You’ve probably heard it before. “It’s all downhill after 40” these words have probably hit you like a train traveling uncontrollably down the tracks. Your whole life has been building up to the thought that life after 40 is just the end of the line and there’s no going back, but should you believe it?
On the other side of this argument, you’ve probably also heard the saying “age is only a number.” Sure, but is this what older people say to convince others that they are not yet past expiry? Is it all in your mind? Perhaps it is, the thing is, that you can’t change and nobody else can when you get to that age and really what’s important is that you don’t take the first saying to heart and give up, it is never time to let yourself go. What you can expect once you are around the hill and how to prevent yourself from “going downhill.”
Look, we all age, and if they are lucky enough to make it to this age, we will undoubtedly not look forward to it, but that doesn’t mean there are ways to approach 40 optimistically. Even if it’s 50, 60, or even 80, it’s no excuse to give up.
Break the chains, set yourself free from the pressures we all face, and don’t let into the “over-the-hill” mantra, find things that make you happy, smile often, and don’t fall for this age-old trap. Pun intended.
We all age, die, and, god granted, we’ll all be forty at some point. However, the time to live is now, and the time to dwell on pointless crap is done and gone, so get out there and become the best version of you possible. Embrace 40, embrace 50, embrace 60, and if you are lucky enough, welcome 100. The most important thing is getting active, joining clubs, dancing, and eating healthy. Various studies have shown that staying active helps keep our minds sharp and our bodies functioning optimally.
Gosh, do I need to tell you what to do? I don’t think I do, you know… It’s that thing you always wished you could do, but you never did, get out there and do it, do it now. Don’t be that person with regrets, don’t be the one droning on about “if I was your age I do x; differently, the time is now, so go!
Eight reasons why life gets better after 40
Women like to grumble about aging. After 40, no one would look at them anymore. Finding a new partner is almost impossible. A colleague once even told me that she only wanted to become a boss so that young men would be forced to look at her. That sounds very desperate, but it does not correspond to my experience. Things are not getting worse; many things have gotten much better in recent years. For all the naysayers, here are a few random examples from a potentially endless list:
Experience makes you bright. You realize that you no longer have to try everything out, but that, on the contrary, it makes sense to think about things first, and only when you’re sure you’ve grasped something do you take action. “There’s less to do, but more to think about; I can only subscribe to that (as long as you started your family early enough and don’t have to change diapers after 40).
Don’t put up with anything anymore. When you’re young and have no idea how things work, you accept many things as usual and only later realize that you should have fought back when someone sticks their tongue in your mouth as a 14-year-old on New Year’s Eve. When an older colleague slows you down, you think it’s because you’re not good enough. When the supervisor makes lewd remarks, that’s not normal, and you don’t have to put up with it. Therefore, fight back and give back.
Sex always gets better. When you’re a young woman having sex for the first time, and it feels like the other person is setting out to clean a sewer with a leaf blower, you might ask yourself why everyone is making such a big fuss about this sex thing. Fortunately, sex is one of those things that only gets better throughout a woman’s life. Once you’ve figured out who you are, what you want, and that you’re allowed to do it, sex is the solution to many problems. And the nice thing is: if you feel sexy, you don’t need to become a boss for people to notice you still. That comes all by itself.
Money at last. At last, being an adult usually also means finally having enough money to afford nice things.
Entertainment has never been better. Digitization may be scary in many ways. But it also has so many positive sides. For the rewind fee you used to pay at video stores, plus the missed return fee, you can watch an entire month of Netflix these days. If you hear music somewhere that you fall in love with on the spot, you can shazaam it and search for it on Spotify.
When a mansplainer goes off on another monologue, you can tell him to shut up, and I’m not stupid. Or, if you don’t want to hurt his feelings, you can listen with a friendly nod and feel very social that you’ve stroked a male ego and helped ease the gender crisis.
Excess. I always order sparkling mineral water – even with water, you can go overboard these days!
Fuck shame. In the past, you always had to be ashamed of everything. For example, “watching the line,” as we used to say when someone refused cake for coffee after a sumptuous lunch with dessert. Playing sports was considered uncool. Putting on too much makeup was frowned upon because it “clogged the pores. Today, you can find like-minded people for every whim, and if you want to find out whether makeup clogs your pores, you can look it up on the Internet. In general, you no longer have to spend evenings discussing nonsense but can look things up if questions arise. For example, if you wonder whether life is getting better.
Today’s over-40s have more paths open to them than previous generations. Anyone who reads the book The Midlife Boomers understands that golden times are dawning in midlife. Even the subtitle Why it has never been more exciting to grow older sounds euphoric. Political journalist Margaret Heckel calculates that demographic developments will force companies to adapt to older employees. She talks about senior apprentices tandems between young and experienced employees and offers to help older workers find new paths.
Many think it’s too late too soon, even if you want to start over professionally. Many of my clients didn’t take their first career choice seriously but slipped into some jobs as teenagers. Now, in their 40s, they’re adults and realize they don’t want that job at all. At the same time, she remains realistic – if a 45-year-old tells her that he always wanted to become a doctor, she would instead not advise him to start medical school, which takes ten years. “Nor would I recommend that he go into management at a clinic because that would only be a stopgap measure.” Instead, she talks with her clients about what they like to do and want out of life until she finds something that can work. For example, she guided a nurse to become a captain, a dental assistant opened a coffee shop, and a mother began training as a photographer at age 45.
All of these people have a skill worth a lot in midlife: they take responsibility for themselves. Those who deal with unpleasant experiences, seek solutions, exchange ideas with others, and remain confident are happier than those who see themselves as victims of fate. That’s what psychologists and their colleagues found when they surveyed about 300 Swiss people between the ages of 40 and 55 about well-being, personality, and lifestyle. But, of course, satisfaction only comes to those who manage to match their attitude of entitlement to their opportunities, and not to mean that in a discouraging way. Some doors may already be closed in middle age, but you can always find ways. Many do succeed. After all, on average, the happiness curve rises again in the mid-40s.