I'm now in my 40's. I'm sitting next to the fire, smoking a corn cob pipe reading a book with my reading glasses and reflecting on the good ole days.
You know what the surprising thing is? I'm not old like I thought 40 would be old. I'm still strong, still getting attention from young women, I have a full head of hair and I'm still high energy.
I've really not slowed down and it's funny how our youth obsessed culture assumes that by 40 you're supposed to be some old man who's bald with a big beer belly.
Nope, just because you hit 40 it's not like you're required to become some shadow of yourself. Like I always say, life could be better, but things can be so much worse too (cancer, death in the family, financial ruin etc).
While I don't know everything (clearly) and wish I had accomplished more (still time to fix that god willing) here are life lessons and failures I learned from hitting 40 years old.
40 is when the report card comes in
In your 20s you can fail and screw up things as a man. 30's you can reinvent yourself and justify everything as you being a late bloomer (like me). Late bloomers are a thing btw, it's just that late bloomers are guys who are working, trying and failing. Not weirdos sitting in their moms basement waiting for something to happen.
But once you hit 40 that's when the report card comes in. No excuses at this point in life, how are you doing with regards to your family, friends, health and wealth?
Are you where you want to be or have you failed? I've personally failed in a lot of ways and do enter my 40's yearning for more out of life.
I have no regrets because I do realize a lot of things were out of my control early on. 911 happened when I was a senior in high school, that made me graduate college at 24 and not 21-22 years of age like others because I joined the military to pay for school as I come from a working class family.
Then the great financial crisis happened a few months right when I started work at 25 years old. That kept me stuck at a job I hated for longer than I wanted because quitting and finding another job was literally not possible in Connecticut, then finally I landed in Thailand as a teacher right before I turned 28. Then I spent 2 years as a teacher before I decided that I wanted to be self employed.
So I really did not get going with my life till I was in my 30's. I do wish I graduated college at 21-22 or so and went abroad to Thailand to teach but you have to play the hand you're delt.
So here are some life lessons and failures I've learned in 40 years:
Make finding a girl a priority once you hit 35
You're going to want a family and kids most likely as a guy. It's a good way to live the second half of your life with a family and children. By your mid-30s you hopefully should be hitting your stride financially and physically while wrapping up the whole playboy/party thing for a few years.
At this point focus on find a girl who's worthy of commitment, someone you're attracted to and compatible with. Love is nice, but its the girls I've been compatible with where I've had the best relationships.
I know it's tough as quality women are rare, but make it a priority. Also, 30-36 is a guys prime so you do have much more time than a woman does. I'm still getting attention and dates with girls who are 25 years old and younger so don't worry yet about aging out because men are on a different timeline than women, but I do wish I had something more serious as hook up culture is overrated.
It's fun being a single and successful guy who engages in casual relationships for a few years, but you got to plan for the second half of your life. So if you're blessed to find a quality girl who's young, moral, and family oriented and wants kids, is not lazy and knows she has to contribute to the relationship to, lock that girl down because it's difficult dating modern women.
Do a full body workout every few days
I exercise and do a full body workout every 2 or 3 days. If I go to the gym on Monday, I'll go again the following Wednesday or Thursday. If I go on Thursday then I'll go again Saturday or Sunday.
Rinse and repeat for the rest of your life.
I also do a full body workout where I do arms, chest, shoulders, abs, legs. I train pyramid style where I life heavy for the first 2 sets then decrease the weight. I also end all workouts with a 10 minute fast paced run on the treadmill. Followed by a 5 minute walk.
This cardio is nonnegotiable. It's what keeps the belly away and is the minimum of what you should do for cardio.
I've never really done this until the last few years and regret not doing so. My friend Johnny Ward is big on this and now I understand why. By setting and writing your yearly goals down you focus your thoughts and mind on what you want.
Then, you actually do stuff that moves you closer to what you want so your life does not end up like that movie Ground Hogs day where each day is the same damn thing.
If you don't set goals you'll also run the risk of floating aimlessly. You'll also not have a plan for success as well. Once I started making money and hit Bangkok, I got consumed with going out all the time. Drinking, partying, womanizing.
The end result is that my income deteriorated because I did not plan for success and have long term yearly goals. For the longest of time my goal was money. When you've been a broke English teacher it sucks, so I just focused on money above all else.
But once you actually hit a goal you've had on your mind for years, what happens next?
Great! Now I'm actually making a good income... uh now what do I do?
That's why you need to plan and write what your goals down so you don't spend all your time drinking beer, watching YouTube and doing the same thing week in and week out.
Know your numbers
I sucked at this for the longest time. You need to know your numbers. How much is coming in, what are your expenses and overall net worth?
I suggest having a once a month process where you have a "money day" where you pay your credit cards, check your investments, check your income sources, bank accounts and expenses and then track it and write it all down.
It actually becomes a fun activity, particularly when you're not in debt and are making forward progress. But regardless of where you are, you need to know your numbers.
Invest Your Money - Pay Yourself First
You need to invest, unless you want to be old and poor. I have whole guide on investing here:
In short, get out of credit card debt first and foremost and then student loan debt. Then invest your money in Bitcoin and target date retirement funds as well as a ROTH IRA if you're an American.
You can automate this process by having a percentage of your money go out each month. That way you pay yourself first.
By 40, you should have net worth of something. Don't be a 40 year old with less then nothing by being heavily in debt.
Seek meaning, not pleasure
This goes back to my whole getting sucked in by the black hole that is Bangkok. The lesson here is that going out occasionally is fun. But don't train yourself to seek dopamine from pleasure. It's a vapid existence going out to clubs and bars every weekend.
Instead you want meaning, doing difficult things and obtaining things that are difficult is where you'll find the most satisfaction. Like completing your first marathon or looking at your newborn son.
Make your parents and siblings a priority
I'm a lucky man to have a good family. My mom and dad are still alive and in good health despite being over 70, I also have my brothers and sister. All of whom I have a good relationship with.
Things like this I know are luck of the draw, so despite having a pretty shitty childhood of bullying and not fitting in as a boy, I'm lucky that I have the rock that is my family. If you're lucky like me, then make them a priority to spend time with them.
Eat right, manage your weight and supplement as needed
I look young for my age, one reason I suspect is that I eat well, sleep well and supplement:
In short I eat steak and eggs, macadamia nuts, fruit and vegies, dark chocolate (90%), sardines, green tea and coffee. Then I supplement with:
Magnesium and Zinc, Nac, Creatine, Collagen, Tongkat Ali.
I avoid sugar but I do have a sweet tooth so keep cookies away from me.
Finally, with eating right make it a habit to track your weight. By 40 you should know how much you should weigh.
For me that's 73 KG to 76 KG or 163lbs to 168lbs roughly. At around 5 ft 10, I'm more of a lean build and start looking fat when I hit 169lbs or more; that's my red line. If I weigh myself and I'm 168lbs then I know I need to reverse course.
Same with being 162-163 lbs. That's getting a bit too skinny so I have to eat more (always a great problem to have).
Manage your alcohol consumption
I'm a social drinker, meaning I only drink with friends and family. It's not a daily or even a weekly thing for me.
That said, alcohol will slow you down so be careful if you're trying to achieve a specific goal. I know that when I drink it's then 1 day of a hang over, then the next day I'm back to 70% then the third day I'm finally good to go at around 90%.
Look, nothing wrong with enjoying beer and wine. I've had great times with my family drinking in the backyard around the fire, getting happy and merry.
Just budget time for it. Like when I went to this music festival:
I did not drink 3 weeks prior to this. We all have our demons, if alcohol is a burden you bear then I'm sorry, it's something you have to quit and avoid forever. But if you're more of a social drinker like me, just be mindful.
Hey I drank this weekend, now I'm not going to drink for the next 2 weeks.
If a friend wants to meet up for drinks then you could say "sure, but I'm only having 2 beers and that's it."
I fast 5 to 6 days a week. I typically go 16 hours without food before eating and tend to stick to two meals a day. A light protein focused meal that keeps my brain fueled for creative work and then a proper dinner.
I do give myself flexibility when it comes to nights out and a social life, but in general I'm disciplined with food, supplements, alcohol and fasting. This way when I do go off the rails and enjoy myself, I've earned it.
Live life on your terms
Stop comparing yourself to other people. Live life on your terms. I know it's cliche, but I don't know how else to write this.
What do you want and how to do you want to live? Your victories are you own so stop worrying about how they stack up to other people. It's easy to compare yourself to others when you're young because our life is so templated and structured early on.
But as you age, you do become a unique person with unique experiences all your own so it actually does become impossible to compare yourself to others as you have a different life.
Conversely, small surrenders add up too. Your behavior becomes your habits, your habits become your future. Weak people give up, the strong survive and push forward. Also, I do want to mention that there is no purpose in life beyond the biological imperative of reproducing.
We change as we age and what you want at 40 is not what you wanted at 30. The only thing I know is to stay useful to other people and keep busy. A sense or purpose will then form.
Don't become boring
Don't stop evolving as a man. I see this in other 40 year old guys who get married and have kids. They flatline, their lives become the movie "Ground Hogs Day" where they do the same thing day in and day out.
I also see this in old guys in Pattaya Thailand. Bald, fat, faded green tattoos under their hairy old man arms. Drinking cheap beer at the bar at 11am with some potato shaped 40 year old working woman.
Old men become boring. Fight against this. Be aware of this tendency and keep working on yourself and doing stuff to stay interesting and dynamic.
That's it for my overall lessons learned from hitting 40 years old. If you enjoyed this, consider sending it to someone else. Thanks for reading!