Although I turned 40 three years ago, many of my friends did not reach that milestone until this year. As an old-time fortysomething, I decided to put together a list of 40 pieces of advice for them to help ease into their 40’s and beyond. (Note that none of them actually asked for this – so typical of the young’uns! 🙂 ). The last of my dear friends turned 40 yesterday and so I think that, for me, at least, regular celebration of this milestone is now complete. I promised I would share my never-asked for pearls of wisdom with her, and thought it this would be a good way to do so.
Linda, I hope that your 40’s bring you only wonderful things. Enjoy each minute and revel in the fact that you really are still young. Feel free to follow the advice you like and ignore what you don’t. That’s the beauty of being 40! Much Love, Tina
Forty Somethings for Forty-Somethings
1. Gravity is not your friend. Listen to Oprah and go get fitted for the perfect bra (I suggest Nordstrom’s). You will thank me (and her).
2. Buy all of your alcohol at Trader Joe’s. They are required to card you to make the transaction go through. Gives me a smile every time.
3. Look at your list of “friends,” and then think about which 5-10 are the most important to you (if you’re a real extrovert, maybe you can go to 15). You should spend about 95% of your “friend” energy on your top few. There is only so much of you to go around. Not to say you can’t have fun times with the rest, but there are only so many people you can “be there” for, and at this point in your life, you want to be choosy.
4. Sunscreen. Wear it. It’s not too late.
5. Almost all women’s magazines are directed at telling how to better yourself – beauty, health, organizing, cooking, etc. Men’s magazines talk about sports stats and the best tasting beer. Stick to men’s magazines and gossip rags if you must read periodicals. You get enough self-improvement messages as it is, you don’t need to waste valuable reading time on it when you could be reading trash. Haven’t we accumulated enough tips already?
6. You absolutely can run from your problems. Just lace up and do it. The problems always seem smaller after a good run.
7. You simply cannot ignore good skincare anymore. Sorry. Make sure to clean & moisturize every day.
8. No matter how crappy your day/week/month/year may be, as long as you are still breathing, you never know what amazing things might be around the corner waiting for you.
9. When you feel like you look old, look at a picture of yourself from the 80’s. I promise you’ll feel better about the way you look now.
10. When you are alone with yourself, are you happy with who you are? If so, you have nothing to worry about in the self-improvement department.
11. If you can, try to take a tech break once a week, even if just for part of a day. It will help the brain overload feeling you get when plugged into 50 million things.
12. What doesn’t kill you might make you stronger in the long term, but it probably will just make you bitter, teary and cranky in the short term. That’s ok. Your friends and family will understand.
13. Don’t be afraid to ask good friends for help. True friends are always looking for a way to give back and show their love for you – it probably helps them as much as it helps you.
14. There is nothing you are feeling, experiencing, surviving, that someone else hasn’t dealt with before. Keep things in perspective, and when things get tough, know that others have gone through the same thing and have come out on the other side.
15. If you get to age 40 without some serious regrets, you are a freak. Congratulations if you are part of the normal 99.9%. Now, rectify them if possible, let go of them if not, then forget them and move on.
16. If you can honestly say at the end of the day that you did the best you could that day given the set of circumstances you were facing, you are not permitted to beat yourself up about how you conducted yourself, even if you were a raving lunatic.
17. There are people In your life you will need to deal with even though they are toxic. Compartmentalize and breathe.
18. There will always be more work to do. At some point (not just before a deadline), you have to turn off the computer and call it a day.
19. Hangovers are much harder to handle in your 40’s. Drink a bottle of coconut water before bed after a good night out and you will have less of a headache in the morning.
20. Eye cream. A must.
21. Try to hang around with people turning 50. You’ll feel like a babe in the woods.
22. Try to learn something new at least once per year. It will remind you that you still have plenty of opportunities for growth and new experiences.
23. Even though high school is a distant memory, high school behavior continues with many women – no, it’s not your imagination, and just stay out of the fray as much as you can.
24. If you don’t want to do something, and that “something” isn’t crucial for you, your family or dear friends, don’t do it. It is officially time to stop signing up for annoying stuff.
25. If your house is not on the market and there are no plans to have Martha Stewart over, there is no reason that it needs to be perfectly clean.
26. Read whatever the hell you want. English class is long over.
27. Julia Child didn’t even LEARN to cook until she was in her late 30’s. She was 49 when her book was published, and 50 when she started her cooking shows. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and the fat lady isn’t even warming up yet.
28. Try to set 3 goals for yourself each year – one you know you can achieve, one you think you can achieve, and a “reach.” See how you do.
29. Surround yourself with loving and positive people as much as possible. Spend as much time as you can with people who make you feel uplifted when you are with them.
30. Think of all the crappy things you HAD to do in your 20’s and 30’s that you will never have to do again. Methinks you will never again get a boss a cup of coffee unless you choose to.
31. It’s important to eat healthy foods, but seriously, would you want to live to be 110 if everyone you knew died 15 years earlier? A cheeseburger isn’t going to kill you. Nor are the fries. Plus, women of a certain age look older when they are too thin. Fit is good, underweight is not.
32. If you find yourself spending a lot of time on self-reflection, do something to get out of your head, whether it be a social or athletic activity, a date, a cheesy movie or a game with kids. You can drive yourself nuts when you spend too much time reflecting and not enough time doing.
33. Look at your calendar for the month ahead. Are there 3 obligations you can cross off? If so, do it. Replace the time with something you love, even if it is just a nap.
34. Where do you think you want to be when you are 50? You just turned a new page – think about whether you want to get a plan together for the next chapter. Or maybe your plan is no plan – that’s ok, too.
35. Watch John Hughes movies whenever you can. It’s good to remember (and laugh).
36. You can have it all, but not at the same time. Some periods are about family and love, some are about work & success, and some are about leisure and fun. Try to get a balanced chunk of each, but recognize that you will never have it “all” in equal measure at the same time.
37. Some people are just jerks. It’s not worth your time or energy trying to understand them. Just tune them out as much as possible.
38. When someone says something appallingly obnoxious to you, try to respond with absolute silence and a blank stare. In my experience, they find it much more terrifying than anything you could say, and usually shuts them down immediately. It also makes you appear “above it all,” even when you are not.
39. Sleep is really important.
40. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And you’re not even halfway there. Plenty of chances to make up for lost time on prior miles.
Oddly enough, Item #40 was written long before Colby and I even thought of this blog! The saying obviously resonates with me.