25 Things to have Figured out by 40

#21 — Confidence

Selali Onuoha
4 min readOct 6, 2021


Photo credit: Jennifer Enujiugha

After adulting like a fiend for well over two decades there’s just some stuff you aspire to have on lockdown by forty.


Fair warning, some mentions on this list are not going to take fewer than twelve months to figure out.

Not great news if you just clocked in at thirty-nine — but on the flip side a random stranger listing a bunch of stuff you’re probably never going to bother with should make for a decent scoff session, so have a good laugh.

Best to approach this as a fun aspirational exercise rather than a cringey ‘performance review’ interrogation meeting (looking at you corporate jailers!).

There are no rewards for ticking the boxes and no consequences for fobbing it all off. So make of it what you will.

Alright, let’s get into it!

Forty is no joke — you’ll no longer be a spring chicken by any stretch of the imagination but also way past sweating the small stuff.

  1. No longer sweating the small stuff — Say it with me now…“and at the end of the day it’s ALL small stuff!”
  2. Love life — Okay, this is a dicey one, I’ll give you that. Perhaps we can at least agree that you are done playing ‘fix me’ with incapable-of-reciprocated-love, emotionally-stunted drains in human skin. Fair?
  3. Kids — You might have them or maybe you don’t but it might be a little odd to still be undecided. I implore you to reconsider becoming one of those people who can only hope to attend their unborn kid's graduation if they were attached to a breathing tube
  4. Legacy — You know what you will be leaving behind or are working hard at doing just that. We see you, we applaud you and we hope to be you someday.
  5. Toxic people — Your newest super-power is spotting the type coming from a mile away and promptly crossing the road.
  6. Money, money, money — Another non-trivial one. You don’t need to own your house but surely by now, you’ve got a reliable roof-over-your-head situation going on, leaking or otherwise. Yes?
  7. Social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, all of them are serving your ends and not vice…



Selali Onuoha

Entrepreneur. Reader. Life-long Learner. I write to educate and inspire. She/her. Contact: mno22@cornell.edu