Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Struggling with turning 40 soon - life feels like an endless struggle at times

Community Member

Hi all,

I'm not sure if this should be posted under anxiety or depression, but i've decided anxiety probably better characterises what I'm feeling everyday because depression is too strong a word.

It's not my first time in these forums. 2-3 years ago I was struggling with an immature spouse, career change, migration stress, job burnout and financial worries. I'm happy to report that I'm way past most of these issues. I've transitioned to a much better job, fully settled in here and reaching the peak of my career under a very appreciative boss. I no longer worry that much about money (i lead a very thrifty lifestyle) and I'm nearly past the trauma of the past 3-4 jobs that had me completely burned out and mired in depression. My spouse is no longer the wilful and immature person she once was and she is sharing more of the responsibilities of running the household now.

But WOW! blink of an eye and I've almost blazed past my thirties and heading into my 40s very soon. It seems like the last 9 years I have just been moving from one crisis to another, and even though we are now well settled in, I feel like a big part of my life has been spent managing crises (or character moulding if I want to be optimistic). I am moving into probably what is the peak of my career, but each day my thoughts are all about retiring early and doing something I actually like doing. I'm not sure if that is the depression speaking or is it just middle age talking, but i no longer have that fire in the belly, and climbing the corporate ladder is really all about just making more money so I could retire earlier.

I am very scared to think about my forties, and then fifties! It seems just yesterday I was still a young and immature twenty-something. I shudder to think about raising kids, but I'm VERY NEAR the age where I either have to make that decision or forever hold my peace.

I know many of us probably felt the same about moving into the forties. How do you guys deal with it?

3 Replies 3

Hi Daniel_83,

Thank you for sharing this. It’s really good to hear how many positive changes have happened in the past few years for you. That said, there’s a lot you’ve had to deal with, and it sounds like a tricky time in your career, when you feel you’ve made so much progress but are also wishing you could retire and do something you enjoy more.   

We hope you can take one thing at a time and be careful not to overload yourself with big decisions all at once. Sometimes reaching certain milestones or significant birthdays can be difficult, so it’s important to be kind to yourself, be open about how you’re feeling, and reach out if you need to. Beyond Blue are always here for you, on 1300 22 4636, as are Mensline on 1300 78 99 78.

Thanks again for sharing here, our community members are kind and understanding, we’re sure some of them will join us on this thread in not too long. Many will be able to relate to what you’ve shared.

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Community Member


I am 37.5 & had a hard look in the mirror the other day to assess wrinkles when I realised the big 4-0 was very near...

First bit of advice - don't feel you have to have kids. I decided in my early 30's that it wasn't for me and I'm sooo relieved I made that choice.

I am having a mid life crisis at the moment. I feel stifled by "stuff", belongings that I've built up over the years and want to focus on spending time with loved ones and exploring the world. If I had $$ I'd buy a ridiculously cool car.

Work/life balance is essential for enjoyment of life. Taking some annual leave can give you a needed break, even if you just chill at home.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Daniel 83 and welcome back to the forum!

Firstly, you are to be congratulated for recognising your issues three years ago and addressing them head on. it seems that you have successfully overcome every single one of them which is amazing, but the mid life doldrums may be reappearing. So you have proven that you are an achiever and accomplish goals that are important to you. That is a significant personal trait.

Add another 30 years to your age to get where I am - I want to share how I felt at your age. I was running my own company, had two great daughters already showing signs of life success, yet I too was feeling a little bit empty. Maybe success and income was coming a little easy to me.

So I thought was I really ready to retire? The answer was a big NO - so I then asked do I maybe want a midlife career change? The answer to this was YES, late 30's is a every attractive age to employers. More importantly, it is also a great time to exercise your creativity and ability, by taking on something outside your work. Anyway the new job gave me plenty of challenges which was great. I bought a sports car kitset and built that up over a year, working on it most nights late, but loving it. That led to a car club and racing. I started learning guitar - that is still going strong, then progressed through the sport of stand up paddleboarding racing. I now have a 14ft race board and train on that 4 times a week. So yes, add other stuff to that and I am now retired but more active than ever and I can look back life on with no regrets at all.

With having kids, 40 is nowhere too late. They will be leaving home by the time you are 60 or so and ready to actively enjoy retirement! What does your partner think about this subject?

So I am thinking your mind might be reset if you actually take on the challenge of a new job, but more importantly, take on some challenges outside work that you actually love doing, and can measure progress against. I know only a couple of people who tried retiring in their 40's but missed the mental stimulation and went back to work.

Joining clubs aligned to your new activities is also great for social interaction and encouraging you to become better at that activity.

I have read that to be happy past middle age, we need goals, mental challenges, physical activities, social interaction and new learnings to take on. That pretty much sums is up.

Sorry to rave on a bit, but I hope some of this has helped. Let me know!

All the best, The Bro