40 things

A list I started before I turned 40 on November 26: 40 things that have made me who I am that I did before turning 40

1. Becoming fluent in German

2. Becoming fluent in other languages (French, Dutch, Italian), though I don’t maintain them

3. Living many places that weren’t home, not at first, on three continents

4. Listening to independent music

5. Doing radio

6. Writing about music

7. Becoming someone who can go running

8. Falling in love with communication technologies of all kinds

9. Identifying with terriers

10. Falling in love

11. Falling in love in a foreign language

12. Learning to play classical guitar and flute, even if I don’t really play now

13. Doing theater as a kid

14. Doing things where I’m not the best in the room

15. Teaching

16. Going back to school

17. Writing

18. Playing in a youth symphony and hearing what music sounds like when it floats in the air before setting onto the audience

19. Going to weddings, showers, reunions and funerals, even when they’re far

20. Singing at the top of my lungs in public

21. Going to Burning Man, and then not

22. Going to South by Southwest for 14 years, with # 15 coming up.

23. Living in San Francisco

24. Studying things I’m not good at

25. Studying things I couldn’t learn on my own

26. Studying things I am good at

27. Being mentored

28. Mentoring

29. Having friends much younger, much older and about the same age as me

30. Using online community, the web, social media for 20 years this year

31. Dancing, often not well

32. Studying architecture

33. Teaching design

34. Handing in my undergraduate thesis

35. Meeting you (my friends)

36. Walking around Barcelona with a digital camera in 2000, to teach myself how to see small details

37. My family

38. Books and reading

39. Always noticing the quality of light

40. Flirting


  1. It’s surprising and delightful that there are small details on this list as well as life-changing giants. Thank you for sharing it, and may your next 40 years (seriously, I could not believe you are 40) be filled with even more wonders.

  2. thank you for posting this dear molly– what a lovely idea as we head towards mid-life. i’m so happy to have known you for 23 years now, and hope to know you at least 23 more. xo

  3. Hi Molly! I’m so happy to find your blog… and I can’t believe you’ve joined the club. Shocking. When I turned 40, my recurrent thought was: “Gee, I really thought I’d be much wiser by now.” Sounds like you’ve got wisdom for the both of us. love, Jennifer

  4. This is awesome. You’re a hero! …and still growing. Keep it up! I hope to catch up with you someday. At 23 years old, I’ve only just begun German and have a couple years of Architecture on file…so far.

    ps “the quality of light”- that’s a big one. I may have missed it on your list, but how about Photography? (aside from your brilliant Barcelona venture in 2000)

    Thanks for sharing!

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