My 40 Before 40 – It’s Not a Bucket List

About a month ago, I hit a milestone in my life that has always seemed really far away – I finally turned 40. Yep, it’s official, I’m an old now. The dawning of a new decade of your life certainly feels like a big deal, and can lead to a lot of self-reflection.. for better or worse.

Turning 40 seems particularly difficult for a lot of folks. With a life expectancy of 75 years for a male in the United States, chances are very good that I have fewer years ahead of me than lie behind. Questions abound – am I on the right track? Am I happy with what I’ve done so far in my life, and what lies ahead? Can I finally use a mid-life crisis as an excuse to buy a flashy new car or a speedboat?

It’s around this time that a lot of folks start coming up with a bucket list – a list of things you want to accomplish before you “kick the bucket.” As simultaneously cute and morbid as that is, I’ve always found the concept a bit ridiculous, because not only do you not have any idea when you’re going to die, it makes for some really lousy goal-setting.

Remember, S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. And if you’re trying to set goals for the end of your life, there are a number of problems with that. For starters, there is no realistic time bound. It’s also incredibly difficult to set specific, achievable goals some 30-40 years in advance. In fact, by the time you reach old age, your goals might not even be relevant to what’s important to you anymore. And measuring the results of goals with that kind of timeline is also just about impossible.

So what’s a better alternative?

30 Before 30 / 40 Before 40

Several years ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to the concept of the 30 before 30 list, which I love. Instead of creating a list of goals to complete before you die, you create a list of goals to accomplish before you turn thirty. As soon as I heard about this in my mid-twenties, I started generating ideas for my 30 Before 30, and came up with a pretty good list; I might post it someday. But today I’d like to share with you guys the list I started working on when I turned 30 – my 40 Before 40 list.

Before I get into the list however – I’d like to take a moment to talk about why I’m sharing it.

First, I honestly really believe that engaging in this kind of goal-setting exercise is really valuable. You might not be able to come up with a S.M.A.R.T. bucket list, but generating ideas of things you want to accomplish before your next milestone birthday does have the power to transform the way you perceive your life – and the likelihood that you’ll be happy with the way the decade turned out. It really helps you concentrate on the big hairy audacious goals that mean the most to you in the next 5-10 years. What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to go? How will I get from here to there? You’re a lot more likely to do some things you’ll end up being proud of if you write them down and think about them regularly.

Second, although my thirties were full of plenty of losses, challenges, mistakes, painful lessons, bad decisions, and downright shitty things that happened, I think it’s important to share your wins and celebrate your accomplishments. The items on this list are the most memorable, impactful, and meaningful achievements and experiences over the last ten years of my life. I’m also really glad that I took the time to document these wins over this time – because so many of them would have faded from my consciousness otherwise.

So without further ado, here’s my list of 40 things.

The List

1. Hunt elk with my dad – November 2011

My dad is a big sportsman, and used to take me and my family fishing and camping a lot when we were kids, but his real outdoor passion has always been hunting. He’s hunted deer, elk, boar, and surely many other types of game throughout his whole life, but I’d never had a chance to join him. So this year I had the opportunity to visit him in Colorado for a weeklong elk-hunting trip. We stayed in his camper-trailer, got up super early, spent a lot of time waiting quietly in several different blinds, and were ultimately unsuccessful finding any opportunities to take a shot at an elk. But I still enjoyed the experience and the time I spent with my father.

2. Ibiza + La Tomatina – August 2012

I had the opportunity to travel with my then-girlfriend and several other Austin friends to the island of Ibiza in August of 2012. If you don’t know this already, Ibiza is a massive party island off the coast of Spain which is absolutely hopping in the summer months. Lots of big-name EDM artists play here all summer long. While we were there, we saw David Guetta and Fatboy Slim at Pacha and Deadmau5 at Ushuaïa, went to a foam party, stayed up until sunrise, skinny-dipped in the ocean, and had more fun than should be legally allowed. We had to leave after four days.

Fortunately, Valencia is a short ferry ride away, and we just so happened to arrive just in time to take a trip to Buñol for the massive tomato-throwing festival known as La Tomatina. You crowd impossible numbers of revelers into a ridiculously narrow street, watch a bunch of people try to climb a greasy pole to reach a piece of ham, and then a bunch of trucks roll through the crowd bringing crushed tomatoes and everyone throws them at each other. It’s absolutely wild.

3. Coachella – April 2013

Since I used to live in Austin, I had the opportunity to participate in the three-day music festival known as Austin City Limits quite a few times, but had never been to a festival where you camp onsite. I’d heard some amazing things about this festival, and we managed to score some tickets and enjoy the California sun for three nights of music – an eclectic mix of old-school alternative rock and electronic dance music. It was very hot and we didn’t have a sun shade for our tent, but it was still a ton of fun.

4. Electric Daisy Carnival – June 2013 / June 2014

So fun I did it twice! If you haven’t heard of it, Electric Daisy Carnival is a three-night festival that takes place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway each night from about 6pm to 6am. Yep, it’s exclusively a nighttime festival that lasts the entire night until sunrise. There are at least six stages going all night, carnival rides, LEDs everywhere, great costumes, art cars, and a crowd that’s there to PARTY. Make sure you have a comfortable bed in Vegas and blackout shades so you can sleep in until the afternoon and then do it all again.

5. Paradiso – June 2013 / June 2014 / June 2018

Paradiso is the biggest music festival in the Pacific Northwest, or at least it used to be before USC Events got sued by Insomniac for financial fraud. In any case, it was an electronic dance music festival at The Gorge, one of the most beautiful concert venues ever. And unlike EDC, you can camp there! Some of the biggest names in EDM have performed here over the years and it’s always a raucous good time.

6. Climb Timewave Zero in One Day – December 24, 2013

After a bad breakup, I decided to take the month of December off of work to go climbing in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. This ended up being a fantastic idea and a really great time. I met a number of like-minded climbers staying at the same climbers camp, and we did a lot of multi-pitch climbs together that month. In fact, we even had a running “contest” to do 100 pitches that month. I’m pretty sure I fell short, but on Christmas Eve, Felipe and I attempted one of the longest sport routes in the world – Timewave Zero.

Although technically you can bivy about halfway up this 23-pitch route, the standard challenge is to climb all 2,300 feet in a single day, which also makes for a bigger and badder accomplishment. The pitches range in difficulty from a cruiser 5.7 to an extremely bare and cruxy 5.12a pitch, but in reality most climbers aid climb the crux, and everything else goes at 5.10d or less. You can also link a number of pitches, and even simul-climb if you’re feeling extra bold.

Felipe and I started just before sunrise at 6:30am and had planned out who would take each lead. Generally you want to link pitches and then switch leads to save time, which means you might need to climb four pitches in a row and then belay your partner for the next four. We managed to ascend in about nine hours, reaching the top at 3pm. It took us 3+ hours to rappel down to the base, which was perfect timing because it was just getting too dark to see at 6:30pm when we hit the ground. One of my proudest accomplishments ever.

Full trip report here.

7. Climb in Thailand – January 2014

After a month of climbing in Mexico, I was getting ready for a break. So I flew to southern Thailand to go climbing in Tonsai, a beach near Ao Nang which is famous for having a great international climbing scene. Warm weather, chill vibes, a beautiful ocean, a pleasant sand beach, and amazing climbing – nice, right? Upon arrival I met up with a climber friend that I’d previously met in Mexico (in 2010) and ended up taking over the shack he was staying in. I stayed there nearly the entire month, making friends with lots of climbers from all over the globe and then climbing with them.

I also took a couple of short trips to do the Full Moon Party, check out Koh Phi Phi, and Patong in Phuket while I was there. What a trip!

8. Bungee Jump – January 30, 2014

While I was still in Thailand, I took a day trip to Pattaya to do my first and only bungee jump. At 60 meters, it’s apparently the tallest one in Thailand. They bring you up in a three-person crane and you jump headfirst towards a lake below. Probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I’m pretty proud I had the stones to do it. I’ve got a video somewhere if anyone wants to see it.

9. Race a Sprint Triathlon – June 7, 2014

Technically this wasn’t my first sprint triathlon, but I did do the Issaquah Triathlon this weekend – a 400m swim, 14 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run. After a difficult swim portion – where I emerged dead last out of my heat – I made up some time on the bike ride and was relatively happy with my finishing time of 1:36:09.

10. Backpack in the Enchantments – July 18, 2014

Managed to score a lottery ticket to the Enchantments this weekend – but not to the Core area. Instead, I got one for the much-easier-to-attain Eightmile/Caroline Zone and was able to bring a total of 8 people up there for a warm weekend of backpacking and hiking. We also made the mistake of hiking up to Colchuck Lake and back down first, and there were a ton of mosquitoes, but it was all worth it 🙂

11. Summit Mt. Rainier – July 27, 2014 / July 5, 2015

In the fall of 2013, I made a big hairy audacious goal – to summit Mt. Rainier as soon as possible. As a rock climber who had become infamous among his climber friends for not being much of a hiker, I quickly realized that this goal would take some effort on my part.

So I applied to join the BOEALPS Basic Climbing Class in the spring of 2014, which was an intense 3+ month mountaineering class which involved class time every Wednesday night and a weekly weekend outing every Saturday or Sunday, with two overnight trips. In a very short time, I learned the basics of safe and effective snow and glacier travel in the relatively hazardous conditions faced when climbing mountains. I had a leg up due to my climbing experience but this class really kicked my ass – in a good way. By the end of it I was fully capable of doing a Mount Rainier summit – so I did. Me, two of my classmates, and my friend Erica joined forces to tackle the Emmons Glacier route, which was a sufferfest, but at least we had great conditions.

The next year, my buddy Ames was pretty psyched on climbing it as well, so I told him he was probably the only person in the world who could convince me to climb it again. So we did. Erica joined us yet again, and this time we did the Disappointment Cleaver route. The route was a bit melted out so along the way we had to traverse 4-5 crevasse ladders, which was terrifying, and so was the Cleaver itself, especially on the way down. But we survived and now I get to brag, er, write about it. Bonus – summit day was Ames’ birthday. 🎉

12. Skydive – August 10, 2014

I don’t 100% remember how this happened, but I’m preeety sure that my friend Kristina had already jumped out of a perfectly good airplane in October 2013 and this was some kind of a repeat event that I was invited to, along with six other people. We all went tandem with licensed skydiving instructors of course, at Skydive Snohomish. This was super fun and somehow I was less scared than I thought I would be. I might even do it again someday!

13. Ragnar Las Vegas – November 2014

My very first Ragnar Relay was in Las Vegas way back in November of 2014. If you’ve never heard of Ragnar, it’s basically a 200-ish mile relay run done in teams of twelve, where each runner has three separate “legs” to run. This takes anywhere from 24-36 hours to complete and usually requires you to split your team into two vans of six runners each. While technically you can sleep when you’re the “off” van, it’s pretty tough to do in practice. Regardless, it’s a super fun race because everyone’s just out on the course wearing costumes and having fun at each of the exchanges.

For this relay we decided to dress up as Disney princesses OR villains for our third and final legs. I believe I was Hook and Natalie was Tinkerbell, but it was truly hilarious seeing our friends run in the Vegas heat dressed up as Maleficent and Ursula.

14. Summit Mt. St. Helens – May 11, 2015

After summitting the tallest volcano in Washington, it was time to do the shortest one. I mean it used to be taller but it exploded itself a year before I was born so um, that’s my excuse for not doing the “real” summit.

Natalie and I did the winter / Worm Flows route even though I think the summer route was accessible, just for the extra elevation. The weather was horrible, with very poor visibility as well as rain and snow, but at least we almost got lost on the way back down! Sounds miserable but we actually had a pretty good time.

15. Pay Off Student Loans – May 12, 2015

This one was a pretty big deal to me – finally paid off my student loans twelve years after I graduated from the University of Colorado. I could have paid it off sooner actually, but the interest rate was pretty low so it made more sense early in my career to invest in my retirement accounts instead of paying this off right away. Still, felt good to be debt-free.

16. Ragnar Northwest Passage – June 2015

My second Ragnar Relay was in Washington state for the Northwest Passage. This relay starts pretty close to the Canadian border, goes over Deception Pass, and ends in Whidbey Island. We decided to dress up as characters from Rocky Horror Picture Show and it was incredibly hot during the race, which is kind of odd for June in our state. But it was a blast running in gold Rocky shorts, no shirt, and a blonde wig.

17. Climb at Red River Gorge – August 2015

Ever since I started climbing at the end of 2003, I had heard that the Red was an amazing place to climb, with a ton of overhanging sport climbs on red sandstone cliffs, many of which are quite burly. For this trip, I met up with Sarah, Ian, and Jordan for a truly epic week of climbing together and camping at Miguel’s Pizza (the only place to stay).

I have to say my biggest highlight of this trip was taking a turn on Banshee which is a beautiful pocketed 5.11c route with a couple of caves you can literally crawl into on the way up. Didn’t send it but the climbing was incredible. Runner-up was playing Hearts and eating pizza at Miguel’s every night with my friends.

18. Oktoberfest in Munich – September 22, 2015

A married couple we knew told us they were planning to hit up Oktoberfest – the real one – in September of this year, so we asked if we could join and we did! We went on a weekday and showed up fairly early so we had no trouble finding some seats at a table with some Germans and before we knew it we were standing on the benches and belting out songs we’d never heard before, and some we had.

The downside is that after doing this we just can’t get excited about “Oktoberfest” in Leavenworth anymore. It’s like a sad parody of the real thing.

19. Amsterdam, Bruges, and Paris – September, 2015

Since we were already in the neighborhood, we decided to extend our trip a bit and visit Amsterdam (Netherlands), Bruges (Belgium) and Paris (France) for 2-3 nights each. Amsterdam was really trippy – a whole town full of super-tall blonde Europeans speaking Dutch and riding their bicycles literally everywhere. Bruges was small, but gorgeous, and they had amazing trappist beers. And Paris was incredibly fun – we visited the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Moulin Rouge, and walked some 10-12 miles a day for three days.

20. Pubbing in London – October 2, 2015

Natalie and I had one last pit stop in Europe before heading home – London. We did some exploring in the Shoreditch neighborhood where we were staying, but the real fun began when we met up with Natalie’s cousin Owain and went out for a cheeky Ruby followed by a night of pubbing. It was everything we wanted it to be, and it was really great to meet up with a member of Nat’s fam in another country.

21. Visit Stonehenge – October 4, 2015

We made a day trip out to Stonehenge before finally flying back home. I’m not quite sure what to say about it – other than it’s pretty cool, but not quite what you expect. You’ll have to see it for yourself to know what I mean 😉

22. Run a Half Marathon – November 30, 2015

After several years of running pretty consistently, and with a couple of Ragnars under my belt, it was time to try another half marathon. I say “another” because the first one I did in Austin was kind of a disaster – I had developed really bad iliotibial band syndrome during training and somehow convinced myself to run the half anyway. Suffice to say I walked for more than half of my first half marathon and I was in a lot of pain.

So for the second one, I was much more strategic in my training and made sure I wasn’t causing myself undue injury due to ramping up my mileage too much, too soon. Did the Seattle Half in late November with Natalie, and although I was ten minutes over my desired 2h race time, I was still really proud of myself because the course was incredibly hilly – and I had to take a bathroom break halfway through. Still a great race though.

23. What the Festival – June 2016 / June 2017

What the Festival was a smallish camping music festival in Oregon in the middle of nowhere but with a great view of Mt. Hood. Really great hippie vibe, super fun pool stage for daytime DJs, bigger stages at night, and an electric forest to wander through late into the night. Oh, and did I mention an outdoor nightclub composed of glowing cubes and a fire-breathing dragon stage?

Sadly this festival is no more. RIP.

24. Summit Mt. Adams – June 26, 2016

This was a fun one. Mount Adams is the second tallest mountain in Washington state, sitting pretty at 12,281 feet, but if you do the South Spur route like we did, it’s pretty much just a walk-up – no glacier travel and therefore no need to rope up despite the impressive 6,676 foot climb, though you still need an ice axe and the rest of the standard mountaineering gear.

We decided to split this climb into a two-day affair, hiking up to Lunch Counter at 9,250 feet for the first day, and made camp in the snow. After a spot of dinner and watching a beautiful sunset, we went to bed and got up early for the summit push, which ended up being really pleasant weather, and the glissade chute on the way down was heavenly. Wish I could say the same thing about the rugged road out from the trailhead.

25. Through-hike the Enchantments – July 31, 2016

The aforementioned Enchantments is an alpine wilderness area just outside of Leavenworth, and a few lucky lottery winners get the chance to camp up in the “core” in the summer next to stunning alpine lakes. If you can’t get a lottery ticket though, you can do a through-hike and hike all the way through the core in one day and catch the same stunning views, albeit at a quicker pace.

This involves 18+ miles of hiking, starting at the Stuart Lake trailhead up to Colchuck Lake, and then charging up Aasgard Pass, a steep cairn-directed scramble up to the core. After passing through the incredible views in the core, you take a precarious descent down to the top of the Snow Lakes, and then it’s a long slow eight miles back down to the Snow Lakes trailhead. This is extremely punishing and takes all day, but is an incredible experience if you can manage it.

26. Ragnar Hawaii – October 14, 2016

Ragnar Hawaii lasted only two years before it was retired, and that’s alright with me because at least we got to do it first. The official description calls it “a magical combination of obscenely gorgeous views and quad-burning, elevation-hungry volcano climbs” and it definitely was. It was also incredibly hot and humid, especially on the second day of the race, and my legs cramped up like crazy on my final 8-mile leg in the scorching heat on thankfully flat but completely shadeless pavement. That was rough.

However, this gave us a great excuse to hang out as a crew on the big island in Hawaii for nearly a week after the race, so that was really fun.

27. Propose to Natalie – November 28, 2016

I finally convinced Natalie to come down to my favorite place in the whole world – El Potrero Chico – for about a week of camping and climbing. A couple of our Austin friends also came down to join us, and it was a blast and a half.

On the second-to-last night of the trip, we visited a barbecue at a nearby climbers camp / ranch and some folks started a bonfire with some beautiful music and gorgeous views under the warm Mexican sky. After we walked back to our own climbers camp, I secretly arrayed a set of string light lanterns into a heart shape in the garden, and asked Natalie to join me for a walk. Once we got there, I proposed, and she said yes!

28. Redpoint a 5.12a – July 15, 2017

If you know anything about climbing grades, you might know that most “easy” climbing starts in the 5.0 to 5.7 range, intermediate climbs go from about 5.8 to 5.10 (further subdivided into 5.10a through 5.10d), and hard climbs generally start at 5.11a. I would argue most climbers can eventually send a 5.11a if they keep at it. But climbing a 5.12a (four grades above 5.11a) is an achievement that requires years of training and hard work and is known in the climbing world as the entry point into the world of truly difficult climbing.

Naturally, I’ve always wanted to redpoint a climb at this grade – meaning to lead climb the route in one go without falling – but I never really considered myself capable of trying either, until this summer. I had finally gotten a 5.11c and 5.11d under my belt in Squamish the summer before, so my friend Rachel and I decided to start working on Rainy Day Woman at Exit 32 near North Bend this summer. This took us more than two months, but we finally did it.

29. Oregon Eclipse Festival – August 21, 2017

Remember that eclipse that came through the country a couple of summers ago? Well there was a big weeklong music festival out in the middle of nowhere in Oregon that ended up being right in the path of totality. Think Burning Man, but in Oregon, and with a total solar eclipse – which by the way is an incredible experience not to be confused with a partial one.

30. Get Married! – September 23, 2017

Only a month after the Eclipse Festival, Natalie and I finally got hitched! We had a big ceremony and party down at the Summit Grove Lodge in Ridgefield, Washington. The venue was gorgeous, dinner was delicious, the drinks were flowing, and we had an incredible dance party with all of our favorite people. And I got married to my favorite person in the world! BEST. NIGHT. EVER.

31. Croatia + Italy + Barcelona – Sep/Oct 2017

Quite soon after Natalie and I got married, we took off for a three-week honeymoon, and honestly it’s a crime to give this only one spot on the list, but here we are.

We spent ten nights in Croatia, starting in Zagreb and finishing in Dubrovnik (where parts of Game of Thrones was filmed) while visiting the coastal towns of Zadar and Split as well as the island of Hvar along the way. Fantastic sights and great seafood.

Then we took off for the Amalfi coast of Italy for five nights – mostly on the beautiful cliffs of Positano, but we did spend a night on the island of Ischia, and took a day boat trip to the island of Capri as well. Both the Italian food and the views were stunning.

Lastly, we spent five nights in Barcelona, mostly wandering around the Gothic Quarter’s twisty little passages full of shops, bars, and restaurants, and which was conveniently located close to our hotel. But we also toured the Sagrada Familia which was breathtaking.

32. Summit Mt. Baker – July 29, 2018

Of all the volcanoes in Washington state, this one is the second most technical, requiring roped glacier travel, a difficult to ascertain summit path, snow bridges, and a sulfurous crater on the route to the top. So of course we had to summit it! I’m pretty sure we did the Easton Glacier route, and we made this a two-day affair of course, and despite the technicality, I really enjoyed this climb – up until we packed up our gear and had to walk out, which was a hot sufferfest for some reason. Oh well, the rest of the climb was great!

33. Shambhala – August 2018

Music festivals in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington are great and all, but imagine the wildest music festival ever – but in Canada. I really hardly know how to describe how magical this was, but suffice to say that everyone was there to dress up in the most hilarious costumes ever and have the funniest most epic good time for nearly a week straight. I love Canada.

34. Greece / Germany / Austria / Czech Republic – Sep/Oct 2018

This was another epic European trip that really probably deserves more than one slot. We started out by flying to Greece for a couple of nights on the party island of Mykonos before meeting up with Natalie’s mom and stepdad on the island of Naxos. We joined them for a short flight to Athens to check out the city and the Parthenon before saying Auf Wiedersehen and heading to Stuttgart for their version of the Oktoberfest – the Cannstatter Volksfest.

35. Sub-10 Beer Mile – June 22, 2019

Ever heard of a beer mile? The idea is simple, but the execution is hard – the goal is to run a mile, but first drink 12 ounces of 5%+ beer before each quarter-mile lap. Oh, and it’s a timed race. As a member of a drinking club with a running problem, our group has done several of these, and they are a lot of fun, but the combination of drinking and running is difficult to manage, and even if you succeed it all hits you at once at the end.

On my first I attempt the year prior, I sadly finished around 10 minutes and 50 seconds. This time however, I somehow managed to finish in around 9 minutes and 53 seconds, I think. What I know for sure is that it was definitely under ten minutes, which I am surprisingly proud of myself for.

36. Century Ride – August 23, 2019

I didn’t do a lot of running in 2019, partially because I had nearly a year of shin split pain in 2018 and had a hard time getting back into it, and partially because I decided to focus my training on bike rides this year so I could do the RSVP – Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party. I did a bunch of 50+ mile bike rides in the spring and summer in preparation for this 200-ish mile ride, and was super excited to ride it with my friend Kelly and a couple other members of her family.

Long story short, day one went great – up until the very end of the 100-mile ride, when my right knee started hurting like hell. I was hoping a night of sleep might fix things for the second day of riding, but it was not to be. So instead I accepted my DNF and claimed a victory for my first 100-mile ride, which again was a frikkin’ blast.

37. Become a Father – January 7, 2020

This is a big one. My wife Natalie gave birth to a baby son on January 7th, 2000 and we named him Griffin Brady. He’s adorable, and as of this writing he’s already 17 months old – wow, time flies! This is arguably the most life-changing thing that has happened in this whole decade, because of what it means for the decades to come.

38. Run 600 Miles in a Year – December 31, 2020

Wow, nearly a whole year without a new item? Clearly the pandemic had some kind of effect on my life. On the plus side, without many distractions, or really any social activities or excuses of any kind, I was able to get super disciplined about running five days a week nearly every week, so I accomplished my goal of doing 600+ miles in early December, before switching to skiing for the rest of the month.

39. Run a F-Covid-19K – March 20, 2021

Some friends and I were joking about doing a “Eff Covid 19-K” in the late summer, as an informal race to get motivated to keep running during the winter. Some folks in the group even claimed they wanted to run 19 miles, which sounded impossible to me, but that’s just because I’ve never ran more than 13.1 miles in my life. In any case, we actually did plan and execute a 19K run around upper Queen Anne and we spelled out the letters FU with our running path, repeatedly. We’re mad at the virus by the way. It doesn’t make sense, it’s fine.

40. Survive a Global Pandemic – May 12, 2021

This is a funny one, because I definitely had not put this on my list of things I wanted to do before I turned 40. I would have preferred something along the lines of “summit Mt. Hood” or “buy a house” but instead I survived over a year of a deadly global pandemic, much like everyone else did during this timeframe.

I still think it’s an achievement though. This was a really difficult and trying time for everyone, and despite the terrible situation we tried to stay positive and make the most of it.

One fun coincidence for this one is the fact that I got my second vaccine dose on April 28th – which means that I was officially “fully vaccinated” two weeks later – on my 40th birthday, May 12. Of course the pandemic is still not over per se, the fact that there is a safe and effective vaccine being produced and distributed throughout the world means we’re finally turning a corner on this thing.

Your Turn

Well that was certainly a long-winded trip down memory lane. I hope you found it inspiring or at the very least interesting – now it’s your turn! No matter your age now, there are probably some big hairy audacious goals you could set before the end of your next decade of life. What are they?

Note that I didn’t sit down on my 30th birthday and come up with an entire list of forty things. I had a work-in-progress list containing a lot of ideas, some of which came to fruition and made it onto the list once I finally achieved it. Goals can and should change over time based on what’s still realistic and important to you, so your list should evolve as well.

Feel free to comment on this post if you have any big goals on your list!