Monday 11 July 2016

40 Things To Do Before I Turn 40

Inspired by Caitlin's 30 Before 30 post, I thought I'd do my own. Sadly I am slightly older than Caitlin, so it turned into 40 things before 40...

I've tried to set realistic goals where I can actually check off whether I've done them or not. (So for example one of my general goals in life is to be a better friend, but it's not REALLY measurable, so I left that out.) Also a lot of them are things that I'm aiming to do for a certain amount of time, because keeping anything going for 5 years plus just isn't going to happen, whereas 6 months to a year is more realistic for me.

I'm not sharing all of them, but here are a few...


Number 3 is to write reviews of 25 books in a calendar year at least once. I used to review LOTS, back when I first started writing for the Bookbag. I no longer consider this to be a strength of mine - I've made it clear to publishers that I'm much happier shouting about books on Twitter - but it would be nice to get back into the habit at some point.

Number 20 is to read a Jane Austen novel. For some reason Austen is one of the only classics authors I've barely even tried - Pride & Prejudice IS in my future, honestly. Tying into this, number 21 is to complete my friend Stacey's #2016classicschallenge properly at least once (so probably #2017classicschallenge or #2018classicschallenge, I guess) reading a book a month. I keep flaking out after February...

Number 29 is to read Love Is A Number, which I borrowed from Debbie quite a long time ago, and give it back to her. (Sorry Debbie...)

Number 34 is to read at least the first book of a particular trilogy which I've tried before and gave up on really quickly but which EVERYONE tells me I should read because it's amazing!

Number 22 is to beta-read 10 books - I used to beta a while ago and always enjoyed it. Have fallen out of doing it recently but did it for an AMAZING book a while ago which is being published in 2 years and I'm super-excited about, and am currently beta'ing something I'm really enjoying. I figure one every 6 months is doable.

Other bookish stuff

Number 39 is to go to the Edinburgh and Hay festivals. I've been to various literary festivals and have always really enjoyed them, but only ever ones fairly close to London. I would love to spend a week or so at each of these two as they both sound COMPLETELY amazing!

Number 38 is to buy books from 50 different indies - I try to support indie bookshops whenever I can, although this generally means Tales on Moon Lane these days. I think that will be my go-to place for the foreseeable future but it would be great to support as many other indies as possible as well - 50 should be doable in 5 years (especially if I get to Hay!)

Number 28 is to do a BookTube video, which is something I never thought I'd say! However I've done Down The Rabbit Hole twice - once in an insert interviewing Siobhan Curham, and once as a guest - despite absolutely hating my voice for many years. (Big thanks to Debbie, Faye, Charlie, Stacey, Grace and others who persuaded me to go for it both those times!) and am starting to think that at some point in the future I could actually try a video.

Number 7 is to chair a panel at some point. Probably not for another year or so, and this is obviously dependent on some publisher/bookshop/festival taking pity on me here, but it's something that would be pushing me out of my comfort zone and would leave me fairly terrified but could be fun.


Number 14 is to see Hamilton live, which is basically my number 1 theatre ambition ever. Super-excited for tickets going on sale later this year (and should probably start saving now!)

Number 25 is to see 100 films in the cinema in a year, which I think I MAY make this year actually. Am currently on 47 - mainly because me and Faye have been going quite a lot recently - and with most of the next month or so off work I should be able to get to 60 by the end of August, which would put me nearly on target for this.

Number 35 is to rejoin Curzon cinemas with Complete membership. I made the change from Curzon to Cineworld after talking to Debbie about it late last year, and I am VERY glad I did because going to the cinema lots with her, Faye, and our other friends has been fabulous! However the Curzon Complete membership (while being eye-wateringly expensive) lets you and a guest see not just films but also ballet/opera/theatre productions they screen there and I would love to splash out and do this for a year before I'm 40.


Number 18 is to go to a folk festival - I used to go to Shrewsbury every year and have done Warwick a few times and Sidmouth twice. I haven't been to anything for a couple of years because there's been so much other stuff on, but I'm definitely hoping to do so sooner rather than later!

Number 33 is to find 100 songs released in 2015 or later - not counting songs from musicals - that I really like. I tend to spend most of my time listening to either the Hamilton soundtrack or songs from the 90s I grew up loving. While I don't think I'll ever stop enjoying them, I really want to find more modern music I love too.


I want to include things like 'go to BEA' here, or 'visit Vienna for a week', but both seem expensive and I get distracted from saving by the sheer amount of awesome things on in London. Keeping it realistic, number 5 is to renew my passport which I REALLY should get around to doing - meaning I at least then have a chance of Vienna, Paris, and other places! And number 6 is to go to Ireland, which feels like a realistic enough goal to commit to achieving in the next 5 years or so. Preferably for DeptCon, which looks amazing! Number 19 is an even closer to home one, to go back to Torquay - I used to go on holiday there every year with my family as a kid, then went to uni in Exeter and would often head down there. I've been back a few times since uni but not for a while and I really miss it. This summer is looking super-busy, but next summer I want to get back there for a week or so, and also catch up with a few friends still living in Exeter.


I am not massively career-focused these days, to be honest. (Weirdly, 8 years or so ago I WAS massively career-focused, spending about 90% of my time on teaching/thinking about teaching/planning/marking, and I was doing nowhere near as good a job as I am today.) However number 15 on my list is to get some sort of promotion (crossing my fingers that one may be the first to be checked off as I'm waiting to hear results of an interview I had last week) and number 16 is to get a grade 1 in an observation. (Teaching observations are graded from 1 to 4, where 1 is the best. I've got at least a 2 at every observation in my current job, and got a 1 in the last OFSTED which was a MASSIVE confidence boost for me - would love to get that at least once more in the next 5 years. Preferably EVERY time I'm observed over the next 5 years, obviously, but sticking to being realistic.)

Social media

Number 36 is to post on Instagram at least 150 times in a year. I started this year doing quite well on Instagram but faded away a few months ago.

Number 37 is to post on Tumblr at least twice a week for 6 months. This feels super-ambitious because I am HOPELESS at Tumblr - despite Stacey's best attempts to coach me in it! - but it has to be doable, right?


Number 10 is to go to a baseball game, number 11 to go to a women's football match, and number 13 is to go to Wimbledon. I'm nowhere near as big a sports fan as I was in my teen years but all three are things I'd love to do.


Number 32 is to get a bookcase - which I've been saying for years, since I moved into my current flat, but which I really MUST do at some point.

Number 4 is to give up alcohol for 3 months. I love Prosecco and I love cocktails but I want to show myself that I have the willpower to give them up for a bit. (I've actually already started this - one week down and counting!)

1 comment:

  1. If you need a baseball companion, I really like it - fun thing to do on a sunny afternoon.

    I'm not sure if I could do a list like this, or if I'd just end up putting things off again & again - "oh, I've still got 4 years, I'll do it next year" etc.