"I can't wait to turn 40!" Said no one. Ever.
Turning 40 isn't easy. You thought 30 was bad? Please. There's no question that turning 40 is the real milestone.
40 is the cross over age. You're not in the 20's and 30's category of adulthood anymore. Or what society calls "young." You're here. You've arrived. You're a worrying, vision-impaired, mammogram-getting adult. And that's not all. You get close to 40 and you automatically examine where you are in life so far (or where society thinks you should be) and what you've accomplished in life; and unfortunately a lot of people get down on themselves for where or what they thought they would be by 40.
For me, I am definitely not as financially stable as I should be and I stress about it often. For others, it could be marriage or babies or career status.
There are, however, bright spots to be found in every stage of life and here are the ones that I've figured out after a little over a year in this dreaded decade.
1. The couple years of angst leading up to 40 are worse than actually being there. I think being 39 was actually much worse than turning 40 (especially because when I turned 40 I was on a booze-soaked trip to Puerto Rico). So now I have about 8 peaceful years before I need to start stressing about the next milestone.
2. You put up with less bullsh*t. The older you get the less you are willing to compromise your own happiness/interests for the sake of pleasing others. And for women who spend most of their lives being people-pleasers, that's not a bad thing.
3. You start to feel more comfortable in the body you have. I don't think any of us will ever stop trying to be fitter, thinner or less wrinkly, but you get to a point where you stop striving for unrealistic ideas of what you should look like and make the most of what you've got. For me, I know I will never be super skinny, I just want to be healthier and not have to wear my "fat clothes" any more.
4. You've figured out to have a well-rounded, fulfilling life. You have hobbies and interests you are passionate about and you pursue them. You travel. You have a home you are proud of. You may or may not have kids and a husband/wife, but either way, you are in your groove.
Im not married but I have a full life doing things that make me happy. If you had asked me at 28 if I had any hobbies or things I was passionate about, I would have been stumped.
5. You don't settle. The great thing about getting older is you are less likely to put up with second best or with being unhappy. If you meet someone cool, they are welcome into your world. If not, c'est la vie! You have a fun and fulfilling life with or without them! This goes for friends and love interests.
6. You pay more attention to what you eat and drink. One of the less glamorous facts of getting older is that you can't eat and drink whatever you want with no consequences. You have to pay attention to your health more carefully. But it's a great time to take nutrition and exercise by the balls and get fitter than ever before.
OK I lied. I don't do that. But it's good stuff to think about a lot.
7. You can use the "I'm 40 years old, you can't tell me what to do!" on your parents when they try to boss you or give you unsolicited advice. This doesn't always make a difference, but it's fun to say. Then you borrow money from them.
8. You still get carded (sometimes). Today's 40-year olds don't LOOK like the old-school stereotype of what being 40 is supposed to look like. We look good!
9. Reading glasses are sexy. OK so losing your vision isn't cool, but there's something sexy about slapping on a pair of readers. That scene in "Sex and the City" where Carrie puts on Big's reading glasses? Yeah, she looked good. And George Clooney wears reading glasses. 'nuff said.
10. 40 is the new 25. At least for me, I live a busy, independent and full life...similar but more well rounded than the one I led in my 20's. But thankfully I don't actually have to be a 25 year old in today's world. It's scary out there! Plus I look horrible in high waisted jean shorts.