Forty Things I’ve Learnt Before Turning 40: Lesson Twenty-Two

Mitch Robertson
5 min readJun 13, 2021


I’ve learnt to take note of what works for ME! Life doesn’t necessarily get easier as you get older; so it’s important to identify those little life hacks that make day to day life that little bit less complicated. For me, some of those things include:

A good night time routine. I try my best to be in bed an hour before I want to fall asleep. I switch my phone to silent and do not disturb, pick up a book and read until I’m sleepy. Lush has a number of night time products (a face mask and body mist) that I sometimes use, that really helps me drift off into slumber land.

Knowing some simple recipes. The last thing anyone wants to do after a long day at work is cook dinner when you arrive home exhausted. Having a few simple recipes up my sleeve that use ingredients that I’m most likely to have in my pantry and fridge is a god sent. I do like to spend some time on a Sunday, looking at the week ahead and planning my meals, that way I know I’ll need. Thanks to my Mum, who the night before I moved out of home, took the time to write out a bunch of recipes for me, that I still have tucked away in a folder in my kitchen.

Investing in a good skin care regime. I’ve always had to be conscious of looking after my skin, being extremely prone to burning in the harsh Queensland sun and am always pleased when people say I look younger than I am. My advice to them is, sunscreen and moisturise. Thanks again to my Mum, who was always vigilant with ensuring we slip, slop, slapped as kids before going out in the sun. A face mask or facial from time to time is not only helpful, but a nice indulgent reward when life gets hectic.

Keeping active. As kids we were always made to participate in a Summer and Winter sport, which I think has developed a healthy, life-long attitude towards regular physical activity. I feel like this, coupled with ensuring I’m having a well balanced diet, has helped me to avoid any major illness and health concerns.

Creating a playlist for all occasions. I love music and the way it can help set a mood as well as comfort you in times of need. I make playlists in my phone for all sorts of moods. I have a battle songs playlist, for when I know I’ve got a tough day or situation in front of me, that gets me fired up and feeling strong; chilled playlist, for Sunday afternoons, winding down in the bath; sad songs playlist, for those times I want to just sit in my feelings and find solace in the lyrics of someone who’s been through it too; party playlist, for when I’m getting ready to go out. What I love about music is there is a song for any situation and they become the soundtrack to my life.

Buying gifts for people as I see something they would like, makes it easier when their birthday or a special event rolls by. It always seems like when you go out with the purpose of finding a birthday gift for someone, you can never find something you think they’ll like. So what I do now is, when I see something I know a friend of family member would like, I buy it straight away, storing it away for that special occasion. That way there’s no last minute, panic buying down the track.

Using the NOTES section in my phone. The Notes app is probably the most used app on my phone. I use it to keep inspiring quotes I come across; when I’m reading a book, instead of writing in the actual book, I take notes on my phone instead (I’ve never been the type of person who can dog ear or write in books); listing cafes, bars, restaurants I want to check out; creating dream travel itineraries; creating lists of books, tv shows, movies I want to check out; writing my own musings on my day, situations, life.

Using a ‘third space.’ Dr Adam Fraser’s book ‘The Third Space,’ has helped me really think about how I purposefully move between different roles and activities within my day. His work talks about using the ‘third space’ as a way to mentally ‘show up’ right for whatever comes next. My job as a high school teacher can be physically and mentally challenging. I use the drive home (a ‘third space’) to literally ‘shake off’ my day. I will either play my favourite songs and sing along at the top of my lungs (and if I’m really in the mood, do some car choreography) or phone family and friends. By the time I arrive home, I’m in a much better space to show up for what’s in store for my afternoon or evening.

Life’s too short to pretend you don’t like Taylor Swift songs. I saw a meme with this quote and have loved it ever since. I feel like there’s a Taylor Swift song that can be used in any life situation. People getting you down? Shake It Off. Having issues with someone? Now we got Bad Blood. Need to remind yourself that you’re better off without an ex? We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Serenading a partner? Darling, you’re my, my, my, my Lover. Convincing yourself that you’re justified in your act of revenge? Look What You Made Me Do. When someone is getting angry. You Need To Calm Down, you’re being too loud. Telling yourself how great you look before going out. We never go out of Style. Checking in to see if you’re out of trouble yet. Are we out of the woods yet?

As you get older, the challenges of life don’t get fewer, they just get different. So knowing what helps me get through the day easier is important; it’s like my personal survival kit of strategies for helping me navigate the bumps, twists and turns of life, that little bit better.