My 40+ After 40 List

While making my 40 Before 40 List, I brainstormed some additional life experiences I wanted to have but knew I would never fit into the available three years. Hence I made a second list, my 40+ After 40, which I’ll share with you today. It’s a collection of life and travel experiences I want to have sometime during this lifetime:

Life Experiences for My After 40 List

  1. Adopt a pet
  2. Restart Latin dance lessons
  3. Enter a ballroom competition
  4. Learn a martial art
  5. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage
  6. Attend a ball
  7. Fly first class
  8. Be a movie extra
  9. Take a Segway for a spin
  10. Buy or build my dream home
  11. Try SCUBA
  12. Write an 80K word novel
  13. Publish a book
  14. Make mead
  15. Make wine
  16. Attend an NBA game
  17. Attend an NHL playoff game
  18. Take a sculpture workshop
  19. See Misty Copeland perform live
  20. Go parasailing
  21. Jump out of a plane
  22. Do a mud run
  23. Participate in a flash mob
  24. Have a 5-minute conversation in Spanish
  25. Have a 5-minute conversation in French
  26. Grow my family

Create Your Own Visited States Map

 Travel Experiences for My After 40 List

  1. Travel to all 50 states (16 to go!)
  2. Visit David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
  3. Stay at a 5-star resort
  4. Attend Mardi Gras
  5. Visit all seven continents (two to go!)
  6. Live in Europe for 6+ months—again
  7. Live in another overseas location for 3+ months
  8. Visit South Africa
  9. Visit an aboriginal art center in Australia
  10. Cruise the Mediterranean
  11. Cruise and set foot on Antarctica
  12. Visit the Galapagos
  13. Play tourist in Washington, DC – see cherry blossoms, visit museums
  14. Sleep in a castle
  15. Sleep in an overwater bungalow
  16. Visit Alaska
  17. Take a small or private cruise
  18. Visit Caisteal Maol on the Isle of Skye, Scotland
  19. Italy! – Take a gondola ride in Venice, see the Amalfi Coast, visit Sicily, and stand inside the Sistine Chapel
  20. Ride the Rocky Mountaineer scenic train
  21. See the Northern Lights
  22. Attend the Winter Olympics
  23. See the Earth from space

40 After 40 List

What would you put on your bucket list?

Kate Watson

Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.

40 Before 40: Final Roundup


Well, we’re here at the final roundup for my 40 before 40 list. It’s been three years of new experiences, fun adventures, and figuring out what matters now and for the next 40+ years of my life.

One thing I learned from this process is the importance of priorities. Some larger items on the list didn’t get done because I didn’t apply consistent effort. While I was able to give attention to developing a course, working this list, planning my 10th anniversary, and expanding my involvement with foster youth, I didn’t prioritize practicing Spanish, writing a personal owner’s manual, or writing an 80,000-word novel. That’s OK.

Remaining items that are important to me will be transferred to my 40 After 40 list. Here’s an overview of these past three years, with emphasis on the remaining open items:

1. Try Peruvian food – check!
2. Sponsor an elephant – check!
3. Visit Seattle – check!
4. Complete a 10K – check!
5. Wear my joy – check!
6. Play tourist in my “home city” – check!
7. Try Scandinavian food – check!
8. Develop a free course for my readers – check!

9. Expand my involvement with foster and at-risk youth – check!
Last year, I began working with two more teenagers through my local CASA program and I was asked to serve as vice chair for the organization’s board. If I were less committed, I’d call this goal complete based on that alone. However, this is such a passion area for me, I decided to enroll in a Master of Social Welfare program. Through the program and additional studies after it, I plan to become an expert in programmatic interventions benefiting at-risk youth, particularly those engaged in the foster care and juvenile justice systems.

10. Attend an NFL game – check!
11. Exhibit my watercolor paintings – check!
12. Fly in a glider – check!
13. Attend Holi at Stanford – check!
14. Celebrate 10 years of marriage – check!
15. Dance in the rain – check!
16. Try Stand Up Paddling – check!
17. Attend a concert at Mountain Winery – check!
18. Visit Mendocino, CA – check!
19. Start a personal photography project – check!

20. Do a color run – check!
I had some difficulty completing the more physical aspects of my 40 before 40 list due to an injury I developed training for my first 10K. It took almost two years to get a diagnosis (rupture of my plantar fascia and tearing in my peroneus brevis tendon, plus some inflammation in other areas of my ankle and foot). My podiatrist put me in a walking boot after I’d signed up for the 2017 San Jose Color Run — so I walked the race. In the boot. Good times!

Color Run San Jose 2017

21. Wear yellow – check!

22. Fly a kite – check!
In June, we got together with some friends to fly kites and drones at a local park. It was a bit windy for the drones that day but I had a great time flying my kite. Have you ever flown a kite? It’s a relaxing, almost meditative (and certainly mesmerizing) experience. It was so cool to see the kite soar, bounce, drop to the earth, and soar again in response to the changing winds.

Flying a Kite

23. Visit Europe again – check!
24. See Stonehenge – check!
25. Travel the Chunnel – check!

26. See Rent – check!
#26 was originally attending a fancy-dress ball. I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I swapped in another idea: attending a musical. Although Rent debuted more than 20 years ago, I’d never seen either the musical or movie so, when the touring company came to San Francisco, I snapped up a pair of tickets for hubby and me.

27. Take a sushi making class – check!
I’d been trying to schedule a sushi-making class since announcing this list three years ago but it kept falling through. Finally, I turned to my husband’s coworkers and got together a group to fill a class at Sushi Confidential in Campbell. It was a great time—really interesting and tasty!

Sushi making class

28. Do a mud run – postponed due to injury – transferred to 40 After 40 list
29. Write a 80,000-word novel – transferred to 40 After 40 list
30. Do something fun with my hair – check!
31. Participate in a flash mob – transferred to 40 After 40 list

32. Finally get a wedding album – almost done
My husband and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this year and we still don’t have a wedding album. I decided to remedy this as part of my 40 before 40 list, and we’re definitely making some progress. We reviewed our wedding photos and chose an album vendor. Now all that’s left is to submit the album for printing and production. Because we’re moving this summer and our album vendor is half a world away, we decided to postpone ordering the album until after our move. Once we’re in Los Angeles, a wedding album will be ours.

33. Have a 5-minute Spanish conversation – transferred to 40 After 40 list
34. Drive a dream car – check!

35. Write a personal owner’s manual – in progress
I’ve learned a lot about myself over these past three years. While I don’t have much of an owner’s manual yet, I have a lot of components for it and that’s enough for me for now.

36. Host holidays at home – check!
37. Get certified in CPR & first aid – check!
38. Visit David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – transferred to 40 After 40 list
39. Stay in a 5-star resort – transferred to 40 After 40 list
40. Buy a house – transferred to 40 After 40 list
41. Write my 40 After 40 List – check!

So, there you have it. I checked off 31/40 items on my 40 before 40 list. Two of the remaining items are in progress and seven will be transferred to my 40 after 40 list. More thoughts and notes about this journey to come.

Kate Watson

Sally Rorer - This is an amazing journal of your activities. All I can say is that it is fantastic. I congratulate you on all of your accomplishments. Yeah!

40 Before 40 List: Roundup #4

We are just six months away my 40th birthday so it’s time to check in on how I’m doing with my 40 Before 40 List. Here’s what I’ve accomplished since my last recap:

#4. Wear my joy. 
When I last wrote about wearing my joy, I had just taken a class by Kelly Rae Roberts. Then, last fall, I enhanced that practice by applying Marie Kondo’s Konmari method to my clothes. Now all I own are clothes that bring me joy, which certainly makes wearing my joy easier.

#7. Try Scandinavian food.
Last February, friends and I gathered at Pläj restaurant in San Francisco to try Scandinavian food. I was surprised by how many offerings were cold, given that Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have colder climates, but we enjoyed our tastes of pickled herring, gravlax, and trout. The dessert was my favorite, though: sorbet, princess cake, and chocolate cake (kladdkaka).plaj-restaurant


#10. Attend an NFL game.
I originally had this one on my 40 After 40 list but, last September, Brian’s cousin invited us to the season opener for the 49ers. So we went. The Niners won, which was pretty cool for a team who ended the season 2-14, and we had a great time. Thank you, Laura!



#18. Visit Mendocino, CA.
Before my husband started his new job in April, we took a weeklong driving tour of Northern California, including a stop in Mendocino. It was a lot smaller than I expected, but pretty cute.


#23-25. Visit Europe.

Originally #23 was a trip to Scotland and Ireland, but we decided to go to mainland Europe instead. Brian and I had last visited Europe in 2008, which seemed like a long time ago, so we visited London, UK; Bruges and Antwerp, Belgium; and Amsterdam, Netherlands in December. It was my first trip to London in 20 years, if you can believe it. We did some cheesy things there—like tourist photos at Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station—as well as the regular must-sees, like Stonehenge (#24), traveling through the Channel Tunnel (#25) and the London Google office. 😉




#30. Do something fun with my hair.
In late 2015, I dyed my hair a warm brown-red and then one of my besties gave me hot pink extensions for my birthday. Love them! I might need more extensions.


#34. Drive a dream car.
For my 2015 Christmas gift, hubby gave me a supercar driving experience with LTF Adventures. Over Easter 2016 weekend, I got to drive a Ferrari F430, Ferrari 360, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Porsche 911. My favorite car to drive was the Ferrari F430, maybe because it was my first. The 360 moved around on the road more than the heavier F430. The Porsche was a lot of fun to drive, but the Lamborghini was perfection.


#37. Learn CPR & first aid.
In October, I completed a one-day class in CPR and first aid. I’m now certified but I still feel like I have a lot to learn, especially on the first aid piece. Maybe next I’ll take a more in-depth first aid class.

Kate Watson


Curious About Coaching? Try A Free Session Today

Curious About Coaching? Try a Free Session Today

You’ve got big dreams, but maybe you need some help reaching them. Coaching could be just what you’ve been looking for. And now is a great time to try it—because I am offering individual sessions at a fabulous rate (free!).

In January, I joined the Courageous Living Coach Certification program and, as part of my practicum, I’ve been accruing one-on-one hours working with clients. Now I’m ready to work with you.

People come to coaching for a variety of reasons. Some want to achieve big dreams, others need help overcoming obstacles, and still others want to talk through challenging situations.

Generally speaking, coaching clients are seeking more fulfillment or balance in their lives, and they want accountability and support to help them get there. That’s where a coach comes in.

If you’ve been considering coaching, I would love to work with you.

For the next three months or until my client roster fills up, whichever happens faster, I’ll be offering a free consultation and coaching session for new clients. This is a great opportunity to experience coaching and see if we’re a good fit. But there are only 5 spots available, so…

book your free coaching session here

Want to know more about what coaching is and isn’t?

The International Coach Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

The coaching relationship is a co-created one in which client and coach are equals. The coach provides tools to help the client:

  • get clear on what s/he seeks to achieve and then align sessions toward that goal,
  • engage in self-discovery,
  • uncover strategies and solutions that will work best for his/her life, and
  • remain accountable throughout the process.

Coaches come from the perspective that the client is the expert in her or his own life, and honors each client’s creativity, resourcefulness, and wholeness of being. The client’s role is to take responsibility for his or her life decisions and to engage fully in the process.

Coaching isn’t advice giving, counseling, mentoring, or training. Instead, it’s an intentional conversation to elicit a client’s own wisdom and solutions for optimal growth.

Taking that first step to enter into a coaching relationship can be vulnerable but, when you have trust for your coach and a willingness to show up, it can help you unlock your potential and improve your life and work in ways you never imagined.

Curious about how this coaching thing would work?

To get started, simply book your free session. We’ll then meet via my teleconferencing service to discuss what brings you to coaching and how we can best work together.

If we decide we’re a good fit, I’ll send you a client agreement and questionnaire to help guide our ongoing sessions, and you’ll select a coaching rate you can afford from my sliding scale.

Although I’m not requiring a long-term commitment during my coaching practicum, most clients choose to work with a coach for at least three months (or six sessions) to provide time and space for significant progress to be made.

Have a few more questions? Feel free to drop me a line—or set up your free session. I look forward to working with you!

Kate Watson

P.S. If you subscribed to my newsletter, you would have learned about this all the way back in February. To avoid missing out on other special offers ahead of the pack, subscribe today!

Coloring for Stress Relief? You Betcha

Last year for my birthday, my mother-in-law gave me a coloring book and some markers. Little did she know, it was a perfect gift! In fact, I was already hooked by the adult coloring craze, and had downloaded some blank mandalas online and purchased a set of fancy colored pencils from Amazon.

What I’ve discovered is that coloring is a lovely, ease-filled de-stressor.

Coloring for Stress Relief? You Betcha


Here’s an example: I was feeling creatively uninspired the other day. I had not practiced adequate self-care due to my busy schedule and, frankly, I was feeling grumpy and, dare I say, petulant. I knew I had to do something to improve my mood, but nothing inspired me.

I considered painting, but setting up my watercolors seemed hard.

I looked toward my journal, but my standard stream-of-consciousness journaling practice didn’t rev my engine.

I then glanced at my bookshelf and saw a coloring book and pencils. That seemed possible, even easy. And it was. All I had to do was select a few colors and start filling in empty spaces.

Coloring has become a new form of meditation and mindfulness training for me. Lately, I haven’t been able to sit for 10-15 minutes in traditional meditation; the most I can manage is about 3 minutes and sometimes even that seems impossible.

When I turn to my coloring books, I am able to concentrate on a simple, enjoyable task for 15-30 minutes, calm my monkey mind, and refresh my creativity and spirit.

There is a reason this works. As clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis explains, “There is a long history of people coloring for mental health reasons. Carl Jung used to try to get his patients to color in mandalas at the turn of the last century, as a way of getting people to focus and to allow the subconscious to let go. Now we know it has a lot of other stress-busting qualities as well.”

I’ve written about the benefits of having a creative outlet before, which include increased mindfulness, reduced stress, improved mood, and decreased risk of age-related decline. All that, from something so simple? Believe it.

What if you’re too busy to color? Well, studies have also shown that stepping away from a thorny problem and occupying your conscious mind with another activity increases the likelihood your unconscious mind will find a novel solution.

As psychologist Richard Wiseman writes in 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute, “Genuine creativity can come from spending just a few moments occupying your conscious mind, thus preventing it from interfering with the important and innovative activity in your unconscious.”

So, while coloring may at first appear unproductive, it can actually be quite helpful in boosting your ability to solve problems along with a whole host of other health benefits.

If you’re new to this and feeling a bit silly, Dr. Michaelis writes, “Try thinking of coloring like you might think about eating your vegetables: just one is not going to kill you, and who knows, you might actually like it!”

I also know that sometimes the burden of choice can be an impediment to starting so, to avoid any analysis paralysis, here are the colored pencils and books I use, along with some free coloring resources:

And if you’re feeling a bit uncertain about adopting what was a child’s pastime now that you’re an adult, don’t take my word for it. Check out:

Like this post? Share it with a friend or leave a comment. And happy coloring!

Kate Watson