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10 Pieces of Advice I Wish I Had Been Given Before I Hit 40

by Gaía Passarelli Dec 17, 2015

You know when you’re a teenager, and you have this vague idea that 40-year-olds have everything figured out? Well, that’s not always true. I don’t have the job, the house, the family or the stability my grandparents had at 40. And I may never have it. Times are changing, and after your 20s everything will go too fast, life will be too crazy, and when you’re 40 you won’t have everything figured out either. That’s ok. There are other things to celebrate, because we improve with age. With time, you learn to leave all the drama behind and focus on what is important.

1. Love.

Regardless of age, love can be a mess. Sometimes we do some very stupid things for something we believe is love, sometimes we feel undeserving, sometimes we can’t feel it. It starts to change once you learn how to stop worrying and love yourself. That’s when things start to come together, and you’re able to love your people, animals, the world. Also, in times like this when there is so much hate going on in the world, love is an act of resistance. Age should make us more capable of loving, and not the opposite. Keep this in mind.

2. Take care of your body.

I don’t mean “beach body” or “bikini body” (although, if that’s your thing, go for it). I mean taking care of your physical health. In the past five or so years, I started noticing that there is a lot I can’t eat anymore. I also noticed that if I stay seated for too long, my right knee hurts. And, strangely, the texture of my hair has started to change. Our body is always changing, but from now on, it’s just a long way down. It’s up to you to treat your body right because you’ll soon have time to do a lot of stuff. Because, yes, there is life after raising children!

3. Keep up with the times.

It will be harder and harder to understand what the “kids” are talking about. And although you don’t have to force yourself into pop culture, staying curious and connected with the world around is a survival skill.

4. Be good at something.

One thing that will be more difficult with time is getting a job. Trust me. Especially if you have children, are a single parent, or didn’t go to university. But it should not be a reason for you to get stuck. We live in a time when it is not only possible but mandatory to create opportunities. If you live in America or some European countries, chances are you have more opportunities than most of the world. Look around, get inspired, work, create.

5. Forget the opinion of others.

What other people have to say about you and your life is of no importance whatsoever. The sooner you realize this, the better. Worrying about the village’s opinion will give you a lot of disappointment and bad skin. If you didn’t realize it yet, now is the time.

6. Change, if you must.

There’s a lot of stuff you can’t change in life. Your height, the weather, the past, the family you’re born into. But there’s also a lot you can change. So, if you’re not happy with your work, your marriage, your haircut: change it.

7. Stop the “I deserve it” trap.

Yes, you deserve a dress, an expensive pampering session at a spa, that bottle of wine, travelling, etc. But you know what you truly deserve? Peace of mind. Make choices that will make you genuinely happy.

8. Walk.

Walking is one of the pillars of humankind. Our ancestors walked from Ethiopia into the world. Children start independence from parents with small steps. First thing we do when arriving in a new place is to walk around and get a sense of it (you don’t? well, you should!). Walking keeps your blood flowing, keep your bones in place, keeps the mind working. It also helps being more creative — next time you have to deal with a problem, take a walk and see how it goes.

9. Learn a new language.

People say it’s easier when you’re younger, and it may be true. But no one said it’s impossible to learn a new language at any point in life — my grandfather learned English after his 40s! It does wonders for the brain, opens news doors, and makes you a more interesting person. Trust me.

10. Be thankful.

Look around and see what you’ve achieved so far. Say thanks. Not just this Holiday season, but every day.

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