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I’m a 40 year old woman who has battled feelings of a midlife crisis periodically over the last few years. In the last article, I shared how I overcame being depressed about turning 40. Today, I’ll share some goals you can have as a 40 year old to positively change your life.
In the last article, we left off with a changed mindset. Embracing your 40s is the first step to creating positive change.
Once you’ve changed your mindset, you’re ready to really begin charting the course for the rest of your life. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the first 40 years it’s this: You need to have dreams and constantly remind yourself of them.
Therefore, I’ve come up with a list of life goals that I want to work towards from here on out. I’ve printed out a copy of them and pasted it on a vision board that sits just above my home computer, where I’m typing this article now.
It’s so, so important to remember that your goals at 40 don’t have to be the same types of goals you’d have at 20. Your goals can be both meaningful and appropriate for your stage in life.
Anyway, here are my lifetime goals for now:
1. Get back in shape
I know I said that I’m not worried about my body aging, but I feel that a toned, lean body reflects your attitude towards everything in life. It shows that you’re disciplined and strong willed enough to get into shape.
It also doesn’t make sense to me to be out of shape when I still have the capacity to move around and do exercise!
I know, approaching this in a haphazard fashion is a recipe for failure, so I’m looking at some affordable fitness programs that I can follow to get back in shape.
It follows that I don’t just want to exercise more, I want to start eating much more healthily as well! That means more salad days and less Mcdonalds. As a woman, I know I need to get my calcium in to fight osteoporosis when I’m older, so I’ll probably start setting aside some money for supplements.
2. Take control of my finances
If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that I had battled a shopping addiction over the last 10 years. While I’ve made significant strides in cutting back on my spending habits, I still feel that I want more control over my life.
Firstly, I want to make full use of cash backs and rewards when I shop. I know that I’m leaving lots of money on the table by not using free services online. For example, I just signed up for Ebates and it states that it can give me 25% on Amazon purchases! I’m not sure whether this applies to everything or if there’s a threshold, but I plan to investigate this further.
Secondly, I want to track my finances more closely. Saving is great, but it’s really unfocused saving. I want to save for a purpose (read: retirement). I’ve signed up for Personal Capital, which many other personal finance bloggers are recommending online. The great thing about Personal Capital is that it has a retirement planning spin on tracking your finances. So it tells you your net worth, and how much you should be allocating to certain investments to reach your goals. Super useful stuff!
3. Learn a new skill
I’m thinking picking up a musical instrument like the violin. It’s not a bulky as a piano and can fit right into my apartment. I’m really grateful for this TED talk that shows you only need 20 hours to pick up a new skill.
I just hope my neighbors can put up with my scratchy playing until I get good!
Otherwise, I’d be happy to maybe learn more about theoretical physics (all that geeky stuff about time travel and other dimensions) or photoshop or something!
4. Get an annuity (plan for retirement)
I’ve been putting off retirement planning for way too long. If there’s one thing that you could run out of time to do, retirement planning would be it. I did some calculations recently, and I know that our current savings will not be enough to fund the lifestyle we’d want to live when we retire in about 25 years (or sooner if we can!)
I believe the easiest way to do this would be with an annuity. In fact, I’ve already applied for one.
Basically, we’ll make regular payments to a fund until we retire. Just a small amount that we won’t miss. The fund will be managed and grown by a professional. Then, by the time we retire, we’ll get a regular payment back to fund our living expenses.
It really takes a load off my mind knowing that our future is secure and it didn’t cost us any inconvenience really!
5. Meditate (be more mindful)
Meditating can be a great way to be more mindful. It took me almost four years to take stock of my life and realize why I had resented turning 40. I wish I had been more aware of my own feelings and thoughts.
I’ve started meditating recently (on and off, because it’s difficult to get up early and sit still for even ten minutes!) And in that short time I’ve started to feel more calm and more self assured. I’m more self aware too, and I find that I’m able to rationalize why I feel a certain way. That has definitely helped me express myself to my loved ones.
Who doesn’t want to travel? I’ve always been keen to see new places. However, I don’t just want to join a tour group and stay in hotels. I really want to get immersed in local life. It’s going to be uncomfortable, I know. But it’ll make travelling so much more meaningful!
So, does anyone have any good suggestions for a week/two week long tour?
7. Volunteer (make an impact)
This really addresses the part about me wanting to make an impact instead of just consuming all the time. I’ve got so much life experience and talent to give to the less fortunate. I’m thinking of taking up an overseas volunteer opportunity. I’ve decided that volunteering overseas is great for three reasons:
- It’s in another country, so I can experience another culture while giving back, Basically I’m killing two birds with one stone.
- Let’s say I go to a developing country, I might be able to leverage my knowledge from the developed world to provide a greater impact to these overseas communities.
- Each project is a one-off, self-contained thing. I like that because I can try different opportunities to see where I can contribute the most. Also, it’ll give me more flexibility as I won’t be tied to a weekly/monthly schedule to volunteer.
8. Care for something, like a puppy
At 40, I’m probably (actually, definitely) not going to have any children. I don’t think I would have children if given the choice anyway.
However, I do feel an itch to have something that I can care for. Something that depends on me and loves me. Something I can think about while I’m at work and can look forward to spending time with after work.
I’m really thinking of getting a puppy! It may just be a silly thought right now, but the other day I met a lady walking a corgi in the park and I just fell. in. love. I just loved its stubby little feet and how its tongue just hung out all the time!
I know, it’s a lot of work. With me wanting to travel and volunteer it’s going to be difficult to manage. I guess I’ll leave this on the backburner and revisit the idea in a couple of years!
9. Have fewer friends, but more meaningful relationships
I’m under no illusions. Our social circle gets smaller as we get older, but that’s okay for me! What I really want now is to go deep. I want to be able to share my aspirations, hurts and hangups with people who really care.
I’ve not only had fewer friends over the years, but I’ve also not nurtured the good friendships that I already had. I’m determined now more than ever to develop stronger relationships with a small group of friends.
I know that the only way I can do this is by being a friend to someone first. I want to be there for someone, and bring value into their lives. This is not something that can be forced, for sure, but I’ve got to be open to being supportive of people that matter.
Growing old doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. In fact, it’s a cause for celebration. Taking stock in middle adulthood and having that “uh, oh” moment can give you the focus you need to achieve the things you really wanted in life.
As I turn 40 this year, I won’t be bawling my eyes out anymore. For the first time in years, I’ll be celebrating. I’ll be turning my face toward a new horizon and walking through life’s doors with gusto.
I hope my story helped you even just a tiny bit, and I’d love to hear any coming-of-age stories and life goals you might have.
Here’s to our success!