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  • Writer's pictureMalaga Mama

40 Things to Do Before Turning 40

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

How to make your thirties a productive decade

Turning 40 is viewed as a huge milestone. Many people go all out with their 40th birthday celebrations while others like to pretend it’s not happening.

Lots of people have things they’d like to do before reaching the big four-oh.

Following on from my last post on turning 30, I’ve decided to create my list of goals I’d like to achieve before celebrating my next big birthday.

So if you’re looking for inspiration for your own goals, bucket list ideas, or thoughts on what to do in your spare time, you might find a few ideas here.


1. Write a book: I’d like to write and publish a fiction book. I’ve started a couple over the years but never found the time to finish them off so I’m hoping I’ll finally commit to completing one.

2. Write a children’s book: Now I’ve got a daughter I think it would be a nice idea to write a children’s book that I could get printed and give to her.

3. Sell some of my art: I enjoy painting in my spare time (not that I have much of that these days!) so it would be great if I could make a little money out of this hobby.

4. Earn money from my blog: In an ideal world, I’d live completely off my blog! But my realistic goal is to use it as a source of a little extra income.

5. Publish an eBook on my blog: As I build up my content offer on my blog I’d love to eventually collate some posts into a valuable eBook for my audience.

6. Have 50 published guest posts: Guest posts are a great way to get your name out there in the blogging world and improve your website’s ranking. I’d like to have 50 guests posts published on different websites.

7. Mentor a young person in my industry: I’d like to give something back professionally to someone just starting out, whether it’s in translation, writing or blogging. I know how difficult it can be to get into the swing of things, especially as a freelancer, so I’d like to help someone else find their feet.


8. Read 100 books: I used to be an avid reader, then I had a baby and my free time was magically swallowed up. This averages out at 10 books a year, which I would easily do pre-baby.

9. Learn a new skill: I’m not sure what this will be yet. I’ll have to investigate a little. I’m also open to suggestions!

10. Grow some tomatoes: I know almost nothing about gardening but I’d like to jump on the plant bandwagon and have a tomato plant. My husband loves tomatoes.

11. Establish an exercise routine: Bleugh. I need to do this but I’m already not feeling motivated. Send help.

12. Get in shape: As a follow on to the previous one. I need to establish the routine first but ultimately, I’d like to lose a little weight (around 4 kg) and tone up post-baby.

13. Run 10 km: This is definitely a more ambitious goal. I hate running and would much rather do a sport when exercising but I’d like to say I’ve run 10 km at least once in my life.

14. Go to a luxury spa: After all that running I’ll need a good massage. I’ve been to a few spas over the years but I’d like to go to one that is really “luxury” to see if it’s worth it.

15. Try a new hairstyle: I change the colour of my hair quite regularly but not the cut. My hair is naturally quite wavy and it doesn’t cope well in the Malaga climate (IT’S THE HUMIDITY!) so I’m not sure what I’ll go for.

16. Try 20 new recipes: I’d like to be a better cook in general so trying new recipes is the way to do that.

17. Make a Spanish omelette: These are so easy to make but my husband (or mother-in-law) insist on making them in my house as they’re Spanish. I’d like to at least attempt one myself once.

18. Learn how to decorate a cake properly: I’d love to be able to make great cakes for birthdays, with swirly icing and decorations included. My current oven is so out of control though (see point 26) that this won’t be happening any time soon.

19. Make a fancy dessert: I’m thinking something non-sponge cake that looks fancy, like a pavlova.

20. Treat myself to an expensive fashion item: We mamas deserve to treat ourselves from time to time. I think the last clothes I bought myself were maternity clothes (more than two years ago!). Time to stop neglecting myself.

21. Go to another music gig: My husband and I were meant to be going to see Guns N Roses next week in Seville but coronavirus put an end to that (wah).

22. Buy a piano: I had a piano at home in Scotland, which my dad has now sold. I’d like to finally own one here in Spain.

23. Host a Murder Mystery Night: I’ve never done one of these before but it could be fun.

24. Own a decent camera: Right now I only use my mobile phone to take photos. I’d love to have a great camera to take great quality pictures.


25. Try skiing: Neither I nor my husband have been skiing before. I’m ashamed to say that as a Scot. We live close to Sierra Nevada in Granada so we’ll have to get up there some time with our daughter in tow. I’m sure she’d love seeing snow for the first time.

26. Renovate my kitchen: We bought our house a little over two years ago now and I’ve been dying to tear out the kitchen since the day we moved in. It’s old-fashioned, it’s poorly laid out, there’s not enough storage space, and my oven will incinerate anything that goes into it. I could go on.

27. Renovate my basement: One of the major draws to our house when we decided to buy it was the huge basement and the potential it has. It’s currently a giant storage room for lots of baby stuff and clothes, and my husband has his “man cave” down there too. Ideally, we’d convert it into a play room with a space for storage and a shared office space for both myself and my husband.

28. Have a family picnic: I’m talking proper picnic with a blanket on the grass.

29. Show my daughter Scotland: I’ve been back to my home country with my daughter a few times but she’s too young to understand anything yet. When she’s a few years older I’d like to show her all the places I used to hang out.

30. Take my daughter to Disney World: I’m sure when we do this my entire family is going to tag along too. I can’t wait to see my little one’s face when we go.


31. Go to a 5-star hotel: The only time I’ve stayed in a 5-star hotel was on my honeymoon in Thailand so it was insanely cheap. It was a great experience so I’d definitely like to go to another 5-star hotel some time.

32. Go to a music festival: My husband and I were planning on going to Download Festival in 2017, but we didn’t fancy the line-up. Then I fell pregnant and what do you know? The 2018 line-up was incredible and we were unable to go because I was massive by then (8 months pregnant and waddling like a penguin). We’re rockers at heart so I’d love to see a good line-up at Download, Rock am Ring, or Graspop.

33. Go camping/glamping: I’ve been camping once in a tent. In Fort William. In Scotland. It was one of the coldest experiences of my life! I’d like to try camping here in Spain with my husband and daughter. Definitely in a fixed caravan at a campsite though. Or maybe some form of glamping (possibly at a music festival - see previous point).

34. Travel to 5 new countries: Pre-baby we travelled quite a lot. Now our daughter is getting bigger, I’m starting to feel more prepared to tackle travel again. I’d like to visit five countries that are new to me.

35. Visit 5 new places in Spain: There are so many great places to see in Spain and we often forget about them. They’re so close we always think we can visit them any time but we never do. So I’d like to visit five different towns or cities I’ve never visited before. Almeria is definitely one of them (they filmed some of Game of Thrones there, as well as some old Hollywood westerns).

36. Visit a local attraction I’ve not been to: Similar to my reasoning for my previous goal, I’d like to visit an attraction here in Malaga that I’ve not been to. There are plenty and there are always new ones popping up as Malaga’s cultural options continue to increase.

37. See the Northern Lights: Inspired by my husband who said he’d like to see the Northern Lights. I’ll tag along too.

38. Go to a Christmas market: I love Christmas and I’d love to go to a Christmas market in Germany, Poland or the Czech Republic so I can sneak one of these in as one of my new countries I’ll be visiting.

39. Go back to the Grand Canyon: I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Grand Canyon before with my family when I was 16 but I’d like to go back with my husband and daughter. It’s such an incredible place and not hard to see why it’s a Natural Wonder of the World.

40. Go back to New York: I’ve visited New York several times over the years but I’d like to go back again with my husband and daughter. There’s so much to do and see that you can never have too much New York!

So there you have my list of 40 things to do before turning 40. I’ll try to update my progress every year.

What’s on your list? Or what life goals do you have? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and share this post.

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