40 Thoughts on Being 40

Feel free to steal what thoughts you find interesting and apply them in your own way.

I had planned to write this piece after I turned 40 last year in August. Before starting, I thought I would finish this quickly and uneventfully just like my birthday. Surprisingly, I had writer’s block and had to postpone finishing this for a couple of months, until now.

For this list, I needed to think more deeply and revise some of them as I felt I needed to share advice that wasn’t cookie-cutter. This list should be related to what I’ve experienced in the 40 years I’ve been living and should be relevant to you as the reader.

You can do this exercise as well, trying to condense life lessons into as many points as your current age and share it with the world.

Anyway, here goes mine —

On Money

  1. Passive income does not mean working for it on the side.
  2. Insurance is different from investment. You cannot buy insurance when you need it.
  3. Saving early is not enough. You should start investing early so that you can fail fast and learn all you need to.
  4. The ultimate investment you can make is with yourself. Using money and/or time to learn new skills will only increase your ceiling.
  5. Being in debt will make you learn how to be strict with money — borrowing money to pay off old debt will never be sustainable.

On Relationships

  1. Hurt people hurt people.
  2. Any relationship needs to test the waters to make it work.
  3. You don’t need to fix your SO’s problems all the time, sometimes what they need is someone to listen.
  4. When you are older and you are dating, set your expectations at the start to not waste both of your time.
  5. We always want our partners to change, but we don’t think how we should change to become better partners ourselves.
  6. Self-love should be foremost. This starts with not being so hard on yourself. When you look in the mirror, you should be able to say “I am enough”.

On Family

  1. The small things aren’t really small.
  2. Experiences always beat material gifts.
  3. Kids can usually understand you perfectly fine even when they can’t reply with the proper words.
  4. Each child has his own speed in development, comparing him with others does not make him faster.
  5. Make contact with your godchildren. Probably the best thing you can provide is your advice and your presence.
  6. (On my child having ASD) My son or daughter is a child first, a person with a disability second. Love should always come first.
  7. During meltdowns, go down to your children’s level physically, so that you can understand how they see things on their level and comfort them.
  8. I recently checked some old family photo albums and soberly realized I’m older than my parents or uncles/aunties were in some pictures.
  9. I’ve always thought that body-shaming aunties and misogynist uncles are that way because they are a product of their upbringing. It’s up to us to recognize this and break the cycle moving forward for our children.

On Career

  1. Temporary is the worst form of permanent.
  2. Usually, people do not leave workplaces, they leave bad managers.
  3. To be able to change something, you need to objectively measure it first.
  4. Always offer an alternative or a workaround when reporting an issue to someone above.
  5. The best environment is where you have the safety to challenge without repercussions.
  6. Become a point person for a specific skill at work as this will make your reputation precede you.

On Life

  1. Quality of life left > quantity of life left
  2. Labeling our feelings gives us power over them.
  3. Procrastination is not laziness. It is uncertainty.
  4. If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.
  5. You can only truly know something if you can teach it to a child.
  6. Happiness is often not tied to consuming things, but to giving what you have.
  7. Perhaps we as a race need to re-learn how to get bored without looking at screens.
  8. Time will always be limited, so we should always be making time instead of finding it.
  9. We often notice the gaps in between the steps and that is what makes us hesitate to step forward.
  10. A lot of our worries are based on a fixed mindset. Open your mind, and a lot of these worries wash away.
  11. As I age, I find that the connections that I created when I was younger become more valuable and meaningful.
  12. During the pandemic, I realized we are so instinctively attuned to reading lips as part of listening. We become deaf by covering our mouths.
  13. Focus on creating systems to achieve goals. Goals will only accumulate into unachievable bucket lists without this.
  14. Having no expectations is an expectation. What you really want to control is the amount of regret you get with that expectation.

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