FEATURE STORY, LIFESTYLE

40 Things I’ve Learned Since Turing 40

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I celebrated my 40th birthday. Yes, the BIG 4-0! I think I’ve finally gotten over my shock of hitting my 40s. Haha! Days leading up to my “big day” I couldn’t help but feel a little down about turning 40. I don’t know– it just felt surreal to me. Time has definitely gone by fast because it feels like it wasn’t too long ago I was in my early 30s!

I feel okay about it now! I think if anything, turning 40 has made me more mindful of how precious life is and to live my life more intentionally. If you’re 40 or older, did you feel the same way when you turned 40-years-old?

40 Things I've Learned About Life Since Turning 40

LIVING LIFE MORE INTENTIONALLY

A couple of months before my birthday, I had been thinking a lot about my life accomplishments and how I feel about the place I am in my life right now. I thought about if I have any regrets (a few) and if there is anything I would like to improve in my life (absolutely).

I’m not really sure what turning 40 is supposed to feel like, but one thing I can say for sure is I don’t necessarily feel 40. (My back, however, is a different story. Haha! It definitely feels 40!) When I was younger, I had envisioned by the time I reached 40, I would have a long-time career, own a house, and have just two college-age children (Elijah and Michala).

But here I am– married nine years to my best friend, mother of six beautiful children, homeschooling them at that, and still working on my life goals. Not that working on life goals at age 40 is a bad thing! I’ve learned that no matter what age you are it is good to have goals you are working hard to achieve. Amazing how life unexpectedly changes on you, huh? 

So in honor of my 40th birthday, I thought of 40 things I’ve learned throughout my adult life. Okay, let me rephrase– I narrowed my list down to forty because I’ve definitely learned much more than just forty things!

40 THINGS I’VE LEARNED SINCE TURNING 40

40 Things I've Learned About Life Since Turning 40

1. Your health really does matter. When I was in my 20s, I thought I was invincible. I didn’t think much about my health. Now that I’m 40, I think about how certain things affect my health, such as the foods I eat, daily exercise, and even my mental health. 

2. Learn from your mistakes, failures, and losses. This is something that has taken me a long time to practice in my life. 

3. No matter your age, you will never stop learning. 

4. Make wise financial decisions. 

5. Let go of toxic people/relationships in your life. Ain’t nobody got time for negative energy!

6. Raising children in your 20s is a different experience from raising kids in your mid-30s and 40s. Since I had Elijah and Michala in my early 20s, I feel like we kind of grew up together. As a new adult, I was just learning how to navigate adult life.

But now that I am a little older, I’m more cautious about things. Whenever I have to make a big decision, I always think first: “How will this affect my children?” Whereas when I was in my 20s, I was a more go with the flow type of person and the decisions I made were sometimes impulsive. 

7. There’s a right time for everything and it will happen in its own timing.

8. Your past doesn’t define you. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. Each day is a gift and if you are blessed with a new day, you have the opportunity to continue to grow and live a good life.

9. You’re never too old to reach your goals AND make new ones. There are still many things I would like to accomplish in my life, such as owning a home. I have hope I will reach these goals one day!

10. Make time for reading and keep reading books.

11.. Having a partner who supports you and your goals is a great feeling. I’ve been married for nine years now and Travis has always supported my dreams and my goals. I feel very fortunate to have his support because I’ve been in past relationships where this was not the case. 

12. Children’s laughter is the sweetest sound.

13. Cheer others on when they succeed or need encouragement. You don’t have to always be in the spotlight. It feels good to support family and friends. 

14. Don’t be afraid to embrace change. 

15. Even the small victories are worth celebrating. I really got this one from my mom. She says this to me and the kids all of the time, especially if one of us is having a hard time. My mom used to tell this to me when I was younger and I didn’t quite understand what she meant. But now that I’m older, I get it! And I find myself practicing this daily in my life and telling my kids the same thing. Thanks, Mom! 🙂

40 Things I've Learned About Life Since Turning 40

16. You’re always growing in your marriage. I am not the same woman as I was when Travis and I first got married. I’d like to think I have grown in many positive ways over the years. 

17. Your parents were right about a lot of things. I am seeing that now, especially with parenting.

18. Find joy even in the hard times. This is something I have learned to do over the years. When I take time to find joy in each day, especially during the hard times, it makes life a little easier. Focusing on the negatives only hurts me and brings me down.

19. Journaling is a great tool for mental health care and documenting your life. I’ve always kept a diary of some form since I was a young girl. But now that I’m older, I feel like journaling is even more important because I’m creating a history of my life. It also refreshes my mind and helps me with my anxiety.

20. Don’t take yourself so seriously all of the time and laugh at yourself. 

21. Not everything is about you. 

22. Hold onto good friends. As you get older, good friends seem like they’re hard to find so make sure you treasure the ones you have and be good to them!

23. Morning routines are a game changer, especially when you have kids.

24. Embrace learning from people who have different beliefs than you.

25. Be mindful of the present moment. It’s okay to plan for the future, but don’t let the planning consume you so much that you miss out on life right now.

40 Things I've Learned About Life Since Turning 40

26. Try to see things from the other person’s perspective. I’m not perfect at this, but it is something I truly try to do. I have learned that when you take the time to pause and understand where a person is coming from, you can really gain great insight. It also helps prevent being quick to anger.

27. Trust your gut. Another gem from my mother. She is a very intuitive person and I feel like this trait has been passed on to me. I am a strong believer in following your intuition because of my mom’s advice and the experiences I have had.

28. Don’t take the shortcuts. It will just make your progression take longer. Enjoy the journey.

29. Keep an open mind.

30. Check in on loved ones and friends

31. Reserve time to take a break from social media. It can be just a day or maybe even a week. However, you see fit. Social media can be overwhelming at times and it’s good for your mental health to take frequent breaks. 

32. Mental health care matters! As a person who has an anxiety disorder, this is something that I know to be very true. It wasn’t until a few years ago that there were more conversations about mental health care. I am learning how to give myself grace and reach out when I need help or guidance.

33. Speak your truth. I’m still working on this one, but I’m discovering the importance of speaking my truth. It’s refreshing, to say the least.

34. Speak up when you have been wronged. 

35. It’s okay to say no. 

36. Buy a house if you have an opportunity. When we first moved to Michigan, we had an opportunity to buy a house. We ended up renting because we weren’t very familiar with the area. Now I wish we would have bought a home because paying monthly rent is becoming too much for us.  

37. Not everyone will support you, but don’t let that stop you from following your dreams.

38. Stay humble and never forget where you came from.

39. Take time for you. 

40. Life truly is precious. At age 40, I have a better understanding now that life is a gift and our time here on this earth is short. Tomorrow is not promised, as the expression goes. We have to make the most of the time we are given, be thankful for our blessings, and try our best to be a good person. I started to realize just how precious life is when a few friends of mine passed away at a young age. It was heartbreaking and served as strong reminders for me to not take my life, my family, and my friends for granted.

What life lessons have you learned lately? If you are my age or older, is there any advice you would give me about turning 40?


Photography by Albina Little, Detroit Photographer | Thank you, Albina, for the beautiful photos! You can connect with Albina here to learn more about her photography business.

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