I've been playing sports nearly all my life, and I'm still playing softball, football, and hockey in my 50s. Granted, it's flag football and beer-league hockey, but people have been giving me variations of "When are you going to quit? I usually tuned it out, but not as much as I should have. Don't stop moving, even if you have to adjust your expectations and activity level down a little.
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Death rates among US men in jumped to deaths per , men ages from at ages , according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Likewise, death rates among US women increased to deaths per , women ages from at ages Death is always shocking, but it's definitely an eye-opener when people you went to elementary school with start dying from "old age" diseases like heart attacks and diabetes. Sending your kids off to college can be traumatic, but becoming an empty-nester is also an opportunity.
Couples may wake up to the reality that it's just the two of you again.
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Reconnect to a time when you were someone other than Mom or Dad. The door may be closing on a day-to-day routine revolving around kids, school, and family activities, but having the time to pursue your own interests and rekindle your romance can set the stage for decades of happiness to come. There's a popular saying that summarizes this one pretty well and I'm paraphrasing : When you're 20, you try to sneak into parties; by your 40s, you try to sneak out.
When you drink later in life, you'll likely get drunk on fewer drinks, and the hangovers are worse. Blame biology: After age 40, your liver becomes less efficient at processing alcohol, making your tolerance lower, and your body retains less water, making you more prone to hangover-inducing dehydration, according to The Wall Street Journal.
One of the big changes I made in my 40s was trading in a big house with a pool for a small one on a lake. The latter has plenty of living space but is far easier to keep clean and organized — and the lake doesn't require any maintenance. Simplifying has been so calming that I sometimes wish we had kept the starter home we had in our 20s rather than buying into the typical suburban big-house dream and burdens in our 30s.
One of the most important things I realized in my 40s is that there are a very limited number of people in your life who truly love and care for you. Those people are irreplaceable. Negative people, on the other hand, aren't just expendable — they need to be excised from your life, both personally and professionally.
If part of growing older is learning to deal with having less energy, you certainly don't need to be around dour, life-draining people. We've all heard the sad story of the person who works all their life only to drop dead a week after retirement. Too many year-olds think the best years of their life are in the past. I was one of them. It's the worst lie we tell ourselves. In my 40s, I learned rock climbing; my wife ditched her hectic but ultimately unsatisfying career as an attorney to go back to school for a psychology degree. The truth is that we're never too old to learn something new or experience new things.
I spent decades making choices in my life not because they were good for me or my family, but because I "felt bad" about letting down other, frankly less important people. It took me until my mids to realize that the real obligations were the ones closest to home. Beware of knee-jerk responses — there's nothing quite so old as being "set in your ways.
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