11 things to do before you turn 40

This blog began with 40 life lessons I learned before I turned 40. Almost 10 years into this process, and I still haven’t stopped learning stuff I should have known. Where that “should” comes from, I don’t know. Recently a friend posted “What should I make sure I’ve done before I turn 40.” Here’s my quick list. There aren’t 40 yet, but I hope this list grows.

  1. Set up retirement accounts and get your finances in order. I’ll bet you got to 40 quicker than you thought, right? You’ve got roughly 25 years to go. Start living like you will be living at 65 and prepare for it.
  2. Figure out what gives you life. Random exploration is good for a while, but deep domain knowledge is better. What is something fun that you can take forward into the next stage of life. Hobbies build over time. Stick with a few.
  3. Heal old wounds. No one escapes childhood unscathed. We all carry wounds. But if you are still carrying childhood wounds, that’s 20 years of carrying dead weight. Invest in counseling. Do Behavior Therapy and do EMDR. The years 20-40 can be pretty tough too. Heal. Old wounds make heavy weights.
  4. Prepare yourself physically. You won’t bounce back as easy. Exercise is no longer a good idea, or a vehicle to lose weight. Its not about staying alive and having the ability to do what you want. Walking and weight lifting.
  5. List your friends. Invest in those relationships.
  6. Make new friends. Those who are continually making new friends will continue to make friends. But if you find your friend list decreasing, consider if you aren’t as friendly as you thought. Kids in preschool are taught how to be friends. Do you know how to make adult friends?
  7. Speaking of friends, make multigenerational friendships. Older friends will teach you about the richness and the shortness of life. You will attend funerals and support others. Younger friends will revive your zeitgeist, your zest for life.
  8. Reaffirm your faith. Move from a childhood faith to an adult faith that embraces mystery and misery, love and loss, that teaches sin and brokenness and the reality of a loving God revealed through Jesus. (hey, I make no bones about it, I’m a Christian.)
  9. Buy a car that will last 15 years. That will take you to 55, at which time another one will take you to retirement.
  10. Hire a coach. Not a silly life coach, but a professionally trained coach (like someone from the ICF) and work on some goals for yourself.
  11. Get a life history from your parents and older relatives. Get it on video. One of the greatest things I did before my wife’s grandmother died was get her talking about her life. I was going to do that with my grandfather and he passed away because I forgot to do it.

that’s a start. Enjoy your 40ies.