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Turning the big 4-0 can be a little daunting. But once you get there you realize, like these famous women, that the fourth decade of life might just be your best so far.

November 06, 2015

Turning the big 4-0 can be a little daunting. All of a sudden, you're officially in the "midlife" stage, and—there's no way around it—some things are just different than they were in your 20s and 30s. But that's not a bad thing, necessarily. Your 40s can end up being the best years of your life. Just take it from these famous women who've been there.

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It's not as bad as you might expect (yes, seriously)

"I was really worried about it, leading up to the day, but now I feel really happy and content with my life. I'm excited to move into the next phase. It's much more exciting than I thought it would be."
—Gwyneth Paltrow, US Weekly, October 2012

"What a great time in a woman's life. I wasn't sure what was going to happen or how I was going to feel about it. But now having turned the corner, it's really empowering."
—Jennie Garth, People, April 2012

"It really feels fantastic actually. I mean I have to say, I was gearing up to it. I was getting ready for it and I feel like I've earned these 40 stripes. I made it."
—Kate Winslet, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, October, 2015

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You find new confidence

"When I turned 40, I was like, huh. I accept myself more now. It was much more comforting."
—Jennifer Lopez, Harper’s Bazaar, February 2013

“There’s a confidence and sense of self that comes with age that I didn’t anticipate. I don’t feel the need to prove myself now, which I did for a very long time. And there is a peace that I didn’t have in my 30s. I no longer feel this urgency to make impulsive decisions.”
—Jillian Michaels, Health, November 2014

"I'm so happy to be in my 40s and not be in my 20s and worried if I fit into my skinny jeans or whether I will be able to get into that club."
—Charlize Theron, E! Online, July 2015

“I embraced it. There’s something freeing about 40. There’s something that allowed me to walk the walk and talk the talk of being the woman that I always wanted to be.”
—Gabrielle Union, People, May 2013

You learn to let the little things go

“Every time I get stressed out or anxious, I say to myself, Just live and love. Feel love. I think that’s what I took away from my turning-40 meltdown. I have been operating out of fear, and I just don’t want to do it anymore.”
—Amy Adams, Vogue, December 2014 

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You prioritize your health

“I wish I had known more about nutrition and exercise and how really good it could affect you at a younger age. Then I would have kicked it up a lot sooner.”
—Queen Latifah, People StyleWatch, February 2010

“I also notice that even though you do your best to stay in shape and keep your butt as tight as possible, there is not much you can do about skin. If I could take back all those spring break years in Daytona Beach, Florida, I would. What the heck was I thinking, lying out on top of tin foil with baby oil all over my delicate Irish skin? I was nuts!”
—Jenny McCarthy, Splash, November 2012

And finally, you understand these will be the best years of your life

"For the first time in my life I'm content. I'm so excited. Getting older is the best part of life. Like, I know more than I’ve ever known. I have gratitude. I know myself better. I feel more capable than ever. And as far as the physicality of it—I feel better at 40 than I did at 25."
—Cameron Diaz, Esquire UK, November 2012

“When am I supposed to freak out? When am I supposed to feel like, 'Oh, my knee! Oh, ouch!' I don't feel any of those things! ... I’ve had more fun post-40 than I can remember. From a work point of view, a physical point of view, a psycho-therapeutic point of view.”
—Jennifer Aniston, Harper’s Bazaar, November 2014

“It’s the first time in my life that my age has met up with where my life is and it’s perfect. I love being 40.”
—Drew Barrymore, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, May 2015

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