When you’re in your 20s and 30s, it can feel like you have all the time in the world. Then one day, you’re in your 40s or 50s, unsure where the time went. Even worse, you realize you hadn’t planned for retirement, didn’t save enough for your kid’s college education, or didn’t do enough to take care of your health.
So, to ensure you have a blast in your middle age, here are 20 things you should be doing in your 20s and 30s to set the stage.
Kick The Nicotine Habit
Cigarettes contain 800 additives and over 4000 chemicals. All these toxins settle and accumulate in the body through the years, causing disease in our later years. In addition, smoking is an expensive habit, financially, and is one of the most preventable causes of early death. Each year 443,000 people die from smoking. Kick the habit while young, or risk being one of those 443,000.
Protect Your Skin
The effects of spending too much time in the sun can take decades to show up. So, be mindful of how much time you spend basking in the sun today. By the time middle age rolls around, you’ll most likely have to deal with wrinkled and easily bruised skin.
Strengthen Family Relationships
Regret can be a hard pill to swallow. One of the many things people regret as they get older is the fact that they didn’t build stronger relationships with their family. Family is there to support and encourage you, and building a relationship with them, even when you don’t always get along, means you’ll have a support network in later years when you need it most. Also, learning to accept your family just the way they also help you grow and mature.
Work It Out!
Regular physical activity in your 20s and 30s goes a long way toward ensuring that you age well, both internally and externally. Exercise not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but it helps yo control belly fat and waist circumference, which is linked to the incidence of conditions like heart disease.
Watch where your money is going now and save regularly, no matter how small the amount. Getting into the habit of saving early in life will make it easier for the habit to stay with you forever. You should also seriously consider converting some of your money into real silver and gold. This will help you retain the value of the money you’ve earned through your work or investments.
Learn to be truly content and satisfied with what you have. It’s a simple concept, but it’s truly the key to lasting happiness. This means abstaining from comparing yourself to others and their material possessions. Focus instead on what makes you feel whole and complete. You may end up with less money than the next gal, but you’ll be at peace and fulfilled. That’s true wealth.
Dive Into Your Passions
If you have a passion you’d like to explore, do it now. Procrastination can trick you into thinking you have a lot of time. But the truth is that life is really short, and the older you get, the more time goes by faster! So read that book, take that special trip or take that carpentry class you’ve been putting off.
Indulge In Sleep!
So many of us undermine the value of sleep regarding our health and well-being. Start practicing good sleep habits now. This means sleeping in a totally dark room, avoiding the light from your phone or tablet before you go to bed, and keeping all devices with a blue light out of your room. Also, make sure to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Your body will thank you for it.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Tooth problems only worsen as you age, and they can be quite costly. Make sure to visit your dentist regularly and fix cavities as soon as they start to develop. If you get to the point where you have to get crowns and implants, you’ve likely let the problem go for too long, and you’ll end up spending close to five figures per tooth for an extraction, implant, or crown. Oh, and always make sure to seek out a second – or even a third – opinion before getting major dental work.
Create Lasting Memories
The experiences you have in your younger years will stay with you much longer than your material possessions. Experiences will also help you grow, make you feel fulfilled, and make you happier. So go out there and start experiencing the world.
A life based on service to others makes the world a better place and brings more joy into your life. Doing something simply for the willingness to help, and not for monetary compensation, helps you connect to those around you and develops empathy. These are essential ingredients that can make life more tasty and satisfying.
Step out of your comfort zone and have a truly adventurous experience, whatever that is for you. Maybe it’s bungee jumping. Maybe it’s eating snake meat. Maybe it’s taking a dance class. Whatever it is, make it big and memorable. And if you can, do it with someone you’re close to so that you’ll have something to smile about when you’re older.
Cut Out Junk Food
Watch out for all the nitrites and hormone-disrupting chemicals you’re getting from junk food today because they will likely result in disease in your later years. Remember, the whole point of life in your 40s and 50’s to enjoy the fruits of everything you’re doing now. Why eat food that will very likely impair you decades from now? Cut out the junk now, and you’ll have a much better chance of having a strong, healthy body in your 40s and 50s.
Pick Up A Book
When you get to middle age, will you be able to look back and say that you read a book that wasn’t part of a school assignment? If you only look at reading as a chore, something you have to do to make it through school, then you’ll miss out on the pleasure of reading. Find a topic you’re interested in and go get a book about it. Enjoy the simplicity of reading something printed on paper rather than on a screen.
Travel And Explore
Traveling not only creates new memories and teaches you about other cultures, but it also teaches you about yourself. It forces you to step into the unknown and experience life in another culture, even if it’s just for a brief moment. Travel provides an experience that can be life-changing and inspiring.
If you think meditation is not for you, think again. Meditation is universal and accessible to every single person on this planet. These days there are books, online videos, and meditation centers in cities all over the world. There really is no excuse not to try it. In addition, science has shown over and over that meditation reduces stress, controls weight gain, improves concentration, and much more. And you only need to invest a few minutes of your time each day to get these long-lasting benefits.
Throughout the course of you your life, people will come and go, and there will be ups and downs. As everything changes, it becomes necessary to rely on your inner self to carry you forward and make you happy. Don’t wait till your 50’s to start knowing yourself. Start the journey of knowing yourself now so that you’re more grounded and rooted in yourself decades from now.
Writing down your thoughts and memories in a journal is a good way to preserve them. Because the fact is, you will forget a lot of things as the decades go by. Your journaling can happen on physical paper or digitally on your computer. Either way, take the time to save your memories. For example, store your most precious pictures of your loved ones on a memory stick because your grandchildren may enjoy looking at them someday.
Purchase Your Home
Figure out what your dream house is and buy it sooner rather than later. If you purchase a home in your 20’s or 30’s, it will be paid off by the time you’re 50. The key is ensuring that the home provides you with what is important to you. If you like to garden or farm, then make sure there is enough space for that. If you thrive on nature walks and hiking, then make sure the house is close to nature.
Build Lasting Friendships
As you make friends in your 20s and 30s, choose people who will always want the best for you and, most importantly, who will challenge you to grow. Choose friends who lead by example and inspire you. These are the friends you want to cherish and share memories with. These are the friends that will stay with you into old age.