What's On Your List? - Author Devney Perry


What’s On Your List?

Did you know The Birthday List was based on my own birthday list? Here’s how it all got started…

Not long after I graduated college, my husband and I moved to a small town in Northern Montana. Both of us were just starting out in our careers and we each had a mountain of student debt, so we lived frugally for the first few years of our marriage. No destination vacations. No fancy restaurants—a date night at McDonald’s was a treat. No cable television. When we sat in front of the TV, it was to watch the same DVDs we’d watched a hundred times.  He watched John Wayne movies, Seinfeld and The Office. I watched Friends on an endless loop.

There’s a Friends episode somewhere in the middle of the series where Phoebe was upset because her villainous, twin sister, Ursula, lied to her about their age. She’s actually a year older than she thought, and Phoebe was devastated because she hadn’t reached the goals she’d set before turning thirty-one. Luckily, her friends all rallied together and helped her check the items off her list.

(Recapping the show isn’t really the point of this blog post, I promise.)

The point is, it was because of that episode that I started my own list. One I’ve kept up since starting it at twenty-five. One I have planned until I reach seventy-five. And one that inspired the premise for The Birthday List.

Like Phoebe’s, my list is broken out by years. (I don’t have a gigantic bucket list, waiting for me to tackle during retirement.) Instead, I set one or two things I want to do before each birthday. And then after each birthday, I write about them in a journal.

What’s on my birthday list?

It has a lot of variety. Those first few years didn’t include trips around the world or lavish purchases. Instead, I added simple things that I’d always wanted to try, such as:

Age 26: Take a martial arts class

Age 27: Learn how to ice skate

Age 28: Run a mile in under seven minutes


Then later years I earmarked for traveling. Things like:

Age 38: Take my kids to Disney World

Age 47: Go to the Sturgis Road Rally

Age 60: See all fifty states


The list has pushed me to do things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Things I would have put on the back burner, never to make a priority. Some items I’ve simply finished and crossed off the list, never to attempt again. (I’m content running a twelve-minute mile and I know that I’ll never ice skate in the Olympics.)

But other items have changed my life. Ten years after my first karate class, I’m now teaching my son. And because of the list, I wrote a book on a whim and found my dream job.

The birthday list motivates me to make my dreams come true every single year.

So, I’ll leave you with this.

What’s on your list?

Share This Post


  1. Gladys said:

    Age 29: Publish a book ❤️❤️

    1. devneyperry said:


      1. Gladys said:

        Almost there! I guess I’m scared! ❤️??

        1. devneyperry said:

          That’s understandable. It is a scary thing to put your book out there. But, in my opinion, worth the risk! Good luck to you! And best wishes on the journey!

  2. Truddy Hoffmann said:

    Thanks for sharing. ❤️ Really makes me pause and look inside myself.

  3. Pat Fordyce said:

    Birthday List sounds so much better than a bucket list!

    I’ve always wanted to fly first class somewhere far away……maybe one of these days! LOL……

  4. Joanne said:

    Love this. And I wish I would have done something like this in my twenties. Life gets away from you…there was so much I would like to do and now I am approaching 50!!!! (In October) When the hell did that happen? Never too late I guess…and so, I’ll start with a tattoo! I want one for my 50th birthday!

  5. Tammy said:

    That’s awesome

  6. elena said:

    I would love to travel to Scotland . Amazing blog post! So inspiring

    1. devneyperry said:

      Thank you, Elena!

  7. Simone Kinross said:

    What an amazing ideas as a gift… I have a child who is travel the world a daughter who just got engaged and a son who will be 18 this … I will look for beautiful books they can use. To start the journey….

  8. BNP said:

    Loved The Birthday List! But I need to know – will Finn and Molly get their own book? Or is their story done?

    1. devneyperry said:

      Thank you! I’m not sure about Finn and Molly yet. We’ll see where inspiration strikes!

  9. Kim said:

    Thanks! Our pastor has preached several messages on dreams and encourages us all to have a bucket list – but I like the idea of the Birthday List better. One twist Pastor gives is to encourage us all to have some things on that list that we can’t accomplish on our own – for them to be dreams that only God could make happen.

    1. devneyperry said:

      That’s awesome! I’m so glad you like the idea of a birthday list.

Comments are closed.