Every woman has unique goals and dreams. Many set a specific set of goals to reach by the age of forty.

“The French are true romantics. They feel the only difference between a man of forty and one of seventy is thirty years of experience.” – Maurice Chevalier

While Mr. Chevalier may or may not be accurate in his assessment of female differences in thirty years, it is nonetheless thought-provoking. It is an inevitable fact that time brings about experience. When we’re born, we see the light for the first time, and when we first begin learning, our minds begin evolving. Once we arrive at mid-life, we begin to appreciate its finite nature…and on, and on.

Are there some things that every woman “should” experience by age 40?

Of course, this is a highly subjective proposition.

However, we – at times, tongue-in-cheek – say that this milestone brings about, at the least, a standard set of experiences shared by women that reach age 40.

Here, we take a look at 40 things every woman “should” or may have experienced after four decades of life on this planet. However, we also realize that men may question what they should accomplish–and we address them in a companion article.

Without further delay, 40 things every woman “should have” by age 40:

As you read, please understand that these are suggestions, not rules. These do not necessarily reflect someone’s level of achievement in life. 


1. Had such an emotionally-powerful kiss that it will continually remind you of the word “passion.”

2. Had a lover that knew how, when and where to “touch” you in a way that left you in awe and anticipation.

3. An understanding of your family’s medical history (i.e., health genetics) that enables you to take appropriate steps to preserve your well-being.

4. Knowledge of how to confront a friend or someone else close to you without losing self-control.

5. A young child, not your own, that has looked to you for support, compassion, and/or guidance.

6. A place you can call “your own” – one that allows you to remain in comfortable silence with your thoughts.

7. Knowledge of how to cook at least one relatively complicated dish – to at least “acceptable” quality.

8. Having at least one good friend that, inevitably, makes you laugh…

9. And at least one friend that, nonjudgmentally, lets you bawl your eyes out.

10. Something too expensive that you bought, not impulsively, but because you deserved it.

11. Had a dream or vision of yourself so extraordinary that it actually scared you.

12. an experience so enamoring that you’ll gladly retell it in your late years.

13. The realization that old age is inevitable, and you must have a way of funding it.

14. An emotional scar, while deeply entrenched via pain, has strengthened your character.

15. An outfit so lovely that you’d unabashedly wear it in front of anyone, at any time.

16. A routine activity that you do for you, and you alone.

17. Knowing that while your parents made mistakes, they often did their best with what they had.

18. Memories that make you wince; ones that help you appreciate the ones that make you gleeful.

19. Kept a journal or personal record of your deepest thoughts and feelings.

20. A friend you can call at any time to help you out of a jam.

21. Something – a piece of jewelry, a tattoo, a gift, anything – brings a heavy sense of sentimentality.

22. Knowing what you will and will not find personally acceptable in any relationship.

23. A well-kept secret that immediately brings about a smile.

24. An older woman in your life that possesses characteristics you wish to emulate.

25. A sense of spirituality (read: not religiosity) that both nourishes and teaches.

26. A song or musical piece that brings that defines you…

27. Or makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs.

28. A “to-do” list that may or may not be completely checked off is okay.

29. A higher purpose that enables you to roll out of bed even on the toughest of days.

30. A thorough understanding of who you are as a woman – and the potential implications of this knowledge.

Its never too late quote george eliot

31. Accomplish something that nobody can ever take away from you, regardless of circumstance.

32. A photo album, big or small, of forever cherished memories.

33. Lost someone so deeply loved that it will forever leave a void in your soul and a hole in your heart.

34. Having the ability to say “NO” without any further explanation.

Related article: 10 Things You’ll Regret Not Doing Before You’re 30

35. Accepting the person you see in the mirror, imperfections and all – as they’ve likely been earned over time.

36. Any hobby or interest (yes, TV splurges count) that you can get lost in for hours…and hours.

37. A gray hair or two, or a part of your body that you’ll probably never perfect.

38. Had a romantic partner that, even if things didn’t quite work out, brought out your “wild side.”

39. A bit of money set aside, or enough resources in case of an emergency.

40. Realizing that 40 years old is by no means “old.” There’s a lot of living to be done, young lady.

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