Making the most of a new decade of life creatively & personally
November 23, 2016 5:28 PM   Subscribe

I turn 40 on Sunday (cue my internal panic) and have been thinking about things you can change/learn as you enter a new phase of your life, as well as looking for suggestions about creative ways to chronicle the first year of your 40s.

So, Hive Mind, what would you suggest I learn or change as I approach firmly entrenched middle age? Any advice you can give? What kind of project should I do to mark the first 365 days?

I feel I should note: I'm happily married, no kids (and there won't be any), have a job pays okay but isn't "huzzah! work!", and I am keen to try anything interesting in terms of creativity. I currently host a radio show on a local college/campus station with my partner, as well as host/produce my own podcast, so that sews up some creative stuff I do. But I want something more!

(also I know turning 40 isn't the end of the world but I'm having a weirdly hard time adjusting to its coming)
posted by Kitteh to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I cut off a lock of hair and saved it. Most of my relatives from my paternal grandfather's side of the family went pure white and I want to see if I do too.
posted by brujita at 6:06 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

What do you mean by learning or changing, exactly? Are you talking about moving away from some state that's constraining, or moving towards something novel, or are you looking for, for want of a better word, insights to draw from?

My cohort and I are having that same year - which I agree is pretty real! - and everyone's doing different things. Starting a business, deliberately giving *up* on career ambitions, joining a convent, running marathons, joining a band [for the first time]... I'd intended to complete a big-for-me creative thing, but that energy's had to go to dealing with health, so far. Maybe as a result, my desire right now is to move towards simplicity, acceptance, that kind of thing. The one common feeling everyone's converging on is "fuck it" (whatever "it" was for any individual). Looking at them, and friends who are older, it's reassuring to see people sort of relax more deeply and comfortably into themselves.

Is there anything you've always wanted to try, but just haven't? (Or, here's a thing to maybe try, if you haven't already?)
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:37 PM on November 23, 2016

I too was motivated by my 40th to assess and change things up a little, and I decided what would really be novel would be committing to go much deeper on an interest I was already working on. That in turn necessitated learning some related but new skills.

I've had mixed success creatively, but the process itself has been absorbing in a way I hadn't anticipated. Happy birthday and enjoy whatever you decide to pursue!
posted by Tuba Toothpaste at 10:44 PM on November 23, 2016

Going to the gym or running is always good at 40+, and especially if you were not sporty earlier in life. I got some new friends out of it too.
posted by Coda Tronca at 11:50 PM on November 23, 2016

What do you mean by learning or changing, exactly? Are you talking about moving away from some state that's constraining, or moving towards something novel, or are you looking for, for want of a better word, insights to draw from?

I'd like to move away from employment dissatisfaction, for sure. I'd also like to learn how to just be, instead of always being full of anxiety. (I do have a therapist, FYI.)
posted by Kitteh at 6:49 AM on November 24, 2016

Happy birthday Kitteh! I turned 40 a year and a half ago, and am also happily married with no kids and have a steady job. Similar to Tuba Toothpaste, I also started down the path of going much deeper on an interest I already had right around that time -- possibly coincidentally but now I think 40 is a kind of natural transition point. It has meant learning new skills (on which I have a very long way yet to go!) and forming new relationships.

An important part of this for me has been starting a monthly community meet-up around the interest. This has put me in the somewhat uncomfortable position of being an organizer, but I have grown as a result and this has led (mostly indirectly) to most of the new relationships that I've formed around the interest. It has also put me in the position of speaking as a (relative!) expert in the sense of providing support for people who have much less expertise than I do. This has helped me better understand how much I know and don't know and let me feel more comfortable about where I am in this endeavour.
posted by heatherlogan at 12:30 PM on November 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

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