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40/40 Vision

From taking stock of the past to setting goals for the future, a look at what matters to 40-somethings in the modern age of options.

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Family

Today’s 40-somethings have rejected the one-size-fits-all model.

Being in your 40s today isn’t like it was in your parents’ day—and certainly not your grandparents’. Though the decade itself has always been a pretty good deal—you’re mature enough to have learned a thing or two and young enough to enjoy it—the experience today is vastly different.

Consider life’s greatest gifts—love and family, work, friends, personal growth—and how many different ways there are to explore them. There are freedoms unimaginable in Grandma’s day; opportunities Dad could have only dreamed of. In the past, it was nearly a given that Grandma would marry and have children (by a certain age, no less); and as recently as 1983, stay-at-home dads were such a rarity that the movie Mr. Mom was considered an unlikely comedy.

With these broadened opportunities come—of course!—the challenges. As podcast host Faith Salie points out, “40-somethings are old enough to run the free world but still wrestle with problems like ‘Should I rent or own? Do I get Botox or bangs? If I like Bon Jovi, does it have to be ironically?'”

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