This is your life. Are you living it to the fullest? Kicking butt and taking names? You’d better be. Here are 14 things to do in your fabulous 40s:
1. Do something that scares you.
I don’t mean you have to jump into the nearest shark-infested water, but if you’re living in your comfort zone, you’re not pushing yourself (and you know it too!) So get out there and try something that gets you out of your comfort zone. Not good at public speaking? Take a course. Feel foolish on the dance floor? Join a ballroom class. Good sailors aren’t made in calm seas, and we don’t grow if we don’t push ourselves. And if it all goes wrong, you have a fun story to tell.
2. Check yourself.
Are you living your best life? Is this, the place where you’re at, emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally, where you want to be? If the answer to any of those questions is no, it’s time to start making some changes. You don’t deserve to live life wanting more.
3. Learn something new.
Try the ukulele. Or a Spanish speaking class. Learn to cook more than your five staple dishes. Knit a scarf. You can pay for a class or try an app or YouTube, either way, learning new things not only keeps life interesting for you, it helps you meet new people and gives you something to strive for.
4. Read more.
Join a book club, or listen to Oprah or The New York Times reviews, or podcast recommendations. Whatever you do, find books that inspire and push you, that incite you to want to change the world (or your little corner of it). And don’t finish bad books. There are too many good books in the world to waste time with bad books. If you read a lot of one genre, try non-fiction, a biography, or the newest thriller.
5. Learn to love your body.
This is the only body you get, you might as well start loving it, if you haven’t already. Those legs carry you, that midsection supports you, and those arms help you carry heavy shopping bags or cuddle babies or swing a racket. Your body is a marvel, so start loving it.
6. Find out which exercises you enjoy.
Something that’s good for your body should feel good, not like torture. If you hate running (and your knees/shins/feet do too) get off the treadmill and try something new. Anything new. Body combat, yoga, Zumba, water aerobics, actual aerobics. It’s a big wide world out there, full of weird and wonderful exercises that you can do at home in front of your TV or in a park or in a gym.
7. Invest in something.
This doesn’t have to be money related, it just means that you should start dedicating yourself to causes. Whether that’s the stock market, a house, a relationship, or an organisation, start giving your time or money to things you care about, a planting some roots. Speaking of…
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8. Support a cause.
Start doing more with your spare time. You know what you believe in, whether that’s the polar ice caps melting, giving animals loving homes, finding housing for the homeless or raising money for community projects. You don’t need to throw money at the cause, as showing up and giving time is sometimes even more valuable (and rewarding for you too).
9. Say “no” and mean it!
Don’t go to that movie/dinner/party/date that you’re dreading. Don’t say yes (or maybe) when you’d rather say no, especially if it’s going to stress you out. Overcommitting is the enemy. It’s time to start your diary with the stuff that you want, and then figure out what else can make the list.
10. Start saving.
Don’t panic if you haven’t started saving already, it’s never too late. But it’s time to start thinking about the dreaded “r” word: retirement. Go talk to a financial advisor, if you’re nervous, as their entire job is to help you get on the right track. Also, you never know when you’re going to need some extra money, so have at least two paychecks worth of cash in a savings account, and don’t touch it. This is not your “rainy day” fund, but it’s there to catch you if you fall. Savings sorted.
11. Bucket list, baby!
If you hate the term “bucket list,” call it a “wishlist” instead, but whatever you call it, you know you have dreams, goals, and travel destinations that have yet to be ticked off your list. And this is the time to make one if you haven’t already. It feels like a great accomplishment, being able to check stuff off your list, and it’ll help you see what you’ve done and give you stuff to look forward to as well.
12. Find your style.
If you haven’t already found your style, now is the time. Go through your closet and drawers and chuck out all the stuff that doesn’t make you feel good when you wear it. Then focus on buying wardrobe staples that can be worn for multiple occasions, and make you feel confident when you put them on. Don’t listen to people who say “Dress your age.” You’re as young as you feel, and you should wear stuff that makes you feel powerful!
13. Do things that you used to love.
Did you used to love sketching? Or kayaking? Or writing short stories? Family, or work, or simply growing up might have gotten in the way, but it’s never too late to start doing this stuff again, especially if it makes you happy.
14. Make some new friends.
It’s never too late to make friends, it just gets a little more difficult once you get older because you’re not always in situations that force you to make friends (like college did, for example). Widening your social circle can be a great way to learn new things, visit different places, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Start up a conversation with someone in your gym class, go sit next to someone in the work cafeteria at lunch, or go to a class and wear a smile. New experiences will be good for you, I promise.