40 Things to Do Before 40

Three years from today I turn the big 4-0. (Happy Birthday to me!) When I decided to make a list of 40 things to do before 40, I wasn’t sure if I could fit 40 realistic goals into the next three years.

I’ve seen a lot of places and had a lot of interesting experiences in my 37 years: I’ve learned to cook authentic Ghanaian and Thai dishes alongside locals, glacier hiked Whistler Mountain in British Columbia, dropped over the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world (Tutea Falls in New Zealand at just under 23 feet, in case you were wondering), learned to blow glass, and snuggled with a newborn elephant. So many good times!

glacier hike whistler mountain

Hubby demonstrates improper pick axe form on Whistler Mountain, July 2007

thai cooking class

Learning to cook Thai with Perm at the Best Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai – 2011

glassblowing class

Learning to blow glass at Island Glassworks in Kailua, HI – Summer 2010

Patara Elephant Farm

Meeting a baby elephant at Patara Elephant Farm, Chiang Mai, Thailand – February 2011

My 40 Before 40 List

In an effort to push my boundaries and live to my fullest potential, I decided to give this a go. So, without further ado, here’s my list. I plan to:

  1. Try Peruvian food (Done! February 28, 2015)
  2. Sponsor an elephant (Done! July 2014)
  3. Visit Seattle (Done! August 2014)
  4. Train for and complete a 10K (Done! September 7th, 2014)
  5. Wear my joy, inspired by Kelly Rae Roberts (Done! Took her class)
  6. Play tourist in my “home city” (Done! – Discussed here and here and here)
  7. Try Scandinavian food (Done! February 2016)
  8. Develop and release a free, year-long course for my readers (Done! Launched September 2015)
  9. Expand my involvement with foster and at-risk youth
  10. Attend an NFL game (Done! September 2016)
  11. Exhibit my watercolor paintings (Done! Group show, August 1-30, 2014)
  12. Ride in a glider (Done! November 16, 2014)
  13. Attend Holi at Stanford (Done! April 4, 2015)
  14. Celebrate 10 years of marriage with a vow renewal in Hawaii (Done! May 28, 2015)
  15. Dance in the rain (Done! May 30, 2015)
  16. Try Stand Up Paddleboarding (Done! August 25, 2015)
  17. Attend a concert at Mountain Winery (Done! September 2015)
  18. Visit Mendocino, CA (Done! March 2016)
  19. Start a personal photography project (Done! March 2015)
  20. Do a color run
  21. Wear yellow (Done! October 22, 2014)
  22. Fly a kite
  23. Visit Europe again (Done! December 2016)
  24. See Stonehenge (Done! December 2016)
  25. Travel the Chunnel (Done! December 2016)
  26. See Rent (Done! February 2017)
  27. Take a sushi making class
  28. Finish my wedding album
  29. Write a 80,000-word novel
  30. Do something fun with my hair (Done!)
  31. Participate in a flash mob
  32. Take a documentary seminar with a photographer I admire
  33. Learn enough Spanish to have a 5-minute conversation with a native speaker
  34. Drive a dream car (Done! Easter 2016)
  35. Write a personal owner’s manual, as suggested by my friend Sherri Cannon
  36. Host Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas at home—with guests (Began Thanksgiving 2015)
  37. Get certified in CPR & first aid (Done! October 2016)
  38. Visit David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya
  39. Stay in a 5-star resort
  40. Buy a house
  41. Make a list of at least 40 more things I want to do and begin planning those! (Done! Appearing July 2017)

There you have it, my 40 before 40. For some added fun, I put the list in the rough order I think it’ll be accomplished. Should be interesting to see how right (or wrong) I am.

What would be on your before 40 (or bucket) list? Stay tuned for some additional posts about creating your dream or bucket list. 


Kate Watson

Update 12/28/2014: Click for more bucket list inspiration.

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