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Community members spill the chai on the social, emotional and physical changes that happen after turning 30 and 40.

by Nikki Kumar

Shifting Gears: Life’s a highway!


As we grow in life, many things change. Our physical body, emotional state of being, thoughts, and preferences all shift gears with each phase of life. Milestones, marriage, kids, all bring about changes as well. From the young, (not so) innocent 20s into the 30s and 40s, the body and mind begin to operate differently, and new preferences creep in, sometimes even without realisation.

 A few voices from the community have shared their personal experiences on things that changed for them after turning 30 and 40. 


46 years old

 I feel like I’m at the beginning of an exciting journey. The challenges I’ve faced so far have only made me stronger, teaching me to see the beauty in a rainy day and to laugh in the face of minor setbacks. Now, it’s all about welcoming life’s chaos with a smile, allowing my talents to emerge and thrive. Even though my vision might not be what it used to be, my ambitions have never been clearer. It’s a thrilling time to explore what I’m truly capable of, and to do so with joy. I’ve come to realise that the way I used to live, always prioritising others’ needs over my own without much thought, was not right. The way to truly love others well is by first loving and taking care of myself. The challenges I’ve faced have only reinforced this belief, making me stronger, and teaching me to appreciate the beauty in a rainy day. Now, I embrace life’s chaos with a smile, allowing my talents to flourish. As I navigate my 40s, I’ve come to appreciate the richness of life even more. Life doesn’t slow down; instead, it becomes more vibrant, and filled with opportunities to find a harmonious balance between work, family, and self-care in rewarding new ways.

 Now, more than ever, I see the world in brilliant colours. I’m filled with a strong urge to see new places, meet fascinating people, try foods I’ve never heard of before, and really live a life that feels true to who I am. In a time when everything seems to move too fast, I’m choosing to slow down. I want to appreciate every single moment, focus on one thing at a time, and enjoy life to its fullest.

 Taking this slower, more thoughtful approach has made me love the people in my life even more. I’ve come to understand how important my own happiness and peace of mind are. They’re the source of my ability to give back to others generously. Without feeling good inside, it’s too easy to get caught up in a cycle of feeling empty and just going through the motions.

 Embracing self-love has completely changed the way I see things. It’s not just about looking out for myself; it’s about being a strong support for my community, making a positive difference in society, and bringing joy and care to my family. This path of getting to know and care for myself better has brought me closer to others, not further away.

 By making sure I’m happy and well, I’m in a much better place to help, love, and motivate the people I care about. It shows that the best way to fill others’ lives with love and positivity is to start by ensuring you’re filled up yourself. This circle of caring for ourselves and then extending that care outward creates a healthier, more lively community. It’s clear that the deepest impact we can make starts with taking good care of ourselves.


37 years old

I think it’s very common that everyone who turns 30 sees changes in their shape, size and colour. I grew up in Bangkok and was always on the heavier side in my youth, and there were always a lot of judgments, although given with love and concern. Believe it or not, in many cases, judgments like these often start from home. When I hit 30, I realised change is inevitable – don’t fear it, embrace it and flaunt it. I truly urge and hope families will be kind, and choose their words wisely when trying to convey their thoughts and intentions.

 When I hit 30, I realised that these comments meant nothing, and that change is inevitable – don’t fear it, embrace it and flaunt it. I live in Mumbai now, a Bollywood city, and I am not at all bothered by all this anymore. I truly urge and hope families will be kind, and choose their words wisely when trying to convey their thoughts and intentions.

 Unfortunately, we are all stuck in this social media-run, Instagrammable world where we feel like everything has to look perfect. We fancy certain physical shapes, sizes, and colours, and we start doubting and judging ourselves. Some people can accept the change naturally and gracefully, but others are affected so adversely that they go to extreme lengths to prevent them, which is often not necessary. People fear obnoxious judgements, and self-doubt hits hard. 

I personally think that we should always bring the best version of ourselves – in fact many people do bring out the best version of themselves at 30 and 40, because there is an increased sense of clarity, both mentally, physically, and emotionally. You have to see yourself first. Having the right people around you is the most important thing; be surrounded by those that add value to your life and support you no matter what. 

 There is no escape from change – embrace it, and if you want to do something about it, do it. You have to understand that your body itself does not define you, but a fit mind can foster a fit body. You can be sassy, sexy, handsome and beautiful no matter what age, colour, and size you are. Most importantly, you have to strive for a higher level of happiness. When you turn 30, you will realise you have become more mindful and you are more aware of what you truly want. Those that are going to love you will do so regardless of how you look. You need to carve a niche path for yourself and live unapologetically. Don’t bother about what people say and be happy with yourself – that is what’s most important. Consciously understand your state of mind. It’s not that people’s opinions don’t matter, but remember, they don’t define you. 


44 years old

 When you turn 40, you don’t notice much of a drastic change. Your likings tend to change a bit; for example, whereas before, listening to loud music in a crowded area was enjoyable, now being in a quieter space that allows for conversation is preferred. In social gatherings, I found myself sticking to my own comfort zone. I don’t mind making new friends, but I prefer to hang around those I am close to and am comfortable with.  

 Family, of course, comes into play as the kids are growing up. We need to give them more time, which has nothing to do with our age, but rather theirs. A close friend of mine likes to say that we are a part of the sandwich generation. We used to listen to our parents, and now, we are listening to our kids instead of our kids listening to us.

 I’ve been told that when you turn 40, your body goes through so many changes. Everything takes a little longer and is a little slower. Indeed, I did notice this happening to my body. When I eat something and if it doesn’t suit me, my body will react. The discomfort lingers a little longer than when I was in my 20s or 30s and there is indigestion that I suddenly have to put up with. 

 For me, these were the main differences after turning 40; the social priorities and what we consume. Other than this, I would say that you can still enjoy life as if you were in your 30s!


37 years old

 When I turned 30, I remember distinctly that my body started taking a toll on me; it was like my whole body started screaming for help. As a makeup artist, there is a lot of travelling involved, so you don’t have much of a routine for eating or exercising, or having a healthy lifestyle. I have an autoimmune disorder that makes this even more difficult, as it depletes me completely. After I turned 30, it changed me completely. This was when I realised that I can’t take my health lightly anymore. The lifestyle I have to live as a makeup artist was not ideal with the condition that I had. I started trying to balance my life in a more responsible way. 

 At one point in my early 30s, I was a social butterfly. I was in six ‘shares’ and 10 ‘crowds,’ and I was literally everywhere. Now that I am in my late 30s, my perspective on this has completely changed. If you have many friends, you are in trouble. It’s not a sign that you are popular, but rather that you are careless. The reason I believe this to be true is because as you grow and as your values change, the people you choose to surround yourself with also naturally change. Social circles grow smaller, and instead of focusing on quantity, the focus shifts to quality. The importance of having people of values and standards surrounding you becomes so important, and it’s imperative to have people who talk good of you both in front of your face as well as behind your back. 

 Women today are all working and busy, and need to prioritise. In today’s world, many women are having babies in their 30s, so that in itself takes a huge toll on the body. The 30s changed me, and I look forward to seeing what will happen in my 40s!.

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