Adventure is Out There {40×41}

I’ve alluded to the fact that I’m exhilarated to see the days, weeks and months unfold as the big 4-0 approaches.  I truly, truly feel so deeply blessed to be at the place that I am at 39+2 days. I’m married to the man of my dreams.  I have the most beautiful boys that challenge me and teach me and inspire me every single day.  I have a family that steadfastly loves me and loves each other, on both my side and Honey’s side.  I have an amazing, irreplaceable job that I’ve never ever uttered a word of here before now (but will one day soon…maybe…cue stunned silence).  And I have true friends that span the decades of my lifetime.  I don’t desire a bigger, better house in a trendier neighborhood, I don’t dream of a second home, I don’t have any desire for a luxury car and I don’t ogle fancy jewelry.  Rather, I sit here at the brink of mid-life and I crave adventure and memories and experiences that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my lifetime.  So, over the last few weeks, I’ve been jotting down things that I’d like to do over the course of my 39th and 40th years.


  1. COMPLETE 1/25/15: Ride a horse (I’ve been terrified of them ever since Sister fell off of one as a child…meanwhile she got right back on)
  2. COMPLETE 3/8/15: Hike Kennesaw Mountain
  3. COMPLETE 5/17/17: Plant a flower cutting garden (because I have a black thumb and have always wanted one)
  4. COMPLETE 7/4/15:  Finish the Peachtree Road Race (it’s an Atlanta tradition) and then I finished it again in 2016!
  5. COMPLETE 5/17/17: Do something fabulous with the house’s old original wrought iron porch rails (I love this house so much and treasure every original feature)
  6. COMPLETE 12/13/15: See the Nutcracker at the Fox from incredible seats (I haven’t been since my parents took me in college) and then we went again in 2016!!
  7. COMPLETE 9/18/16: Do it all at Stone Mountain (just because I never have… hike the mountain, see the laser show, etc.)
  8. COMPLETE 6/20/15: Adopt a puppy (did I just write that?)
  9. COMPLETE 4/2/16: Take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Disneyland (John is also begging to do this for his 10th birthday)
  10. COMPLETE 1/20/17: Master pancake making (I cannot for the life of me make a pancake)
  11. Write a real love letter to Honey (so he can always, always have it)
  12. COMPLETE 11/5/16: Become a Eucharistic Minister (I’ve wanted to since I was a little girl)
  13. COMPLETE 4/26/17: Try one more time to eat food on the bone and like it (because it seems decidedly un-southern to not eat fried chicken on the bone)
  14. COMPLETE 2/1/4/17: Learn to make one AMAZING dish and hone a recipe that I can pass down for generations (kind of like a signature dish)
  15. COMPLETE 2/24/17: Go snow skiing!  I’ve never even seen snow outside of Atlanta!
  16. COMPLETE 1/13/17: Do something super useful with our coat closet (it is so underused that my type A+ personality is actually annoyed by it)
  17. COMPLETE 7/17/15: Get my hair blown out (most days I leave the house with it wet)
  18. COMPLETE 12/11/15: Have a fancy Christmas Party (I have wanted to for years but never have)
  19. COMPLETE 9/23/17: Become a regular somewhere (a place where I will go every week and they know me and I will go there for years and years)
  20. COMPLETE 4/9/16: Take an epic vacation to Hawaii (big big dream)
  21. COMPLETE 12/24/15: Spend Christmas Eve doing random acts of kindness (I have talked about this for three years)
  22. COMPLETE: Reread and rewatch Gone with the Wind (because it’s my all time favorite and I haven’t seen it for at least 10 years)
  23. COMPLETE 10/16/16: Attend an event at the Botanical Gardens (I’ve never been)
  24. Take a dance class (with Honey, of course)
  25. COMPLETE 3/8/17: Have $XXX in our savings account (Honey will LOVE this one)
  26. COMPLETE 9/5/16: See the sunrise and sunset at the beach in the same day (never seen a sun rise in my life and always too busy/hyperactive to soak in a sunset)
  27. COMPLETE 11/6/15: Go to an art exhibit and enjoy it (I’ve been to some amazing museums in my life but didn’t really enjoy it… probably because I was always too anxious to move on to the next thing)
  28. COMPLETE 7/6/16: Take another Disney Cruise with the extended fam (every single member of my family agrees it’s the best vacation)
  29. COMPLETE 8/3/15: Finish the garage organization project (I hate unfinished things and Honey hates finishing things)
  30. COMPLETE 5/15/15:  Celebrate Honey’s 40th in a big way (I love this man dearly and want it to be one he never forgets)  Surprise 40 yEARS Disney Trip + Birthday Party
  31. COMPLETE 4/16/15: Camp out at Disney (because I love my boys and this is totally outside of my comfort zone)
  32. COMPLETE 9/23/15: Take a party bike or surrey bike ride (every time I see one the people look like they are having an immense amount of fun)
  33. COMPLETE 6/13: Indulge in a luxurious spa day (I haven’t since before I had kids and only did a truly nice one once)
  34. COMPLETE 9/22/15: Take amazing family portraits ( all of us /  mommy & me (that will last a lifetime)
  35. COMPLETE 12/9/16: Adopt a family at Christmas (every year I want to but then I tell myself I’m too busy)
  36. COMPLETE 6/16/15: Date night at the Starlight Drive In (in the Jeep with the top down)
  37. COMPLETE 4/12/16: Explore the beltline (I don’t even +. 1know what it is but I want to see it)
  38. Become a Sunday afternoon porch napper (I did this once.  ONE TIME.  And that was because I hurt my ankle and was on pain meds.)
  39. COMPLETE 6/17/15: Shoot the Hooch (I always bring this up and anyone I tell looks at me suspiciously and asks WHY?)
  40. COMPLETE 2/11/17: Attend an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra show (I’ve only ever been once for a field trip in high school outside of many, many ballets)

I thought about not sharing any of this because it’s raw for me.  It started out as my heart’s desires in a journal I expressly prohibit anyone else from peeking in, and now it’s here for the world to read and judge.  (I realize that’s completely laughable coming from a gal that over-shares daily on her blog.)  For me, these are dreams, challenges, fears and just plain (sometimes silly) fun.

Adventure is out there and I CAN’T WAIT!

UPDATE 5/3/15: See Honey’s 40×42 list here and John’s 10×10 list here!

UPDATE 9/8/15: At 6 months in I’ve crossed off 10 items!!!  I also had to remove #25 donate blood and #40 visit san francisco.  Read all the details here.

UPDATE 3/8/16: See my 40th birthday progress one year in to the adventure!

UPDATE 9/8/16: With 6 months to go, I’ve still got a lot to do.  It’s been an epic 18 months!!!  I had #40 still open on my list and decided to attend an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra show.


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48 thoughts on “Adventure is Out There {40×41}

  1. Ballroom classes would be a fun idea for the dance part! I took some beginner group classes with my Dad a few years ago. Now you have me thinking about one with my husband. Good luck on 40 by 40 :)

  2. I LOVE this! I love all 40 of them! You are amazing and inspiring, as usual, and I'm so glad you shared this with us and you are taking us with you on these adventures. I laughed at so many of them because those are things I'd like to do as well (Gone With the Wind) (Have you read Scarlett??). And yes my mouth was agape when you said you have a job. Like a job job?? You already do so much I cannot imagine when you have time to do any thing else. But I'm certain you are awesome at whatever it is. Can't wait to hear more!!

  3. Oh!! And #8 is my favorite. If you are thinking Golden Retriever puppy look into Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston. Yes, I know that's far away but people from all over adopt from them. Just look at their website and you'll fall in love. Promise. An amazing group of people that rescue amazing dogs. I have one myself from them! Just a suggestion. :)

  4. This is fabulous!! What a terrific list! I'm a year behind you, but with my bday in two weeks you've inspired me to make my own 40 before 40 list…..i just think it'd take me two years to accomplish :). You have some wonderful list items. Enjoy them!!

  5. What a great idea and how brave to share it. Regarding the bone in chicken….there isn't any reason you have to eat every last shred…..I always left so much on it that barely looked touched/eaten. Just too messy for me. Also puppies are a challenge for experienced owners and remember adopting is a life long commitment to the animal. For the first time as pet parents you might consider an young adult dog with known behaviors and by all means lessons for everyone. Plenty of 1 or 2 yr old very active dogs looking for an active and loving home. Good Luck!

  6. Terrific list! I am turning 40 next year, would love to think of something ambitious like this. I live in the northeast but 2 years ago we took a family trip to Atlanta and explored Stone Mountain, it was amazing! I met my husband when he was stationed at Ft. Benning, so Georgia holds a special place in my heart. Happy belated birthday!

  7. Love your list! I have to confess I wouldn't be able to conquer #13, no chicken on the bone for me. Love your motto too. If you don't already have one, you need to buy yourself The Ellie Badge pin the next time you're at Disney World. Have a fun week!

  8. What software do you use for your printables? They are always so cute. Best of luck on your list. I use to have my cross country practice on Kennesaw so I was giddy to see that was the first crossed off.

  9. Oh, hit send publish too soon! Giving blood is not bad – if you can handle to rabies treatment, giving blood should be a breeze (just don't watch!). :-)

  10. Having a flower cutting garden is on my bucket list and I am right there with you on the coat closet….let's add that topic to the list to chat about in a few weeks. Such a well rounded countdown. Can't wait to watch it all come together for you!

  11. I love that you are content with your life. I feel like our 30's are when you figure out what you want and go for it. I always say that my 30's are waaaay better than my 20's. Cheers to your list. You have inspired me to make a list too.
    *PS We are all wondering what your job is now. ;)

  12. Love the list. Putting it down in writing will help you stay motivated and it will feel great to check each one off the list. Ok now you have put it out there… What's the job? Any chance you work for the mouse?

  13. Amanda,
    What a fantastic list! Maybe I'll do one for 45, which is next year. Yikes! I did a life list ten years ago, I still have it. Still working on it.
    I will honestly tell you, #12 would be an amazing experience to be a Eucharistic minister. Check with your parish, I was one at our parish in Richmond, va and Birmingham, al and volunteered. Here at our parish in Atlanta, you have to be asked. I miss it so much, to be honest. It's a humbling experience.
    Thanks for sharing your list, I think it's great to put it out there and see it in print.
    Happy b-day plus 2.

    Betsy Gordon

  14. I did #39 when I visited a bestie in Atlanta back in our early 20s. I didn't know people could still do that! We topped off our afternoon at Fat Tuesdays; it was quite a day of drinking!
    Have you visited ZTA headquarters in Indy and/or touched your chapter's link?
    Love your list!

  15. I totally love this–it is so raw and honest! (That's a good thing.) I may have to start a list like this for when I turn 60 (I'm 58 + 2 days–you, Ron, and I share the same birthday!) I don't know if I can come up with 60 things, though! ;) I like that so many of what are on your list are so simple and quite doable and lend to self growth in some way. Thanks for sharing, Amanda. I hope to meet you one day when you and Sister come to NOLA to visit Ron! xoxo

  16. I love your list…and you have a job?… You just amaze me with how much you get done as it is! I can't wait to hear about all of your adventures. I am happy to hear you are getting a puppy at some point too. I remember years ago when I was so hesitant about getting a dog and I can honestly say that getting her was one of the very best decisions we have ever made as a family. The love that a pet adds to your home is just incredible and those boys of yours will be thrilled! I admire you for saying you don't want a bigger house, fancy car etc… So many people get caught up in that whole needing to acquire possessions mode. So much better to place value on experiences – the intangibles of life. I look forward to reading about all of your adventures! What fun! Thanks for sharing your list!

  17. I have no doubt that you will have accomplished all 40 things on your list long before your 40th birthday!You've just never been to an event at the Botanical Gardens, but you have been there, right? It's one of my absolute favorite places in Atlanta. I just read that there will be an exhibit of Mo Willems work at the High staring in May I think. Children's book illustrations are my favorite type of art. I enjoy art that doesn't require a lot of deep thinking. My favorite artists are those that make me smile.

  18. Your job reveal needs to be #1!!!!! We have never dreamed you work outside the home since you are so active at your boys' school!

  19. For #20….one word AUlANI disney resort….Best vacation ever!!!!!!!!!!!. Great time to tag on Disneyland as well. We live in Tennessee and did this over the summer….BEST VACATION EVER! :-)
    And not to make you jealous but I'm typing this from the Disney Fantasy right now :-)

  20. You know I love this list! Since I have a bucket list of my own, as you know, and there are a few things we have in common … I am staking claim to #13,17 and 23! I will treat you to your first blow out! You know we will have stories! xo

  21. I definitely want to encourage you to participate in Shoot the Hooch! It is so much fun and I know your family would have a blast. It will become a new tradition! I volunteer with the Chattahoochee national recreation area and am always encouraging people to get out and enjoy our beautiful river!

    I also just wanted to say hello. I've been reading your blog for a few years now and this is my first time commenting. We have a lot of similar interests (diy stuff, Georgia Tech, Lilly, just to name a few) and it is a highlight of my day reading about your life adventures and crafty inspirations!

  22. Happy Belated Birthday! This list is fabulous; I hope you get to do every last item (its going to be a busy year or two)! What a fantastic surprise about your job. I can't wait to hear more!! For many years I had very part-time job that nobody knew about because the rest of the week I was volunteering, playing tennis and homemaking (even those who knew about it would forget). The nature of the work was changing and I elected to leave. It turned out to be, as you called your job, irreplaceable–nobody wants an attorney five days a month! Whatever your gem of a job is, I hope you hold onto it and cherish what a special thing it is to have a job that allows you to also be such an inspiring woman in so many other ways at the same time!

  23. I love this blog post! I really don't want to be negative but I don't think you weigh enough to give blood. Giving blood has always been a thing for me too. I didn't weigh enough in HS but I passed out while holding my bestie's hand when she was giving. I always felt it was something important I should do. I definitely don't have my weight as an excuse these days so its probably time to try again :-)

  24. Amanda, since you are a master at multi-tasking, I think you can easily combine some of these….How about riding a horse on the beach in Hawaii at sunrise? Seriously, you will have a great time and make so many memories as you check them off your list! Awesome idea to recognize your dreams and to act to make them come true. That is a real life lesson for your littles!

  25. Alright, what is this job you're talking about??? Have you become a travel agent for Disney??? If not, you should be! Everyone (including me) on the blog would book through you!

  26. Hi Amanda – Your list is wonderful and I love that you value experiences over possessions. Time flies by so fast before you know it you're 58 (like me) and still have a list a mile long LOL! Keep on making those memories! By the way, a group of 5 couples rented a house on Tybee Island last year…I used your blog to help us plan what to see and where to go. We loved it and enjoyed Savannah too. Not enough time to do all we wanted…guess we'll just have to go back!

  27. Oh Wow A! You are so organized and focused. I can't even get through my daily list of To Dos. I am super excited about #8 b/c I think the boys (all 3) will be so happy. And E and I will join you and Honey for #39…I haven't done it since college….I think it is more of Float Down the Hooch with a Cooler :)

  28. I love this Amanda! I may need to come up with my own bucket list for "before ahemmm 50" as I will only have 3 years after this July. And, agree with Paige on #13, 17 and 23!!! My hubby makes some MEAN ribs. Y'all just might have to come for a BBQ this summer. I also REALLY want to plant a cutting garden this spring as well.

  29. Oh, and I should get you and my #1 together regarding the horse. Elie will not even look at a horse picture without cringing as she got thrown from one at camp one year. I, however, grew up riding them!!

  30. I love a list! We turned our coat closet just inside from the garage into extra pantry shelving. I put all my plates, napkins serving pieces etc in there. Love it! We use it more now.
    Wonder if you received my email about free park passes fro 4th graders. I think that is the coolest thing.
    DiAnne in NC

  31. This is a great list! I know you will rock it- when it comes to camping– drop me a line- we go camping all the time (albeit in an RV, but still– I can give you tips!)

  32. I absolutely adore this idea and can’t wait to do something like it! This is so amazing and I love that you are making an effort to complete these things!

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