Many moons ago, I was a bright-eyed go-getter, bent on squeezing every drop from the gristly lime of life. I had a lot of things I wanted to do and I was in a big hurry to do them.
And then life happened. Every now and then, it occurred to me that the ME I had designed in my twenties was a long gone blueprint, some imaginary being the lab had given up on.
My priorities were unwillingly rearranged with children and societal pressure to normalize and the constant need to pay for some life necessity or another. The nerve.
Then comes 40. I’m on the countdown and it’s time to regroup, assess, question whether all that party planning and crafting really counts as moving forward in life. (Existentially, it is also time to question whether moving forward is the real goal.)
Have I lived enough? I asked myself. Have I accomplished enough? Have I adventured enough? I’ve never even been to India!
This anxiety sent me straight to list making, because making lists is every Type-A’s therapy. A well-written list can solve any problem.
Now, while I’m still ruminating on the existential meaning of life, I’ve constructed a really scintillating list. 40 things I want to do before I turn 40. Because if there’s one other thing a type-a likes, it’s a deadline. 😉
So, if anyone is so inclined… jump on board and do a 50 before 50 or a 30 before 30 or a 47 before 47 (although it, admittedly, doesn’t have the same ring).
(Legal disclaimer: I got a version of this idea from Gretchen Rubin, who on her podcast appearance with none other than Tim Ferriss, talked about her 18 for 2018 resolution list.)
Here’s my 40 Before 40…
- Publish book – Come hell or high water
- Sing karaoke – IN PUBLIC
- See the Northern Lights – I was born in Alaska and don’t even remember ever seeing the aurora borealis. poo.
- Do the splits
- Take Scottish dancing class – Seems random but I am Scottish, did Scottish dancing as a teenager (see how cool I was?) and am thoroughly obsessed with all things Scottish.
- Do 10 pull-ups
- Take a painting class
- Take a hip-hop/dance class – Maybe improve my Elaine-from-Seinfield moves. Maybe not.
I had to.
- Go tent camping – Glamping doesn’t count, much to my city-boy husband’s chagrin.
- Take a pottery class
- Buy a Motorhome
- Motorhome across the country
- Go to a horse ranch
- Organize/print digital photos – Honestly, this may be the hardest thing on this list.
- Go whale watching
- Go to Iceland
- Try aerial yoga
- Try acro yoga
- Ride a skateboard – Friends are trying to talk me out of this due to potential physical injury to my middle-aged body.
- Learn to ski
- Meet Tim Ferriss – Tim, if you’re out there, I’m a total fangirl and will likely have nothing intelligent to say due to nervous paralyzation.
- Do a handstand
- Get back to my college fluency in Spanish
- Remodel our home office
- Go rock climbing – Indoor is ok. I’m not a snob or anything.
- Learn how to swim strokes – like real swimming, not bobbing and flapping
- Play the ukulele
- Go to a poetry reading
- Read the Harry Potter books – Because I have heard this should be on every bucket list and apparently I’ve been living in a barn having not read them.
- Organize travel memorabilia – Hmmm, what to do with train tickets from Belgium, coasters from Peru and sugar packets from Morocco…
- Burn music to hard drive – I literally do not have a CD player
- Teach my kids to play chess
- Teach my son to read
- Go to a trampoline gym – I’m thinking without my kids. Would that be weird?
- Be vegan for a week
- Make a good (thai) curry
- Make a scrapbook for my husband’s last birthday – I’m such a giver.
- Take self-defense class
- Get laser hair removal – because shaving sucks
- Ride a jet ski – I have never done this and stole it from my friend’s bucket list because I was like “Oh yeah, I HAVE always wanted to do that.”
So there. I’m about to get at it.
P.S. If any writers out there are feeling mid-life crisis-y like I was, be comforted by the statistic that 95% of great writers are over the hump of 40. Like fine wine, apparently literary success improves with age. One in the pro column for getting older.