40 things to do before turning 40 that will inspire lifelong growth
In exactly a month I turn 40, and to tell you the truth, I couldn’t be happier. Whether it’s because of social media or the way we’ve been taught to think about aging, I know that many of us have strong feelings about our 40s. But I firmly fell into the camp of believing that age just a state of mind, and as I sit here in the last few weeks of my thirties, I will admit that I feel much better than I did a decade ago. Through life experiences and numerous therapies, my relationship with myself is rooted in a respect and understanding that I am constantly growing and growing. And it was that relationship that sparked the urge to write down a list of 40 things I wanted to do before I turned 40.
Around this time last year, I compiled a list of 40 things I’ve learned in nearly 40 years. Writing is also fun and a part that I love still sees many people commenting and sharing. This prompted me to think about how I would like to end the last weeks of my thirties. Some of these I’ve sat on, and others feel more like a challenge. Either way, I want to leave my thirties feeling fulfilled, inspired, and daring.
Featured image of Lindsey King
first. Hire an interior designer. I told my therapist that my space doesn’t represent my style and that I hate spending time here. Her response: “Why are you waiting to invest in a change?” I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Because I’m a current tenant versus an owner, I thought it would be a waste of money. Even so, 5 leases later, and here I am. It’s time to light up the house.
2. Set free days on social networks. I’d like to work a week or a month, but most of my work comes from being social, so I’ll do it Monday or Sunday (or both) to give my brain a break. I recently took a day off and I’m so much happier.
3. Removed all my old makeup and skin care. Won’t lie: I’m a little nervous about which products have expired. Another reason I’m so picky when it comes to branded gifts — I hate contributing to waste.
4. Take a makeup class. Now that I’ve had a lot of laser treatments, my skin has changed a lot and I feel like I need less. I’m making a commitment to going professional with my makeup and signing up for a virtual class with Makeup by Kelli Anne.
5. Book a photo session. I kept giving up taking pictures of myself because I didn’t think I had the right outfit, hair, or look. Well, here I am confirming that it is indeed ridiculous. Time to take my own advice: Now is the right time to make it a reality.
6. Date yourself. I miss traveling and sitting alone at restaurant or hotel bars getting to know bartenders and fellow travelers. My move was to an area of town that I don’t frequent and self-medicate.
7. Book a trip for 2022. I haven’t traveled alone in a very long time. It’s usually for weddings, birthdays, family visits, etc. I have a long list of cities I’ve never been to, and now I feel right.
8. Book private dance lessons. Music and dance never put me in the best mood, and after 15 years of dancing, I miss it so much. Plus, I love the attention I get in the private lessons.
9. Go to a new cafe, restaurant, bar every week. I’m a habitual person with a constant list of places in town that I want to try, but never have the time.
ten. Commit to a TV series. This made me laugh, but really, I just wanted to be on a show and find a few friends to talk about it with. There’s nothing more exciting than being inside Heir group chat and barely able to contribute to the discussion about Kieran Caulkin’s role in Home alone.
11. Make the first move. I’m not talking about the easy path on Bumble. I’m talking about IRL when I’m not behind the screen and it’s even scarier. I’m afraid I don’t have any games — but I’ll keep going.
twelfth. Learn French for beginners. I’m in my 40’sorder birthday in Paris this year and it’s time to get some basics down.
13. Clean out the closet. My style has evolved over the last year, and I’ve hung too many patterns in the hopes of having an “event” asking for that “a dress”. It’s time to clear, donate and usher in a new season of style.
14. Send family and friends cards and/or flowers for no reason. Paying forward and surprising the loved ones in my life with a small gift is a great feeling, but I’ve kicked the habit. On Valentine’s Day, a Venmo friend asked me to do something special for myself and it was the sweetest gesture.
15. Commit to an organization to support this year. I usually give back to the community in steps, but this year I wanted to give formal and consistent support to an organization I believe in.
16. Run 10 miles. I have been training continuously for almost three months and I want to see what my body can do. Run, run/walk, walk more than run — I’m willing to push myself.
17. Invest in a work of art. Now that I’m renewing my position as an interior designer, I want to invest in and support an artist I love the same way I do with my bags. I feel ready to enhance some of my Target and West Elm art and swap out local pieces.
18. Find a new hiking path. The creature of habit is here and I realize that there are many cities and states of my own that I have yet to see.
19. Light a fancy candle, drink a nice bottle of wine, wear a dress with a tag. Essentially a reminder not to wait for the right moment. Now is always the right time. So any time I hesitate to grab something fancy, I grab it.
20 Create a playlist, send it to a friend (or lover). Remember the mix of tapes and recorded CDs? I’m nostalgic for the 90s and wanted to recreate a bit of that era. Plus, this seems like a fun flirting.
21. Update my relatives. Last month, I wrote about what makes me feel sexy and it made me realize that beyond a few pairs of lingerie and lingerie, my bras and bras can be upgraded. Both a necessity and a source of so much joy.
22. Night out theme. I love it when someone has a themed party. Sequins? I was there. Fancy black tie? Accomplished. Flowers for brunch? Don’t tempt me with a good time. My friend Virginia is the queen of sending mood boards before we go out so we get good pictures, and I am committed to doing the same.
23. Buy yourself a beautiful piece of jewelry. Do you feel the theme of investing in myself? For a long time, I believed there were certain things I didn’t need or deserve. But I work extremely hard and it feels great to be able to heal myself.
24. Go to the gallery opening. I often forget how many artists and producers Austin has, and as someone who values the art of storytelling, sometimes the best places to see stories come to life are galleries.
25. Enjoying live music in a new place for me. This is embarrassing, but if you live in Austin, you’ll be shocked to know that I’ve never been to The Continental Club or C-Boys.
26. Night game. My dear friend Riley is the queen of hosting game nights and as the very competitive and reigning champion of Heads Up, this really sparks the fun, plus it’s a way great to see how your friends think and react.
27. Cook a new recipe for me. I haven’t done this forever, but there are so many things I want to try that I’ve saved for a rainy day.
28. Try a new exercise. This extrovert is a little shy at times when it comes to a new gym session or class unless I have a protective blanket there (i.e. a friend), but I know the beauty of it all too well. Step outside your comfort zone — and reap the benefits.
29. Take a full day to explore the city on foot. My goal by 2022 is to hit 1k miles by running or walking (and really try to run 12k steps a day), so it’s a perfect way to get both done at the same time.
30. Take a dip in Barton Springs. Another shocking thing I haven’t done and I’ve lived in Austin for 11 years! Y’all I actually live a few blocks away, so this is off the list.
thirty first. Think. Lately, I’ve developed an obsession with how athletes train to be still and thought I might benefit from starting to practice to support a busy season of life, personally. personnel and expertise.
32. Make your way to the small towns nearby. I wanted to see “rock” in Round Rock. Town Square in Georgetown, and enjoy a BBQ nearby in Lockhart. Small day trips are a great way to get out of my central city bubble and explore.
33. Have a picnic in the park with friends. The weather is perfect in spring and a day in Zilker Park with friends, the kids, their dogs, a bottle of wine and a picnic sounds perfect.
34. Constant dinner at my favorite restaurant. Start with appetizers, move on to entrees, then wine and dessert. I love doing this when traveling, so I’ll find a way to bring that energy to my own city.
35. Hollywood Bowl Tickets. If there’s one city I’ll always remember, it’s LA. I loved my time living there and especially going to the Hollywood Bowl. Time to take a weekend trip.
36. Try a new type of nail service. I used to have fun with my nails, usually doing some kind of art. But for the past three years, I’ve opted for the same red manicure so often that even my nail tech seems boring. Time to switch everything back.
37. Smile and greet strangers. Nothing groundbreaking here. I went for a walk recently and someone smiled and said hello when I was in my area, and it reminds me how lovely it is to receive a friendly hello.
38. Stop saying “Let’s hang out soon!” Say what you mean and mean what you say, right? Sometimes I use it with people I don’t really want to hang out with. Instead, I would say “Nice to meet you” and leave it at that. Note that, if I really wanted to hang out, declaring the date and time would be a lot more respected and a surefire way to actually make that happen.
39. Manage my calendar. My friend Riley invested in a planner to help organize and manage her calendar, and it made me realize that I could benefit from optimizing my time.
40. Take a financial investment course. My goal of owning a home is still my top priority despite rising housing prices. There was a course that I had my eye on, practically shouting my name. I will never tire of wanting to learn more about how making money works for me and my future.
What do you have on your to-do list before you turn 40? Share your info in the comments!