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Getting Closer to Forty, Crossing Off Items & Having Fun

By Isabel Kallman

Even though I have been writing elsewhere for this here website, I haven’t visited this corner too much because I have been busy working, traveling or just plain having fun.

Hiking in La Jolla with Kashi

One topic that I MUST write about is my birthday. It’s now a couple of weeks past, but boy-o-boy was it fun. I was a guest of one of my favorite food companies, Kashi* and started the day with a hike led by the Kashi executives themselves. If I could pick one way to start a special day, it would be hiking (Kashi did not know this; they are just who they are, doing what they do). In fact, pre-motherhood I was an avid hiker, going on hiking adventures in North America.

Anyhow, now that I am 38 years old the point of this piece is to reassess my 40 Before 40 List, the one I created last year at the request encouragement of my friend Amy.
As we review my list, I’m also putting it in the context of some decisions I’ve made over the past 12 months.

Decision #1

I am very proud thus far of what I have done, particularly as I have proceeded at a nice non-manic pace and actually enjoyed the process. My goal is NOT “accomplishment” but rather fun or doing something that is very meaningful to me.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:
#1. Read the Wizard of Oz with my son
#2. Make exercise a regular part of my life again. (If I don’t work out I get cranky and twitchy now)
#3. See fireworks for the first time through my son’s eyes. (this past July 4th)
#4. Raise money for a cause that is important to me by walking. (on April 26, 2009)

Here’s where I’ve made some more progress:
#5. Finish reading the Harry Potter series. I think I gave up at Book 5. (I’ve picked up the series again; but not done!)
#6. Throw my first Halloween Party. DONE!
#7. Become a US Citizen. (Perhaps my most important goal; I’m very close; just one last interview with the INS and then I’ll be sworn in).

Decision #2
At least for me, I’ve learned that lists are only good if you actually schedule the items. When you schedule things, they get done. Admit it, a To-do List does not command as much respect. Below are the items that I will be scheduling because I am dying to do them, require reservations and once they’re in the calendar they WILL happen and I expect to love it!

#8. Take trapeze lessons with my son.
#9. See Madame Butterfly performed by the Metropolitan Opera.
#10. Take my son to see the Nutcracker.
#11. See my favorite ballet again, I’m Old Fashioned by Jerome Robbins. I sure hope NYCB performs it soon.
#12. Spend the night at the Hayden Planetarium with my boys.

Decision #3
I’ve also realized that my original list contained an awful lot of traveling. Yes, I would love to travel to all of these places over the next two years, but I love being with my husband and son too. Big Sur isn’t going anywhere but my son is changing before my eyes and I want my weekends for him. Also, with my husband’s work and son’s school schedules, visiting ALL these places as a family within 24 months is just not feasible or realistic. So yeah, the vast majority of trips are being scratched from my list and replaced with seven other dreams.

New Additions:
#13. Build my son’s Family Tree. At a blogger immersion at I was introduced to the amazing genealogical sources out there.**
#14. Cook more often. Definitely working on it!
#15. Make yoga a regular part of my life again.
#16. Finish decorating my apartment to my satisfaction.
#17. Go Letterboxing with my son.
#18. Start a weekly Family Game night.
#19. Renew my driver’s license (I let it expire; d’oh. In my defense, I live in NYC and public transportation is just better).

Travel Item I’m keeping:
#20. Visit Jackson Hole.

Items that continue on the list:
#21. Make a batch of fried green tomatoes.
#22. Learn to snowboard.
#23. Read the first Harry Potter with my son.
#24. Learn the recipe to my mom’s Tomato Rice with Shrimp.
#25. Watch Gone with the Wind for the first time.
#26. Take my son on a walk through the campus of my Alma Mater.
#27. Take a hot air balloon ride.
#28. Take my son to see the balloons being filled on the eve of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. DONE!
#29. Go sledding in Central Park.
#30. Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens on Cherry Blossom Day.
#31. Have my wedding album published. Shameful, I know.
#32. Have my wedding video finished. Gosh, I hope the video company is still in business.
#33. Catch-up on Family Albums for each year. Where did I leave off?
#34. Take my son to Ground Zero and (if he is emotionally ready for it) explain what happened on 9/11.
#35. Throw my first Holiday Open House.
#36. Set up a DIY outdoor theater and invite other families over for movies and popcorn.
#37. Redo my home office.
#38. Re-read my favorite book, Song of Solomon.
#39. Find a new favorite book.
#40. Vote for the first time. (But first I need to become a US citizen)

So, I’ll keep you abreast periodically of how I’m doing. Or, you can just check back here where I’ll update the post.
* I participated in a blogger trip to visit Kashi HQs. They paid for my trip, including travel, lodging, activities and provided me with products. It was a blast and I continue to love their all natural foods!
** I participated in a blogger trip to visit They paid for my trip, accommodations, and provided me with products. I am now addicted to and creating my family tree.


Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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Boston Mamas

Spreading fabulous karma and being generally awesome and lovable… DONE. xo Christine


I’ll be 39 in December and am really thinking hard about that transition too. This is great though because I’ve been overwhelmed with all the “life list” talk – a year or two I can handle. 🙂 I want to dig into as well. I come from a huge family in the DC area but know very little about my ancestors in Ireland and Germany. I’ll have to ask you and Kyran for some tips. ________ Laurie, Thank you for this! You are lucky, there is LOADS of info about ancestors from Ireland & Germany in the database.… Read more »


This is very cool — love the items on the list, both wide-scoped and yet somehow attainable. Bossy wants to do one of the things with you.
How about watch Gone With The Wind together? Bossy has seen snippets, over and over again, different snippets, but never saw the whole thing straight to back.
OMG– Alpha Mom is so honored! Yes, Gone With The Wind it is. Expect an invite sooooooon. xoxo


I am so glad you watched fireworks. I just adore you and yr list is awesome girl. smooches. xooxxo


Trapeze lessons? Wha….?

Sugar Jones

Trapeze classes? Now THAT sounds like fun! I know there is a trapeze school in Manhattan. I need any excuse to get back there! Might have to add that to my list. 🙂
Isabel: If you come, I will join you! I still haven’t had the courage to do it yet. The one I know of is outside on the West Side Highway. Is it too late for your schedule to wait for the warm weather? If so I’m sure there’s one indoors as well.

Nigel Lane

wow! That’s a heck of a list, good luck with all of that!