Ah, the 4th decade. It was a good one for me I hope it will be spectacular for you. This is the latest post in my “better man” series and on many of them I like to start with a disclaimer. This post is written from the point of view of a heterosexual man. I simply can’t proclaim this post will apply to other sexualities or genders because that is not where I am at. If you get value from it, that’s fantastic. Please take it in the context it is written, to help heterosexual men improve.
So the 4th decade is interesting because you aren’t old, and you aren’t young. People will start calling you “Sir” more often. You likely have some grey hair and are balding to some degree. You likely have smile lines as well and a dad bod is probably what you are rocking. Hormonally things really start to slow down. Additionally, you might start to develop your first “condition”, chronic pain, skin ailment or worse.
By your 4th decade things should be much clearer for you in terms of your life, where you have been and where you are going. Here are the 4 “must have’s” of clarity in your 40’s.
- Career: You should have been working in your chosen field for a decade, in most cases more. You should know what the end game is, your earning potential through the rest of your career and exactly what it is you want to do. You should be beginning to think about what companies you want to do that for, not what role you want as your experience should already dictate that outcome. Simply put, your 40’s should be spent getting to the position and company you think will maximize your earnings and contentment with work.
- Kids: If you haven’t already had them, this is the decade to have them. Children’s formidable years, where you can influence and participate the most is 3-13. Once they get to high school you are still in the picture but you are needed (and wanted) less and less. Having young kids in your 40’s is great, you’re healthy, they are learning and you have enough comfort with yourself after 4 decades you aren’t spending most of your free time figuring out your life.
- Life Partners: This may, or may not be a spouse. This may or may not be a romantic partner. In your 40’s you should be able to identify who your life partners are going to be. These are the people you will still be talking to and engaging life with until you die. Siblings, in-laws, old friends, lovers, Ex’s…. The list needs to be clearer for you so you can focus on the critical people. One night in the future when you can’t sleep, think for a minute who are the most important people in your life. The ones you can’t live without, if its more than 10 you have to many. Focus on 1-10 these are your ride or die partners for life.
- Family: not your spouse/ex & kids but your extended family. This overlaps somewhat with “Life Partners”, but remember many people in your extended family will not be around for the later part of your life. Your grandparents if still alive are likely 80+ your parents probably retired or are getting there. Family can be both a blessing and a curse. At some point one of your older family members will need help. It could be financial, emotional, physical you simply don’t know. As you age things can happen quickly. Imagine your mother gets very sick with Cancer has 2 years to live and your father is out of the picture. Will she live with you? A sibling? Have a plan for aging parents and extended family if they are part of your current life. Issues here can wreak havoc on your life in your 40’s.
Your 40’s are a great decade. Mine was great my kids came of age, my relationships got stronger. However, my mother got to a point she could no longer live alone. My siblings and I had a plan, it worked and she is doing very well now 6 years later. You are getting older, your 40’s is the start of the 2nd half (in football terms). There is a lot of game left to play, but the first half has shaped the 2nd half start. Maybe you are banged up? Maybe you killed it in the 1st half? Buckle up, the 3rd qtr. goes by quickly. Before you know, you’re going to be 50…..
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