40 Before 40: My List of Adventures to Complete before I Turn 40

In 2016 I turned 30 years old, concluding another decade of life and continuing on to the next adventure. I recently wrote a 40 before 40 list and can’t wait to get started.

40 things to do before 40

How I started my Things to do Before 40 List

When I was 23 I took a group of college students to a leadership conference. While at the conference we all made lists of 30 things we wanted to do before we turned 30. I finished 17 of the 30 things on my list, not as many as I wanted, clearly, but I’m proud of the things I did. A few examples are:

  • Go to 20 different National Parks
  • Run a 5K
  • Do something you didn’t think you could do.
  • Ride the tallest roller coaster in the world
  • Catch a fish a Seattle’s Pike Place fish market
  • Take a hot air balloon ride
  • Be in a flash mob
  • Log 100 Geo-caches in 10 different states
  • Go to the Smithsonian
  • Get a mug at a local bar
40 before 40

My 40 Before 40 List

Soon after I turned 30 I sat down and wrote my 40 by 40 list. This will be a work in progress until I turn 40. So here’s my list, items that have been completed are in italics and may or may not have a corresponding blog post with a link. I try and create as many blog posts as I can for items I’ve completed, but some I can’t really write about, cause let’s be honest, you don’t want to read a blog post about me dying my hair.

  1. Visit all 7 continents
  2. Write letters to the 5 people that have most impacted my life.
  3. Explore the Galapagos Islands
  4. Take a pottery class
  5. Go Skydiving
  6. Take a helicopter ride
  7. Visit all 50 U.S. States
  8. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge
  9. Go to Disneyland
  10. Write a children’s book
  11. Learn how to surf
  12. Climb Mount Washington in New Hampshire
  13. See Angkor Wat
  14. Fly a plane
  15. Go camping in Antarctica
  16. Visit a region famous for wine and drink to my heart’s content
  17. Try sailing
  18. Climb Mount Fuji
  19. Explore the Sahara Desert
  20. Dye my hair a funky color
  21. Go bungee jumping
  22. See the Northern Lights
  23. Sing at an open mic night
  24. Swim in the Dead Sea
  25. Make my own maple syrup
  26. Hike to Everest Base Camp
  27. Hike the Appalachian Trail
  28. See the Pyramids at Giza
  29. Ride a gondola in Venice
  30. Spend a night in a castle
  31. Go volcano boarding
  32. Go scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef
  33. Hike on a glacier
  34. Shower in a waterfall
  35. Visit Alcatraz
  36. Go Hunting to get closer to my food source
  37. Hike the Long Trail
  38. Go dog sledding
  39. Ride a camel
  40. Climb Sydney Harbor Bridge
 Hanging out with tortoises in the Galapagos Islands - September, 2017

How to create your 40 before 40 list

When making your own list start by doing a bunch of brainstorming. I recommend setting a timer for 10 minutes and continuously writing down things you want to do in your life.

Once the timer goes off take a look at your 40 before 40 list. Really analyze it, putting items into different categories; travel, personal goals, etc.

From there look at how many categories you have our your things to do before 40 list. I’d shoot for around 4ish, that way you can evenly divide up your list. For example: if you have 4 categories, your 40 before 40 list should have 10 items from each category.

 Everest Base Camp, Nepal - April, 2018

Finishing up your 40 Before 40 List

It’s going to be challenging to pick what to put on the list, but now you have to. Think about how you’ll complete each one. Is it possible? Set yourself up for success! Do this by making SMART goals.

This means that each goal should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time/cost limited, time-sensitive).

Once you’ve finished your 40 before 40 lists write it out with gel pens or some other fancy way. For many people making a vision board is helpful. Then put it somewhere you’ll see it all the time. This way you’ll always be looking at it and won’t forget your goals.

But most of all, have fun! This list is all about you reaching your goals and living your best life. If you finish the list, awesome! If not, who cares! Put it on your 50 before 50 list.

What is on your 40 before 40 list? Let me know in the comments

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 40 Things to do before I turn 40 - Roaming Nanny

3 thoughts on “40 Before 40: My List of Adventures to Complete before I Turn 40”

  1. Hi Retha, thanks for following me on twitter! It made me look at your blog and I LOVE this post! I recently wrote a 30 before 30 list for my last year of my 20s, and it’s not nearly as epic as this. ๐Ÿ˜› Mostly things I’ve procrastinated for way too long (like purge & donate my wardrobe, frame all the art from my travels, etc.).

    I love this 40 before 40 list. I think I’m going to create one on my birthday too. 22 has been on my list for a LONG time. 23 is something I’ve always thought about and I think I finally picked my song if the occasion were ever to present itself. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thanks for the inspiration. xo

    • These lists are always fun to make and even more fun to do! Good luck with yours and thanks for checking out my blog!


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