What, me 40? I swear I was 27 yesterday!
September 17, 2013 1:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm turning 40! I want to mark the year by doing 40 things, or one activity 40 times. Suggestions?

In about 3 months I will be celebrating my 40th birthday. I'm pretty excited- my 30's were awesome so I have high expectations for my 40's. I'll be doing something on my birthday to celebrate but I also want to have some sort of ongoing activity to mark the year. For example, a friend turned 30 this year and she is marking it by eating 30 different cakes (just a slice, not the whole thing!) over the whole year. I love this idea but 40 cakes is a lot and I don't want to copy her.

If it helps: I'm a high school teacher. In my spare time I knit a lot, draw and work in my sketchbook (although not much lately), cook/bake, walk, play with the kitties. Mr. Sadtomato may or may not join in on the fun. I'm in Vancouver, BC.

Some suggestions I have had so far:

-40 different restaurants (this again is a lot of eating out and expensive)
- A list, 40 lines long, of people who've had a positive influence on you (that you'd be happy to see again) or ideas that you'd like to carry into the future?
-40 different chocolate tastings? 40 acts of kindness? 40 photos of your favourite things in a collage?
-Try 40 new things/experiences (I like this a lot but am having trouble coming up with enough ideas to make it work)

(please feel free to add details to these or make an argument why I should do one of them.)

What are your suggestions for my year long "40 things to do for my 40th birthday" quest?
posted by sadtomato to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I love the 40 acts of kindness idea. Or, if you like wine, try 40 wines!
posted by mochapickle at 1:17 PM on September 17, 2013

40 random acts of kindness. That is less than 1 a week, and you could just dole them out when the opportunIty arises. Then everyone gets a gift for you birthday!
posted by cakebatter at 1:18 PM on September 17, 2013

See the forty greatest movies of all time and/or read the forty greatest books of all time. Choose a particular genre that you enjoy, if you want it to be less of a slog. The great thing about this is that you've likely already seen/read many of them, so you get to either revisit your favorites or skip over ones you don't feel like revisiting and get credit for them anyway.
posted by Etrigan at 1:23 PM on September 17, 2013

A friend of mine did something awesome for her last birthday that I think I'm going to copy. On her birthday, she went to her bank and withdrew a number of $5 bills that equaled how old she was turning (so, for 40, 40 $5 bills, or $200). She kept a few of them in her wallet in a separate pocket at all times all year. Then, whenever she felt like it throughout the year, she'd give them away. She'd give them to homeless people, or to kids raising money for school activities, or to friends who were short cash to cover a bar tab (that's how I found out about it), or for whatever. It was basically an opportunity for her to help out whenever she felt that her help was needed, in whatever way she saw fit, in small ways throughout the year. I think I might do that this year, because it seems awesome to me.
posted by decathecting at 1:25 PM on September 17, 2013 [15 favorites]

Learn 40 words of a foreign language
posted by jquinby at 1:25 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I started swimming a few years ago and had the idea to swim a number of laps equal to my age on my birthday. I forgot this year though. Boring, but a good way to stay healthy since it gets harder as you get older!
posted by freecellwizard at 1:26 PM on September 17, 2013

Knit 40 pairs of mittens and give them to 40 cold strangers. (Too much knitting? Bake 40 batches of muffins and give them to 40 hungry strangers.)

Make 40 sketches (or write 40 notes) and mail them to 40 people who've had a positive influence on you.

Take 40 pictures of yourself doing new things or things you enjoy. (Integrates your new things idea but without having to think up 40 of them!)
posted by snorkmaiden at 1:26 PM on September 17, 2013

40 different restaurants

How about 40 different new-to-you foods? Hit up places like middle eastern markets and this is cheap, cheap, cheap.
40 different sandwiches
40 different ice cream toppings
posted by phunniemee at 1:28 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Make a point of spending some time with each of 40 people who matter to you. (Long phone calls permitted if geography interferes.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 1:43 PM on September 17, 2013

You could write letters to 40 people who've had an impact on your life, thanking them.
posted by jabes at 1:54 PM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]

Plant 40 trees!
posted by tafetta, darling! at 1:55 PM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]

Read 40 books from the year you were born.
Listen to the top 40 songs the year you were born.
Try 40 pizza combinations.
Plan a weekend 40 miles from your home.
See 40 plays and/or musicals.
Pay 40 library fines for strangers.
Make 40 of x food and share it with your favorite people.
posted by haplesschild at 1:56 PM on September 17, 2013

Drop and give me 40!!!
posted by Thorzdad at 2:10 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

As a person who really enjoys the mini-road-trip: visit 40 towns/cities? You're within driving (also ferry) distance of all sorts of places.

Vancouver must have some first-rate newsstands: select and enjoy 40 different new-to-you periodicals over the course of the year?
posted by kmennie at 2:48 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Try and shake the hands of forty strangers within the next forty days.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:54 PM on September 17, 2013

I vote for 40 massages.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 3:55 PM on September 17, 2013

I'd probably do something along the lines of 40 5k races (they are easy enough to find, are only 3.1 miles and works out to less than one per weekend) - plus you'll start year 41 looking and feeling great! :)
posted by floweredfish at 5:03 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

40 journal entries throughout the year. You can take as little as 10 minutes or more to write them. They can be about anything. The present day would be most interesting. You can look back at it when you are older and see what happened that year. In the same vein, you could do photographs throughout the year, again, forty of them.

Forty ways to put yourself first, whether that be a bath or a trip. If we don't take care of ourselves we cannot take care of others.

Compile a bucket list of 40 things you have always wanted to do, but have never had the time.
posted by Jewel98 at 6:02 PM on September 17, 2013

Great suggestions above! I would do some version of most of them, and call it 40 significant things.

If you split it up into various categories and do a few things in each, I think it'll be a lot easier to think of 40 things, and it won't be repetitive (I would find doing anything 40 times, even eating cake! would become more like a chore, but that's my personal bias). Anyway, my idea is to create a really memorable year.

So I would do a few from each of these:
Trying new things and experiences - try one top class restaurant, visit a new town, try a new sport, do some kind of pampering you haven't done before
Meaningful things - eg letters of gratitude, plant a tree, catch up with a friend you haven't seen in a while, paint a painting, write a poem. If you create something tangible, you'll have a nice reminder of the year, or your life, or whatever is meaningful to you.
Acts of kindness - maybe you could do a few different forms of this like give money, cook a meal, babysit, bring a surprise bag of groceries to someone, knit a blanket for a homeless person.

If you're so inclined, do at least one "challenge" thing whether this be physical (eg run one or more 5ks, train and run a full or half marathon) or a fear conquering thing - skydiving? bungee jumping?

I might have to steal these ideas for my 40th, if I remember this thread by then.
posted by pianissimo at 6:40 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Master 40 different yoga poses.
posted by corn_bread at 9:22 AM on September 18, 2013

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