One of the most enduring things about aging is that turning 40 seems like a Big Deal. And it is — but not because you’re “getting old.” It’s a big deal because you’ve successfully made it this far, and have a lot of life experience worth celebrating. In case you’re having a hard time thinking of all the good things about being 40 (that’ll happen after four decades, see #21), here is a list of 40 positive things about being 40.
1. 40 is the new 30.
2. Actually, 40 is the new 20.
3. But then again, you’ll be glad you aren’t 20 anymore.
4. You’ll probably hear “wow, you look great for your age” more and more.
5. Chances are, your days of having to deal with what to do with your hair are numbered.
6. Your tastes are set in stone, and that’s a good thing — no more wondering if it’s “cool” to like such and such movie, song or TV show.
7. Bedtime is something you really, really look forward to — almost as much as you used to look forward to going out with friends.
8. You’ve earned your crow’s feet and laugh lines.
9. The “kids” in your life (either your children, nieces, nephews, etc.) are getting old enough to do real chores.
“Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.”
– Carl G. Jung
10. People take you more seriously — with age comes experience, and with experience comes respect. Theoretically, that is how it should work.
11. Some things really do get better with age — like wine and your choice in whom you spend your time with.
12. If your clothes start to get tight .. chances are you’ll rather buy new ones that try to shrink back into your old ones.
13. You don’t let the haters get to you.
14. But if they do, you don’t let it get you down too long.
15. If you haven’t done that big thing you’ve been avoiding by now, you probably won’t — and that’s ok.
16. You can say “when I was your age” with authority and people will listen.
17. If you aren’t up on the “cool thing,” people will understand. You rejoice in your non-coolness!
18. A “mental health” vacation day is no longer a luxury — it’s a necessity.
19. Spending $100 dollars on a household appliance finally seems reasonable.
20. The repertoire of movies, TV shows, songs and maybe even books you can quote is pretty lengthy, which impresses your younger friends to no end.
21. But if you can’t remember your favorite line from your favorite movie, blaming memory loss due to age is acceptable.
At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.
– Ann Landers
22. Forgiving others is easier because in all likelihood you’ve made the mistakes they have at this point. Forgiveness is much easier when you realize we all make bad choices sometimes.
23. Your priorities are probably a little more in order than they were in your thirties (no, you don’t need to spend half a week’s paycheck on buying anything consumable).
24. In fact, money management is something you’ve learned a thing or two about — or as Erica Diamond of Women on The Fence puts it, don’t “spend next week’s paycheck”.
25. You’re saving money you used to spend on going out because you know the way you’ll feel in the morning isn’t worth it … and you’d rather sleep.
26. Same goes for the fancy coffee drinks — isn’t a nice staycation in the Spring worth forgoing a month’s worth of frozen foofy sweet beverages?
27. When people say something unkind, you have a thicker skin … and a larger repertoire of witty retorts.
28. You also realize unkind people are probably worse off than you.
29. True friends and family will really bring their A-game if/when you need them.
30. But you also can feel totally fine having to rely on yourself to solve the problems at hand.
At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty the wit; at forty the judgment.
– Benjamin Franklin
31. “Fear of missing out” has been replaced by “Fear of missing an awesome night watching TV.”
32. You know the sheer joy of taking off your work clothes at the end of a long day and getting in your comfy clothes.
33. You’re comfortable saying “because I said so,” because you’ve learned your instincts are usually right, even if it angers someone.
34. You’re comfortable waiting out that adult tantrum when you’ve said “because I said so” because you know this, too, shall pass.
35. You’re also okay with occasionally handing over a “verbal victory” to keep them from throwing that tantrum in the first place. Everything in moderation.
We don’t understand life any better at forty than at twenty, but we know it and admit it.
– Jules Renard
36. “Everything in moderation” is your motto and it’s been good to you.
37. Though sometimes mottos are meant to be broken, and you know that’s okay, too.
38. You are much more appreciative of the family and friends that you have surrounding you and grateful for each day with them. For … nothing lasts forever.
39. … I forgot what this one was supposed to be. See, a few hours in and it is already an epidemic.
40. The most important thing that nobody tells you about your 40s is this: You are who you are, and probably, who you’re going to be. Although, it is never too late to make a change.
There. I feel much better about turning 40. Thanks. I needed that.