Your Fifth Decade – Ages 40-49

A pile of slim books on table with eyeglasses perched on top.

One way to stay motivated to keep writing your life story is to envision the final product.

By Maureen Santini © Copyright 2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

After writing about your first four decades, most of you are half-way to the finish mark. Well done!

Let’s keep going. Believe it or not, the end is in sight.

Begin writing about your fifth decade, ages 40 through 49, with the year of your fortieth 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. Since each decade represents a unique stage of life, however, the questions below are designed to prompt your memory of this time period.

One approach is to describe your general situation at the beginning of your forties and again at the end. In some cases, your situation will have changed dramatically during the decade. In other cases, your circumstances will have remained much the same. Round out your general statements with details in basic areas such as those below. Feel free to improvise.

Keep in mind that various 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.


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, children, parents, siblings, and/or grandparents. How did your family celebrate milestones, holidays and vacations? Did you spend time together often or rarely? Which traits and lessons did they impart to you? Which traits and lessons did you strive to impart?


Describe the most significant relationships in your life during this decade whether they centered on family members, friends, colleagues or others. Many people remember their forties as a time of juggling – finances, teenagers, aging parents, work-life balance, and so forth. Talk about challenges you had to deal with in these or other areas.  


List and describe in detail the jobs you held during your forties. Mention the difficulties and rewards, if any, as well as your attitude toward your work life. Include the names of the companies and bosses you worked for as well as the positions you held. Describe the skills and duties involved in carrying out your work.

Skills, Hobbies and Interests

Describe your main skills, hobbies, and interests. Did they differ from your interests during previous decades? Did you pick up new interests as you aged? State the ways you spent the majority of your leisure time.

Health and Welfare

Describe physical, mental and emotional challenges you and those close to you faced and how you dealt with them. Were you generally healthy or facing health challenges? Were close family members facing health issues?

Current Events

Explain the degree of your interest in and concern about events such as the economy, natural disasters, elections, and wars. 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 decade. Feel free to describe the political environment of the times and your positions on issues.

Future Outlook

Describe the expectations you had for your life and family at the start of the decade and whether they materialized or changed during the decade. 


These questions are only a general guide. To capture the essence of your life and lifestyle, add 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 enjoying this process. Comments on the website are appreciated. Please share these posts to encourage others to write their stories.

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