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Over 40? It's time to do the things you want to do

If you're 40ish and wailing about how life is passing you by, get over it and get on with living, urges therapist and job counselor Barbara Sher.

Sher doesn't want you to waste a minute of what could be the most rewarding time of life.

"When you're over 40, you can finally own your life again," said Sher, 63. "You're old enough that you don't have to listen to anybody anymore. Start trusting your impulses and doing what you love."

And that's just what her fifth and newest self-help book is about: recognizing that you have half a life still to live and that the second half just might be the most fun.

It's the message she's promoting in It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now: How to Create Your Second Life After 40 (Delacorte Press; $22.95).

What you want to do may be mountain climbing or writing a children's book or becoming a world traveler, but most people at this age are too downcast to see the possibilities. Why?

Because people selling insurance, orthopedic shoes, retirement homes and face creams have conditioned us to "think old" so we'll need their products, Sher believes.

Not that she advocates chucking your job and becoming a bum.

"Don't be radical and stupid, but don't be so careful you'll never find out if you can write poetry or do whatever," she says.

Sher's own panic over aging ended when she realized that most of the people who have succeeded in life are all over 40 and are not only still going strong but are doing exactly what they want to.

"So instead of panicking because you're getting old. . . you've got to say, "I'm not going to live forever. What do I want to do with the rest of my life that I've never done before?' And then do it."