I grew up relatively sheltered in New England, and moved to NYC to teach as soon as I graduated from college. I spent my 20s teaching in the city and bicycling around North America in the summers.
At 29, I moved to Alaska. I spent my 30's climbing mountains, doing mountain rescue work, and continuing to teach.
I just turned 40, and I feel like this decade is about building some things that last. I feel like I came into more serious hacking at just the right time in my life. I now have the experience to know exactly what I want to build, and I have the long-term mindset needed to build important things. After having stood in front of NYC public school classrooms, bicycled around the continent, faced bears in the wild, and dropped out of helicopters onto steep mountains, dealing with servers and such is just another satisfying challenge to play with.
Life is wonderful if you keep right on living.
I'm 33 (soon to be 34), and fitter than I ever was in my 20s, with more energy.
Difference? Eating differently (low carbs, high protein), and exercising 3 times a week.
I also stopped smoking a year ago.
Quality of sleep is also way up there now.
It all helps - really does. Just doesn't stop aging :-)
Easier said than done, but I speak from experience.
It looks better and saves so much time..
But I think a bald guy with a shaved head also demonstrates a certain attitude "My hair had issues. I dealt with it. Next!"
2) If you are like me and don't like exercise much (nor the time investment) but can no longer deny its benefits, do what I'm doing and do HIIT spin cycle 3 times a week for 25 minutes. It totally works. Feel free to google it, there's a lot of interesting research at this point.
You'll not only feel stronger and look healthier, you'll also burn a lot of energy. And as you get older, maintaing strength and flexibility guards against aches, pains and injury.
"Life is wonderful if you keep right on living."
In my most productive periods, I get into this cycle where I climb a mountain right at my limit, scare myself just the right amount, and think to myself, "Man, I don't ever want to climb a mountain again."
Then I go home and work on fun technical stuff right at my current limits. I work at that for a while, until I want nothing more to do with computers, and just want to be outside. Then I head off into the mountains.
It's a good cycle. :)
There's a little bit of magic-numberism that goes on, I suppose: people have ideas about what age means and they'll use it for a proxy (you'll worry about much younger people being annoying or stupid, they'll suspect you'll be staid or weird). But for the most part, everybody who's looking is still basically looking for the right connection.
The only practical effects I've seen are around two clocks:
* the family clock: some people are more anxious to have kids before they get too much older, some people have decided the window is done (which changes who they can pair up with).
* the midlife crisis clock: people start trying harder to see if they can make their life exactly what they want, or insert something they wished they had when they were younger.
These might be the same clock, though. And they have been known to strike well before the 40s. :) YMMV.
I was talking to a much younger female friend of mine once, about this subject, and she confirmed something another female friend had told me, which is that women often find older guys more attractive. Apparently you look more "distinguished" as you age. Now there is, obviously, a point of diminishing returns that comes along eventually. But I keep hearing women tell me that a 24 year old woman (for example) will have no objection to dating a 40 year old man.
Being self conscious about this point, I've asked a number of other women (including random women sitting next to me on airplanes, etc., who theoretically have no reason to be dishonest) and time and time again I've been told that this effect is real.
Another female friend also admitted that some women do consider that factor that older men tend to be further along in their careers, and correspondingly have more money, status, power, prestige, etc. OTOH, she was one of the few who said she would not date a guy who was more than about 6 or 7 years older than her, at most. shrug