Your 40s: What Do You Learn?
Turning 40 is a big birthday. The worst thing you can do is give your partner a surprise 40th birthday party! It heralds a new decade that “20 something’s” think of as “getting old”. I remember when I was growing up in the 60s we talked about “never trusting anyone over 30”. We were the original wise guys! My 40th birthday was great! I was about to move to this terrific new place, Seattle, and I was starting a new adventure in my life. I finally felt more secure in my profession. I was enjoying my children, who were a little older, and required less heavy lifting. It was a good moment in my life.
My fourth decade was exciting and challenging both at work and at home. My kids became teenagers (now that was a wild ride) and I was building this new department at The Everett Clinic. I was blessed with good health and a lot of energy. I was fortunate. Pamela Druckerman ponders her life’s lessons during this decade (What you learn in your 40s, New York Times, February 28, 2014). She notes that researchers view this epoch as the “rush hour of life”, where the heights of career and child rearing collide. Today’s “forty something’s” are two careers, two kid couples. It’s a busy time, probably too busy. Balancing career, family, marriage, and self-care is a tightrope walk! One false step and off you go, careening downwards! Below are some of Ms. Druckerman’s, 44 years old, bolded insights about this bell weather decade.
- There is less worry about what other people think of you.
Thank goodness for that. Life is too short to worry what other people think. It’s far more important to consider what you think about others and the world around you!
- Eight hours of continuous, un-medicated sleep is like being in heaven.
So who gets eight hours of uninterrupted sleep in their 40s? In fact, who gets 8 hours of continuous sleep in their 50s or 60s! Gone are the days of falling asleep before your head hits the pillow, sleeping through the night, and waking up only when the alarm chimes!
- There are no grown-ups.
Hmm. No one really has it together. We are all winging it at the same time, and no one really knows what they are doing. We are all “faking it until we make it”.
- Forgive your exes, even the awful ones. They were just winging it, too.
Easier said than done Ms. Druckerman, but a very good idea. Maybe our exes will forgive us too.
- Just say “no”.
I like this one. All too often, adults think they have to do something that they don’t want to do. Guess what, no one really cares that much! And if they do, that’s their problem.
- Don’t buy those too-small jeans, on the expectation that you will soon lose weight.
Don’t you just hate that! About 99% of Americans want to lose 5 lbs. In your 40’s, you’re too busy to get enough exercise and eat salads that you have to make!
- You are more like other people than you think.
The truth—we are far more alike than different. Sure each of us is unique. But a heck of a lot less than we would like to think!
- You are more like your mother or father than you think.
Now when I look in the mirror I see a guy that looks like my Dad. I notice that I am a lot more like my Mom than I ever thought. And, I do have some traits that seem to be just my own. But I realize that whomever I resemble, I’m me. So what have you learned or are you learning in your fourth decade?