: January 23, 2019 Posted by: Maureen Comments: 0


By Maureen Santini © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

This is Chapter 5 in Write your Life Story for Posterity. Most of you are half-way to the finish mark. Well done! The end is in sight.

Begin writing about your fifth decade, ages 40 through 49, as of your 40th birthday. If you were born in 1950, for example, your fifth decade began in 1990.

We’ll address many of the same topics as in previous decades. But remember that each decade represents a unique stage of life and should be dealt with in that spirit.

Describe your general situation at the beginning of your forties. Round out your overview with details in basic areas such as those below. Feel free to improvise.

For some, life is better after 40. A national survey by Prevention magazine found that many women aged 40 and older are happier, more confident, and less stressed than they were 20 years earlier. But keep in mind that everyone’s path is unique.

Many occupations and lifestyles are rapidly changing in society. You are a historian of your own life but also of a way of life. Be as detailed as possible when writing about your routine, your beliefs, and your job. Assume future readers may be uninformed about your way of life.

Basic Information

Start with the basics. List the addresses of your residences during this decade along with the names of others in the household. Write down the names of places you frequented such as churches, schools, restaurants, sports arenas, museums, and parks. Name organizations you were active in, such as sports teams and card clubs.


Describe major events/activities involving you and your spouse (if married), children, parents, siblings, grandparents and extended families. Relate the way you and/or your family celebrated holidays and vacations. Mention whether you spent time together often or rarely as well as which traits and lessons your parents imparted to you and which traits you sought to impart to your children.


Enumerate the significant relationships in your life during this decade. Whether they centered on family, friends, significant others, or colleagues, explain why these relationships were important to you.

Some people remember their forties as a time of balancing multiple interests -– finances, teenagers, aging parents, work-life balance, and so forth. Detail the challenges these and similar issues presented in your life.

Most people in their 40s have parents who are of retirement age or older. This is when adult children start to switch roles with their aging parents, often becoming more financially or physically responsible for them,” according to Yvette Manes, in 40 Things I Learned After I turned 40. Describe your situation even if it was vastly different.


List and describe in detail the jobs you held during your forties. Mention the difficulties and rewards. For those who did not hold paying jobs during this decade, describe your activities, such as volunteer work and/or homemaking.

Include the names of the companies or organizations. Describe the positions you held. Describe the skills and duties involved in carrying out your work. Rate your satisfaction with your work. Respond similarly if your work was taking care of home and family and/or volunteer activities.

Skills, Hobbies, and Interests

Describe your main skills, hobbies, and interests and how they compared to previous decades. State the ways you spent most of your leisure time. List the top three or four activities you regularly engaged in and how they evolved over the years. If circumstances limited your leisure time, explain why.

Health and Welfare

Describe physical, mental, and emotional challenges you and those close to you faced and how you dealt with them. Mention the general state of your health and the health of those closest to you. List health challenges faced by you or members of your family.

Current Events

Explain the degree of your interest in and concern about events such as the economy, elections, and national or world events. State whether you were active in civic affairs or volunteer activities and how your attentiveness to the state of the country and world changed over the years. Feel free to expound on the political environment of the times and your positions on issues.


Describe the expectations you had for your life and family and how they evolved or changed over the decades. Explain your expectations for the future at this point.


Use these questions as a general guide. Feel free to improvise. Include information about any topic, person or event that was central to your life during this time.

Good job! Now get started on your sixth decade. We hope you are finding this process rewarding. Please share these posts to encourage others to write their stories.

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Note:  This post has been updated from the original.