Taking Stock at 40? Figure Out What Really Counts
By Sandy Schroeder
Sometimes when the dust settles we all reflect a little. If you are in your 40s you may be reflecting more on what really counts.
Megan McArdle, writer for Bloomberg.net, did just that at 45, and her thoughts are spot on. In fact, she comes up with some “rules for life” that are so marvelously true that you might want to adopt a few.
Give up being mean – In grade school there is always someone who masters the "put down" with snide little potshots, but making yourself look big by making someone look small is really kids’ stuff. Move on to the adult league, and learn how kindness actually makes a person bigger, and happier.
Be smart enough to fail – When you never make a mistake because you never take risks, you may be awfully bored and never forward, or further ahead. Try new things whenever you can. You may not excel, but if you do you will have added another shade to your palette.
Make time to party – Most parties are totally predictable, but why miss the one that turns out to be outstanding. Go even if you are not thrilled about it. When you meet someone new who is amazing, it will have been worth the effort.
Save a fourth of your pay – Being financially secure really counts the most, way more than that gorgeous new jacket, or sweet new car that you absolutely must have. Be real about your income, and treat yourself to things that you can actually afford; tuck away 25 percent of your income and learn how to make it grow. When you do, you will have the pleasure of knowing you actually can have that sweet new car and great new jacket if you really want them. Meanwhile, enjoy the luxury of sleeping well at night and knowing you are becoming financially free.
Tell people how great they are – Let your friends, family and co-workers know exactly why you think they are talented, loyal, trustworthy or amazing in some other way. Be specific and watch for that surprised smile as they appreciate you, too
Make your bucket list happen – We all have that list of things that we are going to do, but unfortunately too many of us just keep pushing them down the road to next month, next year, or maybe never. Remember, John Greenleaf Whittier said, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.'” Life has a funny way of changing when we are not looking. If you can do it now and want to, do it.
If these thoughts ring true to you, hop off the computer for a bit and get to work doing something that counts for you right now.
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