Things I Want to Do Before Turning 45

Hiking near Telluride

Unless I get hit by a bus, I plan on living until at least age 90. In fact, most of the life expectancy calculators I’ve tried suggest that I might even live longer! It’s never fun to think about getting older, but at age 41, as I approach the second act of my life, there are a few things I want to do before turning 45.

Visit Another Continent

As much as we’ve traveled over the past couple of years, I’ve only seen North America and Europe. There are some places on Earth that I could care less about seeing, the Middle East and most of Africa come to mind, but there are also lots of others that I’d love to visit.

At the top of the list are Australia and Asia. The further you go, the more money it takes to get there, but I am actively banking points and miles so we can travel inexpensively. Since we took a huge trip this year, we’re sticking to the US next summer and taking the train across the country. That trip is now mostly booked, and I’m concentrating on making another epic trip in 2017 where we can knock off one or maybe both continents on the list.

climbing mountains after age 40
Hopefully, I can still play in the mountains for many more years!

Do a Foreign Language Immersion Program

Every time I have a patient who speaks mostly Spanish, I tell myself I’m going to do better about learning this language. I could be on the Donald Trump/ Sarah Palin train and expect everyone in the US to speak “American,” but since the US seems to be the only developed country in the world that doesn’t promote learning a second language, I want to move beyond assuming everyone should know English.

Another reason to become passable in another language is for my daughter. It opens more doors career wise and allows her to function more efficiently if traveling abroad. Jim has a business colleague whose daughter did a language immersion program in Spanish then got a degree in chemical engineering. Companies were fighting over her when it came time to apply for jobs. I have no idea what my daughter might want to do with her life as an adult, but the more tools I can give her, the better off she’ll be.

Own a Property Outright

We currently have four mortgages. One for our primary home and three for rental properties. The most taxing payment right now is on the commercial building that holds my former optometry practice. Once that is done, we can pretty much use a debt snowball to pay off the rest of the properties and be financially independent. The office building is on track to be paid off by the time I’m 45, which will be an amazing birthday present!

Work With the Public Health Service in Alaska

I had thought this would be a goal for after we hit FI, but this is actually happening next month! Although this Alaska trip is only for a week, hopefully, it will open the door for more opportunities. Ultimately, this type of situation could allow me to work for a short period of time, earn lots of money, then take an extended amount of time off. That scenario fits well with our early retirement plans.

If you’re curious, check out this calculator to check your life expectancy. I have no financial relationship with this company, but I thought it was a pretty all inclusive calculation. 

Do you have goals you hope to accomplish before a certain age? Have you ever tried a life expectancy calculator? 



Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of


  1. It’s a good list! I need to work on my goals to achieve by 50 (a little over 2 years for me). Travel is one, though I need to do more travel in country because there’s a lot of the US that I still haven’t seen. Having paid off properties is good too.
    But my biggest goal for the next two years is probably to turn our home into our forever home. We have a lot of DIY projects that we need to wrap up: remodeling the kitchen so that we can finally hook up a dishwasher, tiling the basement with the tile we bought 5 years ago, etc. If we can get them done over 2 years, I will be thrilled.

  2. Those are great goals! In Utah we have public schools that offer dual language immersion programs. My children are all in the Chinese program and while it is difficult now, I hope the opportunities will make it worthwhile.

    My youngest child did a private Spanish preschool so we are trying to help him maintain those skills. The last two summers we have done a Spanish immersion trip to Costa Rica and Domincan Republic. Learning and practicing in a Spanish speaking community is a lot more fun than a classroom. My goal is to use these opportunities to improve my Spanish skills too. In the DR our cook and babysitter (hiring them was surprisingly affordable) didn’t speak any English so I definitely improved my language skills just communicating our daily needs.

    These opportunities can be very affordable if you travel during the low season and rent a home for a month or more. Go for it!!

    1. Thanks for the feed back. We don’t have any immersion programs in local schools but I have looked at some programs in Central America and that’s what we’ll probably do when the time comes.

  3. I have never even been to Europe, so I would definitely love to go to another continent one of these days! We would really like to go to Japan for the Olympics, so hopefully if all goes as planned I’ll check off Asia on my travel list.

  4. I love this list! It’s great that you’re setting targets like this, to have some fun things to aim for, in addition to all of the big financial goals. Travel is top of our list, too, especially the continents we haven’t visited, either — Asia, Africa, South America… So is learning Spanish, and we have the program sitting on the shelf, waiting for us to have time. Off to see how long we’re likely to live… 😉

  5. Owning a property outright in the next 4 years is lofty but will be a great birthday gift to yourself and accomplishment!

    I highly recommend doing a Language Immersion program and get your daughter involved around learning 2-3 languages with you. Rosetta Stone is a good start. I have now done 5 different immersion programs for Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Unfortunately I lost much of what I learned due to not using it once i returned to the United States, but the memories I gained, culture I learned, and the exponential growth in my confidence with languages were worth every penny!

  6. Australia is on my list too! I’d also like to run a 10k. I don’t enjoy running so I guess I just want to prove to myself that I can do something if I set my mind to it.

  7. I definitely want to do a lot more traveling, although I am already past age 45. 🙂 Many years ago Chris and I went on an African safari and it was amazing. I hope to some day take the girls there. Right now, what I really, really want is the remodel to be finished on our home. It’s been consuming me for too long and I want to have energy to focus on other things! I’m so excited about the Alaska opportunity for you and can’t wait to here how it goes.

    1. I am very excited about seeing Alaska. I hate being in the middle of a home project. We will likely remodel our bathroom next summer. While the finished product will be great, I don’t look forward to the beginning and middle of the process.

    1. Really long plane flights still freak me out a little bit, but it’s the only way to get to far away places I guess. I’m surely not taking a boat!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Hit Enter

Cookies help us deliver our services. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. More information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.