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Fifteen months ago, I posted my 400 before 40 list and blog, a list of things to do, places to see and goals to achieve before I turned 40.

I had been actually working on the list long before I started the blog. Truth be told, I’ve been a list maker for as long as I can remember. I obsessively keep lists of books to read, movies to see, things to research and learn, as well as business, book, documentary and narrative movie ideas. But the turning point for me was Thanksgiving 2006. At the time, I was living and working in Japan as an attorney for a large Japanese trading company. While I was back in NY for the holiday, it became apparent that my brother-in-law, Paul, was about to lose his battle against cancer. It was just so unfair. Paul was a brilliant and generous man – a loving husband, a doting father to my (then) 1 ½-year old nephew, and an all-around good guy. He always put others first and, in that vein, almost never took a day off from his company. He even brought stacks of work with him to do while getting his chemo.

The thing was, it had always been Paul’s dream to go to Italy. He always thought that he and his wife (my older sister) would have a chance to do it once all the work got done, once he beat the cancer, once things settled down. Now he would never have the chance. Although it is cliché, it reminded me that we really don’t know how much time we have. And it drove home the point that, to the extent possible, I wanted to fulfill my dreams TODAY rather than put them off for “someday maybe.”

It took me a several months to gather the courage to quit the lucrative, interesting, and prestigious position (but one that I just didn’t connect with on the deepest level). Ultimately, quit I did – with no safety net, no backup plan. I embraced the uncertainty, traveling around the world for about a year (my “year of living dangerously”, as one of my friends calls it), checking off several “to do” from The List, including skydiving, visiting all 7 continents, going on safari, and taking a hot air balloon ride.

But, as I said in my first blog entry on my 400 before 40 blog, there is a lot more to do. And, even though I didn’t accomplish all the goals on The List before I turned 40, I certainly learned, experienced, and saw more than I would have had I not compiled the goals, small and large, into a list and going for it. And now that I’ve reached the initial milestone birthday of 40, I’m renewing my commitment to unreasonable dreams and pushing beyond comfort zones. I’ve revamped the list and added 100 more goals to make it an even 500 things to do before I turn 50. I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

I look forward to your comments, insights, suggestions, and to hearing about the things on your own ”Lists.”

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