Having finally turned 40, I was met with lots of the usual “so tell me, how does it feel to be 40”? I’ve turned 40, not grown an elephant trunk, I thought! So if you ask me how it feels – well….I’d say no different really! So long as my boobs don’t suddenly sag any further overnight, then I’ve decided I’m not going to be dragged kicking and screaming into my 40s but instead will embrace the confidence and not giving a crap what others think that turning 40 brings…and run with it!
This is blazingly obvious, but I’d be lying if I didn’t concede to the fact that turning 40 brings with it a fair amount of reflection. With that said, I wanted to share 40 (gulp!) yes 40 things I’ve learned in 40 years. So here goes!
40 things we’ve learnt before turning 40
1. You will never please some people
…and definitely not all people. So best to quit being a people pleaser and instead use your energy for the greater good of other pursuits in life. Can’t please them? Who cares anyway!
2. Comparison really is the thief of joy
Best not to look over there at what so and so is doing, because the grass most definitely isn’t greener on the other side, so stay in your lane and own it!
3. Gratitude is everything
Once you start feeling grateful for things – even better start a gratitude practice – then life really does start feeling all the more better for it.
4. Some people will never learn
Don’t waste any energy trying to show them the error of their ways. Simply have their back if they need it when they fall down again.
5. Most things can be sorted out with a good night’s sleep
If you’re having a crapola day, best get thee to bed early and let sleep do its magic by resetting your brain ready with a clean slate the next day.
6. Self-care isn’t selfish
In fact, if you want to have a happy mind, body and soul, and happy home life then it’s quite the opposite. Read: mandatory.
7. The majority of people come from a place of good intention
But every so often, you’ll come across someone’s actions that you just won’t be able to fathom. Remember, it takes all sorts!
8. Self-esteem is the foundation of everything
When someone seems like they are being an utter toerag, it’s usually because they have self-esteem issues. Sometimes it’s better to feel sorry for someone than to feel angry with them.
9. Most people’s problems and issues stem from childhood
Including your own! If you have a broken inner child, best to fix it with some therapy than keeping running away from it. And by the way, therapy is definitely nowhere near as scary as a lot of people like to think – it was the making of me! Your parents f*** you up, they do. Sort it out, or take it to the grave with you.
10. Daily exercise is something to be embraced
….not avoided. It is so good for you both on a mental and physical level so don’t let your monkey brain talk you out of it.
11. Life is incomplete without hugs
So hug someone today. The healing power of hugs never ceases to amaze me. One thing’s for sure when this Covid nightmare is over I’m going to be hugging the hell out of everybody.
12. Mistakes are there to learn from
13. Nature fixes pretty much everything
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve felt demented/frazzled/burning with rage only to go out for a walk in nature and see all of those negative feelings dissolve.
14. Meditation is a gift
And one that is truly easy to make yours. One of the best things I ever started in life was a daily meditation habit. No looking back! Seriously, 5 minutes a day is nothing short of life-changing.
15. Expectations can really make reality suck
So be sure to manage your expectations so that reality doesn’t come and punch you in the face.
16. Life is about memories and experiences
….not objects and assets. The more you build up of the former, the richer your life will feel.
17. Lift others up
Because lifting others up feels so good, whilst putting others down makes you just feel like an utter bitch.
18. We are all humans who want to be accepted
…so be humble, have empathy, and remember that what comes around goes around.
19. Feel the fear and do it anyway
One of my favourite sayings which also can be very smug and annoying is “The only thing to fear is fear itself”. Nothing is ever as bad as our minds make it seem, so if it makes you feel uncomfortable, rather than shirking away, it’s probably time to dive right in!
20. Communication is everything
With your partner. With your family. With your children. With your friends. Life is about listening, talking, truly being present and connecting.
21. Remember your inner child
They are still there. They still want to have fun, play and muck about. So forget what you look like and be silly, prat around and do something totally ridiculous. The giggles are priceless and it feels totally liberating.
22. Perseverance really is the key
If you can create a disciplined mind and focus on what it is that you want, there really is no reason you can’t have it in whatever sphere of your life that may be.
23. Negativity is a life-sucking force
If there’s one thing you realise when turning 40 it’s that life is too short for thinking about all the bad things in life, so wherever you can, surround yourself with positive thoughts, positive people, and positive experiences. That said, we do not subscribe to the idea of toxic positivity because we do still believe there is a time and place for feeling the feels.
24. We are not saving lives
I thank my sister for this one! But truly, while what we are doing may be deeply important to us – whether it be in work, parenting, or other remits in life, we should always keep things in perspective. That is unless you are a paramedic.
25. There is only now
The past is gone, and the future may never happen. Don’t make excuses about when you will do this or that, because that time may never come.
26. Ask for help
Wherever you can. Be honest and authentic about the challenges you feel. Being vulnerable doesn’t make you weak, it actually makes you stronger.
27. Love yourself
Because if you don’t love yourself, how can anyone else? Embrace all those fantastic imperfections of yours, all those quirks and know that there is no such thing as perfect.
28. Respect and be respected
You know how it goes – if you want others to respect you, you better respect yourself and also respect others! You get back what you put out my friends.
29. Apologise more
It doesn’t take much to swallow our pride and apologise when we have messed up or got things wrong, but it means so much to other people and instantly diffuses a situation.
30. Make time for the things you love
Find the things that spark joy within your soul and carve out moments to make them happen, and don’t feel guilty for doing so.
31. You deserve respect
So if someone or something is not making you feel good, speak up or do something about it. That said, if you want to earn respect, then you need to behave in a way that commands it.
32. It’s never too late to change
One of the best things in the run up to turning 40 was going for therapy and change the script that was running in my subconscious. If you want things to change in your life, then you’re going to need to do something different.
33. The world is full of illusions
The person who became an overnight success when in reality it took them 10 years to get there. The sista that looks all shiny and happy on social media when in reality she is deeply unhappy inside. A large proportion of what you see is just a smokescreen.
34. Focus on what’s important in life
You can’t be everything to everyone, be everything and do everything without experiencing some kind of vicious burnout. Focus on what matters to you, and don’t be afraid to speak up and say no.
35. Positivity attracts positivity
Meanwhile, negativity attracts negativity. Everything in this world is energy, so be careful what energy you are putting out there because that is what you’ll most certainly be getting back.
36. There is no magic bullet in life
You really do reap what you sow. If you want to get somewhere in life it’s about working hard, being a good person and doing the next right thing.
37. Life is short
If there’s only one thing this pandemic has taught us it’s that life is short and fragile. I have friends who died even before they hit their 40s. It’s unfathomable. So live your life to the fullest!
38. Keeping a relationship healthy takes hard work
It’s all too easy to take our other halves for granted. If you want to be appreciated, you need to appreciate them too! Find ways to stay connected and stay on the same page – however small they might be.
39. Your body really is your temple
So treat it right. I have had some pretty bad health incidents and scares in the last decade which has highlighted profoundly to me that maintaining good health should be a priority for everybody – not an afterthought.
40 Age is only a number
I lost count of the number of times people have asked me how it feels to be turning 40 and the answer is…once you are there it is truly not much different. A total cliché I know, but the upshot is, you are only as old as you feel!
I have loved that turning 40 has brought with it so much wisdom. What else have you learned in your life so far that would you add to this list?