Have you celebrated your fortieth birthday or getting there soon? Congratulations! Join the club. The fourth decade of our lives, in my opinion, is an amazing period, for plenty of reasons. We feel more comfortable with ourselves, find lesser need to impress anyone and for many of us, self-realisation sets in. We discover and develop inner wisdom and love of self.
It no longer matters when the neighbourhood teenager in all her innocence, exclaims that you look so young (thereby unwittingly reminding that you are actually old) or when your children complain that you are not “trendy”. You brush it off with a smile. Over the years you have realised that the scar on your face, the frizzy hair which never listens to you, the shape of your eyebrows – all these are such trivial issues that you wonder why they seemed so important a couple of decades ago. That’s what the twice- 20’s are all about.
While celebrating our fabulous forties, let us see how we can make the most of it. I have a ‘to do’ list (which I prepared a month ago and planning to adhere to as much as possible) which you may find useful.
- Slow down your pace of life and reflect on your lifestyle. Watch what you eat – increase your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits; cut down on processed and refined food.Read this to find out more.
- Try to spend at least 30 minutes every day towards getting fit. Since your body metabolism slows down with age, tweak your exercise regimen according to your age and energy levels.
- Go ahead and sign up for that annual health checkup which you have been postponing. Don’t forget to do it for your spouse as well.
- Take care of your parents’ health. Even if they seem to be managing well on their own, it doesn’t hurt to offer help. After all, now you know the feelings of a parent.
- Prepare your bucket list. If you already have one, start planning and take action.
- Thinking of a career switch? This is the ideal time – neither too early nor too late.
- Learn a new language or skill, just for the heck of it.
- Revive that passion which you have been holding close to your heart, but never had a chance to bring it out.
- Take a break from your hectic schedule and plan a trip to the nearby tourist attraction in your own city, which you have not visited yet but the whole world talks about.
- Give back to the community, sign up for some volunteering. Apart from personal satisfaction, it increases our sense of gratitude towards life.
- Over the years your risk appetite and outlook on investments would have changed. It is time to re-evaluate your investment strategy.
- Review your financial plans with a focus on retirement planning. You owe this to yourself and your spouse.
- Revamp your insurance policies according to your current requirements.
- Top-up your (and your spouse’s) health insurance policy. See here to read more about health insurance.
- Sign up for personal accident, disability and critical illness cover, if you haven’t done already. Apart from life insurance, these 3 are the most important ones in my opinion and experience as a financial planner. Illness can strike anyone, and at any time, it makes sense to be prepared so that at least you don’t have financial worries.
- Write your Will. It is never too early and you can always make amendments later.
- Look out for a dip in the property cycle for investing in your second home.
- Depending on their age, brief your children about your savings, loans, investments and insurance. Besides letting them know your financial status, you are giving them a head start in financial literacy.
- Give a thought about buying life insurance policy for your kids. It might seem unnecessary at this point, but insurance is quite affordable when you start young and it can be a sensible gift which they can literally cherish for a lifetime.
- Set aside a small amount each month for charity.
Family and Friends
- Don’t take your family for granted. They deserve to see the best of you more than colleagues, boss or business partners.
- Appreciate your spouse more. Have a date with him/ her once every month and just talk about each other.
- Respect your spouse. As you age, it is not only love that you expect from each other. You might be of the impression that you are the best husband/ wife, but does your spouse think so too? That’s what matters.
- Role modelling is the best way to teach the kids all about marriage. Compassion, being proud of each other’s achievements and encouraging to pursue interests – all these go a long way in ensuring sustained happiness in the family.
- Celebrate your kids. Make the best of your time with them. If they seek your attention, try to give them 100% of it, because the day when they would rather spend time with their friends is not far away.
- Make outdoor games or gardening part of family time. That way you get the double benefit of a workout as well as spending time with family. Check this for more ideas.
- Visit/ call your parents more often. If they are living with you, you can’t be luckier, spend more time with them.
- Meet your siblings and their families more often.
- The older we get, the more commitments we seem to have. Yet it is important to schedule time for friends in your calendar. Do an activity together, like gym sessions or yoga classes, or learn a new language together (two goals achieved at the same time). Any activity of common interest can be a reason for getting together.
- Use any occasion like festivals or picnics to meet up. A couple of hours with friends can do wonders to your mental well-being.
- Set aside time for prayer every day even if it is for a few minutes. Faith is the most powerful healing tool that gives you hope in the midst of losses, tragedies and failures.
- Even if you don’t believe in any supreme power, meditation can be an answer to deal with stress and negative emotions.
- Another effective way to improve your feeling of well-being is Yoga, in addition to its benefits as a work-out.
- Develop a love for nature. Grow your own garden or have your next picnic with family or friends at the botanic gardens.
- Seek transcendence through art or music.
- Forgive and love yourself. Nobody is perfect. Being kind to oneself is the foundation for love and compassion towards others.
- Forget about that job/ increment/ promotion that has been eluding you. Life has something better to offer you. Think of your past experiences and you will know that it is absolutely true.
- Listen more to others, thereby improving your sense of compassion and empathy.
- Forgive others for their mistakes, even if it the hardest thing on the planet. You don’t have to speak to them or even see them, but don’t hold a grudge. Just let go and forget about it. It’s like an extra baggage in our journey of life.Throw it away, make space for pleasant things in life – you will feel lighter and definitely happier.
- Join a spiritual group – temple, church, mosque or meditation centre. That way getting spiritual becomes easier and you can expand your social circle, as well.
Let’s wish ourselves good luck!
How many of these suggestions appeal to you? Do you have any more in mind? Please feel free to pen down below in the comments column.