This post seems to come back to me every so often. Since I write a blog about 40-something women providing their perspective to younger women people often send it my way. And it has gotten a ton of play. But I have to say… it is far from my reality of 40-something. One caveat is that I do not have children of my own so that certainly adds an element that I can’t speak to. However, no disrespect to the author, and I know it is a bit tongue in cheek, but I think it is “effed-up”.
Dear 20-somethings, please don’t be dismayed by all these downsides of being 40. You can’t control everything but you can control your attitude. I say forget all these ageisms. Just like you can be the change you want to see…be the age you want to be.
I won’t take down all 40 today, but here’s my response to the first 10 “effed up things about being 40.”
1. Other than Teen Mom, I have no clue what’s on MTV.
I do. It’s not hard to stay up to date on music if you want to. Surely you have cable or a computer. Get Pandora or Spotify and break out of the routine of listening only to your old favorites or the era you grew up in. I still love the 80s music but always fun to discover something new. Get those Superhit CD downloads, use your kids to keep up to day and sample what you still like. Get a mentee and use them for reverse mentoring to suggest music you like and you can teach them a thing or two.
2. When people say “middle-aged,” they might mean me.
Middle of what? At any age you can be the middle of something. It’s just the timeframe you choose to define. Perhaps it’s the middle of your reinvention. If that is the case, think how exciting the future is! I had a friend at 30 who was depressed, saying she was on the downside of 60. Flip the switch, what are you on the upside of?
3. I can’t wear sequins or I’ll look like a cougar.
As long as you aren’t dressing to make people think you are younger or to hold on to some image of your old (e.g. younger) self, dress the way you feel fabulous. Put a little edge on your wardrobe or style that reflects your inner age. I don’t buy those articles that tell you how to dress for your 30s, 40s and 50s. I have both a sequin mini-shirt and a sequin sweatshirt I recently bought. They are sophisticated and add a hint of fun.
4. I’m more likely to forget to have sex than to forget to floss.
Never “forget” to have sex. Don’t have sex because you have a reason…but don’t forget it. Flossing is a chore. Sure life can get busy but one thing you shouldn’t forget to do is get busy. You will have dry spells …and ebbs and flows of passion with your partner. But don’t just forget it. This you can control.
5. If I eat chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, I’ve gained a size by dinnertime.
Not if you don’t eat chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast everyday and you take time to find a healthy, calorie burning activity you like as much as pancakes (did someone say sex?)
6. Even if I finally get a full night’s sleep, I still look like I was up all night. But not up all night doing something cool.
So every now and then stay up all night doing something cool. I never say I am too old for this or that. I say I am not in the mood for this tonight …right now. I’m sure there will be a night again soon when I am and I will enjoy it then. And then get a good concealer.
7. At the doctor’s office, I bypass Cosmopolitan and reach for Redbook. I’ll even read Family Circle. There are some great recipes in there.
That is choice. Read what you like. In fact, why not use the doctor’s office magazine selection to choose something you have never read before?
8. I’m probably never going to be a Solid Gold Dancer.
Have you seen Dancing with the Stars? Besides…at 40-something you don’t care anymore. You dance because you love it and don’t care anymore what people think. Oh yeah. There is that quote I always see…Dance like nobody’s watching. Do it.
9. Going out without makeup is seeming more and more like an aggressive act.
What you see in the mirror is much more critical than what other people see. Be good to your skin. The worst thing you can do is wear too much make up. Get a good derm, good moisturizer and take the time to keep up a routine. I know it can be tough when you have 50 million things and people needing something from you but you also gotta be good to yourself and this is an easy way to do it.
10. The “me” in my head is like the foxy little sister of the “me” in the mirror.
And what is wrong with that? Now take that image out in the world and act the age you want to be!