Things Everyone Should Master Before 40

Posted December 6, 2012 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

The big 4-0 is a milestone for any woman. I still remember when VH1 created an entire special that lasted multiple days about Madonna turning 40. It was as if no one expected the Material Girl to make it to that point in her life. For all of us, though, 40 will likely not come with the same level of pomp and circumstance.

O Magazine asked everyone from readers to authors to television stars to weigh in and list something that simply must be mastered before you turn 40, and compiled the answers in “20 Things Everyone Should Master by Age 40.”

Here are three of my favorites. Which of the things on the list might make your “40 Before 40” list?

How to End a Friendship

Be clear that you need distance, but avoid getting into specifics. You might say, “I’ve realized I need to take a break from our friendship. I have so much going on in my life right now, and I need to take more time for myself.” Now isn’t the time to try to change your friend or teach her a lesson. (If you believed you could see things the same way, you wouldn’t be breaking up in the first place.) Above all, be sure you want to break up. It’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to return to the same level of intimacy.—Irene S. Levine, PHD, author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend

How to Let Go of Anger

Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath. Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body. Then look at, or think of, the person triggering this emotion: With mindfulness, you can see that she is unhappy, that she is suffering. You can see her wrong perceptions. You can see that she is not beautiful when she says things that are unkind. You can also see that you don’t want to be like her. You’ll feel motivated by a desire to say or do something nice—to help the other person suffer less. This means compassionate energy has been born in your heart. And when compassion appears, anger is deleted.

—Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk and author of Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames

How to Buy Great Wine

See if an expensive wine’s producer also makes a value bottle—it’s likely to be crafted with the same care.

Serve wine with food from its region. For pasta, look to an Italian bottle. For paella, go Spanish.

If all else fails, try Malbec from Argentina, Merlot from France, Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy, and Chardonnay from Australia. Pinot Noir pairs with almost anything. And you can’t go wrong with bubbly.

—Sheri Sauter Morano, Institute of Masters of Wine

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."