Personal

40 things before 40 part 2


Here are numbers 21 to 40, the second half of my 40 before 40 list. Will I actually get all of these done? Its doubtful, to be honest I should have started this list ages ago if I really wanted to be crossing things off, but you still need to have dreams and goals, otherwise what is the point in it all? You just never know when your time is up. No matter how healthy you stay, how well you eat, sometimes your number is up and it can be “game over” quite unexpectedly! If like me, you are a cyclist commuting on busy main roads each day, then you can take your life in your hands just getting to work, and yet we are all so good at putting things off that we can tend to forget about what our dreams were before we all grew up and had to put them on hold. Some of us get lucky and have the money and the lifestyle to be able to do all the things they want, but the reality is that the majority of us don’t get lucky breaks like this. We have to work hard, save up, and make sacrifices! Still, like I say, you just never know what is around the corner, and sometimes you just have to stop putting things off and enjoy life a bit!

21) Take a trip by myself DONE!

Probably about ten years ago, after recently splitting up with an ex I decided I wanted to do something a little different and get away from it all for a few days… on my own! I’d become a big fan of Ibiza, having visited the island a number of times. Its such a diverse island, you can party the night away, visit secluded beaches or quaint old villages, there is literally something for everyone. I booked myself a few nights away and flew out with a very simple plan, beach or pool with a book, grab a few beers, watch a few sunsets and take the opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone a little and make a few friends. It all went perfectly well until the very last night when some young local lad pretending to be friendly took advantage of my drunken state as I walked back to my hotel alone and ran off with my wallet! Thankfully there wasn’t much in it, and I’d left some money in my hotel room! Lesson learnt the hard way!

22) Print my photos

I’ve been snapping away since I was 9 or 10 years old, and have been trying to make my photos better all the time. I have a collection of albums tucked away in the loft full of prints from my old film cameras, but since the arrival of digital cameras most of my images (like everyone I guess) are all sat on hard drives somewhere, only seeing the light of day when I fire up the computer. I don’t like to hide my photos away and have printed a number of them already, some are in frames around the house, some are waiting to go into albums. I also have a large selection on a slideshow on my Apple TV which I put on every now and again, like a large digital photo frame, its fun to sit and watch! My plan is to get much more of my photos printed and into albums though, especially now we have Olivia and number two on the way! THey will be nice to dig out when they get older and want to look through them. I’ve made a start and just need to be consistently printing more each month to work my way through them. Technology continually changes, but printed photos will always look good in your hand!

23) Bungee jump

Its one of those things I’ve looked at and frequently thought “f*** that!”, but I guess if the opportunity ever came up, especially if I was dared into doing it, I’d probably give it a go… so its on my “before 40” list as its not something I’d really want to be trying for the first time when I am pushing 50 or 60! I don’t want my obituary to read “heart attack on a bungee jump… what was he thinking at 55?!”. Maybe one day the opportunity will come up, who knows?!

24) Plant a tree

Not everyone is going to change the world, and I am not likely to be remembered in history, win the nobel peace prize or have books written about me, but I would like to make my small contribution to the planet while I am still on it. We take enough out of the earth and sometimes its nice to give something back. I like to look after my garden and having trees around makes you feel like you are somehow a little further away from the grey concrete of the city. I was very lucky to move into a quiet tree-lined cul-de-sac when we bought our house, and it is especially beautiful when the blossoms on the trees running down each side of the road all flower for a few weeks each summer. So I took the opportunity to stick an apple tree in my garden when we moved in. Its lovely to watch it grow and start to fruit, and to think that it may still be here after I am gone offering its fruit and a bit more oxygen to the planet earth!

25) Ride in a hot air balloon

I’d never really given this much consideration until I started my martial arts class and got to know one of the guys there who was part of our class, who worked for a hot air balloon ride company. Sadly he moved away about a year ago and had to leave the club before I could try and hook up with him for a ride, but it did sound like fun and I’d love to give it a go! The thought of  peacefully drifting and the fantastic views, it all sounds lovely. I think I’m going to have to chase this one up and see if I can get in touch with him and cross it off!

26) See my favourite band live

Not exactly ground breaking ambitions, but sometimes the simplest things can be overlooked. Then again, sometimes life changes and we forget to chase what we really enjoy and just go with what we sometimes have time for in our busy lives. Back when I was 17 I was in full-on rock mode, I had the long hair and the black leather jacket and was all into a number of metal bands, my favourite being Metallica, and along with some friends I managed to get a ticket for one of their concerts for what now seems like the bargain price of £17, I dread to think how much it would cost to see them now! One of the other bands I got into back in my college days was a local indie band called Neds Atomic Dustbin, although I missed out on seeing them live before they split up! Much to my delight I found out that they have recently been doing some reunion gigs, and are having another one this December! So its sorted, me and a friend are booking our tickets and going to relive our youth for an evening! Sadly the long hair and the tight black jeans will have to remain a thing of the past, and we will be dressed a lot more appropriately this time!

27) Lose a stone

bathroom-scales

Oh man, this is a tough one! I have done, half marathons, tough mudders, but this is the hardest! Its no secret, I love my food, and of course I love to have a drink at the weekend too! Yeah sure, I run and cycle a lot, I do it fairly regularly, but all I seem to do is balance the calories going in with the calories I burn off. As I am turning 40 the ability to shake this bit of excess weight off is just going to get harder and harder! I guess that as I am already regularly exercising 5-6 times a week, I guess the only thing I can really change is what goes in, limit the calorie intake a little. With the wife pregnant again with our second child, she is a little conscious of post baby weight after Jr No.2 arrives, so maybe if we start planning our meals a bit better she can help me to watch what I am doing a bit! I’ve lost a stone before with the daily use of the myfitnesspal app on my phone, and so I know it works. If I can get back into using that every day then I just might crack this!

28) Own stocks or shares DONE!

Well there’s some good news and there’s some bad news. The good news is that I already own shares, and obviously its one of those things you want to do to make money on, by buying when they’re cheap and selling when they’ve gained value. As it happened when I joined Tesco they gave me some free shares with the option to buy more on a regular basis out of my salary. I couldn’t touch them for a number of years and so just sat and watched them go up in value.

Unfortunately it wasn’t all good news… Its fair to say that Tesco has definitely seen better days than it has recently. With profit scandals, store closures, and the dramatic rise of strong competitors like Lidl and Aldi, the company are seeing some dark days. While I am not shedding too many tears after the tough, spirit breaking time I had while I worked there, with some ruthless managers pushing people to breaking point, the negative impact on me now is that my shares are now worth a fraction of what I originally bought them for, and if I sold them now I’d hardly get anything for them. People keep saying “Oh just wait, they’ll recover” but the future is looking somewhat bleak. In fact the store I first worked for has only just closed down this week, and another local superstore is rumoured to be closing down in the near future too. Its a sad time for the company, and a very sad time for my shares too! I can only sit on them a bit longer and keep my fingers crossed!

29) See a Formula 1 Grand Prix live

I have been to both Silverstone here in the UK, and Spa over in Belgium, but never to see a Grand Prix. I have always wanted to see a race live, and it looks like I may finally get a chance next year. If all goes well then me and a friend get to drive to Belgium to watch the race at one of our favourite tracks the

cirduit-de-spa-francorchamps

It is also one of the easiest to get to outside of the UK, just 450 miles door-to-door, easily drivable! The european ticket prices are also far lower than Silverstone and will help to offset the cost of diesel for a fun weekend away! If I do pull this off, I will have just turned 40 when I do this, but I still count it as a win!

30) Teach Photography

What did I want to do when I was growing up? Well we all had our ideas and plans, and I’d like to bet that very few of us actually followed through with our dreams and ended up doing what we’d always dreamed of. I certainly never intended to work in a special needs school, or in retail, topping up my wages with bar work. One passion I’d always had since I was about 10 was the photography, but never thought of it as a career option, even when I was in college, and never thought I’d be good enough to do anything with it once I first considered that it could be an option. Eventually I was convinced by a friend to give it a go, and started shooting weddings, which I still do now and still enjoy. One thing I learned along the way is that the money isn’t necessarily in high paying clients or filling up my calendar with back to back weddings each weekend, the real money to be made is in the training! People will happily pay good money for all kinds of training, and this is especially true with photography where the training is notably expensive! It is definitely an area I would like to make plans to cross over into, perhaps to bring a little extra money in, and ideally be able to stay at home while Jr.1 and Jr.2 are little!

31) Learn to Drive DONE!

This may seem obvious and a bit less of an exciting goal, but in reality this is life changing and I still know so many adults that cannot drive! I have been driving for 20 years now, and can’t even begin to imagine what life would have been like without a driving license! Even if I’d only just passed my test and got one now, that’s 20 years of being very restricted in what I could do or where I could go prior to it. I’ve driven in America and across Europe and it has been a blessing. Undeniably it has become ridiculously expensive here in the UK with insurance prices rocketing and the introduction of the theory test, all adding to a very expensive experience for new drivers. I am lucky to have got my driving license when I did and it has helped with work, travel, photography and seeing friends and family that would otherwise have been difficult or impossible without it! Like I said at the start, this list isn’t just a bunch of things I want to try to do or have already done, its also a mix of things that would count others approaching this landmark birthday.

some I want to do, and some I have already done.

32) Learn to make cocktails DONE!

Who doesn’t love a good cocktail, they’re not just for the ladies! I had a brief experience working in a bar in the city centre that trained me how to mix and pour cocktails. The pouring was just as important as you had to count the alcohol rather than measure it. It was fun, I loved working there and enjoyed the experience, even if it did mean some extra late finishes, but sadly the bar went out of business and I was forced to find another bar to work in. Afterwards I did make cocktails at home with friends every now and again, and had fun making a few new ones up, but these days I tend to stick to a nice bottle of red if we have friends over. 

33) Learn yoga

Not something I have been desperate to try before now, but I know a few who do or have tried yoga, and they swear by it! To be honest, I am just curious as to what all the fuss is about, and whether it would help me with my running or my martial arts! There is every chance I won’t try this before I am 40, but I am intrigued enough to consider giving it a go at some point!

34) Own my own home DONE!

A mans home is his castle, and that is certainly what it feels like when you have a place you can call your own, especially when it is filled with the sounds of a loving family. When we found out we were expecting our first child we were still living in the flat together and realised that we needed to move quickly into second gear and find a house to live in fast! We moved into the house that used to belong to the wife’s grandparents, and so it was nice to keep it in the family, plus it was on a lovely, quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac which was perfect for us, particularly suitable for families and small children. I grew up on a quiet road myself, and it was nice being able to play in the street without the worry of heavy traffic passing by regularly, which was what it was like when we were in the flat! 

35) Complete a 365 project DONE!

I decided that as my wedding photography was part time, I wanted to keep using my camera even between weddings, to get to a point where I knew every lens and button inside out, and could use the camera in the dark and with my eyes closed. I figured a 365 project would be fun, where I had to take one photo every single day for a year. In fact I had so much fun doing it that I continued it into year two and managed to keep it going for two solid years in a row. It wasn’t easy towards the end, finding something different every day was tough, but it covered a very interesting time in our life and will be wonderful to look back on if I can get the photos printed into a photo album or photo book of some kind!

36) Write a bucket list

One saying that I hear always sticks in my mind, “I do not regrets the things I have done, but those I did not do.”

Its a great saying to live by, but obviously having a wife and family now, some of the things I “did not do” are going to have to stay that way. There is still a lot of time to be thinking about what else I would like to do while I still have the chance though, and thankfully a lot of my potential bucket list can wait a little longer! I know things like visiting NYC are not urgent and while I’d love to one day drive through Tuscany and photograph a beautiful sunset there to print on a canvas and hang on my wall, it can wait a while. I believe every man needs to have dreams though, which reminds me of another saying that I like, “a man without dreams is like a bird without wings”. Sometimes we get so caught up in our routines, especially once we have started families, and have been so sidetracked by our jobs that we might forget about doing all the things that we like doing, or may have dreamed about doing, until one day its suddenly too late. Its a well known point that the people who really appreciate time the most are the ones who have so little of it left. One lovely film I enjoyed with the wife a while back was “The bucket list” with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, which makes you think about what you’d do if you suddenly realised time was almost up and you may never get the chance to do the things you’d always wanted to! I will start crossing a few things off soon, but first I need to get writing!

37) Learn to cook new dishes

I used to be such a fussy eater as a child, although I am much better now. Still not a fan of sea food though, a bit of a frustrating hurdle I can’t seem to get past!  I do enjoy cooking and have tried lots of new dishes, I especially love cooking for friends when we have them over, and its always fun trying to cook something new, although I don’t often get the chance, One thing I have never cooked is a curry,  I’ve not even attempted it, if you exclude the jars of cooking sauces I sometimes use! The irony is that I enjoy them so much, but I have always been put off from attempting to cook them by the first every curry cook book I owned being so complicated with so many ingredients I had never heard of, or would have no idea where to even begin looking for them! Still, I now own a recommended book called the curry bible, so I am going to delve in and give it a shot! Hopefully I won’t poison anyone, maybe I shouldn’t try it out at a dinner party!

38) Go wine tasting DONE!

On our honeymoon, as we were spending two weeks in California, we thought we should take a day out to sample the local wine. We had planned to spend out honeymoon driving down the coast, and had started our journey in San Francisco, only a short drive from the well known Napa Valley, and the lesser known, but equally beautiful Sonoma Valley. We booked a day trip where we were taken on a coach from San Francisco to three vineyards throughout the two regions, and got to taste some very different wines and buy some of the local produce. It was a really fun day and I’d love to do something similar again! Maybe if I get to arrange that driving holiday through France that I’ve always wanted to do…?

39) Take 40 days off alcohol

For numerous reasons I’d like to have a go at this. Like most people I love to have a drink, although usually only at the weekend.  I don’t have the energy any more for cycling to work, doing a full days work, and coming home to a two year old, all on a hangover any more, so weekdays are out for me! Even at the weekends I don’t drink that much any more, but I still could do with cutting it out for a while. It is also something that is full of calories (see point 27) that I can easily get a little carried away with, which isn’t much good on a calorie counting diet when I am trying to lose weight. Plus it will be nice to reset the system and detox for a bit. Why 40 days you ask? Well, just because the number 40 ties in with my age really, and it looks like I am making a bit more effort than just having the weekend off!

40) Plan my 40th

My 18th was an reasonably uneventful evening in town with a few friends, my 21st was a sensible family bbq, my 30th was a night in a pub up town, a bigger turn out that my 18th at least, but ruined by the fact that my then girlfriend only bothering to get me a card, and the only surprise I was getting was that there was no present! So that leaves me with my 40th, and what to do? It can’t be any more of an anticlimax than previous milestone birthdays, and I don’t intend to let it pass unnoticed.

Though this list may be long, the three main things I had always wanted to achieve before 40 was, getting married, buying a house and having children, and I did it! I managed all three, and if that isn’t cause for celebration then I don’t know what is! I think my original plans for hitting Vegas with friends for our joint 40th has now well and truly gone out of the window, especially with No.2 now on the way, but I am sure we can still do something fun!
If you were to be turning forty, or are actually turning forty, what would be on your list?

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