4 Things Everyone Should Know by 40
Life is all about experiences—good, bad, and surprises.
Each experience we have teaches us something and we have an opportunity to grow from it.
We can learn positive lessons of things we want to repeat—like how to land a job interview—or lessons of things we want to change or do better the next time around—like how to properly position a ladder so that we don’t fall and break an arm.
No matter what your lie experiences have taught you, there are some universal lessons that we all should have learned by the time we’ve left our twenties and thirties behind.
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Here are 4 things everyone should know by the age of 40:
1. Get Some Sleep
By the time you’re 40 you should have learned how important sleep is.
We’re all guilty of pulling all-nighters in our youth (it’s how many of us made it through college, after all!) but by 40 those days should be behind you.
You should have learned how to prioritize your time and no longer need to burn the candle at both ends to get done what you need to get done.
While the occasional late night will come up, for fun or for work, it shouldn’t be every day, week, or even month.
Sleep is also important for our health, and by 40 it’s especially important and much more difficult to function without it.
Without enough sleep, we are groggy and don’t mentally process as well as we can and should.
This can lead to making mistakes at work, not having a quick reaction time while driving, and not listening or paying attention well. Sleep is also necessary to give our bodies important rest.
If you don’t get adequate sleep, it puts unnecessary strain and stress on your heart and other organs leading to high blood pressure, kidney failure, and difficulty breathing.
All of this takes place over an extended period of time with lack of sleep, but that’s why it’s crucial to get plenty of rest.
Adequate sleep doesn’t look the same for everyone.
You may operate best with six hours of sleep while someone else might require nine.
Seven and a half to eight hours is average which is why that’s the doctor recommended amount, but by 40 you should have figured out where your sweet spot is and make sure to get the hours you need.
2. Life has forks, not a straight path
By the age of 40 you should have had enough experiences to know that there is no straightforward path or map to follow when it comes to life and achieving goals.
Life is a series of choices and each choice creates a fork in the road.
Each fork in the road leads you down a slightly different path with new choices and new experiences.
There is no direct path to take.
This is both wonderful and frustrating.
We might create a plan to achieve what we want in our lives, but life will rarely follow it to the T.
Life has a way of throwing curve balls and having surprises pop up that we need to navigate.
Sometimes this means needing to divert your path, or to retrace your steps, or to go backward for a bit until you can find the path you want to take instead.
Everyone’s journey is different because we all have different experiences and different choices to make.
What may work for someone else won’t necessarily be a good path for you to follow based on your circumstances.
By 40, you should understand this and also know that not having a straightforward path can lead you on some of the best adventures and toward goals you never thought possible or even an option before.
Sometimes getting lost and trying new paths is the best way to find yourself and something amazing, or at least some very good lessons on what you truly want and how to get there (or, at least, how NOT to get there.)
3. Only go out when you really want to
There’s plenty of jokes about how you reach a certain age and you’re “too old for this stuff.”
Going to a raging party or trying to replicate the craziness of your twenties just isn’t as fun at 40.
That’s true for lots of reasons.
By 40, you should learn that you don’t need to do any of that anymore.
In our youth we might have accepted every invitation we got because we either wanted the experience or were afraid that if we didn’t, we’ve never get invited again.
By 40 you should know that not every experience is worth having and that the people we want to spend time with will always invite us again, even if we have to decline once and a while.
Only go out when you really want to and don’t feel like you have to accept every invitation that comes your way.
If you get an invite but it’s not a good time or not somewhere you actually want to go, it’s totally okay to politely decline.
You’ve got too much going on in your life by 40 to be able to go out every time the offer comes up.
Thank them for the invite, and make time for the ones that are important.
4. There’s always more to learn
No matter how much wisdom you’ve gained by 40, there’s always more to add to it.
Just because you’re 40 doesn’t mean you’ve gained all the experience you’re going to gain or are done growing.
You’ll never reach a point where you’re done growing.
You’ve never lived enough, learned enough, or have grown enough.
Keep learning, growing, and experiencing until your time here has run out.
There’s plenty more to still experience and learn!
At 40, you should know there’s no age limit on that and keep chasing your passion and interests.