I just turned 41, but that doesn’t mean that writing an article about turning 40 an entire year later makes me a procrastinator, it’s just that it took me that long to get used to the harsh reality that I’m now…this…age. Do you remember when you were a kid and you thought people who were 25 were old? And then you actually felt pretty young every year up and until you turned 25? And even after 25 you felt young? Then 40 came? And you’re all…what the actual heck?!
I sort of mourned what I dramatically termed “the death of my youth” for months after I officially reached over the hill status. I thought it meant that I had to retire my Doc Martens in exchange for sensible shoes, and that I had to switch from “pedestrian” beer to “fancy” wine, and that I had to write rude emails to random businesses about my varying levels of dissatisfaction with their service. And while none of this is really true, things do change quite a bit when you turn 40.
For one, your knees hurt. I swung my legs out of bed on my 40th birthday and my gift from the universe was jacked up knees. Why? I use my knees almost every day, so for them to constantly ache is all kinds of unfair. I’m pretty sure I can actually hear them squeak when I walk. And, even though I stopped getting carded more than a few years ago, it just stings more when you’re 40. The last concert I attended, the guy was checking everyone’s license until he got to me, took one look, and said “You’re good. I don’t need to see your ID.” What the?!?! I definitely shed a tear, especially when I realized my husband and I were indeed the very oldest people there.
The one good thing about this “special” birthday is that you feel entitled to an extravagant celebration. My BFF and I made our husbands take us to an outrageously expensive restaurant for our birthdays last year and we were complete jerks about it. We ordered a $50 bottle of wine and justified it by saying we would “split” it with each other. Who cares? We deserved it. Our husbands sat wide-eyed and speechless throughout most of our meal. And, the entire time we were there a strange man kept staring over at me, and I must say I was feeling rather fabulous about myself…until a waiter came over and told me the gentleman “liked my shoes”. Ew. At least he could have paid for my dinner.
Some say turning 40 is magical in that you no longer care what people think. In a way this is accurate. If I don’t like a hotel room, I ask for a different one. I’m bolder and strike up conversations with strangers, and it makes no nevermind to me if the dentist office labels me as “crazy mom” in my kids’ charts because I refuse sealants and fluoride. There’s something liberating and empowering about knowing that people think you’re nuts, and this aspect of turning forty, I’ve fully embraced.
If anything, turning 40 made me more immature. I roller skate around my house (might explain the knee pain) and say stupid things like “YOLO’ and “on fleek” whenever possible. My 14-year-old is very proud that I am her mother. More than anything, I think turning 40 gave me a queen-like status, whereas before I maybe felt a bit more like a princess.
And you know what they say…it’s good to be queen!