my 40 by 40 bucket list
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My 40 by 40 bucket list – shaping who I want to be

In this post I introduce my 40 by 40 bucket list, what led to its inception and where I am today progress wise.

My approach to turning 40

Birthday Cake

So, milestone birthdays? Do you celebrate them? Revere them? Or pretend they don’t exist? Where do you expect to be with your life? What do you compare yourself to? These thoughts are coming through my mind as I ponder my next milestone birthday – 40.

The conventional life path is not for me – I’m a single (see this post) atheist (see this post) who is happy with her life. I don’t want to compare myself to other people, as we are frankly all unique and quirky in our own ways. However, I do want to be a better version of myself, and make sure I make the most of my life. I don’t want to be putting things off until some day, when I can do them now. I have decided to be bold a few years ago, and started two plans with the same end date.

By the time I hit 40 I aim to

  • FIRE – be financially independent, and retire early *
  • Complete my 40 by 40 bucket list

*This may not meet the internet retirement police definition. I won’t have to work for money, but who knows, I may choose to further down the line.

Ms ZiYou 40 before 40 bucket list

So, without further ado, here is my 40 by 40 list in detail.

Fitness Goals

I truly believe we need our minds and bodies to both be in good form, hence fitness is important to me and included in my 40 by 40 bucket list.

1 Get to 100 parkruns

I love parkun; it is free, community minded and local, what’s not to love? And completing 100 runs is a milestone, which earns you a sexy free T-shirt. Coveting this T-shirt, I aim to get to my 100 runs by the end of 2018.

2 Run Athens Marathon

I love marathons, and as Athens is the original marathon this is a true bucket list item. The downside is that it’s a hard race, as it’s very hilly. Nonetheless, it’s on my list, and I am to do it in 2020. And I fancy a trip to pay my respects to the gods at Mount Olympus afterwards.

3 Embed Yoga Practise in everyday life

Yoga is fun, but somehow I always end up neglecting it.

4 Get 5k time under 25 minutes

This is an aspirational goal, given I am a slow runner. My current PB (personal best for non fitness geeks) is 27 minutes. I’m not getting any younger, but I think if I put enough effort in, and drop my weight I might be able to get there. Or make a damn good attempt at it. I’m trying to get to 26 minutes in 2018, then 25 minutes in 2019.

Money Goals

Uniquely for a money blog, I’ve only got one money goal. But that’s just because money is easy and automatic to me, so I don’t need specific goals here.

5 Save for FIRE Round the World trip

As I have outlined before, once I reach financial independence I am planning a round the world adventure. I need to make sure I have enough funds to do everything I want. I don’t want to skimp on cool experiences like Antarctica or the Galapagos, so planning and pricing out the trip is key.

Ms ZiYou 40 by 40 bucket list

Outdoors Goals

The outdoors energise me. I don’t know what it is, but the marvel of nature never fails to amaze me. I find the seasons fascinating, and wildlife great fun to observe, hence a sizeable section on my 40 by 40 bucket list.

6 Walk Green Chain Walk

This is a path in London that can easily be divided up into sections and accessed by public transport, I plan to do in 2018.

7 Walk London Loop

This is a path around London that can easily be divided up into sections and accessed by public transport, I plan to do in 2018.

8 Walk North Downs Way

This is a hilly multi day route, thinking of doing in sections in 2019.

9 Walk South Downs Way

This is yet another hilly multi day route, thinking of doing in sections in 2020.

10 Complete a solo long distance walk

Not sure what one I’ll pick or when, but I think this will be a good test of self reliance.

11 Try 4 different camp sites

Have been to two campsites in 2017, so two more needed.

12 Go camping alone

On the to experience list, going camping with only myself. Although it will be car camping.

Personal Goals

These are really just random things I categorized as personal, as a catchall on my 40 by 40 bucket list.

13 Cut hair short

This is on the agenda for when I quit work. Or before. What is stopping me is losing the ability to just tie my hair back. And having to actually go to the hairdressers.

14 Get better at public speaking

Have I mentioned before how much I suck at public speaking? This is an area I need to work on.

Ms ZiYou 40 by 40 bucket list

Philanthropy Goals

Once we are able to look after ourselves, I believe we should leverage our skills to help others. Hence there is a philanthropy section in my 40 by 40 bucket list.

15 Donate time professionally volunteering

I want to level up my volunteering, from simple anyone can do it actions like the soup kitchen or race marshalling to making use of my professional talents. This has been really successful so far, I have a board position in one small charity which uses my skills.

16 Random acts of kindness of my birthday

On my birthday every year, I like to give people gifts, compliments and really just pay it forward.

Reading Goals

I do love a good book, and given my strong feminist principles, feel I need to read more books by women. Hence I have commited to reading all the works of the three women below who I greatly admire for my 40 by 40 bucket list.

17 Read every book by Virginia Woolf

I started this with a bang, then the stream of consciousness confused and irritated me. Has been on hiatus since, but will get back to it. And strangely, as I get older, I appreciate Woolf more. I used to hate Mrs Dalloway, now I really start to get it. And Orlando is a masterpiece that I will always adore.

18 Read every book by Vita Sackville-West

This hasn’t been a focus yet, but I will get round to it.

19 Read every book by Doris Lessing

This just needs some time, and the right frame of mind to get into the books. I still remember where I was when she died, in a church in Rome, which was kind of surreal.

Study Goals

I like to keep learning and challenging my brain, so my 40 by 40 bucket list has some study goals.

20 Learn Chinese

This has been going well, with a little bit of a slow down. I want to get to HSK 5 level by 2021, given I’ve only passed HSK 2 I need to get my skate on. I’m probably ok to do HSK 3 and the HSKK beginners now, but want to be fully prepped before I take the tests.

21 Improve French

I studied French at school, and want to put some effort in to keep it alive. And France is really close by. Will pick it up again next year perhaps?

Theatre Goals

One of my main spendy hobbies is theatre, I could easily go every day of the week!

22 Watch live all Shakespeare plays

I’m currently at 32 / 37, and have tickets for 3 of the missing ones booked. That only leaves me two, Henry VIII which is never performed, so please someone put it on before 2021. The other is Love’s Labour Lost, which is on often enough, I’ve just not got round to seeing yet.

23 Watch all Ibsen plays

I’m currently at 4 / 27, and consider Ibsen an equal to Shakespeare. He covers the feminist angle much more to my liking. Sadly there is only a few of his plays that seem to be shown regularly, I suspect I’ll be youtubing the rarer ones with subtitles.

24 Watch all Puccini operas

I’m currently at 7 /13, making progress and hopeful the rarer operas will come to London.

25 Watch all Verdi operas

I’m currently at 8 / 30, slow progress here, I need to up my game.

26 Watch a live ring cycle

I have tickets (ok a standing ticket) for this years Ring Cycle at the Royal Opera House. I am beyond excited by this, I am an opera geek. And yes, even the standing ticket was expensive, but it will be worth it.

27 Watch all Chekov plays

I’m currently at 3 / 11 – I find I have to be in the mood for Chekov, he is on the dark side.

Ms ZiYou 40 by 40 bucket list

Travel Goals

As you can see, I love travelling and seeing different corners of the world. So much that I have saved 12 goals just for this category.

28 See the northern lights

I have not really seen the northern lights (I saw a tiny hint of them once in England, it was underwhelming). Hence this item remains on the list, as I ponder whether Iceland or Scandinavia is the best choice for a weekend of light spotting.

29 Visit Tuscany

My love for Italy has no bounds, and later this year I’m off to Florence.

30 Visit Portugal

One of the closer countries I’ve not visited yet, but am booked to spend the May day bank holiday weekend in Lisbon.

31 Visit Bosnia & Herz

I still remember the war, so I’m intrigued to see how the country is now in peaceful times, pencilled in for 2019.

32 Visit Croatia

Again, somewhere not too far that I want to visit, pencilled in for 2019.

33 Visit Latvia – Completed

This was part of my Easter 2018 Baltic adventure, you can read my love letter to Riga here.

34 Visit Estonia – Completed

This was part of my Easter 2018 Baltic adventure, old Tallinn is a magical medieval city (but actually quite pricey).

35 Visit Finland – Completed

This was part of my Easter 2018 Baltic adventure, you can read about my Finnish snowy trail adventure here.

36 Visit Iceland

I have always hankered after a visit to Iceland, but been deterred by the high costs. And being unable to decide if I should go in winter and try for the Northern Lights, or go in the summer and see the country and waterfalls. Pencilled in for 2019.

37 Visit Bulgaria – Completed

I love visiting more adventurous places, and I found Sofia a joy to visit. The highlight was the multi domed Orthodox church, which I was lucky enough to see both with, and without a covering of snow.

38 Visit Santorini

Another picture postcard location I need to visit, pencilled in for 2020.

39 Visit Cinque Terre

As you may tell, I love Italy, in particular northern Italy. I plan to do some Cinque Terre hiking, pencilled in for 2020.

40 Visit Slovenia – Completed

This one has been completed in 2017 – I visited Slovenia for the first time, and saw Lake Bled, which is simply awesome and amazing. Ljubljana was also magical, both are recommended for a weekend trip.

In summary

40 by 40 bucket listYou know what? I’m looking forward to turning 40, a fabulous milestone. I aim to have completed my 40 by 40 list by then, and aim to be the best version of myself. Financial independence will give me freedom and I can use my time exactly as I wish.

But in order for the above to become reality, I need to keep on track. Financially I need to keep investing (see here for my investment approach) to meet my FIRE by 40 target. And to be fulfilled as an individual, as an ENTJ (as outlined in my personality profile post) I need to make progress on my 40 by 40 bucket list. I am enjoying the journey, and learning more about myself every day

Some other cool bucket list ideas to puruse:

 Over to you

  • Are you a fan of bucket lists?
  • Do you have one?
  • What about milestone birthdays?

28 comments on “My 40 by 40 bucket list – shaping who I want to be

  1. This list was just amazing. You are amazing. Clearly. I am bowled over by your cultured-ness. You also totally motivated me to run this week, I’ve gone for 20 minutes Sat and then 30 straight yesterday. Don’t know what my 5k time would be, but I’m sure it’s SLOW! Totally rooting for you on all of these!

    1. Thanks for your kind comments, that’s so nice of you. It’s easy to be cultured in London I think, it’s everywhere.

      And it sounds like your running is going well, taking it easy and slow is my prefered method or running.

  2. Hey Ms ZiYou

    That is a bloody awesome bucket list!

    I’d never heard of bucket lists before I turned 30 and by the time I thought about it for my 40th, I didn’t have enough time to make a dent in it. So there were only two things I could think of doing before I was 40 – finally pay off all my credit card debt (which I did) and get a tattoo (which I also did!)

    I guess I should have got a list sorted for my next big milestone birthday, but again, I’ve run out of time so perhaps I will start making one for when I retire! Such a list would probably include some things you’ve included, eg philanthrophy goals, study goals and travel goals, although this last one will depend on the fat/lean FIRE.

    Anyway, good luck with them all!

    1. That is cool you got those done before your 40th – what is your tattoo?

      Some retirement goals would also be ace, then we’ll have so much time to do whatever we want.

      1. Originally, the tattoo was going to be a little star – cos that’s what some people say I am, haha 😉 However, I decided to change the design so it ended up being ‘a bit bigger than little’ but I was/am happy with it.

  3. This is such a great list. How are you such an amazing person? You will love all the places that you want to go. Lisbon is beautiful and one of my favorite capitals. It has a very fun and youthful vibe. Plenty of great vegetarian places there too. Croatia is lovely too. I have only been to a small part of Bosnia, but I wish I could have visited more (Mostar and Sarajevo). It seems like the atrocity of the war is far behind in the rear view mirror (luckily). It was such a horrific time and I hope the world learns from this recent lesson of the dangers of extreme nationalism, intolerance, and racism.

    1. What a lovely comment Dr McFrugal, that’s so nice of you. I’m looking forward to Lisbon, everyone says lovely things about it. And I hope to do both Mostar and Sarajevo, I agree it will be a lovely place to visit, but also such a reminder of the atrocities.

  4. Awsome bucket list, you are one organised Mz!

    I am obviously in Weenie’s age bracket as am about to hit a milestone birthday and it ain’t 40! Have briefly considered bucket lists in the past but shied away from them as travel abroad negatively impacts my health and my budget is lean.

    Perhaps I should create a bucket list for when we FIRE as a way of celebrating that very fact? Off to ponder this and make some secret notes!

    Thanks for an interesting and thought provoking read.

    1. Thanks tuppenny for your lovely comments and encouragement.

      Yeah, I think you should do a bucket list for when you are FIRE, giggling to myself at your secret notes!

  5. Hey London gurrrrl! So happy to find your blog! I’m 30 and just starting out on my FI journey so your numbers are super inspiring. Also can I just say…. I am averaging 2 London Loop sections per year at the moment. I started in 2015 and am only up to section 8…. hahaha going so slowly! Also love your park run goal – I’m training for a 5k in Victoria Park in June! Can we be best friends now please.

    1. Hi K, absolutely delighted to see you here. You are making more progress on the London Loop than I am, I’m still in dream (sorry planning) phase!

      I’m sure your numbers will increase rapidly – I didn’t even start calculating them until I was 32, and actually start seriously saving a year or so later.

  6. Agh I can’t believe I didn’t add the northern lights to my list on the 10 years till death post! That is definitely on my bucket list.

    I like this because it makes things a bit more urgent and therefore likely to actually be done. A traditional bucket list is just things you want to do before you die (I believe) so there is not much impetus to crack on and do them. I might do my own before 40 list but I don’t think I’ll fit in 40 things like you have (unless many of them are trivially small/easy) but I can give it a crack. Thanks for the inspiration 😉

    I was thinking of doing the South downs way next year for
    a charity challenge, or at least a section of it. Love a bit of walking along the cliffs!

    1. Yes I really want to see those Northern Lights…… and the South Downs Way also …..so much to see and fit in…….work gets in the way sometimes!

      And yeah, you have time for a 40 by 40 list – you can make them as easy or hard as suits the timelines.

  7. Slowly pulling together my equivalent. As I’m about a generation older than you, I don’t know how much of a “60 by 60” I could muster by deadline.

    Re: 10+11+12 : afoot for a “leisurely” Land’s End to John o’ Groats trek? 😉 Yes yes I jest somewhat, about 1200 miles’ and dozens of tent-pitchings’ worth. Obviously it’s much faster to drive it and sleep in a caravan. The states-side equivalents are the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, much longer and with very-well-documented segmenting for those who won’t dedicate the 4-6 months needed for a true through-hike.

    1. A 60 by 60 sounds awesome!

      Yep – Lands End to John O’Groats would be fun, but a lot of hassle as there is no nice path all the way – not to mention the UK’s footpaths are so variable in maintenance – lately I’ve been finding a lot of overgrown bramble covered paths.

What do you think?