9 Surprising Changes That Happen When You Hit 40

by Melanie Hoopes
Originally Published: 
1. I don’t get bored anymore.

I could sit on a park bench for a whole day just watching the world go by. There are dogs chasing squirrels. The daffodils are blooming. The little girl on the bench might just drop her ice cream if she keeps tugging at her shoe. It’s all so gripping. Last week at the airport, I almost missed my plane watching a man search for an open outlet to plug his phone in. You’ll find one, sweetie. Don’t give up!

2. When did everything get so loud?

That is, everything except for people’s speaking voices? I can’t for the life of me hear my kids when they tell me how they want their burgers. And I can’t hear myself think when they listen to their music while loading the dishwasher. Did my voice-amplifier teeter wear out and my ambient noise woofer blow out? It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve self-diagnosed.

3. My TV watching habits have changed considerably.

Downton Abbey and Masterpiece Mystery are all I can take now. They move nice and slow so my tired, dry eyes can keep up. Last week I solved a mystery before Poirot’s final speech. (But I think I may have seen that one before…)

4. There’s too much taste in restaurant food.

Either my taste buds are shot or there’s some crazy Willy Wonka experimenting going on. Lemonade caramelized pepper chicken? Shoot. What’s wrong with a little salt and pepper? Stop right there, before you bathe my steak in peppermint Cajun pomegranate fudge. I like my meat to taste meaty.

5. When did people start driving so damn fast?
6. I cannot wear those shoes anymore.

They pinch. I cannot wear those earrings—too heavy. There is nothing that will make me so attractive that is worth feeling uncomfortable while wearing it. No more Spanx. My answer to puffiness is an empire waist, or better yet, a strategically draped pashmina.

7. My upper lip has completely disappeared.

I have no idea where it went. Wait! I just found it under my chin.

8. I can’t use enough moisturizer.

Every single part of my body is cracking and dry. Nails, hair, skin, lips… Even there. Well, it’s not cracking exactly. But it’s changed climate classification drastically. Is that TMI? Is TMI a thing anymore?

9. I don’t give a shit about a lot of things I used to care about:

The Oscars/Emmys/Golden Globes

The Super Bowl/World Series/Final Four

The new cast of SNL

Now I give a shit about:



Thank-you notes

Invasive species

The overuse of antibiotics

Attending funerals and weddings

Wasting water

There are many other indicators that I am nearing the age where I get to keep my shoes on at airport security. Join me in the park and we’ll share notes. But speak in a loud voice. It’s hard to hear over the wind.

This article was originally published on