How this decade treats and changes you will depend on how you approach it. So to ensure you make the most of your 40s, we curated a list of the 20 things you should when the big day approaches.
You don’t have to complete every task on this list, but if you can check off the majority you’ll likely be in a great state physically, mentally, socially and emotionally by the time your 50s come around.
Make a Will
The youthful ease with which you pretended you would never die is fading away. It’s time to get your affairs in order. Make sure the fruits of your life’s labor end up in the right hands after you’re gone.
Start a Family
Biology doesn’t cut men off the same way it can with women when it comes to child-rearing, but nonetheless, chasing small kids around takes a lot of energy so if it’s something you want, don’t wait much longer. Do you really want to be dealing with an unruly adolescent in your sixties?
You might not be able to afford your dream apartment in your favorite city, but you can probably invest in something that will develop and appreciate nicely over the next few decades. Plus, you’ll end up with the option to rent out your space or sell it down the line for a tidy profit
Stop Worrying About What Other People Think
This one tends to happen naturally, but just in case, 40 is your cue to stop caring once and for all about what other people think of you. Take ownership of who you are and run with it. Do the things you want to do with abandon and let any haters waste their time hating.
Indulge One of Your Sex Fantasies
Don’t go to your grave with a bunch of unfulfilled fantasies. Instead, find a few that are feasible and discuss them with your partner. Sharing a fantasy can bring the two of you even closer together as long as you’re honest and willing to be flexible.
Take up a Team Sport
This tackles two large challenges men face in their 40s – making new friends and staying in shape. Find yourself a local dodgeball team or a beer league you can join. Being part of a team, exercising and meeting new people is a great trifecta to keep you feeling young.
Put Yourself Out There
This goes great with not caring about what people think. Have you always wanted to dress a certain way? Then dress that way. Have you been single for too long? Get those dating apps going. Looking for a new career? Start showing up at networking events or reaching out to professionals in your field. Get out there and find the people who will help you get what you want.
Discover a New Passion
Have you always wanted to play the piano or take up rock climbing or develop video games? There must be something you’re curious about that you haven’t tried yet. Make your life richer by giving it a go.
Reconnect With Old Friends
A lot of friendships tend to ebb and flow and eventually peter out over time. This is perfectly natural and nothing to feel bad about, but rekindling an old friendship can be incredibly rewarding and takes little more than an email or Insta DM to get started.
Update Your Wardrobe
As you enter the next phase of adulthood, you may want to reconsider how you dress for the part. Forty is a great time to reinvent your style to something a little more age-appropriate. No one’s saying you have to retire all your torn concert tees but, as a forty-something, you’ll want to make sure you have some good options for business, casual and formal events, too.
Create a Serious Retirement Plan
This can’t be emphasized enough. You need a retirement plan. The alternative is hoping you die before you run out of money – which is not a great way to close the book on your life. Do a little research and find out the best way to save for retirement, whether it’s privately, through your employer or some combination of the two.
Everyone knows you’re supposed to live healthier as you get older. The days of smashing cheeseburgers and beer with impunity are over. Not only is it easier to put on weight now as your metabolism slows down, but threats like heart disease and diabetes are more real than ever, so start subbing greens for grease and hedge your bets.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the finer things in life. In your 40s, you’ll probably have a better appreciation for things like business class, luxury resorts, single malt whiskeys, sports cars, etc. As long as you’re not plundering your retirement fund to do it, indulge yourself in some of life’s commercial pleasures.
Jack Kornfield famously wrote, “The trouble is, you think you have time.” The reality is no one knows how much time they have left, unless they have very little. Stop taking your tomorrows for granted and get busy doing whatever it is that drives you.
Take Dancing Lessons
I’m all for dancing like no one’s watching, except that the majority of the time someone’s definitely watching. You can either break out the Egyptian like Elon Musk at a launch event or you can take a few lessons and have a couple of reliable moves in your arsenal the next time you’re invited to a wedding.
If You’re Almost Bald – Shave Your Head
Many men will find their hair thinning if not totally falling out in their 40s. Once you reach a certain point, it’s just better to shave your head and be done with it than try using hats, comb-overs and top knots to give people the illusion of a full head of hair.
Start a Skincare Routine
Wrinkles are likely starting to make a home around your eyes and forehead. You can, however, slow them down by adopting a skincare routine complete with wearing sunscreen, moisturizing and using products free from harsh chemicals. This is also where toning down your vices can have a mitigating effect on what’s left of your youthful looks.
Get Serious About Dental Care
Your teeth are also slowly rotting away. It’s not a big deal … until it is, and then it’s expensive and painful to handle. Do yourself a favor by flossing and brushing regularly. Another helpful tip is to rinse your mout
Keep a Journal
Memories fade, especially as we age. Writing things down gives you permission to forget them while knowing they’re not lost. Journaling can also be incredibly helpful in making sure you’re getting the most out of your days, and help you make sense of your emotions during difficult times.
Learn Basic Survival
You’re an authority figure now. Like it or not, people are going to look to you for guidance and reassurance, especially when things go south. Don’t let them down. Know how to handle yourself in various survival situations. Learn how to build a fire and a shelter. Keep emergency kits in your house and car. Know how to perform CPR or fashion a splint. You’re the one they’re looking to.