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40 Things Every Fearless Woman Should Know By 40

For one thing, stop apologizing all the time! For God's sake, you don't need to apologize to your ob-gyn for not shaving your legs.

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graphic with examples of 40 things women by 40 should know
Carolyn Sewell
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The Girlfriend polled friends and family to put together this list of 40 things every fearless woman should know by 40. Did we miss anything? If so, email us at and let us know.

Drum roll, please. You probably should know:

1. Your strengths and how to play to them rather than obsessing over the things you're not so great at.
2. How to handle yourself in a crisis without totally losing your sh*t. (This includes how to do CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.)

3. The clothes and styles that flatter your body type, and how to skip those items that don't — no matter how cute they look on the hanger.

4. How to take advantage of all the benefits offered by your credit cards.
5. How to make a really spectacular toast without having to look at notes.

6. How to ask for a raise and get it.
7. How to whip up a fabulous appetizer, main course, and dessert.

8. What's really in your 401(k) and 529.
9. To stop apologizing all the time! For God's sake, you don't need to apologize to your ob-gyn for not shaving your legs.
10. How to talk to customer service in a way that gets you what you deserve.
11. How to confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

12. How to negotiate a car purchase.

13. How to successfully host an event, whether it's a birthday dinner, book club, or fundraiser.

14. How to find a bra that fits you perfectly.

15. How to get over insecurities when you run into an ex.
16. How to stop pretending and tell your partner what you need to enjoy a real orgasm.
17. How to say yes to a big and perhaps somewhat risky adventure.
18. How to say no to things you really don't want to do without feeling guilty.

19. How to travel on your own in a foreign country.
20. How to delegate, delegate and delegate.

21. How to determine who to trust with your secrets and when to stay quiet.

22. How to pace yourself. As singer Bonnie Raitt said, "A therapist once told me something that's as true now as when I first heard it: 'You can only go as fast as the slowest part of you can go.' "

23. How to select an impress-for-less wine.

24. How to remove a toxic friend from your life.

25. That you should appreciate your laugh lines. They're worth it.

26. How to stop wasting time moaning about things you have no control over.
27. How to use a vibrator. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommends sex toys as a way to combat vaginal dryness and reduced libido.

28. How really OK it is to be tired and ready to go to bed at 9 p.m. (There's nothing wrong with going to bed at 8 p.m., either.)
29. How dangerous it is to take your partner for granted. Complacency is a potent force. Don't let it overpower you.

30. How to read a stock portfolio.

31. How to quit a job with class.
32. How to graciously accept a compliment.

33. How to carve a turkey.

34. That you can learn more from your failures than your successes.
35. How to inspire others. As Serena Williams said, "The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you're courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble."

36. How to show love with actions and not just words.
37. How to make small talk with just about anyone.
38. How to put together "some assembly required" furniture.
39. That keeping your hair dry should not be a priority. Dive into the pool, jump into the ocean, and don't be afraid to get sweaty.

40. That time is the greatest luxury of all. Enjoy every minute of it.