40 Is Not The New 20

Originally Published: 
in my 40s
Courtney Keating / iStock

In a few weeks, I will turn 41. I won’t be 40 — I will be in my 40s. When I turned 20, I thought 40 was so old — the end, so to speak. I do things and have thoughts now that my 20-year-old self would roll her eyes at. I don’t give a fuck; it’s called “evolving.”

Forty is not the new 20; it is so much better than that. In your younger years, you are afraid to ask for what you want — what you really, really want — in your career, in relationships, while you are doing the feather-bed jig. You think you had a pretty big mouth then and you were good at asking for all the things, but just wait; it gets bigger, and in this case, bigger is better. By the time women meet this ripe age, they have mastered the art of not giving a fuck. The thoughts that I had about being in my 40s when I was 20 are only worthy of one thing: my middle finger.

My body won’t be the same.

No, it won’t; it will be better. By 40, you have either had kids or you haven’t — it doesn’t matter. Your body is not going to look like it did 20 years ago. Get over it. Your body is just a house for your soul. As we grow up, we realize that the things that make people beautiful have nothing to do with the way they look, but how they make us feel. We want to make others feel good because it makes us feel good. This is so much more important than cellulite and those stretch marks that I was so worried about when I was 20.

My life will be boring.

What used to look like the epitome of a dull and boring life becomes a luxury now. You choose if you want to stay in with wine and text your girls, snuggle in to watch a family movie, or go for a late night run with your tribe. That’s the beautiful thing here — you are older, so you have been a little crazy and experimented. You know what you are in the mood for, what feeds you, and what can fuck off. If what feeds you is pop music and a short leather skirt, you have more confidence doing it now than you did when you were 20. As we age, we don’t care if everyone else is doing it; we care if we like doing it. We can still be childlike and playful without being immature and ignoring our responsibilities.

I won’t have as many opportunities.

Only yes, you will. You know what can spark joy and you are happy to leave any of those opportunities that are not working for you with nothing but a view of your delicious ass. I am talking about a job, a relationship, or those skinny jeans that have not fit you since 2009. It’s easier to say goodbye when you are older. You start to feel the darkness that some things and people bring you a lot faster. You realize your time is too precious to hang on to them while waiting to see what happens. You have done it enough times with the same result. Waving goodbye and buying a fucking new pair of pants is so much easier.

The age of 40 is when you are considered old.

No, “wise and young” is more like it. You may start to have wrinkles and gray hair and have the appearance of being older, but guess what? It’s a fucking privilege. Wear it like a badge, because it’s a gift to have pieces of yourself start to show the things you have been through in your life.

I like myself so much better now that I am 20 plus years older, and I owe a lot of that to not giving a fuck about how many days my body has been here. Being around for over 40 years has given me time, a family, mistakes, experiences, and most of all, a sense of self that I did not have 20 years ago.

I can’t wait for 60. I hear it’s even better.

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