Between a lofty career perch, extra padding in your savings, and finally, finally having a crystal clear idea of what you want to do (and who you want to do it with), being in your 40 is the best. And yet, reaching this exalted decade can leave us open to criticism. Maybe we aren’t as energetic as we once were. Maybe we’re a bit pickier ordering from a menu. The fact of the matter is this: You’ve worked hard to get to where you are and it’s high time to sit back and enjoy it—forget anyone who hurls criticism your way about these 40 habits and tick, because every guy over 40 swears by them. So you keep doing you. And for more life advice for the man over 40, check out the 40 Sayings Men Over 40 Should Stop Using Immediately.
We Go to Bed Earlier
We used to be able to stay up until 2:00 a.m. on a weekday, then be up and ready for work the next day. That now sounds absolutely terrible. We’ve gained a greater appreciation for the importance of sleep in our 40s. We tend to get drowsier earlier than we once did and are also well aware of how much happier and more effective we’ll be the next day if we get a solid seven hours. And if those seven hours are eluding you, be sure to check out the 65 Tips For Getting Your Best Sleep Ever.
We Leave Parties Earlier
Along the same lines, while a host exhorting us to hang out just a little longer used to get us sticking around a party until the early hours of the morning, now a comfortable bed is a much more motivating incentive. Our fear of missing out has decreased as our fear of missing a good sleep has grown.
We Are Pickier About Our Food and Drink Orders
Once you’re in your 40s, you know what you like, and have seen it get messed up often enough to go to lengths to avoid it. So when we order food now, we tend to be specific, telling servers we want grilled onions, not raw ones. (Or getting extra sauce on the side.) It might make you want to roll your eyes as we get super detailed about how we’d like our meal, but everyone’s going to be happier for it in the long run. And yes, we know: This is one of the 7 Mistakes to Avoid In Fine Dining Restaurants.
We Know Our Alcohol Limit
We don’t party as hard as we used to and there’s a good chance that we will throw up the white flag after just a couple drinks, when we used to throw back pints all night. We might have been more fun in those free-drinking days, but we also have a beer gut to watch out for.
We Go to Movies Solo
Going to a movie used to be about getting as many friends as we could together and taking over a whole row in the theater. It’s still fun to go with a group, but harder than ever, as friends have their own lives and families. Sometimes, when there’s a movie out that we want to see, it’s just easier to go see it and skip the planning and logistics.
We Prefer Resorts Over Backpacking Vacations
Some of our best memories were of backpacking through foreign countries or sharing a hostel room with seven strangers. But these days, “vacation” means relaxing and being taken care of. We spend more on a hotel and look for a more relaxed, luxurious experience than our “roughing it” younger days. We also love time off, and know how to get it, which is why we’ve mastered The Single Best Trick For Scoring More Vacation Days.
We Overprepare When Going Away for a Weekend
We’ve learned from experience that sometimes when you go away for a weekend, you don’t want to be without a few things. Call us weird for packing snacks, tissues, a first-aid kit, and twice as many clothes as we need, but we’d rather have too many things than kick ourselves for leaving at home the one thing a specific situation demands.
We Splurge on Convenience
We spend too much on Uber and have become okay with paying extra if it means saving us an hour of our time. This might look like a waste of money, but time has become a much more valuable resource than a bit of extra cash.
We Aren’t the Sex Machines We Once Were
“One thing that I think that men should stop worrying about is the actual length of time that they are able to maintain an erection. Unless it has drastically changed it is natural for erections to shift overtime,” says Lexx Brown-James, a licensed marriage and family therapist. “And hopefully by the time a man reaches the age of 40 he realizes that pleasure does not revolve solely around his erection.”
We Aren’t Hitting Our Previous Fitness Bests
If you’re an active guy, it can be frustrating when you’re not running a 5K in the same time you did when you were in your 30s, but you shouldn’t be judged based on that. “While we can stay extremely fit as we age, certain physiological changes are inevitable,” says Tom Holland, exercise physiologist and author of the upcoming Your 401K Fitness Plan. “If you want to compete, do so against people in your age group, not your 21-year-old self.”
That Six Pack Left Long Ago
Those washboard abs can be tough to maintain as you hit your 40s, so being expected to keep those rock-hard abs is not totally fair. “While it is achievable in your 40s, it becomes exponentially more difficult,” says Holland. “Focus on your overall health and consistency of your workouts rather than flat abs.” If you need a smooth torso, however, try The Single Greatest Flat-Abs Exercise You Aren’t Doing.
We Don’t Do Long Workouts
It might have been fun to spend hours at the gym back in the day, but if you are finding that it’s gotten tougher to squeeze in a two-hour or even 60-minute workout on a weekday, that’s not something to beat yourself up about. “There is nothing inherently better about a 60 minute or even 30 minute workout for that matter,” says Holland. “Studies have shown that three 10-minute bouts of exercise have the same benefits as one continuous 30-minute session. Focus on shorter workouts spread out throughout the day. Quality over quantity.”
We Don’t Eat Enough Vitamins
Vitamins become an increasingly important part of your diet as you get past 40: Vitamins D and B are great for your brain functions, heart health, and vision; while Vitamins E and C enhance fertility. But plenty of guys can get by without these supplements and are plenty virile and heart healthy just eating their normal diet.
We Like Eating Steak
Sure, too much red meat is not good for your health—it hardens blood vessels, is worse for the planet than almost any other kind of food, and often involves something called “meat glue.” But there is a unique pleasure to enjoying a sizable T-bone or tri-tip, whether in a steak house or at home over the barbecue. It might not be super healthy, but it’s something we just need every now and then.
We Like Smoking Cigars
Like steaks, a cigar can scratch an itch that little else can. Sure, regular cigar smoking can become addictive and cause plenty of nasty health issues—cancer, oral disease, lung and heart disease, to name a few. It’s also pretty stinky. But when looking for something to enjoy while celebrating a success, commiserating with friends, or quietly contemplating some life decision, it’s hard to beat a stogie.
We Like to Drink Our Whiskey How We Want to Drink it
Everyone’s got an opinion when it comes to whiskey: That drinking it neat is the only way to enjoy the spirit properly, that a splash of water helps bring out its flavor more fully, that an ice cube ruins it completely. Give us a break! By the time we’re this age, we’ve learned what we like when it comes to a stiff drink, and don’t need input.
We Aren’t Great Dancers
At 40, we still love to get out on the dance floor now and then, at weddings or a random Friday night in the city. And sometimes our moves aren’t the most impressive or eye-catching—and in some cases they can be too eye-catching. Not everyone can be Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake, cut us a break.
We’re Still Pulling Recipes from the Internet
By the time we’re in our 40s, we should have a few solid go-to recipes and favorites that we like to prepare for guests. But when friends are coming over or we have to pull a meal together for the family, we can’t always whip up something from scratch or off the top of our head. If this is you, consider turning toward the 40 Dishes Every Man Over 40 Can Effortless Make.
We Like a Plain Cup of Black Drip Coffee
In this era of Nitro cold brew and pour-over Chemex coffee that costs upwards of $6 a cup, it’s easy to feel out of step with the times when we just want a cup of black coffee made the old-fashioned (and less expensive) way. We’ve finally gotten comfortable using a French press—what more do you want?
We Don’t Measure Ingredients Exactly
Recipes are made to be reinterpreted. Sometimes as we’re cooking up a meal, we realize that it would be a lot better with about three times the amount of spices the recipe calls for and maybe add a fried egg on top for good measure. We like to put our own spin on what the recipe calls for and make it our own. We might not be a master chef, but we like to make a dish feel uniquely our own.
We Read Slow
Sure, we’ve had that same Michael Lewis book sitting on our bedside table for two months now. It happens. We don’t have as much time or mental energy to read at the level we once did, and getting through a book tends to take a bit longer than it once did. But at least we’re still starting books. Give us a little credit.
We Don’t Finish TV Seasons
There are so many great shows out there to stream, and plenty that are solid but not exactly addictive viewing. So there’s a handful of shows sitting in our Netflix queue half (and sometimes less) finished. If we didn’t start a new show until we’d completely gotten through all the others we’d started, we’d never try new things at all.
We Never Use That Pasta Maker
Yes, we bought that pasta maker after a trip to Italy where we were convinced this was going to be our new thing…and then used it twice in the five years since we got it. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but it turns out that you can get pretty decent fresh pasta at the store, and it doesn’t cost all that much.
We Still Like Superheroes
Sure, Captain America and Batman are stuff we liked as kids, but it turns out it’s still pretty great for adults. It’s not a sign of immaturity that we want to go see the latest Avengers movie on opening night; it shows that we are still in touch with our inner child, and appreciate the heroic role models those guys offer.
We Still Have Comic Books
Speaking of superheroes, we’ve still got those boxes of comic books in the garage that we absolutely refuse to sell off or throw out. We aren’t quite ready to part with those. And who knows, they might be worth something some day—even if it’s already been a few decades since we bought them.
We Just Can’t Get Into Yoga
We’ve tried and know there are all those health benefits, but it just is not our thing.
We Need Our Naps
Naps have been proven to boost your productivity and mental acuity—so why do we still get seen as lazy for needing an afternoon doze every now and then (okay, or every day)? Let’s remove the nap stigma. It’s a healthy practice and one that ensures we’re a lot more fun to be around by the time the evening rolls around.
We Love a Night in
Don’t call us a homebody—we just need a night every now and then to relax and decompress. It’s a healthy way to recharge (and save money) and it feels great to decompress after a full day of work. It’s also a good way to ensure we’ll actually be fun and ready to go out by the weekend.
We Aren’t Current on the Latest Musicians
With Spotify and Tidal, it’s easier than ever to be exposed to all kinds of new music—yet we still look at you blankly when you talk about Lil Uzi Vert or Playboi Carti. It’s like drinking from a firehose dipping into the vast amount of new music that’s out there, so forgive us for tending to go back for a drink from the tap with the slow, consistent stream that we know we like.
We Discuss Our Beauty Regimen
As we hit our 40s, we actually had to start spending money on moisturizer and anti-aging cream, or at least better face wash. We end up having conversations about what steps we’re taking to keep wrinkles at bay more than we talk about the latest concert we went to.
We Prefer an Assigned Seat
Remember the days when part of the ritual of going to a concert was to squeeze through the general admission area, getting as close to the stage as possible, personal space and pee breaks be damned? That’s not really happening any more. Sure, we still like to catch a show, but we are much happier when it means getting our own seat, without having random people spilling beer on us—even if it means being a bit further back from the stage.
We Sometimes Chose Comfort Over Style
Yes, we’re going to repair our favorite shoes for the third time rather than buy a new, maybe more fashionable, pair. We know what feels comfortable and goes well with our other clothes, and sometimes that takes precedence over what’s stylish right now. We still want to dress sharp, but not if it means a sharp pain in our foot.
We Love New Socks and Underwear
Speaking of comfort, while we love a new shirt or jeans, there’s little that excites us as much as a brand new pair of socks or underwear. When you feel new and stylish to your toes, it’s one of life’s great pleasures—and one we never used to fully appreciate.
We Don’t Like Noisy Bars
As they used to say, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old.” That may be true, but there’s little that’s more obnoxious to us these days than a bar that’s so loud you can’t hear the person in front of you. That used to work well for pickup spots where the fewer words exchanged, sometimes the better. But at our age, even when we’re out for a casual date, we like to hear the person we’re talking to.
We Groan Sometimes When We Move
When bending down or getting off the couch after a long sit, occasionally a small groan or grunt might escape our lips these days. We aren’t trying to be dramatic—sometimes there’s just a stiffness or twinge that requires a noise.
We Talk About Our Ailments
Yes, it was weeks ago that we pulled that muscle and we are still talking about it. Discomfort and mild ailments become more of a reality as you get older and they tend to be on the top of our minds in a way they didn’t use to. On the bright side, it’s gotten us to be more serious about stretching before a workout.
We Point Out How Young Policemen and Doctors Are
It’s weird to defer to someone who looks half your age. When we see people in authority who are at least a decade younger than us, it can be startling. We’ll still take their advice (especially if they might write us a ticket if we don’t) but can’t help pointing out how weird it is for them to be the ones calling the shots.
We Don’t Get Snapchat
Thankfully, this app seems to fallen out of popularity recently, but it’s representative of a whole slew of weird apps and augmented reality that we’re still trying to get our head around. We’ve tried to understand what’s so hilarious about giving ourselves a unicorn horn or hamburger eyes, but it just doesn’t quite make sense.
We Don’t Get the Kardashians
They’ve been a massive part of pop culture for more than a decade at this point, but we never really understood them and their appeal, and have accepted that we simply never will.
We Like Watching Birds
We’re not becoming serious bird watchers or anything, but we are finding that watching a bird go about its business or a flock of them swooping through the sky can be surprisingly entertaining. It’s just one of those things men over 40 know. And for more on that, don’t miss the 40 Things Only Men Over 40 Know.
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