12 Creative Ways to Celebrate and Honor Your 40th Birthday
Your fortieth birthday is when you’ll really start to Blossom! This isn’t your typical list of 40th birthday celebration ideas and things to do.
These ideas will show you how to celebrate your fortieth birthday in meaningful, fun ways and create memories that will last the rest of your life. I gathered these tips to help you remember that turning 40 isn’t just about 40th birthday gifts and parties – just like a marriage isn’t just about the wedding ceremony and celebration. Here, you’ll find a variety of tips and suggestions for celebrating a fortieth birthday with joy, peace, and meaning. This list of 40th birthday celebration ideas and activities aren’t about partying it up or trying to forget that you’re turning forty….
Rather, these fortieth birthday celebration ideas and tips are about living from your heart and soul and BLOSSOMING into who you were meant to be!
For example, here’s a great thing to do for your 40th birthday from the bestselling author Alice Walker: “Begin a circle of women. Meet regularly. Don’t have an agenda. Get together simply to Be together. Eat, drink, be merry. Dance if you feel like it. Lie about on cushions. Tell stories. Share secrets. Teach each other how to garden, how to build fires. But definitely do not ‘plan’ what you are going to discuss or do. Whatever work needs to be done will be done without your trying to make it happen.”
One of the best 40th birthday ideas is to relax into your female friendships. I have two close friends – not counting my husband – and I’d feel lost in this world without them.
If you don’t have friends to celebrate your 4oth birthday with, make meaningful friendships your goal this year. If you’re too busy trying to juggle your social calendar because you have too many friends, give yourself the gift of freedom and peace. Start spending time with people you love, respect, and admire. Notice who fills you up with life and energy, and who drains your spirit and soul. Spend time with women who uplift you and help you be your best self.
Know that you can choose your own adventure in real life.
12 Creative 40th Birthday Celebration Ideas
These ideas for celebrating your fortieth birthday are more emotional than practical. I didn’t celebrate my 40th birthday by throwing a big birthday bash, taking an exotic vacation (though I just got back from a two week trip to Jamaica!), or buying myself a new digital masterpiece such as a Kindle e-reader (though everyone seems to love them! If you want to celebrate your fortieth birthday by giving yourself a birthday Kindle, I am all for it. I hear they’re amazing).
These 40th birthday ideas are about being kind and gentle to yourself, and making your life more meaningful and beautiful. I turned 40 several years ago, I look forward to turning 47 soon, and I am ready to enjoy my life fully and completely 🙂
1. Treat yourself to a luxurious 40th birthday gift
Anuschka’s Genuine Leather Hand Painted Wallet is my absolute favorite 40th birthday gift. Of all the ways to celebrate such a huge milestone, something beautiful and artistic is the only thing that will do.
In Creative and Thoughtful 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Her, I share a huge range of interesting and fun birthday gifts. If you know a woman turning forty, you’ll want to read that article. If you want to treat yourself to something special, you’ll want to read that article.
2. Declutter and surround yourself with simple beauty
Surround yourself with color, beauty, simplicity, and things that make you feel wonderful. If you’re a practical woman like me, a creative thing to do for your 40th birthday might be to decluttering and organize your home. If you’re more dreamy than practical, then decluttering and organizing aren’t creative things to do on your 40th birthday – they can wait until the day after you turn forty 🙂 .
Getting organized will help you feel better about your life and home. Think of this 40th birthday celebration idea as spring cleaning for your life.
3. Accept what you can’t change in your life
My husband and I can’t have kids, and I don’t want to try IVF. Neither of us are keen on adoption. Now that I’m closer to 45 than 40, I’ve begun to accept that it’ll just be the two of us. We’re our family. For the past four years, I hoped for a miracle…but I’m letting go of it. It’s sort of bittersweet, to accept and even embrace this part of my life.
Surrender to your life as it is, and change what you can. This may not be the most exciting 40th birthday celebration or idea, but it will change your life. Learn how to love yourself. Read How to Feel Better About Yourself if you struggle with self-acceptance. This is the best 40th birthday gift you could ever give yourself.
Also – one of the most meaningful things to do on your 40th birthday is to accept your present moment as if you’d chosen it. That’s one of Eckhart Tolle’s words of wisdom, from The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Are you unhappy or scared to turn forty? Acceptance brings peace.
4. Write the book you’ve always wanted to write
Writing in my journal is one of the healthiest things I’ve ever done for myself. I’m more centred spiritually and emotionally, more grounded, and more in touch with God. I really did start to Blossom after I turned 40 – and that’s one of the best 40th birthday celebrations I could ever ask for!
Get yourself a Classic Retro Vintage Leather Diary & Journal – or some type of beautiful journal – and start paying attention to how you really think and feel. Honor yourself, and your self will honor you.
5. Refuse to be your own biggest critic
I’m tired of beating myself up for saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, and making mistakes. I’m tired of criticizing myself! What happened yesterday – and 10 years ago, 20 years ago – is done. It’s over. Instead of flagellating myself for my mistakes, I will focus on freedom and forgiveness. Instead of wishing certain people were in my life, I’m willing to let go of the past. I’ve done a lot of things right, and made a lot of people feel good about themselves. I’ve helped people, and cheered people up.
This is a wonderful 40th birthday celebration and gift you could give yourself: focus on what you do right and what you do well. Learning how to accept yourself is one of the best ways to celebrate turning 40.
6. Take good care of your 40 year old body
What does your body need? Is your neck sore, your body tired, your muscles flabby? Now is the time to make changes in your physical health. Don’t keep putting it off — yoga is a fantastic, healthy way to get your body long and lean.
Namaste Yoga: The Complete First Season is an excellent way to stick with a yoga program. You won’t get tired or bored of the same old yoga DVD (though I do the same old ones all the time, and never get tired of them).
The gift of health and fitness is so important. I know that working out isn’t often fun in the moment, but your body mind and soul feels so awesome afterward.
Find healthy, fun ways to move your body. You’re turning forty – maybe your goal should be to be fitter than you’ve ever been before!
7. Try something absolutely crazy on your 40th birthday
Here’s one of the most interesting 40th birthday celebration ideas from a reader:
“I’m going to spend my 40th birthday racing exotic cars in Vegas, then flying to Mexico for a week, lying on the beach, golfing on perfect turf, going to see Mayan ruins, racing dune buggies in the sand, scuba diving, and chasing around my 26 year old wife. Forty is not old….you’re as young as you feel. IF you wanna go get all responsible for your 40th birthday….go ahead…..or you can embrace the fact that you’ve only lived 1/3 of your adult life and have plenty more to go!”
8. Get out of town – my favorite idea for celebrating a 40th birthday
We celebrated my 46th birthday with a weekend getaway. I love leaving town on my birthday because I love exploring and traveling. My husband also gave me an assortment of little gifts including a Starbucks gift card, a book I’ve been wishing I had on my shelf, and a bottle of rum.
A Packing Organizer Value Set for Travel is an adventurous idea for celebrating a 40th birthday – especially if it includes a trip out of town! This set of packing luggage “cubes” helps organize your clothes and toiletries, and keeps everything neat and wrinkle-free. The set pictured includes a toiletries kit, a shoes bag to protect clothes from dirty shoes, and an electronics organizer bag so you can keep all your electronic devices chargers, cords, and even batteries in one bag.
9. Think about how you want to spend your next 40 birthdays
Now that I’m in my forties, I’m starting to put money away for my retirement. Better late than never! Every time I put $500 or $1,000 into my RRSPs, I visualize my future vacations. I used to think putting money away for retirement was a meaningless chore, but now I see it as taking care of my future self. Same with decluttering and spending my time the way I want. I feel good when I’m surrounded by space and simplicity, and when I choose to do things I love.
So, for me the thing to do on my 40th birthday(s) is to take good care of my future, my environment, the people I love, and my emotional and physical health. Now that I’m 43, I’m finally learning how to set myself up for success and happiness. Those are my little birthday gifts and tips to myself.
How will you pamper yourself on your 40th birthday?
10. Take music lessons – or join a band or orchestra
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar – or any musical instrument – now’s the time to pursue your dreams.
I played the flute in high school, and have always wanted to re-learn it. I loved the rehearsals, concerts, and feeling of being part of an orchestra! So I bought myself a flute a few weeks ago, and am working my way through a self-instruction beginners flute book. It feels so good to play, to learn and practice, to hear my musical skills improving. It’s also very healthy to learn to play a musical instrument! For me, joining a band is one of the most meaningful things to do when I turned 40. What about you? What have you wanted to do since high school, but haven’t gotten around to it? It’s time, my friend.
11. March to your own drum for your 40th birthday
I work at Big Brothers Vancouver, and am probably the oldest Mentoring Coordinator there – the rest of my coworkers are in their 20s.
My young colleagues are extremely nice, but I’m old enough to be their mother. Some of our work activities and events highlight how old I am. For instance, we have a big bowling afternoon coming up, and we all have to dress up in Fiesta costumes. I can’t think of anything worse – I’m a quiet, introverted, introspective writer. The thought of bowling in a Mexican or Fiesta costume with in a loud bowling alley with lots of young people makes me want to crawl under my bed with my dog.
So, my 40th birthday gift to myself is not to go. I’ll be one of the only employees who doesn’t attend – it’s a fundraising event, no less. I’ll donate money, but I don’t want to bowl. I feel like I’ve earned the right to give myself permission not to attend events that make me feel tired and unhappy.
12. Say “Meeeoowww” and Blossom like a CAT
I recently spent 5 or 6 days wandering around Los Angeles, meowing like a cat. It wasn’t a 40th birthday idea or celebration; I’m now 46 years old, and I can afford to walk around practicing different ways to Blossom 🙂
“Meeeoww!” said I out loud every time I caught myself judging a person, place, or thing. For example, some areas of some Hollywood streets are smellier than others. When I found myself wrinkling my nose and wondering how the glamorous men and women of LA could stand the disgusting smell of old urine baked into the sidewalk, I would let a big loud “meeeeoww!” leap from my lips. Even if people were nearby.
Why meow? Because that’s what cats do. And I am becoming more catlike, like a pussy willow Blossoming into a flexible reed that may bend but won’t be broken by the winds of time or happenstance.
And because fighting stuff takes energy.
More specifically: trying to fight the past, or stuff I can’t change, or my regrets and mistakes, is draining the positive energy, joy, peace, and freedom from my life.
CAT is Curious Accepting Trusting
When I find myself judging myself or others, I say “meeeeoww” and remind myself that my energy and time is best spent being Curious, Accepting, and Trusting. This isn’t just a 40th birthday celebration idea; it’s how we should live our lives.
Instead of assuming I know everything, I ask myself questions.
“Why are some streets so smelly? Maybe because people and dogs pee outside, and there’s been a drought in LA for 5 years, and they’re not wasting water washing the streets.”
When you find yourself judging yourself or others, ask yourself a few gentle questions. Who is this person you’re criticizing, what do you know about her, where has she been, what has she experienced, and why are you assuming you know better? Are you sure your way is better?
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but satisfaction brought her back.
Be gentle with yourself and the person, place or thing. Let go of your expectations, your “shoulds”, and your assumptions that you know better. Adopt an open mind and heart.
When you find yourself criticizing yourself or others, remind yourself how much time and energy you’re wasting on your own unrealistic and ignorant expectations. Instead of fighting reality (yes, some streets and people and situations are super stinky), just allow the thing to be. It has as much right to exist as you do. Who are you to say something should not be what it is? You may be forty, but you don’t know everything.
Everything Belongs, even if you can’t see why or how. Everything Belongs, even if you didn’t put it there.
There is a reason your life is unfolding this way. There is a reason you chose to take that action, say those words, or go down that street. Trust God that even if you don’t know why something happened, it is there because it is supposed to be.
My 40 year old birthday girl, you don’t have all the answers. Worse – your unmet, unfulfilled expectations are tripping you up and bringing you down. Your expectations are wasting your time and energy. Your “shoulds” are distracting you from the peace, joy, and freedom that being catlike offers.
So, say “meeeoowww” out loud when you beat yourself up for this or judge her for that. Memorize and recite CAT to yourself – and I guarantee you will be surprised at how quickly your judgements and criticisms fade away! Peace and joy will be yours, you precious little kitty cat.
Meeeooowwww and Blossom. Out loud. Boldly.
Bonus 40th birthday celebration idea: Live for today
Are you ready to live for today? The Sterling Silver “Live The Life You Love” Pendant Necklace is one of the best 40th birthday gifts you can give yourself, because it’s a visual reminder or symbol to “learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.” What better gift could you give yourself, than to live in the moment and cherish every second you have?
I love being forty. The best way to celebrate any birthday in your 40s is to be kind to yourself, surround yourself with beauty and creativity, and stay connected to your heart and soul. What about you – how will you celebrate turning forty? I hope this post has given you a few 40th birthday celebration ideas.
May your 40th birthday bring joyful memories, countless blessings, and peaceful thoughts. Happy Birthday!