New Chapter, New Opportunities: Why Life Keeps Getting Better After 40
Turning 40 is a milestone for many people. A milestone that can also cause anxiety and raise questions. At the same time, it brings a great deal of positivity. Here’s how to make this positive visible.
By Monique Amrein, March 2023
This article was originally written in German.
In our 40s, we reach our statistical midlife. It is understandable that this can be frightening. That it confronts people with life questions too.
Many people over 40 begin to ask themselves whether they are satisfied in their current job, what they would still like to achieve and whether they are realizing their full potential. The question also often arises as to whether they are now “too old” to change jobs and whether it is worth starting something completely new once again.
In addition, people of increasing age do not have an easier time on the job market: Age discrimination is omnipresent in our society, and even people over 40 experience it to some extent.
However, the questions of meaning and life do not only concern jobs and careers: Many people ask themselves whether they have set their priorities correctly so far, whether they are doing enough for their health, spending enough time with their family, having enough time for themselves.
In addition, there is the social pressure of what people “must” have achieved by the age of 40. Also, there are the unspeakable stereotypes that say that people over a certain age – especially women – are “too old” for certain things. The beauty ideals of our society, which proclaim eternal youthfulness and smile at us through all channels, can also be a challenge.
So a lot can come together in terms of thoughts and questions. The good news is: the “four on your back” also brings quite a lot of positives! And we’ve listed a few ideas to make that positive visible:
1. Reflect on Your Own Path
Take a moment and look back at the past 40 years, at your decisions and milestones regarding education, family and career.
Become aware of what you have accomplished in your life so far, whether professionally or personally. Recall your accomplishments and all the obstacles you overcame along the way.
Yes, there were probably some bad decisions and definitely a few dashed dreams. But without them, you would never have gotten to where you are today. You can be proud of yourself.
2. See the Opportunities
Even if the thoughts and realizations that haunt you around your 40th birthday aren’t all sunshine and pink cotton candy, they’re all important to your personal growth.
Even full-blown crises are often associated with great opportunities, growth and development. They can lead us down a path where we are happier than ever before.
Take time for yourself more often and listen carefully to what is really bothering you. Is it issues around your health? Family? Vocation? Take those questions first. And follow the path they lead you down.
3. Overcome Stereotypes
“Too old” for XY? Stereotypes lurk everywhere and women in particular are often confronted with societal expectations of how they should behave after a certain age. We think: Nonsense! However, it’s hard to influence what other people think.
Therefore, start small: Become aware of your own stereotypes and expectations towards yourself and others. Because you can very well change something about that. And once you have freed themselves from these, “social opinion” will no longer rustle so loudly.
4. Use Your Experience
If you have lived for 40 years, you have a distinctive and gigantic collection of experiences, successes and, of course, failures to show for it. Everything you have experienced so far has shaped you and made you the person you are today.
The older we are, the more precisely we know what we want, what we need and what our values are. And the less interested we are in what others think about us.
In a nutshell: Most people in their 40s are more confident than ever before and have both feet firmly planted in life. Realize this – and use your experience, knowledge and confidence to live happier, achieve goals and support others.
5. Discover New Things
It’s never too late to dream – especially at 40. The great thing is: dreams often come true at 40, because at 40, you know exactly how to make dreams happen 😉
But seriously: give your dreams free rein, discover new things, set yourself goals. Further your education, make travel plans, start a new hobby or learn a language.
6. Do Good for Yourself
People who do good things for themselves are more balanced and more satisfied with themselves and their own lives. Therefore, treat yourself to a new haircut, get dressed up, spend a weekend with your family, go out with friends to celebrate, book a spa weekend, go ice skating, clean out your apartment, wash your car or exercise. Whatever you need to feel satisfied, alive, fresh, young, strong or beautiful right now: Do it. Now.
With this in mind: Enjoy the journey! We wish you all the best.
What experiences have you had after 40? Let us know in a comment!