38 things about life everyone should know before turning 40

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So you’re about to hit the big 40, or at the very least it’s somewhere on the horizon.

Here’s what you need to know before this milestone arrives. 

1) Be true to yourself

If you’re not being true to yourself, even a great life is never truly your life. 

Be true to your values and what you care about. 

It’s worth it. 

2) Spend time with those who matter 

By 40 your trips around the sun are just getting started, hopefully, but life’s still short!

Spend time with those who matter and those who love you. 

They won’t be around forever and neither will you. 

3) Look after those you love

There’s no way to replace those you love or make up for their love and place in your life once it’s gone. 

Make sure you say I love you and look after them to the best of your ability.

4) Get your finances in control 

Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it does matter. 

Before you hit 40 you want to have at least some sort of financial security and savings. 

Start planning as soon as possible so financial anxiety won’t dog you.

5) Lead a healthy lifestyle and eat right

The benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle are immense. 

This includes eating well, getting up early and keeping active. 

It can also come down to something as simple as buying an ergonomic office chair that doesn’t hurt your back! 

6) Exercise and keep your body fit

You only have one body. 

Exercise at least fifteen minutes a day and go to the gym, walks or jogs if possible. 

You’ll feel much better!

7) Sleep well and buy a comfortable mattress

Part of living a healthy life is definitely how you sleep. 

It’s important to get enough sleep and sufficient deep sleep.

One tip? Buy a comfy, high-quality mattress. They cost a bit more, but they’re worth it! 

8) Find a spiritual path 

Finding your spiritual or religious path can be confusing. 

But it’s crucial as you head into age 40 to pay some attention to what’s meaningful to you spiritually. 

This will bring you deep inner peace and meaning.

9) Plant your seeds in your right place 

Imagine your “seeds” as your energy. 

Where do you put it?

The best place to plant your seeds and invest your resources is in yourself, both professionally and personally.  

10) Try volunteering or community service

Another of the great things to know before turning 40 is the benefits of volunteer service. 

Even only once a week or several times a month, helping out in some way brings you a lot of fulfillment and helps you give back to those around you. 

11) Discover hobbies that make you feel alive

Next up is the importance of hobbies. 

Whether it’s sports, board games, drawing or taking up stamp collecting, hobbies can bring enormous benefits to your life. 

They allow you to relax while still doing something interesting that you enjoy.

12) Define what success means for you 

What does it mean for you to succeed?

It doesn’t look the same for everyone, so getting this clear is key.

As Lachlan Brown notes:

“Sure, taking a trip to the Bahamas often is nice, but that idea of success wouldn’t work for you if you’re a voracious reader; owning a personal library might be more rewarding.”

13) Stay rational

Now is the time to think a bit and be introspective about what comes next. 

Think about what matters most in your life:

Then double down on it. 

14) Find out who your friends are

As you approach 40, you want to know who your real friends are and get rid of the rest. 

Life is too short for fake friends, gold diggers and sycophants. 

This also means:

15) Always put quality above quantity 

Whether it’s your buying decisions or who you love and care about, always put quality over quantity. 

You don’t win in life by getting more, you win by being fulfilled and by giving back to those around you. 

This means putting values and meaning above outer appearance and quantity. 

16) Travel more, even if it’s close to home

Travel opens you up to new experiences and cultures in many ways. 

Even if it’s only close to home, try to get out and meet new people and see new places. 

This is a wonderful thing to do. 

17) Take care of yourself for real 

You hear a lot about self-care and sometimes it sounds kind of spoiled.

But it’s actually really important. 

Make sure you know your limits, take care of yourself and don’t push too hard. 

Rest and relaxation are also part of life.

18) Don’t be afraid to ask for help

You should also not be too afraid to ask for help. 

We all reach points in life where we need a friend or even a professional to hear us out, or a monetary loan or physical help of some kind. 

Don’t be afraid to ask!

19) Walk away from toxic relationships

Toxic relationships aren’t easy to leave, but they will absolutely drag you down. 

Before turning 40, you owe it to yourself not to be invested in somebody who treats you poorly or manipulates you. 

You deserve better!

20) Being alone isn’t shameful or wrong

As you approach 40, don’t focus on whether you’re single or in a relationship. 

The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself. 

Think of outer relationships as natural when the time is right. 

21) Look for love in all the right places 

We all want love, including self-love, but we often look in the wrong places. 

As you hit four decades on this rock, start looking for love in the right places:

Spirituality, exercise, healthy habits, laughter, music and stimulating conversations. 

22) Each new silver hair has a silver lining

Every time you get a bit older, you also get a bit wiser. 

Don’t think of hitting 40 as a weight, think of it as liberating. 

Nothing should be holding you back anymore. 

23) Put the past in perspective 

No matter how good or bad the past was in its various aspects, it’s past. 

Focus on what’s coming up next and give it all of your energy. 

24) Avoid hoarding and clutter

Hoarding and clutter make our life so much more stressful and slow than it should be. 

Avoid buying too many items or giving into consumerism, and give away things you don’t need anymore or resell them online. 

Your old camera or computer, or even old editions of a classic magazine might be worth more than you think. 

25) Organize and prioritize 

To the extent you have built up many possessions like clothes, electronics and baubles, organize them!

Get cleaning and prioritizing what you really need and what you don’t. 

Minimalism will bring you a lot of happiness. 

26) Learn new skills 

It’s never too late to learn new skills

There is so much joy in working to learn a language, a musical instrument or a new computer coding language. 

It’s hard, sure, but it’s fun, too! 

27) Leave the expectations of others aside

Other people have plenty of expectations. 

Let them. 

Your job is not to live up to the expectations of others, but to exceed and improve your expectations every day. 

28) Let yourself unplug from the matrix

These days everybody seems so hooked up to their smartphone and devices. 

Learning to let go now and then and unplug from your devices for even a day or two is a huge power move. 

Treat yourself and try taking a short digital vacation. 

29) Reduce your use of social media 

On a related note:

Overuse of social media increases depression and anxiety. 

Minimize how much time you’re scrolling. 

30) Don’t buy into the ‘midlife crisis’ narrative

The next of the things about life everyone should know before turning 40 is that the idea of a midlife crisis isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

There’s no need to have one, and you probably already had one earlier. 

Riyanka Roy has it exactly right

“The woes of stagnation, anxiety, and depression can happen at any age. In fact, in this 21st Century, people tend to suffer from these psychological issues in their 20s.” 

31) Let failure boost your engines 

We all fail, and it’s painful. 

Use that frustration and sadness as a boost instead of an excuse to give up.

32) Ditch jealousy and forget about it

Jealousy puts other people and things on a pedestal. 

It weakens you. 

That’s why you should let it go. 

33) Take your worries in context 

There’s plenty to worry about in life, but it won’t help to worry to much. 

Take your time to reflect and get clear on what you want. 

But don’t worry too much: it won’t help! 

34) Mean what you say 

Speak your mind for real instead of just saying what people want to hear. 

Only talk if you mean it.

Anything else is a waste of energy. 

35) Give advice sparingly

Advice can be good, but watch how much advice you take. 

And watch how much you give out. 

Many things in life need to be experienced rather than advised.

36) Take risks 

As you hit 40, you should try taking a few more risks.

Try to make them positive, proactive risks rather than just recklessness. 

Some risks are worth it, others are just immature. 

37) Color outside the lines

You don’t have to live up to anybody else’s idea of who you are. 

You have to be true to yourself.

What motivates you and what makes you feel fulfilled and true? 

38) Accept the limits of your control

Many things in life are outside our control. 

That’s just a fact. 

Accepting this knowledge is key to succeeding in life. 

As Alesandra Dubin writes:

“We are not actually in control of every part of our destiny. 

“That’s both tough to accept, and also a huge relief from the burdens we put on ourselves to make every ‘right’ choice.”

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