Not only might you never have thought you would turn 40, but it likely even shocked you (at the time!) to make it to 27. So, when the big 4-0 came around, it was quite a surprise. You might have children, living and loving the single life, or somewhere in between. You might be at your happiest but still feel like the big birthday hits you hard. Where did the last 40 years go? What have you done, and what have you accomplished?
Whether on your birthday morning or sometime shortly thereafter, take a little bit of time to really think about it. You'll quickly realize that 40 years didn't really fly by. In fact, it had felt like nearly an eternity. Up until now, you've lived a truly full and fun life, which helps make turning 40 not as bad as you had first thought it would be. After today, keep one thing in mind: The day after you turn 40 is when the time really flies, so enjoy every second of your life. It only happens once.
If you’re turning 40 this year, make the most of it with these 39 responsible, introspective, and downright fun things to do in your 40s.
Host many parties at your home, and really go for it! After all, you've been talking about having all your friends over for ages. Make them so special that everyone will want to come back for more the very next week.
Flirt, even if you're married. It's innocent and can make you feel alive again. After all, nothing is going to come from it—it'll just help you realize the person you used to be before you settled down.
Throw yourself your own 40th birthday party that everyone is talking about until you turn 50. Because, why wait for someone else to do it?
Make New Friends
You love your old friends, but it's time to branch out. Go to a friend mixer, head to a bar alone, or walk right up to people you don't know at a party for a long chat.
Tie on that babysitting cape, whether you have children of your own or not. Take care of your friends' kids for the day. Whether or not you want some of your own, it's a fun way to spend the day—and help your friend out at the same time.
Volunteer once a week, no matter what. Helping others who are less fortunate than you are, just because, a great routine to put into practice for the future.
You Do You
Volunteering is great, but make sure you're giving yourself the time you need, too. Take one hour a day, once a week, to do something for yourself instead of someone else. You're allowed.
Go ahead: Take a nap during the day, we won't tell anyone. Not into a full-blown nap? Try, at least, to shut your eyes without interruption by closing your computer and leaving your phone in the other room.
Go somewhere international—or domestic!—where you've never been before. Whether that means with your favorite plus-one, a group of besties, or solo, it's a great way to spend time in your 40s.
If you want to try your hand at a road trip, Roadtrippers is a great resource to find out what to hit on your chosen route.
Take a Leap
Do something you've always wanted to do, but might have been scared to in the past. Whether that means going up to a single guy at a bar or skydiving, you know what makes your stomach churn...do that.
Go on a Friends Trip
Kids and spouse you might have, but take at least a weekend to go on a trip with just your best friends. No children allowed! It'll remind you how to let loose—and make you feel much more relaxed when you return, too.
Plan Your Retirement
That's right, you read that correctly. Start saving money or buy real estate. It doesn't have to be scary if you don't leave it all until it's too late.
Drink tons of green tea and pineapple juice. Or, maybe craft some fruit and veggie concoction of your own. Your brain and mood will thank you.
Hydrate Your Body
Put cream all over your body and face overnight, before bed. You might not think you need it, but in 10 years from now, you'll be eternally grateful.
Buy a Pair of Glasses
Accept the fact that your eyesight is going and wear those glasses proudly. It'll add that je ne sais quoi to your look whether you need them or not. But, honestly, you probably do need them, so the fashion statement is just a bonus.
Go ahead and indulge in the things that really make you feel good. Get that weekly acupuncture or massage. It's fine, you've earned it.
Take a Weekend Away
Take a sexy weekend getaway and have sex like you did when you were in your early 30s. Your partner will be glad they came along for the ride. Our suggestion? Rent a little secluded cabin in the woods or beach bungalow and re-discover why you once fell in love.
Don't give a damn what anyone thinks. You've gotten this far, so you're clearly doing something right. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Go for It
Go for it, whatever it is, without hesitation. Try out for that show, apply for that job, tell that crush you like them. What do you have to lose? You're nearly halfway done.
Stop wasting everything—it's just unnecessary. And that sentiment applies to everything: food, extra commodities, friendships, time...
Stop buying unnecessary things and try to curb your "need, want, have" attitude. It's high time that you learned to shop better, not more.
Why have you kept everything from your college English paper to the note you received from your first crush? You have enough stuff. Go through your life's possessions and EDIT.
Give More Compliments
You know you're thinking about them, so why not share? The recipients will be so thrilled. And, while you're at it, learn how to take a compliment, too—because you know how awful you are at that as well.
Get Dressed Up
Get dressed up more often because, why not? Even if you're only heading out to the corner store, slip into a dress or throw on a pair of killer earrings. After all, what are you saving that fun pair of heels for—dinner with the Queen?
Print photos and create beautiful photo albums with your findings. It's a great activity to remember and reminisce about your life and friends as you put it together—and you'll have something to show for your work that your family and friends will appreciate, too.
Have Family Time
Hang out with your family more because you can't turn back the clock. They will appreciate it just as much as you do and, as you do it more, you'll wonder what you were ever avoiding.
Say hi to people, hold the door open, let someone cut in front of you in line. Whether you know them or not, it's an action that will not only be appreciated but also paid forward.
There's always that one person you've owed an apology to—for a long time. Now's your chance to make amends and bury the hatchet.
Start a weekly card game. Or maybe a rotating game night! Any excuse to get your friends together on a more regular basis.
Do What You Want
Do whatever you want to do, not what people want you to do. It's time you learn to think of yourself, too.
Whatever that means to you. You deserve it!
Think Out of the Box
Do something in the bedroom you've always dreamt of, but have never tried. Perhaps there's that thing you and your S.O. have been talking about—take the plunge!
Write Your Will
Morbid as it might be, it's time. And once it's done, you don't have to think about it for a long time.
Handwrite Thank-You Cards
Honestly, you should have been doing this for the last 40 years. But, if you haven't, it's time to learn.
Try building something with your own two hands, even if it's just with Lego bricks! Even if it fails, you'll be glad that you tried.
Spend More Time With Your Kids
You don't get this time back. Make sure to carve out quality time with your children.
Really quit that bad habit for good. Or, if quitting isn't in the cards, quit saying you'll quit and just be gentle with yourself.
Start Your Midlife Crisis
Yup, we said it. Freak out, and then move on.
Wear sunscreen every day. Apply it every day, all day, and keep reapplying.
Gilbert N. The Science of Tea's Mood-Altering Magic. Nature. 2019;566(7742):S8-9. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-00398-1