ready to audition for Survivor.


My name is Sherry, and I am changing my life.

As I whimpered past the age of 50, I realized I’d spent the last 30 years doing the same ordinary things. Every. Single. Day.

I know many people who are in a similar rut: those who spend more than their share of evenings folding clothes in front of the TV, daydreaming about the world out there while they contemplate having that second bowl of ice cream.

So, in the last few months, I took the first steps toward a new life journey. I sold my house of 21 years, bought a condo, and lost over 30 pounds (with more than a few to go). Then I started pondering how I might shake up my life in a number of smaller ways.

Thus was born my book, “The 52/52 Project: Detours off the Cul-de-sac.”

As I turn 52 this year, I am embarking on a list of 52 things I’ve never before done—a year of weekly experiences well outside my comfort zone. It’s not a bucket list. Several of these are not events any sane person would have a natural hankering to attempt. Some will prove to be fun, while others loom as frightening. More than a few will surely end up embarrassing.

They range from training for a 5K (this by a woman who piles items at the bottom of the stairs so to avoid making more than one trip up and who last ran nearly 20 years ago, probably up to the bar for last-call) to spending the night in a haunted house (I do believe in spooks, I do, I DO), to auditioning for the TV show “Survivor” (just awaiting my invitation to the island).

Why now? Was the anticipation of turning 52 some magical moment? Likely not. But at some point in our lives, we either decide to continue sighing at the status quo or we embrace change. I’ve chosen to embrace change, albeit with trembling fingers.

As a humor writer, I included a number of outrageous items on my list, primarily designed for a laugh. Everyone should be silly from time to time, and going outside our comfort zone certainly requires being able to laugh at ourselves.

But just a few weeks into the project, it began to evolve. The over 500 readers on my new Facebook page, which chronicles my adventures, appeared charged and excited. A few called me an inspiration. Me? The middle-aged woman who never thought of herself as more than a cautionary tale?

That inspired me to look deeper into myself and my project. I replaced a few of the more trivial line-items with more meaningful experiences. Most stories are still likely to draw laughs—especially my own self-deprecating laughter. Some will be more thought-provoking.

As I’ve begun to check off my weekly experiences on my list, I’m posting snippets of the adventures on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/The52at52Project. I’m saving up the entire Real Untold Story for my collection of humor and human interest essays.

I hope readers will live vicariously through my year of adventure and change. And maybe—just maybe—The 52/52 Project will also inspire them to jumpstart their own lives.

Together, we’ll jump the curb, taking a detour from the safe and secure cul-de-sac of our lives to visit personally unexplored territories.

But they’d better buckle up; it could be a bumpy ride.

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One thought on “52 at 52: Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

  1. sherrystanfastanley says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your space with me!

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