Unexpected Reasons Life Gets Better After 40

Unexpected Reasons Life Gets Better After 40

Hitting 40 gets a bad rap! Sure, there might be a few more aches and pains, but life can actually get surprisingly better during this decade. Suddenly, you care less about nonsense and more about things that truly matter. You’ve earned some hard-won wisdom and have the confidence to truly embrace who you are, which is amazing. From stronger friendships to a better handle on stress (and the freedom to say “NO!”), here are some of the unexpected joys and newfound freedom that await you in your 40s and beyond.

1. You finally stop caring about what other people think.

Remember all those years spent worrying if people liked your outfit, your job, your car? In your 40s, you finally embrace the amazing freedom of not giving a damn. You do things because YOU want to, not because you’re seeking external validation. This newfound confidence opens up a world of opportunities and some seriously good sleep!

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2. You become better at saying no.

“No” is a complete sentence, Forbes notes, and one you finally feel comfortable using. Your time and energy are precious, and you’re no longer afraid to protect them. Saying no to things that drain you without guilt is incredibly liberating and opens up room in your life for things that actually matter.

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3. You know who your real friends are.

Gone are the days of maintaining superficial friendships just for the sake of it. Your 40s solidify your true friend circle – the ones who’ve been there through thick and thin, who make time for you and truly lift you up. Quality over quantity becomes your motto when it comes to friendships.

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4. You appreciate the simple joys in life.

The small moments suddenly hold so much more meaning. Whether it’s a good cup of coffee, time in nature, or a laugh with loved ones, you start savoring the simple things. This newfound appreciation leads to true contentment that fancy cars and big achievements could never match.

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5. You become more comfortable in your own skin.

Wrinkles, gray hairs, whatever – it just doesn’t matter as much anymore. You start to appreciate the wisdom and experience your body reflects. You realize that aging is a privilege, and you’ve earned those laughter lines and those well-lived years.

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6. You learn the importance of self-care.

You realize that taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s essential. You make time for things that nourish your body and soul, whether that’s exercise, therapy, or just some solo time with a good book. Investing in yourself pays off in improved physical and mental well-being, setting you up for an amazing next chapter!

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7. You stop trying to compare yourself to other people.

Social media can take a hike! You realize that everyone’s journey is different, and comparing your life to someone else’s highlight reel is a recipe for unhappiness. You focus on your own path and goals, finding deeper fulfillment in your personal accomplishments.

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8. You become more financially stable.


All those years of hard work are finally paying off. Maybe you’re making more money, have paid off some debt, or are just better at budgeting. That newfound financial stability unlocks exciting possibilities and brings a greater sense of security.

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9. You get better at handling stress.

Life has thrown you some curveballs, and you’ve learned how to roll with them. You develop coping mechanisms and realize that stress doesn’t have to derail you. This resilience makes facing life’s challenges a whole lot easier.

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10. Your fashion sense improves.

Finally, you can toss those dated trends! You realize that style is about what makes YOU feel good and confident. You gravitate towards well-made pieces, embrace your personal taste, and develop a signature look that’s totally you.

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11. You stop sweating the small stuff.

Traffic jams? Late emails? Minor annoyances that used to set you off just don’t matter as much anymore. You embrace the bigger picture and focus your energy on the things you can actually control, enjoying a much more peaceful existence.

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12. You prioritize experiences over material things.

Fancy gadgets lose their appeal, and you become more excited about creating memories than acquiring stuff. Traveling, trying new things, and spending quality time with loved ones become your priority, leading to a life filled with experiences you’ll cherish forever.

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13. You become a better communicator.

You don’t waste time playing games or beating around the bush as you get older. Whether it’s with your partner, boss, or friends, you get better at communicating your needs and desires in a direct and respectful way. This helps avoid misunderstandings and leads to stronger relationships across the board.

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14. You’re not afraid to reinvent yourself.

Whether it’s a career you always wanted to try or moving to a new city, it’s never too late! You realize the beauty of change and embrace the possibilities for reinvention at any stage in life. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes an adventure, not a source of fear.

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15. You embrace the aging process.

Instead of fighting the inevitable, you embrace aging with grace (and maybe a great skincare routine!). You focus on staying healthy and active, and appreciate the depth of experience each year brings. Turning 40 doesn’t feel like an ending, but rather a new and exciting beginning.

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16. Your sense of humor keeps getting better.

Life is too short to be serious all the time! Your 40s bring a newfound appreciation for the absurd, the silly, and the downright hilarious. You find yourself laughing easily and often, both at yourself and the world around you. Turns out, laughter really is the best medicine!

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Gail is Bolde's social media and partnership manager, as well as an all-around behind-the-scenes renaissance woman. She worked for more than 25 years in her city's local government before making the switch to women's lifestyle and relationship sites, initially at HelloGiggles before making the switch to Bolde.