How to Re-Start Your Life at 40

3 Important principles for a fresh and motivated start in the game of life.

Photo by Brad Barmore on Unsplash

At 33, the woman I had shared my life with left me by phone. I get fired. I ended up in bankruptcy. And all my childhood friends stopped talking to me.

The next few years were hell. I couldn’t get back on my feet.

Then, I stopped self-pitying and started writing. That decision changed my life. But it wasn’t just the writing that produced the miracle.

Today I want to share the 3 principles that helped me rebuild my life at 40.

Let’s dive in.

The frog Principal

A funny thing about depression is that you don’t realize how bad you are until you recover.

You are the only one who did not see the elephant in the room. And then, when you get a little bit better, you connect the dots. And that’s good because you learn to take out the garbage.

I’ll explain it with an anecdote that I’m sure you know.

A scorpion wants to cross a river. A frog swims by. The scorpion promises not to sting the frog with its stinger if it helps him cross. The frog agrees. Then, the scorpion stings the frog halfway to the other shore, saying, “I’m sorry. I can’t help my nature.” And they both drown.

My personal moral: f*ck scorpions.

Author’s drawing

At least until you put your life together and learn to care for yourself.

First principle: Put first things first. And the first thing you have to care about is yourself.

The quality time principle

Every month I go to the hospital with my mom at least five times, and I see what the people look like there…

I will speak openly…

When I get into the traumatology section, I see some people worse than my mother and others better, but all of them are f*cked up.

My mother has so many bone diseases.

In short, she can’t move well, and her bones and articulations always hurt.

This situation has made me realize that having time is not the same as having QUALITY TIME.

My mother is 63, but their quality time is long gone due to their illnesses.

So, not only do you not know how long you have to live: but you also don’t know how much QUALITY TIME you have left.

I realized that whatever I wanted to do in life, I would have to do it soon because no one could assure me that in a few years, I won’t wake up with one of my mother’s illnesses and be unable to move.

As I became aware of this, I made a diagram. Putting the ages at which my grandparents died (in their 90s) and the ages at which my parents started having pain and poor mobility (57 for my mother, 60 for my father).

Author’s drawing. there is a typo. My grandmother died at the age of 91. But you get the point.

Assuming I start having problems when my parents (age 60), I have 20 years of quality left. And if I live until my grandparent’s age, I have an additional 30 years but with illness and pain. Years of less quality time.


  1. In the next 20 years (my quality time), I have to do all those things I always wanted to do, like skateboarding, traveling, etc., because then I probably won’t be able to.
  2. In the next 20 years, I have to make enough money to support myself for an additional 30 years, where I will be more dependent each passing year.

This principle is pure gasoline because when you understand this graphically and internalize it, you know what your time is worth because you know how much quality time you have left.

Second principle: He who does not know history is doomed to repeat it. Make a graph like mine. Find out how much quality time you have left, and you’ll get the motivation you need to spend it wisely.

The “four question” principle.

The last principle stems from the previous one.

I have lived 40 years.

If I live until I’m 90, I have 50 years to live.

But I only have about 20 years of quality time left, even less than the time I have left with ailments if I live to 90.

I show it more clearly in this graph.

Author’s drawing

Because of this, I base my goals on personal and work.

In the personal area, I include “things that I want to do and that I will not be able to do when I am 60 if I am like my parents. So here, I include traveling, meeting people, skating, etc.

And in work, I put “needs.” So here I include the money I estimate to earn before I’m 60 years old to be able to support myself if things get worse after that.

And I only do things from those two lists. And for this, whenever something is proposed to me, I apply the principle of the four questions.

  1. Will it make me money?
  2. Will it make me happy?
  3. Will I learn something new?
  4. Do I need it?

And if I don’t answer yes to at least one of those questions, I don’t do it.

This has taken a lot of nonsense out of my head and keeps me away from time and energy thieves. Because I have no time to lose… I only have 20 years of quality time to

  • Have a relationship.
  • Make a solid group of friends.
  • Make a good amount of money.
  • Travel a lot.

And therefore, I can’t waste my time — now that I know I have only 20 quality years left — with fools or nonsense.

Third principle: ask yourself questions before you do things. Use my questions or yours. Figure out how much quality time you have left. And don’t live on autopilot.

These principles helped me to start over in my forties because they took all the nonsense out of my head in one fell swoop.

I hope they help you too.

A virtual hug


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