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10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Turning 40

10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Turning 40

Worried about turning 40? If so, you’re probably in the majority. But before you decide to buy that new Harley, take a look at a few things I wish I would have known before turning 40.

1: I Wish I Had Kept Track of Old Friends

My life got busy after finishing college. I ending up loosing track of many of the friends I met in classes and residence hall. I have some great friends that I’ve met in the years that have passed, but I wish I would have taken more time to care for relationships with the college roommates who helped me cram for big exams, took care of me when I was under the weather, or talked me through a difficult break-up. I had no idea at the time just how much of an impact those friendships really had on me.

2: I Wish I Had Saved More Money When I Was Younger

Back in high school, my economics teacher explained how if each of us saved a few hundred dollars each month, the magic of compound interest would see that we were millionaires by our 50s. I was way too young then to heed such sage financial advice, so of course I spent much of the next decade spending money on movie nights with friends, expensive restaurants, and the latest and greatest clothing. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite memories are from going out with friends, but as my 50s get closer and closer, I know that saving that money sooner would have made a huge difference. It could be the difference between retiring at 55 and retiring at 70.

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3: I Wish I Had Not Burned Bridges in the Past

In my teens and twenties, I burned a lot of bridges. At times, it was through stupid things like getting offended at a job and quitting rashly. In other cases it came down to cutting off contact with a good friend or ex-girlfriend over petty disagreements. What I didn’t know then was that every positive relationship can be built on in the future. You’d be surprised how many co-workers you run into who have connections with a company you were at previously, or how many people you meet who knew an ex or an old friend of your’s.

4: I Wish I Had Traveled More as a Young Adult

In some countries, young adults take a year off to travel extensively, while staying in hostels and backpacking. There are huge benefits to traveling while you’re young. However, instead of taking the time to see the world or volunteer abroad, I was anxious to get to work. With financial commitments that have increased as the years have passed, I seldom have the money to travel abroad. Unfortunately, I may have to wait until retirement to enjoy some of those experiences.

5: I Wish I Had Taken Better Care of My Body

While being over 40 doesn’t mean that I am ancient by any means, I can definitely see differences in my body. I wish I would have begun to focus earlier on caring for my joints while maintaining my weight. Instead I’ve spent far too much time focusing on heavy weight lifting without giving much regard to proper pain management. I also envy people who embraced healthy eating when they were young, maintaining a healthy weight and building good habits over the years.

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6: I Wish I Had Been Kinder to Others

Now that I am older, I realize how important small acts of kindness are. We are all connected in some way. There is no reason to become hostile with waitresses or customer service reps over petty things. Taking time for little things, like letting someone with two items pass me at the grocery store when I have an overflowing cart would have been, in retrospect, well worth the sacrifice.

7: I Wish I Had Learned to Not Worry Constantly

I don’t know if worrying is really the cause of some of these wrinkles and gray hairs, but I do know that constant worrying can affect the chemicals in the brain. Most things tend to work themselves out in the end. I’ve found that shifting my focus to the things I can control, helps keep the stress away and keeps me more in tune with my family and the things that matter most.

8: I Wish I Hadn’t Collected So Much “Stuff”

Over the years, I have filled my home with a lot of stuff that I didn’t really need. Many of these “useless” items were expensive. All of these things represent wasted money and require space, leading to the necessity for a bigger house just to store all of the stuff. In recent years I’ve tried to adopt a much more minimalist lifestyle, funneling more money into paying down debts and investing in things I really want/need. My “stuff” collection has dwindled, leaving my home and my mind more clear and free.

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9: I Wish I Had Known How Important Hobbies Are

When I was younger, I spent plenty of time on hobbies to keep me occupied in my spare time. Playing sports with buddies, hitting the golf range, or reading books were welcome breaks from responsibilities at school and work. As I’ve gotten older and the focus has shifted more directly to family and work, many of these hobbies have fallen by the wayside. Having a hobby is a great way to keep yourself active and keep your mind sharp.

10: I Wish I Would have Realized That the Mind Stays Young

Although I may look 40, my mind thinks I am a teenager in many ways. I still want to do many of the things I neglected to do at a younger age. This is actually one of the more pleasant aspects of aging because it means that I can still have fun and learn new things. I can choose to make new friends, change my diet, and go back to the golf course. Turning 40 has given me a new perspective on life, on my priorities, and what I want the future to look like.

Don’t slow down. 40 can be the start of your next great adventure, a time to invest in what matters the most, and a chance to start fresh! What are you going to accomplish in your next 40 years?

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Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/ via flickr.com

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Jimmy Winskowski

Freelance Author

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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