What is the best thing you can do at age 30 to benefit your life at age 50 and beyond? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
Take care of your body. Floss and brush your teeth often. Exercise, but be aware that dangerous sports cause damage that accumulates (this from a woman who rock climbed and rode mountain bikes off-road and has the skeletal damage to prove it) and that can diminish mobility as you age. Eat a great, clean, diet. Limit alcohol and avoid smokers. Learn a discipline (Aikido, Yoga, or Tai Chi) that you can become advanced in while you're young but can still do as you age. Take care of your skin; avoid sun damage and moisturize. Starting late in skin care is starting too late.
Cultivate good and loyal friends and be that friend to them. Broaden your experience and open your mind. Start the habit of learning and mastering new interests and activities. Begin a spiritual practice or meditation and focus daily on positive thoughts. Love the people in your life and show them your regard and affection often; you will lose some of them to death or distance as the years pass. Laugh often and loudly and bring others laughter and joy.
Develop the habit of saving money; put raises in savings and give yourself a cost of living increase only every 5 years. Learn to invest safely and minimize investment risk. Purchase a house with plans to pay off the mortgage by the time you are 55-60. You don't have to be an expert or especially wise to live a comfortable life. You do have to be aware of the difference between a want and a need and an emotional investment move versus a logical move.
Invest in yourself. If you want to start a second career, do it no matter what your age. Even if you start a new career at 50, with our longer life spans that is a wise move for most people. Don't allow yourself to spend weeks, months, and years working at a job that you dislike. Stretch yourself and always reach for more. Don't limit yourself; plenty of people in your life will express limits for you that you can either accept or discard.
By 50, most people are just surviving instead of thriving. They have often closed themselves off from the joy and beauty of life. They count their losses instead of their gains and become bitter as a result. They have stunted their growth and spurned their opportunities and they view life now as a series of limitations. Your challenge is to thrive at 50 and to express gratitude and joy for what you have received in life. Your challenge is to open to more life and more love and more experiences as you age. This attitude begins now, at your age of 30. Living life well means always remaining young of heart.
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