What 40 Women Said They Wish They’d Known Before Turning 40

woman examining her face in a mirror

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

I still remember my mom’s 40th birthday. We blew up black balloons and hung black streamers and “over the hill” banners around the house. Do people still say “over the hill?” Is it because I’m 42 or does 40 just not feel old anymore?

Don’t get me wrong—even if 40 is the new 30, there are still a lot of ways the fourth floor of life does feel different from the third. In fact, I find myself offering words of warning to my friends who are still living it up in their youth, unaware of what’s to come in a few short years. If you’re over 40, what’s the go-to bit of wisdom you share? If you’re still in your 20s or 30s, here’s what 40 women said when asked what women should know about turning 40. Consider it a gift from all of us old ladies.

They had advice on loving your body.

1. Your body is functional, not ornamental. Love it for what it can do, not how it looks. – Allison

2. The hormone change is real. Hair, skin, cycles… It affects them all. Don’t run from it. Embrace the changes. – Megan

3. Stop dieting. Food is not your enemy and life is too short to not eat what your body is telling you to eat. – Whitney

4. Your body does an about-face and nothing is the same—EVER! But that’s OK. – Jennifer

5. You need creams for wrinkles and pimples. All the ads when I was younger made it seem like one or the other. No one prepared me for both. – Meaghan

6. Quit thinking you’re overweight. – Debi

7. You might feel like your body is not up to par, but your kids don’t see it that way. Don’t live your life for onlookers. Engage with your kids and have fun with them. – Lauren

They had words of wisdom about aging.

8. I wish someone had told me the mid-40s hormone imbalance would remind me of the mood swings and hot flashes I had during and after pregnancy so I didn’t walk around just thinking I was crazy! – Rayna

9. I wish I truly understood the phrase “youth is wasted on the young” before I was no longer young. – Jen

10. Every doctor is going to say, “Well now that you’re in your 40s…” – Tanya

11. Embrace the wisdom, be grateful that every day is a new day to do better, let go of the guilt, and stop comparing! – Luann

12. Your 40s are better than your 30s. You come into yourself in such a beautiful way. – Erin

They had profound words to share.

13. You can’t compete with a 20-year-old, but guess what—she can’t compete with you either. – Amy

14. I wish I would have known how fast life does really go by and take a little more time to hug – Gayle

15. The wisdom we gain as we age far surpasses any benefits of our carefree younger years! – Kolleen

16. Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy every minute of your life! – Lilly

17. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You can break the mold. – Jenn

18. Stop worrying that you’re doing it wrong. Just do it. – Lisa

19. Invest in your friendships. These women will be with you during some difficult years. – Sara

20. Age truly is just a number. – Alice

21. Celebrate and savor each year as it comes. No need to be upset about getting older. – Carrie

They want to share what they’ve learned about parenting.

22. Trust your gut. You’re your children’s mom for a reason. – Mary Jo

23. Do the best with the information you have and live with no regrets. – Wendy

24. I wish I would’ve always made my parenting decisions with prayer. – Marcia

25. I’m a calmer parent after 40 because I’m more aware of my hormones. I’ve gotten smarter about what is impacting my mood. – Rachel

They had powerful words about God.

26. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Spend more time just listening to God and allowing him to love you. – Jessica.

27. I wish I knew, or understood, how strong God had made me. – Valerie

28. God made only one you. Don’t try to be someone else. – Melanie

29. God doesn’t just have plans for your life until you’re 25. He’s still moving and working in and through you. – Hannah

They had practical advice.

30. If you’re smart with your money, you can retire at 40 if you want to! – Kate

31. Have a career that you love, not just a job. If that means furthering your education, find a way to make that happen! – Nanci-Beth

32. Keep moving. – Kathy

33. I found a new hobby at 43. I am so glad I wasn’t afraid to try something different. You never stop learning and growing if you seek it out. – Penny

34. Keep wearing sunscreen. Put it on your hands too! They get a lot of sun while you drive. – Nicole

They want you to smile!

35. Even smiling will give you wrinkles, but it’s worth it. – Nina

36. Forty is fun! – Kim

37. Sixty is the new 40! – Lisa

38. Don’t take yourself too seriously. – Vicki

39. Forty is not the new 20. Forty is really that: 40. You can do four times fewer things at 40 than you did at 20. Like staying up until past 2 a.m. partying and drinking, bending down to pick things up off the ground without a joint creaking, and going to the fridge and remembering why you opened it. But you still know every word to every NKOTB song, rap with Salt-N-Pepa, and sing every ’80s one-hit-wonder without missing a beat. – Eileen

40. Too tired to comment. – Olivia

Your turn! Tell us what women should know about turning 40.

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

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