09/09/2013 04:31 BST | Updated 09/09/2013 05:31 BST

10 Things We Know At 40 That We Hadn't Learned Aged 20 (PICTURES)

Julia Roberts attends the premiere of 'Eat Pray Love' at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York, America.

The phenomenal success of Eat, Pray, Love -- the autobiographical story of Elizabeth Gilbert, who divorces her husband and sets off on a mission of self-discovery -- was a lesson to cynics everywhere.

The book's happy ending, when Elizabeth finds inner peace (and a lovely man!), reminded us that the search for wisdom and enlightenment is a journey worth making. And the tale was also a reminder of how easy it is to get on the wrong track in life.

According to HuffPost comedy editor Andrea Mann, author of the popular 'You Know You're 40 When' blog, there's nothing quite like the ageing process to put your life into perspective.

"I've realised that real love shouldn't make you sad - and that I was worthy of real love.

"I've also realised that the only thing holding myself back from achieving anything I wanted was myself. And that George Eliot was right when she said: 'It's never too late to be what you might have been.'"


Not only does the ageing process enable us to make better decisions in the present, but it can help us reflect on the past with genuine wisdom, suggests Andrea.

"If I could give a 20-year-old self advice, my advice would be that if alarm bells are ringing, walk away (that applies to both internal emotional alarm bells in a relationship; and real alarm bells when you're in a public building).

"And know that you are probably just as smart and talented as any man who is achieving the success you'd like to achieve. In fact, you're probably smarter and more talented."

Here are some more pearls of wisdoms from those who've learned a life lesson or two..