By the time you turn 40, there’s a good chance that you’ve done a lot of cool things in your lifetime. As an added bonus, you’ve made enough mistakes that you’re wiser than ever. Nothing catches you off guard anymore, and if it does, you’re more likely to let it roll off your back. You’ve had enough bad haircuts over the years to know that confidence comes from within, and you’ve given up caring what most people think anyway. You’ve probably even met some great people that you can truly call your friends. But, here’s the kicker that comes with this milestone birthday – you start to realize there’s still a ton of stuff you haven’t done yet! So before you cross that threshold of achievement known as your 40th birthday, there’s some planning to be done.

Some people start thinking about turning 40 sometime after turning 30. But whether you’re a decade away or the big 4-0 is just around the corner, there’s so much you can do to embrace the occasion. Instead of sitting back, quietly building a cocoon in hopes that the butterfly version of yourself will emerge on your 40th birthday, go out and celebrate…now! We have been conditioned to be afraid of turning 40. But it’s truly something to be proud of and wear like a badge of honor.

It’s time to maximize your time on this amazing earth and try something new, maybe a few things before leaping in to your next decade. Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to have an adrenaline rush from something other than a crisis at work or a break from the insane things your kids attempt while you’re at said job? Here are a few things you absolutely should plan to do before you turn 40. And hey, if you’re over the age of 40 and these things remain firmly on your bucket list, get out there! It’s definitely not too late to do any of them.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square

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You have to admit you’ve been wondering about this all your life. What’s it really like to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square? What’s it like to be crammed in next to all those people to watch the historic ball drop as everyone cheers and rings in the New Year together? In the spirit of your birthday and the famous ball drop, this free first-come-first-serve event will no doubt be memorable (even if it’s one you will probably never want to do again). But hey, you can say you finally did it and answer questions like, “But what if you have to pee?” from all those who have yet to experience one of the most magical New Year’s Eves one could ever have.

Write a letter to your younger self and future self

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Once you get past feeling silly for writing, “Dear Me,” you can get to the heart and soul of what you really want to say to yourself. Think about who you were in your 20s. What do you want to say to that person? Do you want to let them know it’s okay that they had a bad relationship or two? Tell them it’s okay that they got fired from their job or didn’t know what they wanted to do with their life. Maybe let them know not to worry because things eventually worked out. And then write a letter to your 60 year old self. Tell that person your goals and everything you’re getting done on your bucket list this year. You’ll be surprised how much you will enjoy reading this letter when you’re twenty years older.

Find someone to mentor

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Chances are you got where you are in your life right now because of the kindness of someone who taught you a thing or two. Perhaps it was a coach, a good friend, or even a really awesome boss (yes, those do exist). If there’s a young person in your life that could use your help, reach out to them and take them under your wing. Having someone to look up to is truly inspiring, and being the person someone looks up to is even better. Being able to pass down your wisdom and give advice to others is not only incredibly rewarding, but it may even help you realize a few things about yourself.

Jump out of an airplane and swim with sharks

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After all, what’s a real bucket list without those things, right? Oh wait, this list is supposed to be about realistic things to do before turning 40.  Depending on your personality, those might not be out of the question and some may say those are severely unrealistic no matter how old you are. The real point here, is to try something new. Travel somewhere you’ve never been. Try a new type of cuisine, test drive a really cool car, get a different hairstyle, new wardrobe (we can help with that!), learn a new language, or really anything fun that you’ve never done before.

Travel with a friend

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Doing something you’ve never done before can be a little scary if you don’t have company. For that reason, bring a spouse or good friend along with you. Head somewhere you’ve never been and explore the sites and try the food together. Take pictures, keep a journal, and make the trip as memorable as possible.

Take a class

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Whether it’s one of those painting events where everyone paints the same picture or an online class where you learn a new business skill, take a course. The older we get, we start to realize that there’s so much that we don’t know. Surprisingly, learning becomes a lot more fun, too. There are a plethora of learning opportunities everywhere – from online courses to your local library. Think about something you want to learn and search for it. Best of all, a lot of classes are available for a fraction of the cost you spent on one class in college.

Do a random act of kindness

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Stuck on “turning 40.” Feeling like your “life is over” because you’re becoming “middle aged.” Doing a random act of kindness can totally help you snap out of feeling sorry for yourself. (But seriously, chill. 40 won’t be that bad!). Whether you buy the drink for the customer behind you in line at the coffee shop, shovel your neighbor’s driveway, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or randomly send a friend some flowers, doing good always feels good.


By the time you’re 40 there’s no doubt that you have developed a unique set of interests to help define who you are. So why not share them with the rest of the world? Shop our all over print collections of art, sports, animals, and more. We have thousands of designs to choose from and add to your wardrobe!

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