40 Things We’ve Learned Now That We’re 40
We’re turning 40, but we’re not the only ones. We asked two of our friends, Carmen and Samuel Lee, about the lessons they’ve learned now that they’re 40, an age that resonates with confidence, a certain worldly coolness and a good store of wisdom
1. Honesty and integrity are the most important virtues. Always strive to be true to yourself and those around you.
2. Don’t worry too much. It doesn’t do any good. Just focus on the present but be prepared for a rainy day.
3. It doesn’t hurt to be friendly and courteous. A smile and a simple “thank you” can make a difference in someone else’s day.
4. Genuine friends don’t judge. They let you be who you are. They understand you have good and bad days and that sometimes you need space.
5. Let your hair down once in a while. Just lose yourself in the moment and have a blast
6. Fewer computer games, more board games. We recently introduced some of our favourite childhood toys and games to our 10-year-old and he actually told us he could not believe what a cool childhood we must have had.
7. The snooze button is pointless. It only wakes up your spouse but not yourself. If you want to wake up later, why not just set the alarm to that time rather than have it repeatedly going off and disturbing that extra sleep you wanted?
8. Don’t be shy. Hit the dance floor. Music brings everyone together and dancing is a good workout. Also, no one cares whether you dance well or not. And it’s way more fun than sitting around guarding the handbags.
9. Always lead by example. Actions speak louder than words. It might sound clichéd but it’s true—you are more likely to gain respect by practising what you preach.
10. Idleness is a luxury. Living in a vibrant city like Hong Kong often means we work hard and play hard. Having the time to do nothing is bliss.
11. Cockroaches are freaky. We don’t know why, but even at 40 they still freak us out.
12. Work hard and work smart. Being resourceful and efficient, and having good relationships with those you work with, are what it takes to bring you to the next level.
13. Challenge yourself and learn new things. It’s very tempting to stay in your comfort zone, but the more you put off honing new skills, the less likely you will be to pick them up later. Basically, don’t fall behind.
14. Just be yourself. There is no point trying to be someone you are not. It is hard work keeping up appearances and people will see through the facade eventually.
15. Google Maps is a godsend, especially if you are lacking any sense of direction. No more getting lost or spending hours planning a route. What a blessing.
16. The most important fixture in the house is the Toto in the bathroom. It’s luxury for a very important part of your body and in one of the most basic acts of life. Why not?
17. It’s totally okay to have regrets. Just don’t get too dragged down by them. They are lessons learned, after all, and you’ll never know where that other path may have led.
18. The most elegant ladies are the ones who choose to age gracefully. It’s in their attitude and in their confidence, and the way they carry themselves.
19. Real friendships should be simple, without pride or envy.
20. Breakfast is overrated (Carmen). Breakfast is underrated (Sam).
21. The best way to keep white shirts white is to use baking soda, not bleach. Soak them overnight in baking soda before putting them into the washing machine, and you’ll have the crispest, freshest shirts there are.
22. Happiness is about expectations and gratitude. We are responsible for our own happiness. No one and nothing else can keep us happy if we don’t have the right mindset.
23. Always wash your hands well after chopping chillies and don’t touch your face for at least a few hours, unless you enjoy a burning, tingling sensation on your skin.
24. Always keep an open mind. You never know what’s around the corner.
25. All relationships take two to tango. Don’t just take the blame out on the other person. We all have to put in our part of support, tolerance, understanding and communication
26. Learn as many languages as you can. You will realise the importance of this when you are completely reliant on your polyglot spouse on a trip to France or Japan
27. Teach your children manners and groom their personality. It’s a lot more important than any school marks.
28. Hug and kiss the ones you love every day.
29. Making a fuss in public just makes you a clown. Being civilised when making complaints is way more likely to achieve a constructive outcome.
30. Champagne can mess you up, especially if you end the night on it. It guarantees a bad hangover and a lot of dehydration. Go for whisky instead.
31. Work out regularly if you want long-term results.
32. Ditto skincare.
33. Keep your head up and look forward in life instead of down at your phone. Experiencing the real world is way more meaningful and stimulating.
34. Earplugs are marriage savers.
35. Life is too short to drink bad wine. It doesn’t necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg. It just has to be good.
36. Children are amazing but they come with an insane amount of responsibility. Having them is easy, teaching and guiding them is super challenging, so be prepared!
37. Humidity is good for your hair, even though you might not necessarily like it. We recently spent two weeks in Europe and California and really felt the difference.
38. No, you don’t always have to listen to your parents—and we’re saying this as both offspring and parents. The older generation will always be more experienced, but their ways may not be the most appropriate for our today. And that’s okay.
39. Be well-travelled. Try different foods. Appreciate different cultures. It will keep you grounded, humble and knowledgeable.
40. At 40, we still have much to learn.