40 Things To Do Before I Turn 40


40This summer, I turned 39. I had a bit of a panic attack. I realize that 39 isn’t 40, but I am inching very close. The dreaded 40. I remember my mother’s 40th birthday party – the house was decorated in black streamers and balloons. Back then, I thought 40-year olds were really, really old. And here I am, less than 12 months from this landmark event in my life.

I decided I should face my 40th head-on. Rather than complain about my age, gray hairs, and wrinkles, I would embrace my age. So, I started a list: 40 Before 40. My list is full of bucket-list items. Things that I have put off, that I am afraid of, that will keep me present with my family, and that, most importantly, will enrich my life.

Are you facing a big birthday or a landmark event? Are you anxious about it? Why not make your own bucket list and get going on living life?!?

Here are the basic categories on my list:


Making memories is extremely important to me. So, I added lots of activities to my 40 before 40. No sitting around wondering what to do for me! This year I am looking forward to snowshoeing, having tea at the Brown Palace, and attending a concert at Red Rocks (can you believe I have NEVER been?). We’ll also be cutting our own Christmas tree!

Learn a new skill

It’s important to me to always be learning. And there are some things I have wanted to do, but just didn’t know how. I can now say that I have mastered cheese-making and I am looking forward to learning to play chess. Maybe for you, it’s grasping a new language or learning how to knit. I imagine we can all think of something we’d like to be able to do.

Be adventurous

I think I’m already a rather adventurous person, but I know I should get out of my comfort zone a little more. So, I added trying 10 new foods to my list. So far, I have had pig trotters (feet!) and duck confit. I love a thrill, so I included going to Bishop Castle and climbing to the top. I also committed to going to the movies – by myself. This might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but to me, it’s terrifying. I may also have a new tattoo to show off!

Make time for others

I love our community, so I added 40 hours of volunteering – with my kids. Not only will I be giving back, but I will be teaching the importance of helping others (more memories). My husband and I talk about donating blood, but we don’t often follow through. It’s on my list. So is completing 40 Random Acts of Kindness and mailing a handwritten letter each month.

Make time for me

It’s so easy to get caught up in life that we forget to take care of ourselves. I love to read but have found that I don’t make time for it anymore. I’m excited to report that I refocused my energy and have read 6 books in 6 weeks. I also want to go into 40 in great shape, so I added running a 10k and being able to complete 40 push ups to my list.

As I started writing down ideas  I realized that this might get really expensive, so I tried to focus on things that were free, or low cost. I also enlisted the help of my friends. I shared my list and was surprised at how many people said “Ohhhh, I’ll do that with you” or “let me know when you’re doing that!” So now, I don’t have to hike the incline alone and I can enjoy a girls’ night out when I check going to a musical off my list.

My 40 before 40 is daunting. I am not sure I will complete every item. But I do know that now, more than ever, I am excited to turn 40 and marvel at all I have accomplished!

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Dana has lived in Colorado for the last 17 years. She met her husband, Ben, in Boulder and they made the move to Colorado Springs. Together, they are busy raising two children. Dana is the Director of Meeting the Challenge, Inc., a national disability compliance consulting firm. She is an active community volunteer and has served several boards. When she is not working, Dana can be found cheering on her son and daughter's travel hockey teams at area ice rinks. She enjoys spending time hiking in the mountains with her Vizsla, raising backyard chickens, and cheering on her Alma Mater's Michigan State Spartans!