80 Valuable Life Lessons From People Over 40 Who Feel Happy About Their Lives
Even though our society generally views being young as a virtue, we have to admit—being young isn't easy. Yes, twentysomethings might not yet have wrinkles, age-related health issues or loads of problems and people to take care of, this period of life has its own distinct challenges. These years tend to be pretty chaotic. You are forced to figure out your career, future plans, find a job, get a college degree, learn to build relationships, and you have to do all these things while not having much life experience. And, obviously, that bounds you to make A LOT of bad choices. Besides, sometimes it might start to feel as if you're wandering through life oblivious, with no idea what to do next.
Luckily, getting older is a truly wonderful thing since it brings people valuable life experience, clarity, fulfilment and self-confidence. Basically, all the things that twentysomethings usually lack. Because of that, it might be a really good idea to sometimes listen to those, who have gone through all the youth chaos and managed to make it to the other side. A few months ago, a Reddit user named peeledraspberry asked all the folks over 40, who feel happy about their lives, to share some of their best advice to all the lost twentysomethings out there.
We invite you to scroll below and look at some of the best life lessons we found
#1It's never too late to start again.
All in my 20's I thought I couldn't just restart my career or dump a useless boyfriend or go back to school because I was already on a certain trajectory. Made my choices now I gotta make the best of it. That's total bullcrap. You have no idea how incredibly young you are and how much time you have to do whatever you want to do.
When I figured this out, I found the man of my dreams, had a kid in my late late 30's, dropped my entire career in my late 40's and starting a new one at 50 and it's awesome.
Edit:. Oh my! I had no idea my post would be so inspirational or that so many people needed to read it. Thank you everyone for the kind words and updoots and awards. I'm so excited for everyone taking a leap into the great unknown. You got this!
And if you are sad or upset or frustrated with life that's ok too. You have time and it will pass. You have no idea what comes next and you have so much time to explore! I am still figuring things out....
#2Don't fall for the trap that your life needs to be one long narrative that you should be building. Life is best when it's a bunch of happy moments that just happen to be connected.
Don't try to make your life into a novel, make it a book of poems.
#3When I was in college, I had the chance to go to Europe but I passed because I had to work at a warehouse. I picked staying at a part time warehouse job over seeing the world. When I finally went abroad in my 30s, it changed my perspective about everything and everyone. Go to another country that is far away and different than your own.
#4I hesitate to give advice, being unqualified to do so.
Instead, here are some points that may or may not be worthy of consideration.
Time is very short, and as you get older it speeds up more and more.
Time is more important than money. In theory, you could end up a billionaire. But nobody is ever a "time billionaire." Rich or poor, you're gonna get maybe 100 years at the absolute max, and probably not that much.
There will be several versions of You as you walk your path, but one version that kind of colors all the other versions. This version you could call "the real you." It pays to spend time figuring out who that real you is.
You will have to deal with people. Learn how to leave them happy to have been in your presence, and you will not lack for friends and loved ones.
Speaking of loved ones: just because someone is a blood relative, it doesn't mean they're worth a crap. If your parent, sibling, or child is a complete asshole unworthy of your attention, don't waste further time on them.
Find something you love to do, and do that. Do it every day. It doesn't matter if you make money at it, or get recognition because of it. Do it like Henry Darger did his writing and drawing, and like Vivian Maier did her photography. Do good work. It is its own reward.
I am a geezer, 64 years old. It does not have to suck being old. (I think it's freaking great, for many reasons.)
If you're ever in my town, drop by and get ON my lawn.
#5Don't have children unless you really really want children. Don't have more children than you really want.
Be true to yourself. It's OK to live a life that no one else understands.
#6I'm sure this will never get seen, but I haven't seen any comments about what I consider to be the most important things...Never stop learning, and don't be afraid to say "I dont know" to something you don't know. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you are inquisitive about the world around you.
#7Maintain your friendships. In twenty years you will be so grateful for those people who saw you through marriages, children, illness and health. People who will go for a trip with you, love your kids, remember you as a young person.
Friends are essential but they require work. Don't be alone just because you don't want to be the person who reaches out to others.
#8I was a raging alcoholic in my twenties and thought I would never recover from it. I never found a real job using my first degree or my masters. Part of it was because I was always drunk, part of it was the job market at the time.
I went back to school in my thirties and found something I like a whole lot more. Now, I'm married, nearly ten years sober, and have a great job.
My point is, if you end up on the wrong path or don't like where you are, there's always time to turn around and change it. Too many people just assume they're stuck where they are and stuck with the issues they have.
#9Find yourself a good person to be in a relationship with. Looks will fade but that personality will be there forever. As you age your friends will pair off and you will find yourself hanging out with them less and less. They will have kids or move away and you will find yourself either alone or with your partner during 99% of your free time. Humans do not do well being isolated and alone. Finding a healthy relationship is so important and no one really talks about it or just tells you to focus on your career. Having someone in your corner that always has your back will make life that much easier.
Find someone with the same goals in life that you do and hold onto them....hard. Marry a brain, not a booty.
#10I’m 46, and here’s what I know:
1. Money is important but it’s not the end all be all. It will not listen to your problems or hug you when you need it
2. Watch your weight, your blood pressure, and do not smoke. 75% of my patients that have the most serious diagnoses have at least one of these factors.
3. Comparison will rob you of joy. Be happy for others, but don’t feel you need to be like them.
4. Let go of the little things. Stress will kill you
5. Chase your dreams! Life goes by SO fast. You don’t want to be 80 yrs old and regretting not traveling, pursuing your passion, etc
6. You cannot change someone. Whether a friend or a partner, their faults will not “get better” and you cannot rescue them. Don’t waste your life on toxic people.
7. Make a point of performing kind acts for others. It will greatly enrich your life.
Now... go get your life!!!
#11Relax and don't get overly angry
While others talk about material things or experiences the real lesson is to accept that things won't always go the way you want them to and that's ok.
Didn't marry your perfect spouse? That person doesn't exist - align expectations to reality and appreciate those who love you for who they are. Or find new people
Didn't buy the perfect car? Oh, well, it still gets you where youre going. Define your criteria for the next one and work towards it
Didn't get the perfect house? Probably not. But it's yours and you can fix it
Didn't get that promotion? Don't be so sure it would have worked out the way you think it would have.
Vacation wasn't perfect? Are you sure about that, or were your expectations too high?
Point is, relax, enjoy the ride, work to your goals but remember none of it matters if you can't enjoy it along the way.
#12If you aren't SURE you want kids, make sure you ARE sure before you have them.
I dodged a couple of bullets over the years, and don't have any kids. I see and hear all the crap other people have to go through, and I don't think I could handle that level of stress in my life. I'm very glad to be childless.
Of course some people love kids, and should have lots of them. That's just not me, and it might not be you too.
#13It's not a race! Stop comparing yourself to others. Just because they did things sooner than you, doesn't mean they're happier or better.
Try to start good habits. It is a little rough at first, but in a few years it will be second nature. Do this with things like cooking, cleaning, saving money and self-care.
It is okay to not like someone. It is also okay to have someone not like you (people are going to not like you for no reason. That is okay. It's a "them" issue and not a "you" issue). Don't be an ass to everyone and give them reason to dislike you, but also know that you are under no obligation to put up with someone else's bad friendship.
There is no shame in seeing a mental health professional.
#14When I was 22, an older gentleman asked me how old I was and then told me, “chad303, when you are twice that age, you’ll be twice the man you are today.” I almost considered it a slight in that moment, but time has proven him wise. Here I am, twice that age and, in my humble estimation, twice the man than I was then. I believe this chiefly because I have learned that kindness is not a weakness, humility serves you better than pride, and cruelty is a fool’s game.
#15Don’t pluck your eyebrows too thin.
#16Go have an adventure of a life time. Don’t put it off. Make plans for your money. STAY OUT OF DEBT. You dont need that new car, watch, handbag etc. Material items are not worth your sanity. Have a 3-6 month emergency fund. Don’t waste time on anyone who disrespects you. Have a back bone but don’t be rude. Not everything needs your reaction. Find someone who you can spend endless time with. Talk about ideas not people. Above all fu*k what anyone thinks.
Ill be 41 this year.
If you want more career satisfaction be as positive as possible at work. I mean it. I am cynical by nature and thought everyone around me loved my sarcastic one-off comments. Every meeting I would demonstrate biting wit at the ridiculous corporate bullshit being peddled. If there was failure I was there to point at it and laugh; and if success I was always there ready to “keep it real” for folks. Apparently my attitude and sense of humor were not as appreciated as I thought.
Then, disaster struck at work (a few years ago) and my skills were needed more than ever.
Now mind you, I had been passed over a couple of times for promotions. I was salty about that because (and I am being honest here) I was a really really good candidate and am regarded quite well in my industry. I was stunned at missing out; and my dissatisfaction was not kept out of sight.
Well back to the disaster. For some reason I took this opportunity to shut up and be a positive team member. This particular problem (not virus related) would have allowed me to sit at home, get paid, and do nothing while everything got sorted. A paid two week vacation without dipping into PTO—nice. Let the suits sort it out while I laugh at their awkward attempts to right the ship; snickering with co-workers via personal emails. I was really looking forward to pointing out inconsistencies and ambiguous language in their directives. I was practically giddy with excitement with the prospect of watching them fall on their faces.
Instead I put on my big boy pants, went to work, walked in the boss’s office and politely asked if there was anything she needed. For two weeks I worked my ass off. Did everything I was asked, kept my pie hole shut (god were there opportunities for serious humor). I took a lot of initiative, and throughout I was positive and pleasant. At meetings I would offer constructive comments, take notes, and follow up on items—even if I wasn’t asked. I had become the dreaded “try-hard.” Then the calls came: from every where in the organization. How do we do “x.” Can I do “y.” Mind you, in the past I would have provided a slightly sarcastic reminder of my “scope” of duties—which didn’t include doing their job too. Instead I was positive and cheerful. I was happy to help them get through the crisis.
After the disaster subsided, I did not revert back to Mr. Point-Out-How-Stupid-Everything-Is, and kept a positive and cheerful demeanor. I kept my comments to myself, and went home and shared my list of comments I could have made with family.
I noticed the more positive I became, the more people seemed to want to work with me; and the more responsibilities my boss heaped upon me. So I kept at it. And not one, but two promotions came (with significant raises)—and now I am in a position that I really really enjoy.
Had I only figured this out in my 20s I might have gotten where I am more quickly. One caveat, if your work is a suck-fest, don’t be afraid to move on; with a positive farewell email and pointing out how much everyone meant to you...
#18You don't have to have kids and buy a minivan and live that life. It's totally fine if you don't. You might even be happier and a lot wealthier in the end. You're not weird or broken because you want to live a less "normal" life. A lot of us do it you just don't see us marketed to on TV.
#19Take care of your teeth. This is the only set you’re ever going to have and you don’t want to neglect them and mess them up like I did. I’ve got crap tons of fillings which don’t last forever and need replacement. A filling isn’t as good as the real thing and filled teeth can break, requiring crowns. I have two and it sucks.
Brush and floss thoroughly every single day without exception. Hell, get an electric toothbrush. See the dentist regularly. Ditch the sugary drinks.
#20Accept that it doesn't always work out in the end. There is no magic balance that says if something awful happens something good must happen later. Not always winning or being happy is part of life. The sooner you find the tools to accept that the sooner you can achieve your goals.
All of the tangible actions mentioned here are reflections of understanding your values. Figuring out what your values are hasten the maturation process. The reason people say go on adventures is because it forces you to understand yourself.
And honestly, get off Facebook and Instagram.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
#22Everything you "get" becomes something you "have"
Learn how to be happy "having" things instead of "getting" them.
#23Get a regular exercise routine going and stick to it like your quality of life depends on it, because it does.
#24Go to therapy. Figure out what your insecurities are, why you have them, and how to deal with so that they don't define the rest of your life. Talk about your issues from childhood and you're teens (yea, everyone has issues even in their 20's). If you don't do it now you will make decisions based on or driven by those issues and that will put you on a path you may not like.
#25Get out of that creepy cult while you are young. Live your life free of your parent's cult. (I was raised in the Mormon cult)
#26If you are lucky enough to have the love of a good woman. Support her and she will support you. Two heads are better than one. I don't what I'd do without my S.O. never take one day for granted. Get out there into the world and enjoy it. I'm 45 this year and plenty of my peers didn't make it and wasted their shot.
#27Yes, HAVING KIDS ISN'T THE DEFAULT OPTION. It's a huge decision so many people don't realise they have to make.
I'm sure you'll get replies about "true happiness" and "purpose" and stuff, and for those people who are wired to want kids, great, good for you. We aren't all like you, some of us don't want to go down that road and can live just as fulfilling a life our own way.
#28Don't put yourself in ridiculous amounts of debt trying to portray a certain image. You'll spend your entire life trying to get out of the hole you dug or you'll have to declare bankruptcy.
Set aside enough money to cover 3-6 months of expenses for emergencies just like now. Moreover, save now for your retirement years. It doesn't require much and if you have it taken directly from your paycheck you won't be inclined to not pay yourself first.
Take care of your body. Exercise to maintain a healthy weight and good cardiovascular health. As you get older, it's much harder to maintain these.
Enjoy the days of your youth without going overboard. There is nothing wrong with having a good time, yet if you are always waking up wondering what happened last night, why you can't remember how you spent so much money or you always have a hangover; you should tone it down a bit.
Don't take advice or criticism as a personal attack. Most times the people who care about you have observed behavior in you which is off putting, doesn't reflect who you really are or could be or would make you a more rounded person.
#29You are never too old or too deep into something to just start over. If you aren't happy do something else. I've read about people taking up marathons at 50. For me, every day is potential for a new start. Don't like how I felt yesterday? Then I guess I'm doing something different today ...
I'm 50 now. So much left to do and so much time to do it
#30Don't fall victim to peer pressure and settle for a mate that isn't right for you. Didn't find my wife until I was almost thirty, and it was totally worth waiting for the right one to come along.
#31I am 40 years old and I have three pieces of advice for anyone in their 20's
Accept that perfection doesn't exist. Your relationships will have problems, your car will break down, someone else will anyways have a better phone, a newer car, or a bigger house than you, no matter where on the social ladder you stand. Constantly chasing perfection will keep you permanently stressed. That doesn't mean you should not try to better your life, just know that if you expect perfection you will never be statisfied.
Pay attention to your diet and health. I have been working out at least 4 times per week since my mid 20's. I am fitter, healthier and look younger than almost everyone else my age
Don't stop doing the things you love. Even though I have a wife, kids, job etc. I still make time to play video games, draw, write stories, read comics, play basketball, listen to music, etc. There is no reason to become a miserable old bastard!
EDIT: Wow! This has blown up way more than I expected. Thanks for the awards a guys. Its nice to know my advice can be useful to others.
EDIT 2: So, quite a few people have asked how I find time to fit in all these hobbies. As I said, I have to make the time. Apart from working out (which I do at 6am before everyone else wakes up) I'm not doing these things every day. I only game on the weekend if I get the chance, I read ebooks on my phone when I'm killing time in the day, I may buy a comic 2-3 times a year and I can usually find a few hours in the week to draw. I still make time to chill out with my wife in the evenings and do things with kids. I just fit my hobbies in between them. I also don't watch much TV or go out, but that's just me.
#33Don't marry someone because you think it's something you have to do. The same goes with having children.
I've done neither (even though my family has always hounded me to) & am incredibly happy with where I'm at. I can't think of how miserable I'd be making commitments like those just to make others happy.
Put yourself 1st, people.
#34My simple advice is to own as little as possible. Having minimal possessions has made me happier and more focused. This isn't about sacrifice or going without. It's about finding pleasure in what I already own. If a friend buys a new jacket, I'm happy for him but it wouldn't motivate me to buy one. There's a certain zen calmness when you get off the consumption treadmill.
#35This whole thread is wholesome af. I'm 32 but I wish I would've spent more of my 20s listening to advice of slightly older people rather than trying to prove that I could figure it out on my own. Imagine how much energy I could've saved.
#361. Do what makes you happy. Life's too short to waste time in a job you hate, or doing things to impress other people or because society says that's what you're "supposed" to do. If it's impossible to make a living doing what makes you happy, at least find a job that you don't despise and allows you the freedom to do what makes you happy in your free time.
2. Live with your partner for a few years before getting married and/or having kids. You never truly know someone until you've been confined with them for a long time and you start to get on each other's nerves.
3. Don't just have kids because you think that's what you're supposed to do. I'm 41 and our decision to never have kids is one of the biggest keys to how happy my life is.
#37Fail to plan? Plan to fail.
1. Identify your goals and values. Don’t confuse a step towards your goal (job) for the goal (peace of mind, happiness).
2. Don’t fight reality. Reality is all there is, don’t waste time wishing it was different. Don’t invent things that are not true. Reality is enough just as it is.
3. Make choices based on your new framework (Goals and reality). Small daily choices are super important.
#38I'm not yet 40, but I have some ideas:
Go on that adventure you want to do.
Don't do anything that will put you in jail.
Don't do anything that will lead to a baby until you've given yourself time to be an adult for awhile.
Don't stick your dick in crazy/don't let crazy stick it in you, if you must, double up on that birth control and make sure you control one of those methods yourself.
Don't spend on credit what you don't have close to that amount saved in the bank to pay it off.
Keep your daily expenses low to save for that adventure.
Network and don't burn bridges.
Stay neutral to toxic people, but keep them at a distance.
Allow your actions to define you, not your words. Do everything you say you will in a timely fashion and do it well and you'll be viewed as reliable and it'll secure your friendships and career.
If you're suffering from mental illness, don't blast it on social media, go get help.
Don't sign the lease with your partner unless you've been with them for a year.
#39Perfect is the enemy of the good.
Moderation in all things, including moderation itself.
Learn how to be content doing nothing sometimes.
Know yourself. Know what you will tolerate and what you will not.
Not for everyone, but if you have the means, find a hobby where you create something. Writing, woodworking, music, heck, even Dungeons and Dragons. Create a world.
#40Live your life for yourself, not anyone else. Be authentic and kind. You will still be you in 20 years- not much will change except that you will gain experience and knowledge. Follow your gut and listen to your heart.
Don’t drive intoxicated or ride with someone intoxicated. If your friends make bad choices that affect you, make new friends. Always use condoms and seatbelts.
#41Figure out what is important to you in life. A shocking amount of people never do this. The sooner you do, the better off you will be.
It is important to me to be able to take care of myself and have enough left over to support those I love. If I'm doing that, it is hard to get down, or be worried, or care what other people think of me, etc. I'm still going to pursue my career, and other interests, I just dont have anything emotionally riding on their successes, at least not in relation to my own sense of self worth.
I'm not doing a fun job, or an inspiring job, I'm doing on that pays the most for the least work. For me, that's okay, because with the excess time, I can spend it with people I love. With the excess money I can help pay for my friends who didnt get to go to college to do it now. I can take time off at a drop of a hat to fly across country and help in a family emergency. etc.
There is the phrase 'live so God can use you'. I'm not religious, but I do value the idea of setting your life up so when an opportunity to do something that you care about, that matters, arises, you're in a position to do it.
Figure out what you want for yourself, and what you want for others. It will make planning and achieving it easier.
EDIT: As a lot of people are asking me what I do, I work in tech (probably unsurprisingly). I basically decided to get a degree in Math instead of English because one had much better job prospects. Though I do like analytics, and solution architecture, and all that jazz, I'd definitely use that time to read the Iliad for the 4th time if it paid the same.
Also to be clear, I am not advocating for this path, just that it is important to understand the path you want, and make sure you're on it. It is just as important to not work a job you hate, to make time for your passions, etc. I've worked nearly 30 jobs in my life, with kids, construction, lumber yards, tour guide, nursing homes, you name it. I'm good at compartmentalizing, and just really don't mind what I work on. So getting the most return on my work is a clear metric to focus on. If I got a lot of my sanity, and sense of satisfaction from my job, I'd 100% work with kids, or in education, instead.
#42Wear sunscreen. Moisturize you skin. Do NOT go to tanning salons.
I’m a dude.
#43Choose your mate wisely- it should feel Like you are spending everyday with your best friend that you have FUN with - don’t do it for money or looks- you will be miserable! Don’t get to much sun, drink too much past early 20’s, or smoke - that will age you quickly. Invest in good skincare. Don’t fall into the debt trap- make yourself listen to Dave Ramsey on YT and understand its better to have a million by 50 than a fancy car today with the same amount of money put aside.. Eat more veggies and fruit and less meat and dairy through the week.. your body will thank you. I’m 51 but feel like I never left my 20-30’s and went back to school at 39 and started my second life- there is always a day to say- I’m reinventing myself! I’m about to do it again! Also- lastly - cut our BS friends and family. No time for users, abusers, or anyone who takes more than they give constantly or verbally demeans you. They will never stop and you will never miss them. Learn to say NO now! Set boundaries - if this is a problem for you and you resent always saying yes and being the nice person for jerks read “Boundaries- when to say yes and how to say no” it will be life changing - because stress is also a killer. That’s my just woke up in bed brain storming stream of consciousness, must go find coffee now..
#44Work on building skills. Doesn’t have to be a degree. Just something that you know you can use that others will want. It will give you a means to support yourself and get back in your feet even if you lose everything.
Build assets. Avoid liabilities.
Don’t stay in mediocre relationships. Romantic or otherwise.
Travel and see the world. Especially to places quite different to your own. Travel really helped me get a new perspective on how I saw the world and made me reevaluate what my culture had taught me. I realised much of what I assume is normal and typical is simply cultural and arbitrary and I can choose to change it.
#45A lot of people get their future planning priorities wrong in their 20s.
Generally I've found people in their 20s prioritize: Job--> Relationship--> Place to live/lifestyle
Really, the people I've found are happiest in their life have done their planning in the opposite direction: Place to live/lifestyle--> Relationship --> Job
This might seem a bit weird but hear me out.
A job isn't any good if you have to live in a place or a lifestyle you hate or not be able to have the relationship you want just to have it. No amount of money will make up for being miserable.
Likewise, a relationship might be great but if you are living a lifestyle that makes you unhappy then it will put strain on the relationship and will ultimately make you unhappy.
Figure out what kind of life you want and make that the basis of your other planning for the future. Whether that's a fast-paced downtown city lifestyle or a slow country lifestyle or a comfortable suburban lifestyle. Living the way you want will give you a strong foundation for happiness.
#46I'll give a bit of relationship advice.
I had the most success with dating when I didn't force it. I was in a good place in my life and went on dates and met people because it was fun, not because I was "looking for a relationship." The times I felt lonely and intentionally seeking a relationship were the least successful times. I'm sure I came across as lonely and needy, which isn't a good combination.
Be yourself, make peace with who you are, and focus on being "your best self." You'll have much more luck finding someone who wants you to be that "best self".
Oh.. and avoid narcissists, controlling personalities.. set boundaries for yourself - your mental health is worth it. Trust me.
#47I am 51, I’ve thought about this quite a bit because my three children are in their 20’s.
Respect yourself- If something feels wrong it probably is. Listen to other people’s opinions but make your own choices. Do not be afraid of following the path that is right for you.
Skin care- This is not just for women. Wear sunscreen and moisturizer. I’ve had skin cancer and it’s not fun. Protect your skin and you will look and feel healthier.
For God’s sake start your 401k (retirement plan). With your first adult job. Don’t wait. Don’t think you can’t afford it. You won’t miss the money and many companies match your contribution up to a certain percentage.
Also- you look amazing and you have strength and stamina. ENJOY IT
#48"If soulmates do exist, they're not found, they're made. People meet, they get a good feeling, and they get to work building a relationship." -The Good Place
#49Mediocrity is OKAY - pick your fights for perfection carefully or you will be constantly disappointed. The perfect job, marriage, kids, neighbors, car, whatever does NOT EXIST.
Time has a way of making you realize this slowly but as soon as you are able to come to terms with the fact that most major events in life are made of compromise the better off you’ll be.
Example - when you’re a new parent you have a very idealized of who and what your child will become...20 years in and you’re just happy that they are a decent human being and haven’t ended up in prison.
#50Don't have children unless you are sure you do it with the right person. Even if you eventually split up, make sure they would be a decent parent, communicative and with clear priorities (children first).
Take care of your teeth and gums or they will ruin your adulthood.
#51Start saving now for your retirement. Avoid debt. Floss daily. Exercise daily.
#52I'm nearly 40 and not very happy with my life. My advice for people in their 20s would be to focus on the important stuff. That's where I failed. Don't put off life. That's where I also failed. I focused on building a solid financial base and saving a ton of money. Here I am at 40 and I'm financially secure probably for life. If I lost my job I could flip burgers and live the same lifestyle I've been living.
But I also have no one in life. If I was abducted by aliens today it'd be days or weeks before anyone missed me. No one on the entire planet really knows me. I get gifts from my family for Christmas or my birthday or whatever and it's stuff that relates to things I enjoyed as a small child because that's how they know me. I never pursued any relationships for the past 20 years because I was focused on financial stuff. I can't recall the last time I went on a vacation that wasn't visiting my grandparents. At my age I will probably never be married and will probably never be a father like I want to be. I'd give up all the financial security and career success I have to have someone I love here in quarantine with me. I messed up my life and I know it. Don't ignore relationships.
#53Experiences over material items. You’re not going to remember that pair of shoes, or that expensive item or if you do, the memory won’t compare to that awesome adventure you went on, or that great night out.
One to keep you in shape
One to keep you creative
One to make you money
#55Marry someone you like hanging out with.
#56The secret to happiness in life is Low Expectations.
Having unmet expectations makes people unhappy. Keeping your expectations low ensures that they are met more often.
Don't confuse this with being cynical all the time. Be optimistic and work in good faith, just keep your mind in check with how any given event will turn out.
#57Travel early.. before starting a family. Diverse experiences allow you to broaden your worldview, and adds ton of perspective.
Work hard.. no matter the job, do it to the best of your ability. It pays off.
Don’t keep up with the joneses. Live within your means, and when possible saving for the rainy day.
#58Try to surround yourself with positive people that motivate you to grow as a person. For me, at least, there is no “grown up” end game. I am a 48 year old father of six and grandfather of three and I am continually learning how to become a better, more mature person.
#59I'm not 40, but I'll answer anyway, cuz I'm fairly happy with my life.
Your self-worth cannot be given to you or validated by anyone or anything outside of yourself. You have to find your validation from inside you. You are the only thing that can make you happy. You won't be happy when that person falls for you, or when you get enough money for that house, or when the crisis du jour is over. These are things we tell ourselves to avoid facing that we aren't happy, and to put off facing ourselves and our own issues. If you're not happy with something in your life, or within yourself, then change it. Make a realistic goal, then a plan, and take steps every day to achieve it.
#60Watch out for competitiveness and FOMO. Stop and look around at your life from time to time; see what does and does not need fixing and why. And be honest with yourself about those things. Your intentions matter. There will always be someone out there who will be richer, smarter, more beautiful, more talented, or has more and better stuff than you, and you will always be richer, smarter, more beautiful, more talented, or have more and better stuff than someone else. There's nothing wrong with striving to improve your life, but if you're constantly pushing toward the next fancy gadget or gizmo or the hottest piece of tail, you'll never be satisfied.
The old saying from the 1980s of "He who dies with the most toys wins" is baloney. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
#61Barely 40 but I’ll tell you - regret will keep you up at night. Ask that person out, go for that job, leap without a net or you’ll be staring at the ceiling realizing it’s too late.
*i understand finances can prevent this, it certainly was an issue for me in a lot of areas. Do not screw your financial future but still take the chances when you can.
#62Make conscious choices. Don't live someone else's dream (especially if that someone is an advertising copywriter).
If you spend the next 20 years licking the boots of the next person up the corporate ladder so you can get a job that you hate to pay for your 2.2 children's private school and a drive-in refrigerator to gratify the now flaccid partner you once found attractive - and then you wake up one morning to realize you always wanted to be a crofter in the Scottish Highlands, you're going to be very sadly disappointed.
#63Im only 32 but i would say stop caring what others think of you. Do what makes you happy and just be you. Once i learnt this i had a lot less issues in my life.
#64Wow, I'm actually the target group being asked for once.
My advice is simple:
Keep working hard, keep growing yourself (you think you were done with grad school? Ha!), and don't expect any handouts because nothing in life is free...you'll pay for it eventually.
Then, one day, you'll look at where you are and realize you've made it. And that place may not be what you envisioned, but it will be a very contented one.
#65Save. Your. Money.
I wish I could have back the thousands of dollars I threw in the fire partying at clubs.
#66SEVENTY, born & living in Australia. Very middle class, all my life, but never a land owner; always renting, generally very happy & satisfied.
No need to be materialistic, if you live in a fair & civilized nation. No need to marry, nor have children. No need to "prove" yourself to anyone. Just accumulate many skills & talents which will not go out of fashion. In my case, Science studies (incomplete B.Sc.), counseling & group work (many kinds), business & admin skills, technology, including many academic & computer areas.
Happily married (boringly "normal") for the last 25 years. Internet, technology, politics, etc are so interesting, thrilling.
#67I'm financially happy... so my advice in this regard is to not use your credit card unless you are 100% sure you can pay it off that month and it's not a burden. Don't go into Debt.
I'm also happy with my children who are polite, intelligent, and happy themselves. My advice there is to always be true to your word with them, and always say please and thank you.
#68If you haven't started some investment for the future. Now is the time
#69Make decisions for yourself, don't ignore the long-term ambitions for short-term fun, but definitely don't live the life that someone else wants you to live.
Every dollar you save and invest in your 20s is worth a hell of alot more than the ones in your 30s, 40s, and so on.
If you are going to spend money, spend it creating experiences with yourself and other people. It's almost been kind of a cliche thing for the latest generation that you should only spend on experiences, but I don't give a fuck about the sound system or computer I had 15 years ago, I do care about the friends that were made.
#70Choose a spouse based on this: 80% their moral compass, 10% how much you laugh together, 5% your similar hobbies, and 5% your physical attraction.
#71Do some exercise.
Stay out of debt.
Learn people's names. It's a good habit and you never know where it might lead. I got lost in a third world country but remembered the son of the guy who owned the hostel was called Pan. Picked up by someone who called someone who knew him. Without having chatted to him and learned his name I'd still have made it back but it would have been way more difficult!
Travel and be okay with having the confidence to just live out of your backpack and see where things take you. It REALLY prepares you for later life. Over two years I was lost in the jungle, swum between tropical islands, run over hot coals, slept in weird places, worked some crazy jobs and hitchhiked around Asia (with a buddy) and it makes you very resilient and good at seeing solutions in difficult times once you're older.
#72Strive for a small and simple life. The larger and more complicated you allow it to become the harder it is to reach contentment. Contentment is the goal not happiness.
#73Do. Not. Seek. Riches.
If you are comfortable financially - and that honestly just means the ability to get by without stressing about it constantly - then you are going to be fine. Wealth is insipid.
I spent years of my life chasing down money, and all it got me was a drinking problem and five hours of sleep a night because my boss would send my emails at 1am and expect a reply.
None of this crap matters unless you are in genuine trouble, in which case my advice is irrelevant. If, however, you have a nice home of whatever size, the means to feed yourself, and the ability to go and chill out in your chill-out location of choice sometimes, then you will be a happier person than the person who brings in £200k a year but never sees their partner or gets a good night's sleep.
On that note: sleep. Seriously. When the time comes, stop looking at your phone or computer, maybe have a bath, read a book, then crash out at the same time every day. As soon as you have a routine in place you can maintain it forever, and you will sleep peacefully and awaken rested.
The world is a chaotic place, full of pressures and stress. The best we can do is try not to increase them. Peace is better than money.
#74Embrace your youth.
Embrace not having back pain.
Start saving as much money as you can.
Go to college (it is never too late. I got my first degree when I was 32).
Take better care of your skin.
Take exceptional care of your teeth.
Start thinking about your future... invest in 401k or some other means of retirement.
Pay your taxes and file them on time.
Take lots of pictures. Save them somewhere safe.
Store all important legal documents (birth certificate, car title, social security card, etc) in a safe or some place they can't be lost or destroyed in the event of a catastrophic disaster like a fire, flood or earthquake.
Use a condom. Always.
Have fun, but be safe. 20 years goes by unbelievably fast!
#75The universe doesn't give out merit badges for being the person you think you're supposed to be. Be who you are and find people to be in your life that like that person.
Learn how to eat healthy early. There's a book called the 'Obesity Code' that's some good advice.
If you think there's something wrong with your body, persist with your physician until they have an answer as to why. Second opinions are ok. Remember, the person who graduated last in their class in Med School is still called "Doctor".
Finally, don't wait. Things are never going to be perfect. Don't wait until you have the right house, the right car, the right job, the right friends. Some windows and doors have a nasty habit of closing on you when you least expect it. If you only ever follow one piece of advice from me, it can be summed up as "seize the day".
#76Don’t be afraid to change careers at 40.
I thought I was a lifer at my old job. I was there for 13 years and moved up in the company. I’d been in that field in some way ever since middle school really. I loved my job but the pay and the GM made it unbearable. One day I stuck up for myself and got fired for it. Best thing I ever did. I wish I did it sooner. I’m my own boss now. I make my own hours. I make enough so that my wife doesn’t have to work. She can if she wants to but it lets her focus on the kids. Life’s to short to put up with greedy, clueless bosses.
#77Stretch and exercise.
Prioritize housing over cars. If you can avoid renting and big car payment, do whatever it takes to avoid it.
Figure out what is really important to you and don’t sweat the rest
Slow down. It’s going to be over before you know it. Enjoy the ride
It’s never too late to change if you need to.
#78Start planning your retirement. Now.
#79Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Run accordingly.
#80I am 4 months away from 40 so I'll put in my 2 cents.
I didn't party and goof off in my 20's. I studied my ass off, got a good degree in a field with jobs (chemistry), got into a top graduate program for my doctorate (no MS degree) and got a job right after graduation during the recession as a professor.
I now have A LOT of free time and $ compared to my peers that partied in their 20's. And mine will last until I die. Work hard now, reap the benefits later.
Also, take care of your teeth and wear sunscreen every time the uv index says you should. Watch your weight. These things will keep you looking young.