Ten Benefits of Being Over 40 People Don't Tell You

Turning 40 shouldn't have to feel intimidating - what no one tells you is it's actually liberating!
Turning 40 shouldn't have to feel intimidating - what no one tells you is it's actually liberating! | Source

Everyone has heard of the “mid-life crisis”. For many, this is a natural part of the transition to the mid point in life. In a youth obsessed society, there is a lot of pressure to avoid aging as long as possible, but the truth of the matter is no matter how many “anti-aging” products you purchase, age comes to all of us, and more quickly than we realize. So much energy is spent coercing us to dread and fight aging and scarcely any attention is given to the positive life-changing benefits that come with entering the 40+ club.

So, with this hub, I want to focus on the top 10 benefits I've gleaned from crossing this over-hyped and often feared milestone. Hopefully, those of you who are in the 40+ club can relate to these. For those of you who are facing your 40th birthday, hopefully it will inspire more optimism about what's to come.

Here are ten amazing things the media and others don't tell you about 40 and beyond and why for many of us, it is indeed the highlight of our life.

More Personal Time and Space

As we get older and our kids go off to school; many of us finally have the opportunity for more personal time. Children become increasingly self-sufficient, leaving more space for us to breathe. I enjoyed my children as babies, but it felt like I never sat down during my 20's and 30's while taking on the baby and toddler years.

Now, I have more time to focus on myself, and this balance between self and others is easier to maintain. It has lead to a happier state of mind overall for me. I don't feel like I am running 100 miles an hour and getting further behind constantly and it's nice!

Higher Self-Esteem

In my younger days I struggled a lot with self-esteem issues, constantly second-guessing myself, wondering if I'd ever measure up. In our teens and twenties especially, it seems we spend a lot of time figuring out who we are by comparing ourselves to others. I was always a bit of an "odd duck", which I appreciate much more now in middle life than I ever did as a young person. I wasted a lot of time trying to people please and mold myself to societal standards.

I started giving that up in my 30's and truly became comfortable with myself as I approached 40. Now, I can honestly say that I embrace my unique spin on life and I don't waste time worrying about what others expect from me. Many of my friends in the same age range have shared a similar mindset, that the pressure to be someone else or to change ourselves to "make others happy", radically subsides around this time of life.

Better Love Life

For women especially, perimenopause and menopause can really ramp up the love life. At this stage, you are more experienced and more comfortable with yourself and expressing your desires and needs. As you go through “the change”, there are fewer fears of unintended pregnancies and other hangups.

It isn't limited to women either of course. Men also get the benefit of more time with their partners once children are older and there are fewer distractions to contend with.

Overall, this phase of life just lends itself to better couple time, especially when both partners take care of their health and spend quality time focusing on bettering their relationship in general.

For those who are single, dating can be easier during this time and partners in a similar stage of life often come with less "baggage" than when in their 20's and 30's.

A Positive Shift in Priorities

In general, middle age brings a progressive shift in priorities. You start to see what truly matters in life and change course to align with those ideals. For many, this means a new focus on health, well-being, quality time with family and spouses and time spent pursuing things we love.

In our youth, it seems like we'll be young forever. We postpone our dreams more, spend more time obsessing over day to day things that really have little meaning. Middle age is a wake up call to just how fast time flies and how precious life is. There is a new desire to make the most of our time and that tends to bring higher awareness and greater focus to the things that truly matter and bring joy.

Less Pressure to Conform

This kind of ties into the greater appreciation of individualism, but there seems to be less pressure at our age to conform. I don't care about the latest trends, I do what I want. Of course I've always kind of been that way, but at this age, people seem more able to accept me for it. I've found that when a middle aged person bucks trends, no one really holds a grudge about it or pressures you to change.

Perhaps this is my experience only, but others now seem to admire me more for being an individual, and I didn't get that sense at all when I was young. When I was young, we were all rebels and invididualists who mysteriously all dressed very similar and had the same tastes...

Now, not so much and I don't feel pressured to be like my other friends who are my age. I also truly value and appreciate their differences and we can agree to disagree while fully respecting one another. A nice change from the younger years where everyone pressures you to be what they want you to be.

Making Better Choices

In most cases, with age comes perspective and hopefully, but not always, wisdom. The beauty of this is that as we age, we are capable of making more well-rounded and carefully considered decisions. We have more life experience to gauge our decisions on, and we've tried and failed numerous things many times. This brings learning, which ideally leads to better choices.

Improved Mental Capacity

Ok, so we may forget where we put our keys more often or seem a bit more absent-minded, but in our middle years we have this amazing ability to learn that most dismiss. There are constant jokes about becoming forgetful, but what most fail to mention is that life experience makes us better able to creatively solve complex problems.

We can conceptualize scenarios in our mind because of our ability to glean the knowledge of past experience when faced with new challenges. Over the years, I've also developed my creativity. Things that would have baffled or overwhelmed me in my younger years are easier to take on now. I approach problems with a better blend of both logic and creativity.

I may have forgotten why I just walked into that room, but present me with a problem and I'll find a way to solve it, and probably in a more unique or interesting way than I would have when I was younger and more inexperienced. What we lose in one capacity, we gain in another - a bit of a trade off, but one I'll take.

Authority and Respectability

Fair or not, middle age brings with it an heir of authority. This is one area where young people, even the brightest minds, struggle. There is a tendency people have to take you more seriously when you're older.

When I was young, I was very passionate and politically active in my community. The reactions I often received from the opposition were not based on logic or merit, but were directed at my age. I remember hearing things like “You're too young to know any better, tell me all about it when you have more life experience.”. Well, now I have that experience, so no more being dismissed for simply not being old enough. If you want to debate me now, you need to have facts on your side.

I try not to be "that person" and to listen to anyone regardless of age, but society at large does not. Although I hope that changes, I'm not too confident that it will. There will always be a natural tendency to value the opinions of those with a bit more life experience. While I may not agree with it; it does pose certain advantages.

New Passions

This is a great time to learn new skills and hobbies. Most of us have a strong desire now to live life more fully. Couple that with the life experience that allows us to think more creatively, and hopefully a bit more “me time” and voila – the perfect blend of what one needs to take on and master a new skill or hobby.

The year I turned 40 I trained for and ran my first 5k. I also devoted a great deal of time to my art again, something I had all but given up due to other priorities. I'm also taking a couple of classes to build my skills in new ways. I have a motivation now that was overshadowed before.

I've noticed many friends of mine in this age bracket have also taken on new hobbies and interests with great enthusiasm.

We're Still Attractive – Deal With it!

One of the most maddening things to me is the media push of all these so-called “anti-aging” products. Why the need to demonize age? There are many of us at this stage that look and feel better than we ever have.

In our 40's most of us have a bit more time to make our health a priority. For those who don't let themselves go, our 40's are a great time to really get fit and see what we are made of. I trained for and ran my first distance run at 40 and I never felt better. I have more energy now and look more refreshed in the mornings than I ever did in my 20's and 30's when I was dealing with small children and sleepless nights.

I'm taking steps to improve and maintain good health and my husband sure finds me desirable still. I didn't shrivel up and blow away the day I turned 40 and neither will anyone reading this.

I am more self-confident now than I ever was in my teens or 20's and confidence is sexy! Laugh lines are a sign of a life lived joyfully – what is more attractive that a beautiful smile and someone's laughter? It boggles my mind how many women inject their faces with chemicals to avoid looking like they have facial expressions. Seriously?

I don't know, I find a man or woman who is confident and a little bit older and wiser to be more genuinely attractive because we are usually less focused on the superficial things in life. The little lines on the face that start to appear strike fear into many, but I enjoy a face that shows signs of a life well-lived.

Bonus The Gift of Letting Go

As I was writing this hub, something else occurred to me that is pretty profound. Another benefit of being middle aged is that we tend to let things go, at least in my experience. There is a sense of not wanting to waste time, and what is a bigger time waster than holding on to petty grudges, bickering, past regrets and other such nonsense.

I faced a lot of hardships growing up, grief, pain – a lot of it was caused by others, but much of it was also my own doing. I spent a lot of time previously beating myself up, having regrets, wondering what might have been had I taken a different road.

Almost magically it seems that this phase of my life has allowed me to release those things and start over with an almost clean slate. It has lightened any previously held burden and given me more peace in my life than I thought possible.

What do you think is the most important benefit to being 40+?

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These are my perspectives on what it means to enter this middle phase of life. I don't choose to fear it, to cry over lost youth, because to do so would rob me of the opportunity to enjoy the best part yet. We're young enough to accomplish many great things before our twilight years and old enough to do this with the benefit of experience and perspective. Hooray for the 40+ club!

Have something you want to share about your own perspective? Thoughts on what you just read? Share below!

Comedian Louis CK takes a humorous view of some of the quirks of turning 40 and how people like co-workers and even your doctor react differently once you reach a certain age.

© 2015 Christin Sander

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Comments 48 comments

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 12 months ago from Midwest Author

Thanks breathing - I think I have a lot of good years left in me before I die - never have wished for that :) I think it's important to keep living and growing at every age. I appreciate the read and comment.

breathing profile image

breathing 12 months ago from Bangladesh

A great post for the old people of 40+. Really the author is a genius!! What an exciting topic to write about!! Yeah this post is very much important in today’s aspects. Most people gets frustrated as they cross the age of 40. They start to think themselves as burden and think it is better to die ASAP. This post will help them develop a better thinking and build up a more positive approach towards life. Thus they will be able to build up a better life and keep the people around themselves happy. What more can be exciting in an age of 40+?

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 14 months ago from Midwest Author

Thanks so much for the kind feedback Robie2 much appreciated :)

robie2 profile image

robie2 14 months ago from Central New Jersey

I love this Hub... Actually, I love all hubs that embrace getting older, wiser and having an ever expanding view of life and the world. That is the secret of happiness at any stage of life in my book. Thanks for a really great and life affirming read.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 17 months ago from Midwest Author

It sneaks up on you for sure, but it's just a number - one that I think most of us have given way too many negative connotations to. I'm about to turn 42 and I am fine with it. You may be willing to wait, but time waits for no one :) thanks for the read and comment.

MonkeyShine75 profile image

MonkeyShine75 17 months ago from Los Angeles, California

All of your points are good ones, and so is your article, but I can wait. I don't want to be over forty...:)

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 17 months ago from Midwest Author

thanks for reading, commenting and sharing your experiences paolaenergya - much appreciated.

paolaenergya profile image

paolaenergya 17 months ago from London

Hi Christin, first of all congratulations on your achievements! I enjoyed reading your hub, I'm in my middle 40s and I am so relieved that I had my mid-life crises (yes, more than one!) in my 30s so now I can get on with my life. I totally agree with you that with maturity we care less about what other people think and we can solve problems creatively because we can draw from several years of experience

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 18 months ago from Midwest Author

Thanks for the comment and sharing your perspective Glenn, much appreciated. I agree with you about moving beyond those going in the wrong direction. Of course it can be hard to sever ties.

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 18 months ago from Long Island, NY

I guess it took a little longer for me to get to this stage in life. At 65 I am finding that I relate to many of the things you said. But 40 was still the same old stuff.

For example, quoting a passage from your hub, only recently did I start "making more well-rounded and carefully considered decisions." I used to put too much attention to trying to help people who didn't care. Now I'm recognizing when that's in vain and I try to consider myself first.

I've moved on from friends who only continued to make their lives worse. We're not getting any younger. Why stay friends with those who are going in the wrong direction.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 19 months ago from Midwest Author

Love this and I did not realize we hit our peak endurance at 40 - that's really awesome to know and I'm sure others will appreciate it too. Running is hard work, so kudos to you as well. I can't say I've kept it up as I'd have liked, it gets hard on the knees, but I still do a bit here and there just to say I can lol. I prefer walking/hiking though. I agree with the lines from living a good life :) Thanks for the read and comment!

Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 19 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

Congratulations on your 5k marathon! I would like to add to your list that you reach your physical endurance peak at 40. That's something I discovered on my own; I ran a mile without stopping for the second time in my life when I was 40, and it took only 3 months of training, in spite of the fact that I started off overweight and out of shape. The first time I ran a mile I was 14, and it took 8 months of training for me to do it.

Here's another item for your list; there's a French saying that if a woman is not beautiful at 20, it's God's fault, but if she is not beautiful at 40, it's her fault. At least make your lines and wrinkles attractive by living a good life!

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 22 months ago from Midwest Author

That's great news and I definitely agree. Thanks for the read and comment Hezekiah much appreciated.

Hezekiah profile image

Hezekiah 22 months ago from Japan

As people say, life begins at 40. I feel as fitter and as stronger than ever!!

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

agusfanani - that's awesome that you mountain climb :) thanks for reading and commenting.

agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 2 years ago from Indonesia

What you write there are true ! I even like doing challenging activities like mountain climbing after I'm above 40.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks Mark for reading and commenting - much appreciated!

Mark Johann profile image

Mark Johann 2 years ago from Italy

Indeed, life begins at 40 as many have said. I like the idea of higher self-esteem in the age. The benefits you mentioned is agreeable to the deepest level. I appreciate your work. Thanks.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

yes, definitely beats the alternative poetryman :)

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

One of my favorite takes on aging is: Consider the alternative.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks so much Jacquelyn for sharing your perspective. So glad you enjoyed the hub :)

Jacquelyn fuller profile image

Jacquelyn fuller 2 years ago from Woonsocket, Rhode Island

Hi christinS.... i am 52 and i have never had children .... but i have nieces and nephews that were a big part of my life. now i am on the great nieces and nephews and it is good having them and watching them grow up. There is definitely an advantage and a beauty to reach what the world call a mid-life crisis you learn your boundaries concerning what you could do and what you can not do as an older but wiser woman its for the men too... I enjoyed being young and do not regret growing older because with age comes wisdom----and every good thing with it... thanks for this beautiful writingand i give you two thumbs up

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks Nimblepins so glad you enjoyed the hub, thanks for stopping by.

Nimblepins profile image

Nimblepins 2 years ago

So true! I'm enjoying the "Less Pressure to Conform" benefit.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

haha thanks chefmancave - It will be fast approaching though I imagine. Time does seem to go by quicker every year now :)

chefmancave profile image

chefmancave 2 years ago from Michigan

You forgot one benefit. You NOT over 50 yet! LOL

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

thanks gmwilliams I believe that's true :)

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks Jo, I relate a lot to what you said as I was older than my years due to a lot of things in my formative years as well. It was interesting because of that I didn't really relate to people my own age, but older people didn't really take me seriously and it was kind of troubling because it felt like I couldn't relate to anyone for a long time. Glad you've gained some important wisdom early - it makes the transitions in life easier to embrace :). Thanks for reading and commenting.

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Christin, the BEST is yet to come. One become more confident in one's being as one gets older.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks gmwilliams - assertiveness is indeed another one I hadn't thought of. As a young person I questioned myself a lot and hesitated to speak up at times when I probably should have. I don't have that problem as much now. With that assertiveness hopefully comes the wisdom to use it wisely now that we have some life experience. Thanks for the comments and votes :)

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks Venkatachari M - I'm glad to hear that those feelings of contentment continue on. I appreciate all the positive comments and like you, hope it serves as a comfort to those who fear certain milestones.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks Dip Mtra you raise that interesting point I was just joking with my husband about the other day about being too old to be young and too young to be old - it is definitely "middle" aged for more than a number - it's like being kind of caught in the middle :) glad you enjoyed the hub.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks Flourish - Glad you are owning it :) and happy to see comments from so many that are positive

Jo Harley profile image

Jo Harley 2 years ago from Alberta Canada

love this! I know I'm not over forty but I lived and learned all this before I was out of my teens so it was difficult only because I was older than my years and wasn't given the respect for what I'd learned and was living. I'm still not but with all the lessons I've learned in life all that truly matters is being young at heart. Live, learn, laugh, and love. The people that matter won't mind and the people that mind don't matter. Dr. Suess

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Read this beautiful hub with interest. Becoming older should be embraced instead of feared. After all, becoming older is another stage in the evolution of our lives. One must grow, change, & evolve or one will atrophy. The points you illustrated were excellently on target.

I find that I am a bit more assertive as I got older. I am also more confident. I have become exceedingly more open minded & analytical. I see becoming older is a new beginning, a just another phase in my evolvement as a human being. Excellent hub, VOTED UP.

Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

Very interesting and awesome. All facts stated by you are true for most of us. We enjoy so much benefits of being aged. Now, I am above 60 and feel much relieved and free. Thanks for highlighting these points so that others can realise and feel content and comfort.

Dip Mtra profile image

Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

Great hub, voted up. 40+ is the real time in life when you are neither too old nor young anymore. Shall follow your inspiring hubs henceforth. Thanks.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Amen to this. Being 40 or better rocks. I now totally know who I am. I kinda did before, but now I am owning it. Voted up and more and sharing. You go, you 40-something girl!

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks so much MHiggins glad you enjoyed the hub :)

MHiggins profile image

MHiggins 2 years ago from Michigan

Very good hub Christin. I took life too seriously through my 40's but have learned to "reflect" more in my 50's. Everyone should embrace mid life and not fear it. You make many good points and your hub is very well written as always. Thanks for writing this! Voted up!

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

That's awesome Catherine. Thanks for reading and commenting.

CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

Being over 60 is even better. You get to play the age card.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

That's awesome Eric - and I'm sure she appreciates that. Thanks for commenting.

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I certainly go in for the beauty part, my wife is just forty and never looked better!

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks Millionaire Tips glad you enjoyed it :)

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 2 years ago from USA

Excellent hub! I agree with all these things. It does get easier as you get older.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

I'm sorry that's your experience. A teen in college can mop her own room and do her own laundry - she should be more self-sufficient and I would push for that to free some time for yourself. Perhaps your other family members need to do a bit more to support the household so that there is good balance there. I am fortunate in that my kids and husband help around the house at least somewhat.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

I am in my mid forties but not enjoying one bit, i have one teen in college, have to wash her clothes, mop her room , i have a eight year old boy, homework, timetable to rush and household chores to attend, where are my own time?

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