40 Things Before 40: Open List To My Almost 40-Year-Old Self

jasmin nelson - 40 things before 40

Que visual of a woman laughing, holding a champagne glass, throwing confetti, legs kicked up and exemplifying joy here. For what? Because let me get all naked truth with you dear friends, these last almost 40 years have stolen many things from me but one thing it never could be was the thief of my joy. 

Let me tell you something real, that (joy) for sure took some stripping of layers upon layers to get to…minus the confetti and okay, nix the champagne too.

I think it looks more like a refreshed woman sinking into her greatness, stripped emotionally and physically In a bathtub with an honest dose of check yourself before you wreck yourself (for me anyway).

nude woman in a bathtub - 40 things before 40

The raw reality is a picture depicted of self-reflection and me letting go of toxicity because I just didn’t want to carry it anymore. 

It took more than smudging with sage, incense, and sweetgrass to cleanse my space and the people in it. It took More than my love for full moon rituals; All beautiful resources, but In time (like 40 years time, because it’s never too late to discover who you authentically are) brought to light there’s nothing like waking up one day and honestly coming to terms about what happiness means to you.

Not just “Happy” like the feel-good song by Pharrell or “So Happy Together” by the Beatles (both epic songs, by the way) but I mean truly living in and overflowing in the happiness of simply laying bare to the rhythm of your heartbeat with the acquisition of protecting your peace and the things in it. Huge!! 

I eventually found that indefinitely shifting my own narrative, cultivating love and forgiveness in myself and others (whether they were aware or not). It was all about manifesting love and light, uncovering and ridding myself of past mistakes, expectations, and criticisms. Exhale here. 

Freeing myself of things and people that no longer served or provided growth. So yes, I finally just went ahead and Undressed myself of the mess and clothed myself in strength and dignity.

woman wearing who runs this mother shirt - 40 things before 40 list

It’s cliche but time heals all wounds.

In revealed time, there lied my self-discoveries, vulnerabilities, self-love and living in my authentic naked truths.

As I uncovered that visual, it was an image of me set free, emotionally and physically, stripped, sinking in a baptism of bravery, renewal, and self-worth; all that phenomenally celebrates what it means to be almost 40.

But First, a checklist. This nearly 40-year-old just loves a good old (no pun intended) List.


40 THINGS BEFORE 40


1. Give Up The BS

You wanna fly? You gotta give up the BS that’s weighing you down as number one! Skydiving may be cool and all but first things first, take the time to reflect on the thrill of flying free from any baggage (people or things) that no longer serve you or allow you to soar at your fullest potential. That’s the real frequent flyer mileage. 

2. Take Back Your Power

Be fearless and confront an issue or person that’s been eating away at you and causing you to hold a grudge for far too long so you can finally put your heart and mind at rest! It’s time to stop letting someone or that something live rent-free in your head for free already. Know that you are a powerful being, capable of great things! Time to take your power back.

3. Health Is Wealth!

Both mental and physical. Investing in yourself is the best gift to you, ever! Make the doctor or shrink appointment, do the stretching, eat the apple and the carrots and find an exercise regime to keep your whole temple in shape so you can live long and feel your best damn self.

woman doing yoga - 40 things before 40 list

4. Say No to Body-Shaming Yourself

Sagging and gravity happen, we’re all not immune to the aging process. Besides, the smile lines and the tiger stripes (stretch marks)  tell stories of the life you lived and believe me you’re in good company.

5. Save Some Dough for a Rainy Day…and Retirement

By the age of 40, there will come a time where you wished you had more money to not have bitten you in the booty when you needed it and didn’t have it. Get into the habit while you’re still able for funds to compound and grow. Your older self and savings account will thank you.

6. Not Everyone Will Like You and That’s Okay

If you’re searching for approval and people-pleasing, stop. Don’t waste another minute of your life second-guessing yourself. There are far better things and people to spend your time and energy on. Focus on the tribe that values you and the purpose that serves you.

7. Do What You Love So You Never Have to Work a Day in Your Life

Working a stressful and unsatisfying position will suck the life out of you, literally. Pursue things that will fill your cup of life up, not drain it.

8. Life Is Short, Treat Yourself!

Whether shoes, cake (in moderation) or a spa session, Do that! If no one has told you, you’ve earned it.

mother and son in bathrobes in a hotel relaxing - 40 things before 40 list

9. Life Is Tough, But You’re Tougher!

Challenge yourself physically and mentally while your marbles are still sharp and walking up the stairs doesn’t feel like a marathon. Your gold medal is the way you’re going to look and feel after completion. Keep it consistent. Stunning looks lovely on you.

10. Call and Cherish Your Mom and Dad

Seriously, You know they won’t live forever and yes, unfortunately, the time will come when you won’t get the opportunity to hear their voices or give them a tight squeeze. Tell them what they mean to you, and not just on holidays or their birthday.

11. Less Perfection, More Authenticity

The world as we know it can be a cruel and superficial place but you don’t have to be. Instead of focusing on the less than, the worries, troubles, external satisfaction and any anxious thoughts related to fear or failure or whatever, shift your mindset to focus on what you genuinely love about yourself, appreciate in others, and the world… and how far you’ve come. That’s the real victory lap.

12. Be Kind

Be kind, people may be fighting a battle you know nothing about. That means smile at the cashier and speak to strangers. Pay it forward at a coffee shop. You can absolutely revolutionize someone’s day and touch lives.

13. Check, Learn, Grow, Move on, Then Praise and Clap for Yourself

The most important conversation and encouragement to be had is the one you have with yourself. Sure, life has given us its ups and downs but Don’t ever blame yourself for the pitfalls or be misguided by failures, mistakes, and mishaps. Besides, smooth seas never made for a skilled sailor. Check, learn, grow, move on, then praise and clap for yourself. If you don’t, who will?


More to Love:

Love Happens When…You Love Yourself


14. Book the Ticket and Go!

Expanding your perspective, appreciating life and getting some R&R all come with the beauty of a wanderlust experience. And there’s So much more where that came from. Whether staycation or a trip to Bali. Do it! Did I say Go? Because Go!

15. Stop Playing Small

Stop playing small, you were made for BIG and mighty things! Step out of your comfort zone and see what lies outside of your bubble. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

16. Know Your Worth Is Not Defined by Your Accomplishments

Know yourself and your worth are not defined by accomplishments and accolades. You are worthy of love and belonging regardless. Jot that down on a mirror so you see it every day if necessary.

17. Hearts Break and PSA, They Also Heal

You just can’t get around the shattering part so don’t even think about taking any shortcuts or sweeping it under the rug. That will just cause more hurt and will be like putting a bandaid on a bullet wound, Worthless. Instead, Pick up the pieces, Put in the healing work and unwrap one of the greatest gifts in life…LIFE itself; it goes on and so can you. Know that What’s meant for you will find you. Onward!

18. Forgiveness Sets You Free

It allows growth and happiness. Anger, resentment, and revenge are not yours to carry and it’s heavy! Listen, at this age, we probably have enough back problems. So please, Let. It. Go.

19. Woman (or Man) Up!

Once you take personal responsibility for your life and actions, you will begin to improve your ability to respond to external factors you may not have control over. Checkmate.

woman dressed as a ringmaster

20. Do Something Out of the Ordinary

The unconventional life is not for everyone but braving to do at least one thing outside of your norm can bring on a real pleasant surprise. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Even if it’s eating by yourself, going to Karaoke or adding extra guac to a taco. Go for it! And don’t you dare beat yourself up about it.

21. Be a Giver Not a Taker

Givers on a whole, experience a boost in morale, increased feelings of happiness, greater purpose in life and naturally lower stress levels. Find a cause or a community and give already. There’s tons out there! You need not look far.

22. Friendships Will Be Tested

Bridges will burn, don’t dwell on it. What’s meant to be will always be.

23. Set Intentions

It allows you to focus and reflect on who you are as well as the inspiration and motivation to achieve your purpose. Good stuff here.

24. Don’t Ever Do Things Half Ass, Use Your Whole Ass

AKA there is no room to live half-heartedly because what would really hurt you more? The pain of hard work and putting in the grind or living with regret in your slumber? Hard pass on the later.

25. Be Present

Be present and not overwhelmed, worried or consumed by others’ expectations. Easier said than done but absolutely possible. Start with a grounding technique or a simple deep breath goes a long way.

26. Lust Expires

Huge difference between infatuation and true connection. Pursue the latter, the rest is just temporary gratification, toxicity, and unhealthy relations. You don’t need that negativity in your life. Thank you, Next!

27. Balance

It helps reduce stress and prevents burnout. Need I say more.

28. Explore Some New and Physical Passions

Keeping your hair tamed is not the priority, living is. Get in the ocean and under the wave, take the Salsa class and get sweaty, just live! 

29. Follow Your Dreams

It’s never too late. Make your mark on this world, your legacy awaits. Why not me? Should be the motto.

30. Stray Off the Beaten Path, On Purpose

Escape routine and experience some adventure and the unpredictable in life! Even if that means taking a different route on your drive home. Baby steps count too.

31. You Are Your Own Existence

Your existence is not based on external things or people, as that is always going to be fleeting. Note to self.

32. Time Is The Greatest Luxury

Time is the greatest luxury and more valuable than money, don’t ever take it for granted or waste it.

woman relaxing in a bed with a book

33. Rest or Your Body Will Force You To

Rest or your body will force you to, and when it does, it’s not nice and no fun. And we want fun.

34. You’ll Only Regret the Things You Didn’t Do

You’ll only regret the things you didn’t do in life so get to doing! Cliche but still Obvi.

35. Take Time to Digital Detox

Step away from distracting devices and try a digital detox, you’ll learn and do things you wouldn’t, had you not. Trust!

36. Stay Humble & Live in Gratitude

Stay humble, live in gratitude and embrace it fully as it opens the door to the sacred and simple space within. A true win and youth defyer. Eye cream need not apply.

37. Kick Excuses to the Curb

Kick excuses to not live your best life to the curb. Identify the priorities and rearrange your life to live them. The end.

38. Manifest What You Want

Manifest what you want to allow your thoughts, vibrations, and energy to become your reality. Not to get all Law of Attraction on you but being negative to yourself and others will surely have you on Karmas To-Do list. Positive but honest with yourself vibes only! Declare what you want and watch the life you want to live, align accordingly.

39. Jealousy Is Misguided

Social media is a liar and can’t be trusted. Don’t let it be a source of envy, self-worth or competition. It’s curated content. Remember that.

40. Own and Love Who You Are

The secret regenerative sauce is You’ll feel and look way younger than you really are. Precious time and mind productivity are completely wasted when you allow others to govern who you are. Know and dig up your truths, your worth and walk boldly in it. There’s Something to be said about someone’s confidence, basking in their self-love and living their own best life. That something is: Life (whether almost 40 or not) it looks good on you, no— gorgeous on you!

woman standing against a pink wall - 40 things before 40 list

If you made it this far in your journey whether nearly 40 or not, take time to thank yourself. Thank God. Thank the Universe. And celebrate yourself for surviving life and doing the things that have given you life and life more abundantly. 

With almost 4 decades in the bag, you’ll find me having checked off this list and living it! Each one serving, more than actually just being a thing on a list.

May we keep doing our things, perhaps 40 things to celebrate one more lap around the sun, I did and the view is phenomenal! Here’s to trusting our next chapter because we’re the author! It’s not just a list, it’s a lifestyle, a self-love and discovery story, a journey and a celebration! Here’s to bigger, and better things

Shine on & Cheers!


About the Author:

Jasmín (Jazzy) Nelson is a true “Jazzy” of all trades. This multifaceted mom boss keeps busy as a journalist, an independent paralegal, Life Coach, photographer, and Juris Doctorate candidate. When she finds free time, you’ll most likely spot her doing yoga and catching good vibes at the beach with her son in beautiful California.

All Photos are by and of Jasmin Nelson

Read more of Jazzy’s great content!


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