Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.– Carl G. Jung
Well, it’s official – I’m 40. And, while I’m not sure exactly what 40 is “supposed” to be like, I would say I feel more like 35. Maybe it’s denial, or perhaps it’s my mind playing catchup with the last five years (because I did pack A LOT in there), but, whatever the case, I’m going to take the entrance into 40 at my own pace.
Regardless of whether I do or do not feel 40, I can’t deny that I am, in fact, that age, which means that I also cannot refuse that my 40-by-40 challenge has come to an end. I kicked it off in early 2018 (giving me about 1.5 years to finish) as a follow-up to my quest to complete 100 things in 1,001 days. Admittedly, I had more success with the latter, a fact that I could blame on COVID, but I was behind on this list well before the phrase global pandemic became part of my everyday vocabulary.
However, if I subtract those impacted by COVID and items that didn’t apply any longer, I did have a few successes, many of which were quite meaningful. Overall, I checked off a little more than half of the items. Also, I feel like it’s important to mention many tremendous things happened during this time that aren’t on the list, least of which was leaving my home of the prior 13 years and moving across the country. Oh, and that whole aforementioned COVID thing. And, perhaps more important than anything that occurred over the past few years and did or didn’t make it on this list is that I entered the fifth decade of my life healthy, loved, at peace, and truly happy — and that’s what’s most important.
- Visit all 50 U.S. states: July 2019
- Travel to five new countries: did not accomplish + next list
- Write a book: in-progress sort-of-ish + next list
- Get married: June 2018
- Read 100 books: May 2020
- Return to the nonprofit BOD world: tried out one organization for a few months but it wasn’t a good fit; the search continues + next list
- Meet my 40-year retirement goals: Sept. 2020
- See the Northern Lights: not met + next list
- Dine at a three-star Michelin restaurant: Had reservations for Atlier Crenn but COVID ruined it + next list (reservations for 10/31)
- Learn to stand up paddleboard: next list
- Write letters to the five people who have most impacted my life: next list
- Grow my own salad: summer 2018
- Answer “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind”: abandoned
- Expand my investment knowledge + take my chances on the stock market (beyond just ESPP): 2018 + ongoing
- Complete a physical challenge: June 2018 (treetop trekking in Canada)
- Do something good (and big) for a stranger: next list
- Mentor: next list
- Eliminate plastic from my personal/beauty routine: close enough
- Read all of the books I currently own — and then donate all but my favorites: close enough
- Learn a new skill: 2018 (beer brewing)
- Get to my goal weight: so much closer than I was when I started this challenge + next list
- See one of the wonders of the world: June 2018 (CN Tower)
- Visit Niagara Falls: June 2018
- Go whale watching: February 2019
- Give five “just because” presents: completed 2020
- Build a snowman: next list?
- Complete one item from my “someday list”: October 2018 (investment property); 2019 (study psychology)
- Meditate daily (30 days): 2018
- Host a writing retreat: next list?
- Get a promotion + take on a new career role: March 2018
- Present at a conference again: August 2018 (ServiceNow) + others
- Learn how to better use my camera + post one photo monthly to blog: completed first item + in-progress
- Take a class in something unique for me: 2019 – built our own dining-room table
- Read + complete The Artist’s Way: abandoned
- Plant peonies: October 2019 (bought new house with peonies)
- Cross the equator: next list
- Leave a note inside a book for someone to find: September 2019 (four postcards in library books)
- Write a letter to myself to be opened at 50: not yet started (but will do it within the next month)
- Take two writing classes: in-progress — Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing (online) + planned/registered — The Story You Have to Tell with Cheryl Strayed/April 2020 at Kripalu
- Go somewhere amazing to celebrate my 40th birthday: completed – didn’t get Italy like originally planned but Sonoma was pretty amazing
Now it’s on to the next list, which I’m still gathering ideas for what exactly it will be. But, as you may notice below, some of my 40-by-40 challenge items that didn’t make it to fruition will likely make an appearance. Stay tuned to see what I come up with. In the meantime, please share any of your lists or ideas. I would love to see them!