Update # 5 on my 40 before 40 list

On my 30th birthday I created this list of 40 things to do before I turn 40. Normally I update this list on my birthday, but in a couple conversations recently, friends have referenced this list, so I thought I’d give an update, since it’s been awhile.

Some years I’m able to do several things on the list, and some years I don’t do any; sometimes I specifically tackle an item on the list and sometimes the event just providentially happens.

Some of these things seem like an impossibility, especially since I’m no longer living in the United States, but you never know what cool things you’ll be able to do that you didn’t plan on doing (moving to China, for example) or what things God will allow you to do that you didn’t really think would ever happen (like touring England).

  1. Write a non-fiction book
  2. Write a book of poetry
  3. Write a hymn
  4. Read through my list of “books I should read”
  5. Get another master’s degree or a Ph.d.
  6. Get out of debt and stay out of debt (with the exception of a mortgage—see below)
  7. Buy my own place to live
  8. Volunteer at a shelter for women and children or a rescue mission [I volunteer regularly at the Shanghai Healing Home.]
  9. Visit missionary friends and work in an orphanage in Africa
  10. Support an orphan
  11. Support a missionary
  12. Become a mentor and/or foster parent
  13. Learn how to play the guitar [note: I have started this, but I am not exactly proficient yet. The last time I updated, I commented, “I haven’t found a guitar that is small enough for my fingers,” but since then, my Aunt Patty gave me a beautiful guitar that suits me well.]
  14. Learn to speak a language fluently [I am no where near fluent, but I am learning Chinese.]
  15. Run a 1/2 marathon [Completed in 2011: I ran two 1/2 marathons–the Hafa Marathon on Guam and the Lake Placid 1/2 Marathon!]
  16. Run a 5k in less than 28 minutes [Note from 2011: I ran a 5k in 28 minutes and some-odd seconds, but I didn’t get under 28 minutes. Note from 2012: I focused on long-distance running during the first part of this year. I have unofficially run a 5k in this time, but not during a race. Note from 2014: I got my 5k time to just under 29 minutes! Need to shave off one more minute in 2015 to meet this goal!]
  17. Run a marathon [Completed in 2012: I ran the Vermont City Marathon in May.]
  18. Visit the empty tomb, the Temple Mount, and see the Dead Sea Scrolls
  19. Visit Petra and Amman, Jordan
  20. Ride the Eurail across Europe (a 21 day pass is $900–anyone want to donate?)
  21. Visit my friend Jodi when she’s a missionary in Spain
  22. Visit Andorra (with Jodi) and Luxembourg
  23. Climb one of the Swiss Alps
  24. Visit the Sistine Chapel and ride a gondola in Venice
  25. Visit England with a literary-minded friend and visit Stratford-Upon-Avon, the Globe Theater (and see a play), the Brontes’ home, Oxford, Cambridge, and a host of other sites [Note: partially completed in 2012. I was asked to chaperone the TBS senior trip and we visited missionaries in Darwen and visited some places in the Lake District and London that are not on this list. However, we did visit Stratford-Upon-Avon. I walked to the Globe Theater, but wasn’t able to see a play there.]
  26. See the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
  27. Drive on the autobahn
  28. Walk on the Great Wall of China [completed June 2014]
  29. Go on a safari in Africa
  30. Run across the Golden Gate Bridge and run up a hill in San Francisco [side note from 2011: I walked across part of the Golden Gate Bridge but my fear of heights got to me, so I didn’t make it very far.]
  31. Hike a 10,000+ foot mountain near Lake Tahoe (if I visit in the summer) or ski at a resort there (if I visit in the winter) [side note from 2011: I went to Lake Tahoe this year, but didn’t hike any mountains (it was still cold and snowy and since I visited mid-week, both my brother and sister-in-law had to work, so I guess I’ll have to visit again!]
  32. Take my mom to Colonial Williamsburg
  33. Visit the Grand Canyon
  34. Go on an Alaskan cruise
  35. See a Broadway musical [completed February 2015; I saw The Lion King and it was fantastic!]
  36. See an opera at the Met (preferably one by Puccini) [completed February 2015; I saw The Tales of Hoffmann and The Merry Widow on the same day. In December 2016, I saw Nabucco. All three were amazing productions and incredible experiences.]
  37. See Placido Domingo perform live (I hope he doesn’t completely retire before I get a chance to hear him!) [I had the wonderful privilege of seeing Placido Domingo perform the title role in Nabucco in December 2016. He is a phenomenal performer and he did not disappoint in this dramatic and beautifully staged opera; it was a feast for the eyes and ears!]
  38. See Evgeny Kissin perform live
  39. Skate in Rockefeller Park at Christmas time [I attempted to complete this in December 2016, but both times we went to Rockefeller Plaza, the lines were hours long, due to cleaning the ice and waiting for the sheer number of people in the lines.]
  40. Learn how to use the manual settings on a nice camera (should do this before all the traveling) [Completed in 2012: I haven’t mastered them all yet, but I bought a Nikon D3100 and have been learning the manual settings.]
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