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38 things to do before i turn 39

June 11, 2013


Thirty-eight. Thirty-eight? Thirty-eight!

I’ve been repeating it, like a mantra, like a question, like I’ve forgotten something, like you’re pulling my leg? But here it is. The day of the year that I turn 38 and no matter how much time I spend wondering how it happened, it is happening. I tell people that I’m not particularly fussed about turning 38. “It’s only a number”, I say. But the truth is I feel I should have accomplished something with all those years. Something grand. Perhaps that feeling is simply the seed of a midlife crisis. So I thought if I compiled this list, right? This list of things that would make me feel appropriately proud of my 38 years that somehow the number wouldn’t matter so much. Because I want to be the person who doesn’t care about the number. I want to be the woman comfortable in her own skin, all 38 years of it. I want to own those worry wrinkles and laugh lines. I want that inner peace, that freedom, that confidence that certain 40-something women possess. I want those years to empower me, not weaken me.

Oh! But this is becoming all too serious, if not bordering on melancholy. What I really want to say is IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! Screw the existential crisis, bring on the cake! Woop! Woop!

And it’s with this attitude that I ran my hyper caffeinated ass into bed this morning and jumped on top of my poor sleeping husband squealing “Guess what day it is, baby?” and he sang “Happy birthday dear shnoooooogs” in the sweetest sleepy voice and I told him his breath smelled of dead rats and we had a little giggle and I realised that though the age says 38, the personality most certainly says 8… so really, I have nothing to worry about.

But I still love a good list, so, in no particular order… 38 things to do before I turn 39

  1. buy a turntable and start a vinyl collection thank you, dear husband
  2. take a hip hop dance class
  3. go to a car boot sale in search of old mismatched picture frames
  4. finally frame honeymoon photos
  5. pay off credit card debt
  6. adopt a pet
  7. go back home for a visit (oh canada) 
  8. take a driving lesson in london
  9. make elderflower cordial
  10. do the 3-peaks challenge 
  11. buy a popcorn machine
  12. see the arcade fire live (again)
  13. write a book
  14. hire an accountant (boring, but necessary)
  15. apply for a new uk visa (also boring, also necessary)
  16. write more letters
  17. read moby dick
  18. learn how to use a dark room
  19. bake cupcakes
  20. grow a garden
  21. start a family
  22. get an article published in uppercase magazine
  23. ride a motorcycle
  24. get another tattoo
  25. swim in the serpentine at hyde park, early morning
  26. have a garden party
  27. find out where the girls from gifford’s circus get their clothes and dress like this for a day
  28. go out dancing with my husband
  29. try a new camera
  30. see the northern lights
  31. sit on someone’s shoulders at an outdoor concert
  32. cycle from london to brighton (this weekend)
  33. go snow boarding
  34. watch casablanca
  35. accentuate the positive
  36. learn to say no and not feel guilty for it
  37. find “my unique scent”, nothing too perfumey, just something that makes people say “you smell nice”
  38. let go
11 Comments leave one →
  1. Soph permalink
    June 11, 2013 5:05 pm

    Happy Birthday Jeanine!!! For me it will be 34 in one month and I find making a list great idea! There is no time to waste 😉

  2. Michelle permalink
    June 11, 2013 5:41 pm

    Good List Sis! Did you receive your b.d present? That should help with #17 🙂
    Super excited to see #7 on this list too 🙂 Hope you enjoy your 38th year! xoxo

  3. June 11, 2013 7:05 pm

    Happy Birthday…you are still a baby…I thought 40 were the best years…no maybe 50 was the best…still holding out on judging the 60’s…Have fun..and don’t take things to seriously…life is short…do whatever the hell you like.

  4. Christina permalink
    June 11, 2013 7:21 pm

    If you do #7, I can give you back your #11. But mostly #21!!!!!!! I so want to be an Auntie!!!!!! ILY. I hope you had an awesome day.

  5. sophie permalink
    June 12, 2013 12:35 am

    WRITE THE BOOK! Yeahhhh! I’ll be the first to buy it. Heck, can I reserve the first copy? (Move over, “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat Pray Love”)

    Actually, can I play you when the movie comes out?


  6. June 12, 2013 8:52 pm

    Happy Birthday!!! You have some ambitious goals on your list! I am excited to hear about all of them…babies and books and vinyl records? Wow. You are so awesome, I don’t doubt for a minute that you will do it all!!! I hope you have had a wonderful day! xoxoxo

  7. Naomi Hattaway permalink
    June 13, 2013 12:38 am

    Let’s do 20 together. In honor of June birthdays (mine was the 9th!) ….

  8. June 17, 2013 9:57 am

    Happy Belated birthday. You’ve created a very doable list and I can’t wait to see how you tick them off one at a time. Check out “Child” perfume at It has a soft lovely scent that never fails to elicit compliments whenever I wear it. I hope that your day was everything that you imagined it to be. Blessings, Lydia

  9. Kim permalink
    June 18, 2013 11:33 am

    I’m going to be turning 47(?!!) next month and I feel the same way as you do now. Yikes! 🙂 When #13 hits the shelf I will certainly be buying. I bet if you were to make a list of 39 things you’ve already tackled you’d feel pretty good about your 38 years. I’ve read and seen some amazing accomplishments in these pages. Photographs, travels, this blog, marathons, adventures etc etc etc… Top that off with being an really swell gal and you’ve got a great list going. I hope you had a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and that the celebrations continue a lifetime! xox

  10. Alison permalink
    June 24, 2013 7:00 pm

    It took me 55 years and a trip to another continent to find a scent that suited me. I believe it was worth the wait.
    #21 a human family? You and Joe would be such good parents. Your child would be laughing all the time. Wonderful hon. Just wonderful.
    I so hope you see the Northern Lights. I thought I never would and when I did oh was it awe inspiring.
    You are such a great list maker and this is a good one.

  11. January 8, 2016 8:18 am

    just wondering did you go for majority of your wish list during last two years or not

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