When one thinks about the BIG 4-0, you can have many thoughts in the back of your mind. Maybe you’re scared because you can no longer relate to your 20- or even 30-something self.

There’s a big change happening and all you can think is: “How do I prepare myself?”

Now that I identify as part of the 40-something population, I wish someone would have sat me down for a real heart-to-heart (along with a bottle of Moscato, of course) to prepare me for this momentous celebration.

As a novice to this decade, I am here to give some advice to my younger counterparts on how to be more prepared than I was in entering the threshold called 40:

1. Make Sure your Finances are in Check

By the time you reach 40, the desire to “Keep Up With The Joneses” has hopefully faded away. Gone are the days of popping of bottles, purchasing excessive gifts for yourself, overextended credit card bills, and leasing a luxury car every 24 to 36 months.

They can realistically be traded in for a humble wine allowance, a sensible shopping spree once in a while, two major credit cards with balances kept under the limit in case of an emergency, and hefty savings and 401K accounts that will help you purchase your first home.

2. Stay Focused on your True Passion and Make It Your Career

As I look back on my 20+ years of adulthood, I see how important it is to live out your true passion.

It’s easy to push your passion to the wayside, as you turn your focus to what makes money.

I can remember a time when all I could think about was working as a journalist. It’s honestly what I wanted. I thought it would be the answers to ALL of my problems, but after hearing a few no’s, I switched gears and tried something that I thought would make me money.

Fast forward to the present and I wish I had stayed with my passion for writing. I probably would be a renowned journalist by now!

Lesson learned: Live and fight for your passion.

3. Be your Own Best Friend

In your 20s and 30s, a woman is eager to please her friends, her man (if one is currently in the picture) and EVERYONE ELSE BUT HERSELF.

If I could give advice to my 20-something self, I would tell her to forget everyone else and do for HERSELF. As narcissistic as it may sound, it is truly self-therapy.

If you happen to be single at 40, there is nothing worse than a woman of age who exudes neediness or lack of self-worth. It is a horrible accessory to an already fabulous outfit.

4. Expand your Travel Resume

As a child, I was fortunate to travel overseas due to my father’s benefits as an employee of a major airline. I would never have experienced other cultures if it was not for this opportunity.

I would tell any 40-something woman to make sure that she has an active passport, find a travel group, or get on a savings plan with a couple of your closest girlfriends and take a European tour or all-inclusive trip to a Caribbean island.

Make sure to plan way ahead of time and make a pact to do it at least once a year. It will be something to look forward…and you’ll love looking at the different stamps in your passport.

With these tips in tow, you’re now ready to begin the fabulous journey into your BEST decade yet.

This is the new face of 40. Allow her to reintroduce herself.

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