Don’t Fear Your 40s: Why this is the decade you’ll love
Most people under the age of 30 see 40+ as ‘old.’
Despite the fact that everyone, if they’re lucky, gets old (because let’s be honest, it certainly beats the alternative!), it’s something modern society tells us we should fear because getting older is akin to becoming irrelevant (which is so NOT true!).
The years leading up to the big 4-0 can be quite the mental rollercoaster. It’s a mix of trying to accept it but resisting it and fighting it with every turn.
But, let me speak from personal experience here: 40 isn’t what it used to be!
These days, the 40s is a vibrant decade where we start to see life differently, appreciate who we’ve become, and we begin to flourish (my favorite part!). We’re no longer a prisoner to what everyone else thinks.
Being in our 40s means we’re free to do what we want when we want, and how we want.
Why do we get that freedom? Because by the time we’re 40, we’ve been through hell a time or two and fought back to overcome numerous life upsets (divorce, job loss, the death of a loved one, etc.).
By the time we hit 40, we know the ups and downs life throws at us, but we know we can handle it. We've been bitterly disappointed (in ourselves and others), and we've succeeded at things we never thought were possible.
Better yet, we know we can own who we are and stand by our opinions and preferences, so when we hit 40, we sail into a new world as the commander of our ship.
All of these reasons are why I believe life begins again at 40 and it’s the start of a fantastic ride!
WHY LIFE BEGINS AT 40
Your life began when you were born, of course, but the reason we say 'life begins at 40' is that you begin to live life differently and in most cases, your live more in line with the person you know yourself to be. But, let's talk specifically about why this happens...
WE HAVE A MORE MATURE MINDSET
I think there are many reasons why life resets and starts fresh for a few reasons. The main reason is that we have a more mature mindset. In our 20s, we were trying to figure everything out because we’re just starting to live life as an adult. We didn’t fully know what we wanted, who we were, or what we believed (even though we thought we did!).
By the time we’ve reached 40, we’ve gone through the trenches of life which are where we learn the most about ourselves.
That means we’re a lot more comfortable in our skin. We don’t worry as much about what others think so we’re less likely to give AF because we’ve earned the right to do what we want. That means we don’t feel the need to prove ourselves as much as when we were younger (because we’ve already done that!).
By this phase of life, we’ve achieved success and felt the joy of being rewarded for our hard work, but we’ve also experienced pain and loss, yet proved to ourselves that we’re survivors.
We’re confident, and we doubt ourselves less. All of this adds up to experiencing life in a different way than 20 years ago, and it’s empowering and energizing!
WE DESIRE CHANGE
By the time we reach 40, we’ve likely been doing the same thing for many years. Routine has become our middle name.
Also, by this time, we typically start to crave more meaning and purpose in our lives - it’s no longer just about climbing the corporate ladder. This means we seek out activities that fulfill us and provide that sense of purpose.
Sometimes that means a new hobby or passion project and other times that might lead to a brand new career.
WE HAVE MORE MONEY
Remember being the broke college grad barely scraping two nickels together? One of my best friends and I always laugh at our 24-year old selves getting SO excited at finding a three-piece suit for $99 back in the day (skirt, pants, and jacket = options!). Thankfully, we didn’t get close to any open flames while wearing them, lol.
By now, we have more money than we did when we were younger and while money doesn’t buy happiness, it definitely buys a sense of security. We’re able to do things that we desire without having to worry about saving the cash to make it happen.
WE LOOK THROUGH A DIFFERENT LENS
After experiencing all of these subtle internal shifts over the years, our 40s are the time to see the world through a different lens: we’re wiser, and we’ve learned to appreciate the small things in life.
We’re also more objective because we’ve seen both sides of many different situations over the years, so we’re smarter and more open-minded.
But, most importantly, we’ve tasted the bitter reality of how fast time passes, so we start to see time as a commodity worth maximizing. That means we tend to spend our time more intentionally and waste it less.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF OUR 40S
Turning 40 doesn’t have to be an introduction to the downward slope of life. Our attitude and mindset determine the world in which we live, so we have a choice:
Embrace our age and maximize it, so we squeeze every ounce of goodness out of it
Dread it, fight it, deny it, resist it, and then be miserable for the foreseeable future
Accepting your age and embracing it means you take control and define the way you live your life according to your standards!
Personally, I view my 40s as my best decade, and I still have seven years left. I don’t dread each birthday, I welcome it with excitement and curiosity! I get to decide how to make the most of my new year and that thrills me.
So, my advice to you for making the most of your 40s is to:
Be open to learning new things and ways of being; in other words... try new things!
Be honest with what’s not working in your life (or who’s not working) and course-correct; in other words, quit the soul-sucking job, ditch the dead-end relationship, and take the trip you’ve been dreaming of forever.
Factor in downtime; in other words, stop working around the clock and explore what it means to enjoy life
Before I wrap this up, let me recap my walk across the 40 line. I’m not going to lie; there was definitely a moment of ‘holy sh*t, how did I get so OLD?” as I approached that pivotal birthday. But, then I caught myself and thought “But, I don’t feel old. I still feel like I’m 25!”
I’m currently in the process of building my side business, exploring new career opportunities, deepening a beautiful relationship with my amazing man, learning how to metalsmith and make jewelry (as a side hobby), and brainstorming my second solo International vacation just for the hell of it.
I wouldn’t have done ANY of that ten years ago, much less 15 years ago, so I am embracing the woman in which I’ve evolved. Because I know who I am and what’s important to me, I won’t put up with bullsh*t, and I have the confidence to set boundaries around my personal needs so I can thrive.
I know I’m in control of my future and how it turns out - I may not be able to control every facet, but I know I’m in charge of how I respond so that I continue to grow and improve.
The 40s is your time to take everything you’ve learned about yourself and design a life that you love. Maybe that means making a few tweaks, or perhaps it means overhauling everything and “starting over.” You get to decide what the life you crave looks like and then have the power to make it happen.
40 isn’t to be feared...40 is a time to celebrate a beautiful, new, intentional beginning.
BONUS: FOR MY EMAIL COMMUNITY!
To help you paint the picture, I've created a 10 page workbook as a bonus for my email community (membership has its benefits!).
My email community enjoys weekly emails on topics that explore finding your purpose and creating the life you crave. I also provide them with workbooks, journal prompts, audios, and other goodies to explore what they’re craving, what’s getting in their way, and how to make the life they desire happen.
If you’d like to get in on the fun, join my email community by clicking the button below and as a bonus and big thank you, I’ll send you this workbook to get started on exploring your 40s and beyond!
In this workbook, community members will be able to envision how they want their 40s (and beyond) to unfold so that they can live this phase of life more intentionally.