40(ish) Things I Am NOT Doing By 40 (or Ever)

I am six months away from the big Four-Oh.  I see streaks of gray in my hair nowadays.  Crows feet adorn my reflection, and I know less than half of the young “it” girls in US Magazine.  The other night I read one of the Olivia books to my children and found myself identifying, not with the audacious Olivia, but with her strung-out mother who wanted her to stop jumping on the frigging bed.

The signs abound: My spring chickenhood has left the building.

And it is with great admiration I read other bloggers’ 40 before 40 lists.

But that’s not my style.

You know what is my style? Making a long as list of what I will NOT be doing before July 21, because (1) lists are fun and (2) this one comes with no pressure to perform.

It’s the anti-bucket list, or the bucket-with-a-giant-hole-in-it list.

Here’s what I won’t be doing in the next few months:

  • I’m not climbing any damn mountains.  Screw that.  It’s enough work just to get my two children to the Target that is one mile away at the same elevation.
  • No dream trips.  While I love the idea of a great getaway, I can’t stomach the effort it would take to plan the actual trip, arrange childcare, and then force myself to have a good time.
  • No body projects.  I’m not going vow to lose weight or have my ass Botoxed or try to chisel this delectable muffin top.  The entire idea of making a body goal exhausts me and fills me with white hot stabby energy.
  • No lofty self-love goals.  While I won’t be scheduling extra Zumba classes to make my temple leaner, I am also not making any promises that I will fall madly in love with my body beautiful. Self-acceptance is a treasure, but it’s going to be a lifelong journey, not a six-month sprint.
  • No life-altering athletic events.  I’ve already done triathlons and marathons and 10Ks and 10-milers.  I don’t want these anywhere near my broken bucket– they had their chance when I was in my 30s.  The ship sailed.
  • Finish my novel. Nope, this isn’t on the bucket list. While I am itching to get the book out of my head and heart, the truth is that it’s a labor of love and passion and I am pouring my guts into it.  It simply can’t be shoved onto a bucket list, even if it would make me look cool. (But if it would make me look skinny . . . I might consider it.)
  • No skydiving.  I can’t see the appeal at all.  I am terrified half out of my insane brain just standing right here on solid ground.  I’ll just check out Google Earth, thankyouverymuch.
  • Pole dancing class.  Um, no and no.  I think I covered that curriculum back in 1993 at the Sigma Chi mixer.
  • There will be no tattoos. While it would be a fun way to add a splash of color to my life, I’m passing on it because NEEDLES.
  • I’m not buying the perfect little black dress. This one is absolutely not going to happen because of all the things I would have to do first. Namely, obtain a real bra and shave. Nevergonnahappen.
  • Also: no computer programming, cooking, learning how to make wine/beer; nothing about sex, exotic foods, public speaking or sticking to a budget

Good Lord, I’m exhausted.  How must those plucky people with a 40-item to-do list feel?

The good news is that without all those annoying goals hanging over my head, I will have plenty of time to blog about the big things like open-mouth naps, lingerie from the Target clearance rack, and COSTCO.

It’s going to be a great six months!


65 thoughts on “40(ish) Things I Am NOT Doing By 40 (or Ever)

  1. Oh geeze, I love this post. I’ve never seen the appeal of skydiving either, and at my age, the videos they take now with flapping skin everywhere would be counterproductive for any self-love and body image!

  2. on my list of to do’s is staying happily and healthfully alive and making sure my family does the same. that’s it. i’m out. although, i’m over 40, so pressure is off here. 🙂

  3. When is your birthday? I turn 40 on 6/30 and don’t have a 40 by 40 list, either. I don’t have goals more than making sure we’re all alive at the end of the day and to enjoy something each day. I’m simple that way because life is too complicated otherwise.

  4. I am 10 months away from 40. You know what I’m never gonna do before 40 or after? I’m never gonna bungee jump or skydive or get bigger boobs (probably naturally or for $4K). Costco drawers never fit mah butt right so I stick to Target. But I still LOOK at Victoria’s Secret. Because I’m sexy.

  5. I feel so left out because I’m not turning 40 this summer. You are in company! And I am totally on board with all of these — except the tattoo thing. I’ve got a small itch for another one on the back of my neck. Not sure I’ll do it, but I reserve right to strongly consider it.

  6. We shall welcome you to the other side with bells on and I love when there’s no pressure to perform. Makes actual performances spontaneously fun! Target has great bras. Loved (But if it would make me look skinny . . . I might consider it.). And when you get to my age (the next decade) you get to flip your “fuck it” switch. Oops…is this a family blog 😉

  7. Funny you should post this…as I turned 40 yesterday…and you are SO right–there was alot of that I did not even come close to accomplishing–so thanks for giving me kudos for not having done any of it!

  8. I turn 40 on April 3. I’m supposed to make a list? Why does no one tell me these things?! My goals are to go the bathroom uninterrupted, get my kids to clean their own rooms, sleep past 5:30 a.m., and find a dinner-cooking/dishwasher loading and unloading fairy. My dream trip extends to a trip to Target ALONE!

    • Oh sweet Heaven, I am so with you. How are we all turning 40 at the same time? I want to sleep past 5;30 too, but I want my goals to be attainable, so I don’t go there.

      On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:03 PM, Outlaw Mama

      • Yes, my body seems to enjoy waking me up at 5:30 even on the days I don’t have to go to work. It’s like my dog has finally gotten old enough that she’s willing to wait to go outside, so my body has taken over for her.

  9. Great anti-bucket list! I feel the same. I’m past 40 though. I’ll be 43 in two weeks so birthdays are on my mind. Just getting through everyday with a shower is often challenge enough. How one would fit in skydiving, ballroom dancing, etc is beyond me. I suppose not many 40-somethings have babies to care for. (Target is coming to Canada soon so I’ll soon see what all the fuss is about. I hope it’s a step above Walmart.)

    • Oh, lord, I have disappointed so many people who say, “I tried Costco and it was ‘meh.'” So, I hope you know that Target is just a brightly-lit wonderland full of the same damn crap, but it’s a little brighter there, the string cheese is cheap and you can buy boots there. Except probably not Canada boots, but little flimsy bootie boots. They work here. Report back!

      On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:18 PM, Outlaw Mama

    • Right! I have a tub of real lingerie from my bachelorette party, but I haven’t touched it because TARGET LINGERIE. Also, I am a huge prude. So there’s that.

      On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:26 PM, Outlaw Mama

  10. Turning 40 is so overrated for those of us that lived their angst in their 20’s and 30’s. While others are examining where they are for the first time in their lives, we have never stopped doing it on a daily basis. Because of this, we do not need the 40 by 40 list. If we wanted to do it, we have already done it.

    Plus, if you decided to permanently add chinese writing to your body, please ask someone who knows the language to proofread Before the inking is done.

  11. I turn 35 in November and have one goal for that birthday. If I meet that goal, I’ll think about whether I want to make any new ones. Skydiving and bungee jumping will not be on the list; I can hardly handle kiddie roller coasters.

  12. I’m only 25, and I’m with you on all fronts. I love the idea of skydiving, but I have a nervous breakdown just riding the escalator to the nosebleed seats at the ballpark. Skydiving for me would be less sky dive, and more getting nervous diarrhea in mid-air.

  13. You are so brilliant that I may have to copy you. BUT – gulp – I am paving the way for 50, in just 11 more months. How about 50 things I won’t do before 50? Or maybe only 11, like your list, because 50 is an awful lot…

  14. What the…how did I not know you’re that far along on your novel? woohoo! I though you were thinking about starting, not well in the thick of it.

    Love this list. Know what you forgot? “Actually put 40 things on my not-do list.”

    I just turned 40. I put nothing on my bucket list. Know how it feels to do something that I want, just for me, that I’m proud of *after* I turned 40? Just as freaking good if I had done it at 39.
    You’ll be really freaking proud of your novel at 41. Or 51. Doesn’t matter when. Matters what.

    Happy birthday in advance! I’m always forgetting such things, so this is probably the closest to the actual date I’ll get…

  15. Hilarious! This year is my big 3-0… the sole item on my ‘to do by 30’ list was have a kid. And I did that just in time… but it wasn’t on purpose. Haha

  16. Pingback: My Rejected “Listen To Your Mother” Piece: Celebrating Rage | Outlaw Mama

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