Life After 40: Looking At The Then And Now Me

by Terri Wallace
over 40
Kaboom Pics

In my head, I am 24. Okay, 27 tops. So, as I urged my teenage daughters to squeeze a little closer together for the photograph, the realization that they were now closer to that 20-something mental age than I am was a little unnerving. True, they are on the lower half of the teenage years, but still teenager-y enough that I have to acknowledge at least for a moment that being over 40, biologically, I am no longer that person.

That person did not drink coffee.

But this person does. I gave in and started drinking coffee just this year. Being up way too many hours before the sun was taking its toll on my disposition, meaning that the prolonged sleep deprivation was making me bitchier than normal. Oh, I am still bitchy, but thanks to the caffeine boost from a few cups of joe, I can focus better and offer more mindful snark.

That person had a spotless home.

Seriously, nothing was out of place. Like, ever. Fortunately, having children cured me of this particular neurosis. I am now perfectly fine with a certain degree of sloppiness. The downside to this is that my house has devolved into a dozen or so works in progress, like baskets of (relatively) neatly folded laundry next to a pile of unsorted socks. Once every few months or so, I bribe the kids with the promise of a binge watch marathon, so long as they sort socks while they watch. For a few glorious days, my feet actually match. It is lovely. The rest of the time, this person’s feet are free from the confines of conformity and sport a mishmash of colors and patterns.

That person wore makeup.

Seriously, it was kind of an art form. There were dramatic swoops of liquid eyeliner, meticulously lined lips, and flawless powder. Since having three children though, my hormones are a bit more, ahem, free-spirited. This person knows better than to risk eye makeup when there are so many #KleenexWorthy stories on the internet just waiting to make my eyes bleed mascara. Also, if I don’t wear makeup, I don’t have to worry about it caking into the “fine lines” (ok, wrinkles) around my eyes. Another upside is that this lack of self-care has freed up a good 20 minutes each morning. This person likes the extra sleep.

That person seemed to have more male friends.

That person was amazed at how well she got along with her masculine mates. No girl drama! Of course, there was always the risk of someone getting the wrong idea, because friend-zoning is no fun. Now, I look forward to book night with my female friends. Any excuse to get together to talk, commiserate, share a bottle of wine, and maybe whine a bit ourselves. And if we get a bit emotional — no worries because no makeup! This person appreciates friendships without fears of unintentional flirting.

So, my teenagers may have their whole life in front of them, but they also have to learn how to find themselves, assert the friend-zone while still (hopefully) preserving friendships, learn how to love themselves, learn how to love others, and to realize that other women aren’t the enemy — in fact, during bad times a good friend can be their salvation.


Maybe being over 40 isn’t so bad. I have coffee (often), clean socks (sometimes), my women friends, and the occasional glass of wine. This person doesn’t think that sounds too bad. Not bad at all.