40 Before 40 Goals: How I’m Making the Most of My 30s with This Bucket List
Fending Off the Birthday Blues With an Action Plan
I turn 37 tomorrow, and I just realized I only have 3 short years left before I am 40. I’ve been kind of afraid of the big four-oh for a while now, but the closer I get to it, the more I wonder exactly why that is.
After all, the research indicates that most women are actually happier in their 40s than in their 30s, mostly because they have fewer insecurities and are more confident in themselves. And it’s true; when I really think about it, I wouldn’t want to return to a younger version of myself.
So then why do I - and so many other thirty-somethings - feel daunted by this next milestone?
Some experts say it’s because we may feel like we aren’t living life to its fullest; there may be certain things we had hoped to experience by 40.
I found myself reflecting on this suggestion and wondered if there are things I hope to do while I’m still in my 30s.
So, to fend off the birthday blues and face the upcoming year with a renewed sense of purpose, I created this “40 before 40” bucket list. If you're a thirty-something like me, feel free to use some of these ideas to come up with your own list!
My 40 Before 40 Goals
I’ve sorted my goals into 7 different categories because I’m organized like that. (Yeah, right!) Although the majority of my goals are experience and hobby-based, I made sure to include some other goals that I think will enrich my life once I do get to my forties.
Experiences and Hobbies
1. Get a dog
My spouse and I have been talking about getting a dog for years but we haven’t felt ready to commit just yet. But I think the time is coming soon. (Reading all the Stray to Stay stories the past few weeks has really got me thinking about this again!)
2. Ride a Horse
In my 37 years, I have never been on a horse. I’ve ridden a pony and a camel, but not a horse. I’d like to change this.
3. Go Skiing
My partner says it’s a lot of fun so I would like to try it at least once. It’s cold and snowy 4 months out of the year anyway so might as well make the best of it.
4. Spend an evening stargazing
We have a telescope but so far all we’ve been able to see from our backyard is the moon. When it’s warmer we’re going to try going somewhere with less light pollution and do a proper stargazing session!
5. Take a painting class
I’ve always been interested in art, but never found the time to try. I would like to try watercolor painting.
6. Get a real camera and take a photography class
I have zero photography skills but I enjoy taking pictures. It would certainly be handy to have this skill for blogging. My iPhone camera just doesn’t cut it.
7. See at least one live musical
It’s been decades since I saw a live musical. Phantom of the Opera was my favorite, but I’d love to see a newer one, maybe Hamilton.
8. Go to a TSO concert
I went to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra once when I was 15 but I was too young to appreciate it. The acoustics at the Roy Thomson Hall are amazing and I’d love to experience that again.
9. Host a dinner party for my friends
Some of my favorite memories include “girls night” with my circle of friends I’ve known since public school. I miss them so much and once this pandemic is over I definitely want to host an epic dinner party!
10. Get a massage
Haven’t had one in years and my muscles really need it. I work a desk job all day and lift weights five days a week.
11. Try the best restaurants in my new town
The Eat Local Challenge last week made me realize I have hardly tried any local restaurants since I moved to this city. I’ve been living here nearly two years but thanks to the pandemic, I have yet to really get to know the place. I keep getting all these great recommendations for restaurants I’m dying to try.
12. Go to the VIP movie theatre
We used to go all the time and there’s nothing like having a glass of wine with your popcorn while watching a great movie for the first time on the big screen.
13. Go glamping
I have never been camping. I am not far from Muskoka so there’s really no excuse not to try it. But there has to be a toilet. That is non-negotiable.
14. Go to an event where I need to dress up
Don’t make fun of me for putting this on my 40 by 40 list; I’ve literally been wearing nothing but yoga pants and T-shirts for the last 1.5 years! I’m dying to put some makeup and heels on and do something semi-glamorous.
15. Start a vegetable garden
In my twenties, I had a vegetable garden but I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t take care of it properly. I would like to try again now that I have a bit more time and patience for it!
16. Renovate my kitchen
This one is actually already in the works! I’m so excited to redo our kitchen but it’s also a lot of stress.
17. Clean out my basement
There are several areas of my house I need to declutter but the basement is definitely at the top of the list. I have about 20 boxes of crap that I haven’t opened in four moves so I know it’s stuff I don’t need. I just need to buckle down and go through it already.
18. Finish a novel
I started writing a novel four years ago and it’s just been sitting on my hard drive taunting me. At this point, I don’t even care if I ever publish it; I just need to actually finish the damn thing.
19. Make $1000 on Vocal in reads
I know this seems like a lofty goal but actually this only works out to less than $30 per month over 3 years, which I believe is totally doable with enough of the right content. Of course, I’m going to try and do it in less time than that. Writing on Vocal has been really good for me creatively but I want to see how well I can monetize it.
20. Place in a Vocal Challenge
This is more of a wish than a goal since I don’t really have any control over the outcome. But I will enter every Challenge I possibly can in the hopes that I place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in at least one.
21. Grow my audience on Medium
I just started writing on Medium and am a little bit obsessed with it. I’m so serious about it I’m even taking Sinem Günel’s MWA course to try and maximize my impact and reach on the platform.
22. Travel across Europe
I want to see Paris, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, specifically. Hopefully, by 2022 the pandemic will be under control and we can all travel again…
23. Travel across Canada
I’m a bit ashamed of the fact that I’ve lived in Canada my entire life and have barely been anywhere outside of Ontario. Vancouver, Kelowna, Quebec City, and PEI are at the top of my list.
24. Visit New York
Even just one day of shopping and dining in Manhattan would be enough for me. (One day is probably all I could afford!)
25. Return to Turks and Caicos
The beaches in Turks and Caicos have a special place in my heart. I’ve been twice before but I hope I can get there one more time before I’m 40!
26. Read 100 Books
I used to read a ton when I was younger but most of my thirties I’ve been preoccupied with other things. I’m getting back into it though! I’ve got exactly 3 years left to read 100 more books which works out to 2.8 books per month. Totally doable, but I better start now! (FYI I am looking for book recommendations!)
27. Switch fully to sustainable health and beauty products
I’m trying to get away from plastic and disposable stuff as much as I can, starting with beauty and hygiene products. I switched my deodorant to Native last year and have never looked back. Right now I’m on the hunt for the perfect shampoo and conditioner bars.
28. Buy someone’s coffee behind me at the drive-thru
Someone did this randomly for me once and I’ve always wanted to return the favor to some random stranger! Random acts of kindness restore my faith in humanity.
29. Start meditating regularly
When I meditate I feel noticeably more calm and grateful. But I’ve been really inconsistent. I really need to make this a habit.
30. Grow my friendships
I hardly saw my friends even before the quarantine. I want to make more of an effort to nurture friendships in the years to come and make new ones too.
Health and Fitness
31. Complete a virtual race
I’m intrigued by these Conqueror Virtual Races - I want to do Cabot Trail and get one of them shiny medals!
32. Do 20 full military pushups
Despite being in the best shape of my life, pushups are still my nemesis. My chest muscles are lagging behind everything else. Right now I can only do a few proper ones with my chest lowered all the way down to the floor. (Although this is still a massive improvement over the 0 pushups I could do a couple of years ago!)
33. Do an unassisted pullup
After I get the pushups down, this is my next goal!
34. Get a barbell for my home gym
I’m all about exercising with minimal equipment but there are some exercises I could really use a barbell for. I plan on investing in one in the next few years.
35. Grow my blog to a second full-time income
I’ve been blogging for three years and although it is bringing in some income, I believe it can eventually replace my full-time income if I don’t give up and keep up with Google’s constant algorithm changes.
36. Launch a profitable online course
I love the idea of teaching and creating an online course. I just need to find the right topic and the right time!
37. Attend a blogging conference
It would be awesome to commune with other blog freaks like myself. I can talk about blogging all day long and never get tired of it.
38. Book a branding photo session
All my website photos are amateurish shots I took with my iPhone. I want to get some proper brand photos taken before too long!
39. Take a course on investing
Or at least, read a few quality books about investing. I still don’t have a lot of knowledge about the stock market but I know it’s important. At 40 I will have 25 years left until retirement. (How scary is that?) It’s time to get serious about the financial stuff.
40. Upgrade my tech
My Macbook and iPhone are both getting a little long in the tooth. (The “T” button on my keyboard keeps popping off because I “type with purpose”. (Any Up in the Air fans here?)
There you have it, my 40 things to do before 40 goals. I have three years left to make it happen and provided the world situation starts improving soon, I think I can make most of them happen!
If you’re in your thirties, I would encourage you to make your own 40 before 40 bucket list. It really helps. Not only is it kind of fun, it gives you a renewed sense of motivation and reminds you what your priorities are.
Hopefully, this list gives you a few of your own ideas to get started.
40 may be coming, but we’ll be ready for it!
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