What to expect when you are 40?
Approaching my 40th anniversary was busy. My mind was miles away. However, occasional questions might have popped up once in a while: will I feel changed? Would others look at me differently? Should I urgently do something to catch up or make sure I’ve done this one last thing by the age I’m 40?
For those of you approaching the magical number, the truth is – there is no magic. You’ll be exactly the same, you’ll look the same, you’ll have the same mortgage, job title, number of kids, circle of friends, they won’t get bigger or smaller, better or worse, and the only real thing to worry about, in my view, is if you are happy with the balance of your past accomplishments and future accomplishments.
Things I’m glad I did by the age of 40:
1. Home sweet home. It’s great to have a real home in a place that you love. Renting is not the same. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, room for improvement and feeling secure at the same time.
2. Children. It’s much easier to have them as early as you are financially and emotionally ready.
3. Take reasonable investment risks, for example, invest in real estate and rent it out. Or in stock. It’s your backup retirement plan. Saving accounts won’t provide you with any financial security.
4. MBA – one of the greatest investments and the greatest fun experiences ever.
5. See the world. It is not about being able to stay in a perfect hotel in a perfect location with impeccable customer service. It about having a personal first-hand opinion about the world.
6. Follow your dreams, write a book, climb the mountains, parachute – whatever it is. Don’t wait for the right moment, just try.
7. Have a network of friends, experts, advisers, former colleagues, mentors, social network acquaintances.
8. Botox. It works.
9. Master the social media, make sure they enhance and propel whatever you do with your life.
10. Have big dreams, don’t stop.
Things I wish I’ve done sooner
11. Don’t be afraid to leave if you are not happy, whatever it is – relationship, job or country. You won’t be lonely and if somebody says you would, they are just jealous.
12. Hire domestic help.
13. Learn French. Languages are like having children, the sooner you start, the easier the process.
14. Reach out and ask for help. Don’t try to do everything on your own. There are usually many people who would be happy to help.
15. Be ready to say “no” and don’t worry about it later.
16. Be polite and firm with various customer service agents, no matter how ignorant or arrogant or lazy they are. Know your rights and don’t give up.
17. Develop your beauty and fitness routine. Know your body needs.
18. Learn how to sell your old stuff on Ebay. You’ll feel great getting rid of these things and being paid for this!
19. Have a strong opinion about social and political realities; it is an important part of your personality. Being open-minded is great, but there are certain things that are simply not acceptable.
20. Work for a great boss who is giving you honest feedback, cares about your goals, pushes and challenges you, helping you grow.
Things I did not necessarily have to do, but it’s OK after all
21. Be rude and furious, even curse, if it helps.
22. Smoke and quit smoking.
23. Break a promise if you’ve given it irresponsibly or were manipulated.
24. Get mobbed and bullied and then realize it was not your fault.
25. Work for a jerk.
26. Have a liposuction.
27. Lie if the other person cannot handle the truth.
28. Screw up publicly and apologize to a very big boss.
29. Launch your own business and change your mind.
30. Get rejected.
Things I should have known at the age of 20, they’d save me a lot of time and money and nervous cells
31. You will not spend your life with your first serious boyfriend. It does not matter what he says about your body or brain or sense of humor.
32. It’s ok to disgust something or someone. Just don’t let it define you. 10 years later you’d forget their names.
33. There are so many different opinions and points of view, not everybody disagreeing with you is stupid.
34. Some of them are indeed very stupid. Don’t tell them.
35. Friendships survive long distance.
36. Don’s buy all the shoes that you like, don’t buy them because they are on sale or because you like the idea of them, just buy ones that you really want to wear every day. Same goes for dresses, accessories and pretty much any apparel.
37. Develop your esthetic-self. Find the art, books, museums and concerts you can relate to. Don’t just go to Louvre and every other important museum to take a selfie and get bored.
38. Don’t buy “temporary” furniture or curtains just to get by. They are going to stay with you for decades and you won’t always have the time to find the right ones. Moving companies do wonders, invest in the quality pieces.
39. Don’t feel limited by your current circumstances or the things you currently know. Life brings changes and being open to new opportunities trumps almost everything.
40. You are meant to have an amazing life.