Family life

14 things to do before I'm 40: A progress report

With the final countdown on, Tracy takes a look at her pre-40 bucket list.

By Tracy Chappell
14 things to do before I'm 40: A progress report

Photo: monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto

Egad — could it be only three months until I hit the big 4-0? (And did I just say “egad”?) As much as I said I knew the clock was ticking when I wrote my original "14 things to do before I’m 40" list, no one told me that life moves at warp speed in your last year of being a thirtysomething. But it’s true. Once I realized that I’m in my final trimester, I figured I better check in to see how I’m doing.

  • 1. Secure myself an awesome hairdresser. I’m too old to just be going to anyone who can take me right now. I should have someone who will be my miracle worker. Update: I have an appointment at a new salon this week, and have my fingers crossed. This is a tough one to do on a timeline because, really, how often do you get your hair cut? Clearly, I don’t do it enough. I’m getting highlights too, so it should be a good test.
  • 2. Go on a vacation with my husband. Without the kids. It’s been nearly three years since we’ve done this and it’s so time. Update: We’re going! This month! There’s 14 of us altogether, but nary an under-ager in sight. I am counting my cocktails…
  • 3. Read The Kite Runner. It’s been on my shelf for about three years (sorry to the person who lent this to me!) and, for some reason, I feel it’s important that I read it. Update: Done. It might have been the first thing I stroked off my list. It was a very powerful, tragic, heartbreaking story even moreso when you think that so much of the same must still be going on in Afghanistan today.
  • 4. Find a pair of jeans that I want to live in. I broke off my love affair with denim two kids ago, and I’m ready for a reunion. Update: I’ve not found the perfect pair, but I have found some good-for-now jeans that I enjoy (and they were cheapies from Old Navy, only $19!). However, I’ve found a pair of Gap jeans in my very own drawer that I adore and may soon be able to fit back into. What would be better than finding the perfect pair of jeans for free?
  • 5. Learn how to do eye makeup. Maybe learn how to do all of my makeup properly. Update: No progress on this one, though I have found a friend who does a beautiful job of her own makeup. I may hit her up for an instructional makeover.
  • 6. Lose 20 pounds. Sorry — I wish I didn’t even have to put this on my list, but I either need to lose it or make peace with it. And I’m not ready to play nice quite yet. Update: I’m actually getting there. I’m not there by any means, but I’ve got the tools in place that I think will get me there. If not by my birthday in August, hopefully by the end of the year. (I actually gained some weight after writing this goal, so even though I’ve lost more than 10 pounds, I still feel I’ve got 20 to go.) My tools are Weight Watchers Online, and my twice-weekly bootcamp class so I’m staying active and following a program to keep eating in check. My dilemma is that while Weight Watchers is all about the scale, my bootcamp instructor says “Don’t look at the scale!” The pounds and inches are all going in the right direction, albeit slowly, so I’m going to stick with these things to reach my goal. I’m amazed at how much I adore this fitness class, even though it’s really, really hard every single time. I also like WW, because when you’re in the zone and in control of your eating, it’s a pretty amazing feeling too.
  • 7. Have a spa day. Because I’ve never, ever done this! Update: I had totally forgotten about this, so I better get this one on the schedule.
  • 8. Purge my basement. I have totes crammed into the back corner that contain my leftover wedding stuff (!), others that are filled with books I read in high school. Time to find a home for it all, or get rid of it. So then I can move onto transforming my basement from a sprawling playroom to an awesome rec room. (But that’s for my 40s.) Update: No progress yet, but it is on my ridiculously large calendar for this month. As an aside, I have done some good purging elsewhere in our home, so I’m on a bit of a mission.
  • 9. Watch Out of Africa and My Fair Lady. I own both of these (Out of Africa on VHS!) but have never watched them, and that just feels wrong. Update: One down, one to go. I took advantage of a Friday evening when Sean was out to not purge my basement or work, but to actually lie back on the couch and watch Out of Africa. Of course, I fell asleep after the first hour (it’s a long movie and all that sprawling African scenery was too much on a Friday night!). I had to finish up the next chance I got, which was about three weeks later. I did enjoy it how could I not, with the amazing Meryl Streep and Robert Redford and realized a problem with today’s films is that they just don’t get any space. It was long, but nice-long. There was time for silence and gazes and scenes of Streep thinking (and lots sprawling African scenery). Today’s films just get to the point for fear of boring their audiences. Looking forward to My Fair Lady… soon.
  • 10. Get into a writing habit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m writing all the time, but I have some personal projects that get left on the backburner because, well, I’m already writing all the time and sometimes it's hard to get back in that chair when I don't have to. But my own writing is important and I’ll regret it if I don’t start making it a priority. Update: Zero progress and I’m very disappointed in myself about this. However, I did spend time cleaning out my office this week, which clears the desk for creativity, right? Right.
  • 11. I have to keep this one to myself. (I can’t tell you everything!) Update: Great progress on this one. Not that you would know if I were lying.
  • 12. Make a new friend. Update: Done. Smiley face.
  • 13. Get into an exercise routine. For real. I’ve finally come to the realization that there is no cure for my addiction to chocolate, so the only solution is to work it off. When I was running, I loved it. When I did Pilates every week, I loved it. But I stopped both and I’m still not sure how it all happened. Update: As I mentioned, I’ve doing a twice-weekly bootcamp class since January, and I have every intention of sticking with it. I’m not sure how I lucked out by landing on this class when Googling “bootcamp” but it’s so perfect: Women-only, supportive, fun even. Really. The instructor somehow keeps us smiling through the tough stuff, and coming back for more. And I have found myself doing extra stuff on my off-days (we’re in the midst of a 30-day squat challenge) so that makes me hopeful I’ve hit on something I’ll stick with.
  • 14. Find a cause to get involved in. I’ve been feeling the push lately to devote energy into helping others in a more organized way. What better way to “take it back” than by finding a way to give a little back? Update: I haven’t found the thing yet, but I know I will because I’m open to it. And “it” may be multiple things. I’m getting there.

Since I don’t have this list taped to my wall or anything, I was sure I’d come on here and discover I was failing miserably, but this isn’t as bad as I thought! I also should mention that I found myself a new pair of glasses, which should have been on this list. I wear contacts and only wear glasses in the mornings and evenings at home. Then last month, one of the arms suddenly broke off. I was going to fix the glasses, but realized that I’ve had them since (gulp) university. Yes, that’s about 20 years. I always have trouble finding a pair a like, so I just don’t bother. This time, a friend came along and helped me find a pair to bring me into the current century. Hopefully they will last another 20!
Do you have a life bucket list? I’d love to hear what’s on it.

This article was originally published on May 08, 2013

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