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I turned 40 last year, and I am loving it. I miss the physical resilience of being in my 20s, but I wouldn't trade where I am now to go back to my 20s.

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.

Getting 40 made me just feel old. I no longer have as much energy, keeping my weight got harder and let's not forget the annoying loss of hair. Additional experience is somewhat nice, but doesn't make up for it. Then again I spend most of my 30's getting out of debt because of a failed startup. Which might have given me a more negative view on life (last time I could afford traveling around was ~10 years ago).

Just some unwarranted advice, the energy thing can be changed with proper diet and exercise, I'm 35 and it's amazing what a difference eating paleo and exercising 3+ times a week has made.

I agree entirely. It's amazing how tone deaf one can get to this advice, people kept giving it to me.

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.

Did all of that as well. Stopped smoking (over half a decade ago, so that was around your age I guess), reduced drinking (~1 glas of wine per week), I always did excercises (just have to do it far more seriously now the older I get as I no longer build muscles that easy) and eating far more healthy by now (although somewhat more since I stopped smoking as that had replaced my breakfasts back then). Less general movement due to working from home since a few years (no more walking to a job... that makes some difference, but I still walking a lot as I live without a car).

It all helps - really does. Just doesn't stop aging :-)

Nothing saps your energy like mulling over past mistakes/mis-steps/shouldas-couldas. We all have more of these as we get older, but if you do your best to let go of them you'll free yourself up quote a bit.

Easier said than done, but I speak from experience.

I learned this one right around when I turned 29. It's easier to look forward when you don't spend much time looking backward.

Shave your head. That's one problem solved.

I've gotten buzz cuts since I was little. I used to do it for simplicity. Now I do it because I think it looks better. Some people tell me I look younger than I am (29), so that's a nice byproduct.

I used to have crewcuts as a kid, then went longer on top in my 20's, and now I just go for grade 0.5 all over.

It looks better and saves so much time..

You can tell the difference between a bald guy with a shaved head vs. a guy with a full head of hair with a shaved head. I'd bet the social advantages of hair still belong to the full-head-of-hair-shaved guy.


But I think a bald guy with a shaved head also demonstrates a certain attitude "My hair had issues. I dealt with it. Next!"

The older guy will almost certainly have more experience, more confidence and more money. A young guy with a shaved head, if he isn't a Marine, is an emo or a hipster.

Living in Germany shaved heads are unfortunately also a right-wing political statement. Neo-nazis are using shaved heads for recognition and are known as "Glatzen" (skinheads). Which I think is one reason that you see only very few other people here doing that. Might be good reason for more people shaving their head so the nazis start to lose this symbol, but that takes some self-confidence.

In Netherland it was like that when I was young, but in the '90s, shaven heads became very popular with no right-wing association whatsoever.

Good advice, I'm in my latter 20s and I'm already there.

42 now, but I think I started at around your age.

1) If you are always tired and a little overweight (or more), get checked for sleep apnea issues at a sleep study center. If you have it, it is sapping your energy.

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.

Thanks for the hints. I already do regular exercises and keep my weight more or less - it's just getting harder every year. With 30 I never had to think much about this while with 40 it has become an annoying regular routine I have to go through.

If you're not already, look into doing a couple of resistance training sessions per week. You don't have to be He-man lifting huge weights, in fact you're better not to be. Focus on core and "all of body" movements.

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.

I'm currently using variations of the 7-minute workout (7-min.com) + some minor weight lifting.

Any amount helps, but cardio benefits only start to kick in at 20 minutes or above, as I understand it, from the research.

Maybe it's the grass is greener thing, but dude, that's one awesome life you've lived.

"Life is wonderful if you keep right on living."

Love this.

As someone in their 20s who spends a lot of time climbing and wondering how that lifestyle is going to work out long term with programming, your story sounds pretty inspiring. Nothing terribly substantive, just wanted to say thanks!

Climbing and programming go really well together.

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. :)

You guys have trouble getting dates with attractive girls?

Don't worry, you'll eventually grow out of this attitude. Your confidence will increase. You won't have to say stuff like this in an effort to feel better about yourself. Hang in there and good luck.

No I'm serious. Ha. Hows the dating scene in the 40s? I'm going to be there soon. The 30's came on insanely fast.

I don't think it's that different from 30s. In some ways, anything post-college is similar in that your life doesn't revolve around an institution full of single peers.

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.

According to the article linked here, they're good.


I don't know. I got married during my 30s, so I have no need for dating. But at the same time, I'm way more confident and I'm sure I wouldn't suck as badly at it as I did during my 20s.

I just turned 40 as well, and I found that, last year, younger (20-30) year old women seemed more interested in me than ever. While I was in Chicago on a long consulting gig, I briefly dated a gal who was 24 and smoking hot. Didn't seem to bother her.

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

As we get older the "attractiveness balance" shifts from the young women to the older men. One of the things I wish someone explained to me as hopeless youth.

Most people around the age of 40 have morphed that question into a different one to match their changing interests and needs.

Yes, but your Mum says Hi.

Can we get off moms I just got off yours.


Thanks for sharing your story. It's comments like this that keep me posting to HN.

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