September 15, 2019

An Update on my 40 Goals by 40 Years Old List (Part 1 of 2)

This is Part 1 of 2. This post was WAY too long with all 40 items. It's still really long, even divided in two! haha.

A little over a year ago, at the ripe old age of 36, I decided to write a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish by the time I'm 40. And naturally, choosing 40 goals seemed appropriate.

At the time, I had nearly four whole years to check them off, and it seemed like it would be no problem at all. Some of the goals are things that I have to work on for a long period of time and others are just a "one-off"--something that I do once and it's done.

Lately, I've been working more toward the goals that are going to take a while, because I now only have two and a half years until I'm 40. WHAT.

Now, I did not say that these are very meaningful goals--some of them are silly and some of them I just wrote on a whim. Some are very important to me. (When you have to come up with 40 goals, you lower your standards, let's face it.)

So, here is my original list. I've crossed off the ones that are completed:
  1. Watch all of Tom Hanks' movies
  2. Read 40 books
  3. Pay off debt (including car and house)
  4. Visit the 48 contiguous United States
  5. Read the Bible cover to cover
  6. Get back to goal weight (133)
  7. Go to a concert (I've never been to one!)
  8. Learn a new skill
  9. Watch Star Wars with Jerry
  10. Handwrite a letter to each of 10 friends
  11. Write letters to Noah and Eli
  12. Watch a documentary to understand something I don't know much about
  13. See a movie at a drive-in movie theater
  14. Complete a saved project on Pinterest
  15. Have my dad teach me to change the oil in my car
  16. Knit something
  17. Crochet something
  18. Leave a very large tip for a server having a bad day
  19. Create a vision board
  20. Build a bat house
  21. Write Jerry a love letter
  22. Read a classic novel
  23. Cook a recipe with ingredients I've never heard of
  24. Make a time capsule with the family
  25. Go fruit picking
  26. Attend a murder mystery dinner
  27. Take a class of any sort
  28. Take each of the kids on a "date"--just the two of us
  29. Do an "Escape the Room" challenge
  30. Try Thai food
  31. Read a book out loud with the family
  32. Grow a vegetable or herb
  33. Learn about (and start) and investment account
  34. Go on a road trip
  35. Go camping
  36. Go to a state fair
  37. Develop one life-changing habit
  38. Commit to a 30-day challenge
  39. Travel abroad
  40. See an orca in its natural habitat

#1. Watch all of Tom Hanks' movies

As far as the first goal, watching all of Tom Hanks' movies, the rule was that I had to start fresh--rewatching the ones I've already seen. (I adore Tom Hanks, which is why I made this goal.) I've colored in the ones that I've watched since starting this goal in April 2018. (I was going to write the date underneath each one, but I gave up on that because I forgot to do it right away.)

bullet journal page

#2. Read 40 books
I've read more books in the past year than I have in over a decade, and that includes three books that were 1,000 pages each! I started this list in January 2018, when I decided to start reading more. I just recently wrote a full post of all these books and my thoughts on them, which you can find here. But here is the list:

  1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  2. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
  3. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  4. Running: A Love Story by Jen A. Miller
  5. Coreyography by Corey Feldman
  6. Chasing the Merry Go Round by Kelly Bargabos
  7. The Gender Game (book one) by Bella Forrest
  8. The Gender Secret (book two) by Bella Forrest
  9. Working Stiff by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell
  10. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  11. This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
  12. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  13. Vox by Christina Dalcher
  14. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
  15. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
  16. An Ember in the Ashes (book one) by Sabaa Tahir
  17. A Torch Against the Night (book two) by Sabaa Tahir
  18. Contaminated by Em Garner
  19. Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety by Sacha Z. Scoblic
  20. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
  21. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  22. Call Me Tuesday by Leigh Byrne
  23. Keri: The Early Years by Kat Ward
  24. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  25. Mindhunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker
  26. The Pillars of the Earth (book one) by Ken Follett
  27. World Without End (book two) by Ken Follett
  28. A Column of Fire (book three) by Ken Follett
  29. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (I just finished this last night, so I haven't written my thoughts on it yet, but I will write a review soon)

#3: Pay off debt

When I wrote this goal, I was including my car and house. It's very unlikely we will get the house paid off in the next two year, but we paid off our credit card debt and we are starting to pay more onto the Jeep to get it paid off faster. I will be happy to get this paid off, and then the house will be all that's left! (Here is a post about how my family paid off our credit card debt using a zero-sum budgeting system)

Zero balance statement

#4: Visit the 48 contiguous United States

I've currently been to 34 of the Lower 48. I love the idea of taking a train trip to hit up a lot of the ones I've not been to, but Amtrak doesn't have routes that are ideal for the states I need to go to. I might have to do a couple of long road trips in order to get them in. I'm scared of driving through the mountains, though, so I may have to find a train in the west to get some of those states done. Also, there is the problem of Delaware. It's the only state in the east I haven't been to, and it would be such a random trip. I wish I'd gone through there on one of my trips east, but I never had a reason to. (You can read about my traveling on this page.)

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. California
  5. Colorado
  6. Connecticut
  7. Delaware
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Idaho
  11. Illinois
  12. Indiana
  13. Iowa
  14. Kansas
  15. Kentucky
  16. Louisiana
  17. Maine
  18. Maryland
  19. Massachusetts
  20. Michigan
  21. Minnesota
  22. Mississippi
  23. Missouri
  24. Montana
  25. Nebraska
  26. Nevada
  27. New Hampshire
  28. New Jersey
  29. New Mexico
  30. New York
  31. North Carolina
  32. North Dakota
  33. Ohio
  34. Oklahoma
  35. Oregon
  36. Pennsylvania
  37. Rhode Island
  38. South Carolina
  39. South Dakota
  40. Tennessee
  41. Texas
  42. Utah
  43. Vermont
  44. Virginia
  45. Washington
  46. West Virginia
  47. Wisconsin
  48. Wyoming
bullet journal page

#5. Read the Bible cover-to-cover

This one has been... interesting? I had hoped that reading the Bible would give me more faith; but a lot of it is horrifying. Punishment to dozens of generations beyond one sinner, distinguishing what is clean and unclean (having sores, baldness, and a woman on her period are a few "unclean" examples), and the umpteenth sacrifices ("offerings") of animals without imperfections... I just don't understand it. How does slaughtering an animal make someone "clean"?

Anyway, I'm currently about 3/4 of the way through the book of Numbers (I haven't updated it in the bullet journal yet). I read one chapter a day, and I wish I could say I enjoy it, but I'm still waiting to feel... better? More faithful? I'm not sure what I'm looking for.

bullet journal page

This is an example of what made me question what the heck...?

Bible excerpts

#6. Get back to goal weight

I wrote my goal as 133 when I made the list, but I have since changed it to 144 (the top of my BMI range). I haven't made any progress, but I'm not giving up.

#7. Go to a concert

Well, I blew this one big time. I had bought tickets to see Korn with Jerry a couple of days before our anniversary last month. Korn was super popular when we were in high school, and whenever I listen to it, I think of our dating. It would be the perfect first concert for me!

However, I chickened out. On the day of the concert, I just decided I couldn't do it. I don't even know why I included this item on my list, because I don't think I'd enjoy a concert; I just felt like I should go to one to say I did. I just think I'd be extremely awkward at a concert. Maybe I'll try again.

bullet journal page

#8. Learn a new skill

While making over my house, I learned several new skills--my favorite is woodworking. I'm super proud of this island that I made from scratch!

DIY kitchen island

#9. Watch Star Wars with Jerry

I watched it with him on his birthday last year (and even dressed in a Princess Leia costume) but I hated the movie. At least I finally gave it a shot, though!

bullet journal page

star wars meme

#10. Handwrite a letter to each of 10 friends

Haven't started this one yet. I should make it a point to do one a week.

bullet journal page

#11. Write letters to Noah and Eli

I haven't done this yet, either. I want to really put thought and time into it, so I don't want to rush it. But it's not a difficult goal, so I can do this one soon.

bullet journal page

#12. Watch a documentary to understand something I don't know much about

I've watched lots of documentaries, but none that seem to fit the purpose here. I'm thinking about watching one about the Holocaust; I obviously know what it was, but I'd like to learn more about it.

bullet journal page

#13. See a movie at a drive-in movie theater

Currently, my town is building a drive-in! I'm super excited for it. That will be the one that I attend; I'm not sure when it will be done, but hopefully next summer.

bullet journal page

#14. Complete a saved project on Pinterest

I made a table skirt for a Cinco de Mayo party that I had last year. I love how it turned out!

Cinco de Mayo party

#15. Have my dad teach me to change the oil in my car

A very useful life skill that I still need to do. I currently need an oil change, so perhaps I will do this very soon. Or it may have to wait until next time, depending on my dad's availability.

bullet journal page

You can read the rest of the update in Part 2 (of 2). This post was just way too long!


  1. You've got lots of good goals. I love your journal and art!

  2. As far as your Bible reading goals, one thing that popped into my mind is trying the Message or Passion translation, which sometimes helps things make more sense. Overall, the Old Testament can just be flat out scary.

  3. Proud Delawarean here! We have a lot of offer if you do make it back out east! Beaches, history, small towns, and cities! First state, best state 😉. I would be happy to offer suggestions or play tour guide.

  4. Regarding reading the bible, they have plans where you can read in a year and make it easy on you. Old Testament is a beast. There's a bible study call Seamless by Angie Smith and she does a great job of hitting all the books in the bible and explaining what's going on.

  5. Katie, I love that you're doing this. I have a list, too, but I'm turning 40 sooner than you May of 2020! I've been working on mine for about a year, and I'm not sure I'm going to make it, but I've still got time, and I'm still hopeful! Reading the whole Bible is on my list, too, and I have to tell you that, in my opinion, the New Testament is way easier to read (and more encouraging and uplifting, overall) than the Old. I'm also tackling 40 books and getting back to goal weight. Thanks for updating us--you are an inspiration!

  6. I think you'd have fun at a concert! You're just there, enjoying the music, singing along to the songs you know, dancing (or not, if you don't like dancing) along to the songs you don't. It's really cool to see a band you love performing songs you've listened to for years. If you've been to a play or any other live show, it's not really any different or awkward. Maybe go to a concert where an orchestra plays a movie soundtrack or other "pops"-type shows? Or a choral concert? If it's not for you then you know for sure, but I do think you'd enjoy it.

  7. Hi Katie! I love this! I only have a year and a half til my 30th birthday but I think I want to do something similar. You've inspired me! Not sure if it will let me leave a link but there is a group that makes videos on the Bible. Their videos might be useful to you. I really enjoy their videos though they have a lot I haven't seen. It looks like they have a series on how to read the Bible. Here's a link to their Youtube channel:
    I haven't read the whole Bible yet either but I'll make it one of my goals before my 30th birthday. That might not be enough time. I like that you're reading one chapter a day; that's more manageable.
    Thanks for your blog! -Jamie


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