Holy shit. I’m turning 40 in 4 days. I’m now middleaged. Wait! No. I’m 18 with 22 years experience.
Do you remember the scene from When Harry Met Sally? “I’m gonna be 40.” “In eight years.” “But it’s there! It’s just sitting there, like this big dead end,” Meg Ryan weeps to Billy Crystal.
This is the birthday that’s supposed to have me feeling all mixed up. My life should be the perfect picture of a successful wife, mother, business woman or whatever other demanding expectation I put upon myself when I was younger.
I used to worry about my looks, the way I walked, the way I talked, the way I slept (do I snore, drool, pass gas?). We, as women, spend our twenties consumed with what everyone else thinks. Deny it all you want, but it’s true and I’m old enough to own up to it now. In my twenties and even into my early thirties, I felt myself wanting to excel and achieve so many goals. And if I wasn’t right there, it just feel wrong. I felt kind of worthless.
When you approach 40, something weird happens. Suddenly you’re hit with the fact that life is short, and all those years you spent worrying about being the best don’t mean crap.
And, you know what, this feels good. Like, really good. I’m not ashamed of the number 40. Nor uncomfortable about entering into a new age category on the official forms. You know what they say: 40 is new 20. And apparently there are things I can look forward to:
– According to an oft-cited 1987 study, I’ll be sweating less
– I can enjoy a glass of wine even more. Not only is a glass of wine healthy, but also my “concentrated discrimination of the taste of wine” will actually improve, according to some Yale neuroscientist
– I can still be fun without hurting my back
– There’s nothing better than hearing “you look so good for being 40”
– I’ve officially reached the ideal astronaut age, so watch out Mars!
– Not to sound cocky, but I’m in good company: Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, Jessica Alba, Natalie Portman and Beyonce all turn 40 in 2021.
Hoo-bloody-rah to that!