40 Things Before I’m 40 List

So based on Miranda’s 31 Things to Do Before 31, I decided I’d make a list too.  After all, they say your 30s are the best years of your life, so I might as well take advantage of them.  And while the 101 Things to Do Before You Die tend to be “big” things, there are a lot of “little” things that I’ve always meant to do and they should be included on a list somewhere too.  Many of these are holdovers from my high schools list:

1.  Be Able to Do a Pull Up

I have NO upper body strength and while I’ve always been rather athletic/worked out, I’ve never been able to do a pull up.  Its what kept me from getting the Presidential Fitness award back in elementary school (yeah, and I’m still upset about it).  Time to start working out my arms! (This kinda goes in line with my recent fascination with rock climbing. Add it to the list!)

2.  Send cards regularly (birthdays, anniversaries, etc).

I’m a pretty thoughtless person when it comes to this stuff and when others remember to send me cards, I feel like crap for not returning the thought on their special days.

3.  Be known for one food dish-COMPLETED!

I am officially known as the crab dip girl.

4. Go to high tea.- COMPLETED!

5.  Learn another language

6.  Begin a retirement fund - COMPLETED!

7.  Finish the book list.

I’m only about 10 books away, so this shouldn’t be difficult.  Of course, this includes all of Shakespeare’s works, so easier said than done.

8.  Watch All of the Oscar Best Picture Winners

As of March 2014, I’ve seen 54 of the Best Picture winners

9.  Learn to Scuba Dive – COMPLETED!

10.  Conquer fear of water - COMPLETED

11.  Learn to Rock Climb - COMPLETED

12.  Take Cooking Classes

After my little bit of time spent in the kitchen in 2011, I’ve been inspired to take it a little further. There is only so much I can learn on my own, though and there are some things I want to learn very specifically, like how to make sushi, how to decorate cakes, or to get a whole lot better at Italian dishes.

13.  See the Aurora Borealis

This is really the only big travel thing on my list.  Perhaps within the next 10 years I can make it to Scandanavia to see the Northern Lights and….

14.  Stay in an Ice Hotel – COMPLETED!

15.  Visit the Grand Canyon

16.  Get my Saucer-COMPLETED!

17.  Shout “Drinks are on me!” at a bar

At Flying Saucer, there are usually only about 4 people there during the weekday around 3pm. I’m thinking that’s my time to do it!

18.  Watch the Top 250 IMDB List

As of November 2012, I’ve seen 191 of the top 250 IMDB list.

19.  Watch AFI’s top 100 films - COMPLETED!

20.  Sing Karaoke - COMPLETED!

21.  Run a marathon - COMPLETED!

22.  Run the Krispy Kreme Challenge-COMPLETED!

23.  Run the Warrior Dash – COMPLETED!

24.  Take a Self-Defense Class-COMPLETED!

25.  Complete the GQ beer list

26.  Take an aerial silks class – COMPLETED!

27.  Complete my novel

28.  Sell a piece of art (and realize my childhood dream)

29.  Pay off my student loan debt.

I’ve had different levels that I set for myself that let me know I had “made it.”  One was to be able to afford regular pedicures, another was being able to purchase a house.  While I originally thought my next goal should be “afford weekly massages” I’ve decided “Pay off Student Loan Debt” was more prudent. (and, in case you were wondering, I technically CAN afford weekly massages now. I just don’t think it’s that practical)

30.  Have begun bringing in money through contract work – COMPLETED!

I make a fair bit of money copyediting dissertations and I’ve even begun working as a consultant on a very minimal basis. So…well done me!

31.  Learn to swim - COMPLETED!

Again, helping to conquer my fear of water.  And after a while, its embarrassing to say you can’t swim.

32.  Learn to snow ski - COMPLETED

A holdover from the high school list.

33.  Learn to drive a stick shift

Again, embarrassed to say that I never learned.  And I have an irrational fear that one day there will be an emergency, and the only vehicle to drive to the hospital will be a stick.

34.  Drive a Car at Top Speed

This is on the 101 list but after I learn how to drive a stick, then I’ll be able to do one of the NASCAR experiences and drive on a real track at top speed!

35.  Visit All the NC Breweries

NC now has 84 breweries. It only had 49 when I started this in the Fall of 2011. Thus far I have visited 30, but a lot of those are new and weren’t on that original list.

36.  Learn to Belly Dance

I did a good bit of it in 2013 and plan to continue. My eventual goal is to become one of the “veteran” girls that do the more difficult moves during the recitals.

37.  Go to confession.

38.  See a movie in a Drive-In Theater - COMPLETED

There are a few around and I need to make a point of going before they disappear completely.

39.  Lose 20 pounds – COMPLETED!

40.  Reconnect with my faith

I was raised in a family that was very involved in our church.  However, while in college, I got out of the habit and haven’t really gotten back.  I have a lot of guilt about the absence of church in my life, and I make a lot of excuses, but its very important to me that my child be raised in the church too.  More than anything on this list, this is something I NEED to do.

53 Responses to “40 Things Before I’m 40 List”

  1. You should get a doggie! It’s such a wonderful experience. We got a lab two years ago and I love how he runs to me every time I come home. BUT somebody told me that a couple shouldn’t buy a dog BEFORE they have a baby. There’s a weird superstition that you won’t be able to have kids anymore if you get a dog first.

    How true is that, I wouldn’t know. But it’s always better safe than sorry :)

    • I haven’t heard that before but I can believe it with how some of my friends dote on their dogs-I can’t imagine them ever having kids now because they would get in the way of their relationship with their dogs! But we will get doggies….eventually. Right now I think we’re waiting to find a bigger house with a yard they can run around in.

    • Further to the ‘dog before baby’ thing, my husband and I are in a similar boat – but I think the bigger concern is not that the relationship with your person-baby will get in the way of the one with your dog-baby, but more the relationship your dog has with your baby. I think it is a lot harder for a dog to adjust to having their world turned around by a new addition than the other way around, and we’ve had some friends who have been through this with their poor dogs. They’ll be ok in the end, but it’s stressful and sometimes dogs react badly (not like hurting the child, more like being super protective, or clingy, or aggressive towards strangers). Anyway… good luck whatever route you take!

      • My brother’s dogs had difficulty adjusting to the new baby. One was very anxious/would get really upset when the baby would cry. The other became very protective/wouldn’t let anyone but my brother and his wife near the baby. So I think it could have it’s challenges!

  2. I particularly like your idea of ‘start using coupons.’ I know, how unglamorous, right? I literally just signed up at couponmom.com (which makes me feel old and I’m not actually a mom). Guess you gotta start somewhere, right?

    • Yeah, I just waste so much money not planning meals properly and having to throw out whole, unopened gallons of milk, etc. It kills me to think of the money I could be saving by doing simple things like couponing, taking my lunch to work, etc.

  3. Hi Jessica, I love your blog. “Painfully responsible” – yes! How’d you know? Thanks for stopping by Well-Written Days blog mostly because your visit there brought me over here. I want to check back often since we’re fellow massage lovers and I’ve gotta check out which one of us reaches that goal first. I’m a “little” older than you so I really deserve to get that one under my belt soon.

    Thanks for a fun read!

    • Ha! I’ve gotten to the point where I’m getting massages about once a month through Groupon/LivingSocial deals. But thanks for checking by and I’ll be sure to check with you often to see how you’re doing on your list too!

  4. You’ve got some really outstanding goals on your list! Looks like it’ll be a great few years : )

    I’ve tried dozens and dozens of great beers, but taking a look at that GQ list, it looks like there are plenty more out there requiring my attention!

    Can’t wait to see you check off your SCUBA certification, especially considering #10.

  5. I just love you, Jessica. I’ve got a list, too, but I need to revisit it and focus myself. :) <3 Thank you for being you.

  6. The Aurora Borealis is on my “40 before 40″ list, too! I’m just hoping it doesn’t turn out the be a dud, like when you go to plug in the Christmas tree, and a fuse blows…

  7. I love your 40 things before you are 40 list; have some similar items in my bucket list. I am happy to see you have completed some items on your list already.

  8. Jess! A close friend of mine texted me and asked for suggestions of things to do before he turns 40! I instantly recommended your site! Glad we connected so I could forward him this resource and inspiration. It’s funny how the universe works.

  9. Hey Jessica, no news since april-ish 2011 what s going on with the list?

    • JP, Actually a lot! I continuously update this list but don’t necessarily add dates when they are done. So things like “Learn to Ski” and “Lose 20 Pounds” are all things that have happened since then. Keep checking in. I’m always working on something!

  10. Hey Jessica! I found your blog via Twitter just now, loving your list and your blog… I have about 232 things on my list and have managed to tick off quite a few so far since I started in almost a year ago.

    We seem to share a ton of our items (I guess that shouldn’t really surprise me though). My own list is here: http://emmasbucketlist.com/thelist I’m looking forward to following your progress with yours now…

    Must recommend wing-walking… It seems to be one that not many people have actually tried-but was my favourite so far!

  11. Very Impressive

  12. What a great list and definitely has me thinking on 50 before I turn 50!!

  13. Where do you live? Can’t you just come to Canada to see the Northern lights (aurora borealis)?

    • I live in North Carolina. I guess I figured getting to top of Canada where I could see the Northern Lights would be difficult to get to. Is it pretty reasonable to access? If it would cost me a lot of money to do Canada, I figured I may as well go all out and go to Scandinavia.

  14. I love your 40 things before you are 40 list; have some similar items in my bucket list. I am happy to see you have completed some items on your list. Thanks for sharing blog.

  15. Hi, I have just started making my list and am stopping by other blogs for inspiration and really, wow! how long have you left to achieve all this?

  16. That is a great list and you’ve knocked off quite a few already and still have 7 years to go, impressive! Keep up the great work and enjoy!

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