Turning 40 is not just a birthday, it’s when you realize the clock is ticking.
For many, turning 40 comes with the thoughts: Am I living my best life? Am I doing what I want? Am I happy with my relationship?
As a soul coach and 40 is in the rearview mirror, I can help you fulfill the promise of this important time in life.
You might be seeking ways to turn 40 and do more, be more.
This blog post will help you take your life experience, insights, inner desires, and use them to make turning 40 the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
It certainly was for me.
Turning 40: Time for reassessment
Turning 40 is a time of reassessment.
Part of you knows there’s more to you.
In Passages by Gail Sheehy, she talks about the midlife passage of entering age 40 or more.
On page 350 she writes, “Underneath this vague feeling is the fact, as yet unacknowledged, that there is a down side to life, a back of the mountain, and that I have only so much time before the dark to find my own truth.”
You realize… there’s an end date.
And you want to know your truth.
You want to be all you can be.
And possibly, you’re grieving the loss of youth or the closing of chapters.
I remember crying when my son no longer needed a car seat!
It can also be a time when you’re doing a job or you’re in a relationship or situation that feels soul crushing.
You may feel like you’re ignoring an integral part of your being.
Here are four ways to use the 40 milestone to be your true self.
1. Deepen your connection to yourself
You want to live in a way that deepens your connection to yourself, this universe, or others.
This is a time for being soulful.
Being soulful is having a closer relationship with your true self, your innermost self, the soul, your higher self, whatever wording resonates with you.
Soul searching can be part of that care.
When we don’t tend to this essential part of us, we lose the connection to ourselves.
As you turn 40, the silent hum of the soul becomes a loud drum beat. You can no longer ignore this inner aspect of you.
Grow self love
Self love is a journey, and one to continue at age 40, for the greatest happiness.
Practice self love with my article, 9 Proven Self-love Exercises.
And as an expert in the power of thought I encourage you to say self-love affirmations whenever you’re fearing aging, fearing death, or lacking in self-love.
2. Go after a dream
At this age, you may feel it’s time to unearth a dream you’ve carried for so many years, since elementary school.
The good news is, you have someone you’re meant to be.
The nudges you feel are there for a reason.
Whether you have a husband and kids, and you’re dedicated to being a mom or a single woman on fire in your career, you can pursue your dreams.
For me, I’d put my dream of writing a book on the back burner when my sons were young.
Around the age of 37, I began feeling restless about it.
However, I was too busy and tired to write a thank you note, much less something just for me.
So, I put dreams of writing a book aside. I dropped it completely.
Honestly, instead of dropping it, I could have started the fertilization phase of it.
Just start something.
It doesn’t have to happen overnight!
Let it happen slowly over time if that’s what you need.
You can take 15 minutes a day and write down any ideas you have about it: The characters of a book, the message you want to deliver, or the goals you’re excited about.
This exercise will help you balance the demands of daily life with your dream.
This same idea can be applied to painting, building a house, starting a business, helping a certain segment of people, achieving a goal, etc.
MAIN IDEA: Dreams take a while to bring into life. Let that be OK and do small parts of it over time. It’s not a race.
3. Express what’s within you
More and more you feel your innermost self bubbling to the surface.
You have things to say to the world.
Time is ticking.
Express whatever emotions are happening…
The grief over life changing so fast and children growing up.
The anxiety of aging ahead.
The poignancy of family life and wanting to freeze time.
Feeling new parts of you rising to the surface, waiting to be expressed.
The advice is: Express yourself! Find a way!
Carve out 15 minutes a day for creative writing or journaling.
Express how you feel to your partner and other important people in your life.
Bottled up emotions will not go away. Instead they’re going to fester.
As a regular part of life, find a few emotional release techniques you’re comfortable doing and do them!
Adding this skill to your life will making turning 40, 50, 60 and beyond a much easier road!
The emotions we carry that we don’t process in some way, remain in the body. Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth talks about the pain body and how it’s keeping us stuck in old ways.
Bottom line: Part of emotional well-being includes feeling your emotions regularly.
4. Let adult life rock
I don’t know about you, but being a kid, teenager, young adult was not easy!
You’re stuck with adults running your life.
I didn’t enjoy that so much. Part of it was good, but overall, not really.
While adulting has a negative connotation, you’re in charge of your own life!
Adulting is, “The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.”
So yea, you have to be responsible, but you get to pick where you live, pick what car you’ll drive, decide what you want for EVERY MEAL.
You can make girl dinners every night if you want!
If you’re a mom and have three children and girl dinners aren’t an option… you can sneak in snacky dinners for yourself in your bedroom!
You’re an adult and you get to be in charge of your own life.
Time waits for no one
As it’s been said, Time waits for no one.
So I encourage you…
To support yourself 100% on whatever you believe you’re here to do with your one wild and precious life.
Don’t let any person stop you.
And don’t let fear make your decisions for you.
Because the desire you carry you have for a reason.
It has a definite reason and season.
But this takes some courage.
And it’s worth it.
The joy that comes from a life fully lived…
It’s deeply satisfying.
Turning 40: Don’t let your entire life go by
Don’t let your entire life go by without seizing the moment.
Ivan was at the end of his life and wondered if his life was all wrong.
This is the scariest thing I could imagine.
It’s why I do this work!
The thought of a life unfulfilled is not for you or me.
Have you seen Pixar’s Soul?
One thing Pixar shows is the beauty and promise of each life.
So, I’ll ask the hard question…
Are you fulfilling the promise of your life?
Don’t let doubt stop you… Here’s my blog post on How to Overcome Self-doubt.
I’ve written an entire book about what happens when you doubt what you can do.
My own doubt, which started around age 27 and stuck around for way too long, slowly drained my soul.
You have someone you’re meant to be and doubting yourself might keep you from it.
What’s key is this: Know yourself well enough, be honest with yourself, so you’ll know what is meant for you.
This takes time.
It’s why living as a soulful person is so important, so you can know what life you’re meant to have.
Age 40 additional suggestions
It’s your fourth decade and here are additional considerations for age 40 and beyond…
Physical and mental health
Your body may need more care than before. Regular check-ups, a balanced diet, and exercise are more important than ever.
Focus on nutrient-rich foods. Your metabolism changes as you age… you already know that! So, find the foods that work best for you.
A side note, since this topic is big amongst most people I know, including myself, gluten is a major gut irritant says Dr. Mark Hyman.
It’s also prudent to check in with your mental health. Stress management and mindfulness can be your best friends here.
Jon Kabat Zinn is a mindfulness expert and his book: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Practice is a great resource to get you started.
The importance of downtime
Rest is a necessary reset for your brain and body.
Self-care becomes more vital as you age, so be sure you have a self-care routine. It’s no longer a luxury, it’s a priority.
Find hobbies you enjoy that bring you joy and a happy heart.
Navigating Life Changes
Not a single day goes by that I don’t think how busy life is.
And seems to always get busier! Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many shoulds.
You can make list of things that are top priorities for you to address in the next 5 years and write them down.
40 years old is a powerful time to take charge of your story.
Be prepared to adapt to changes like health issues, children going off to college, empty nest considerations, and financial planning.
Seek out support groups or counseling if necessary.
I’m always telling women that I’m a huge fan of therapy… and it all started at 40!
Think ahead about how life changes might affect your daily life and plan for them.
At 40, you’re in a unique season of life.
You’re much wiser than you were in your 20s, and you probably have more resources than you did in your 30s.
It’s a time of reassessment, taking stock of where we are and where we want to be.
It’s also a time to be happy!
As you enter this amazing next phase of life, use the ideas above to create the life you’re meant for.