As my
brother loudly pointed out, it’s my birthday. He was kind enough not to publicize my advanced age, but the fact is, I’m 40.

Now I’m trying to think what advantages there might be to the big 4-0. Hey, I can join the 40-something blog ring! And… and… um… ARE there any other advantages?

Actually, you may think this odd, but as a young woman in my early 20’s, I looked forward to being 40.

American culture assigns young women a certain role. They play a standard part in the social dynamic, and the rules are pretty rigid. Well, that role didn’t fit me. I often felt like I was doing something wrong, because I was so unlike the prototypical new-adult female.

The worst part for me was the constant disregard. Older people treated me dismissively, as if a 22-year-old woman could not possibly have an intelligent thought or a relevant experience to share. I wanted to be 40 because I believed when I was 40 people would take me seriously.

So here I am. Luckily, I fit the role of the 40-year-old woman relatively well. I have a comfortable existence here on the Left Coast. I have a marvelous husband, beautiful, charming children, some good friends, and a career that is moving forward again after a long child-occupied hiatus.

Sure, I miss some aspects of youth. I miss that sense of endless possibility. I miss the freedom of the unmarried, childless life. But I wouldn’t go back. 40 suits me fine.

And y’all take me seriously, don’t you?


36 thoughts on “

  1. At 45, I think I know what you mean.  After I turned 17, the next age I wanted to be was 37.  Why?  Because it seemed that many women I knew were hitting their strides and becoming “self-actualized” at 37.  Now I’m looking forward to 57.  I’m glad to be older, except for one thing: I want my old metabolism back!

  2. Very true observations. Physicsal Age is meaningless. When  I turned 30 I didn’t freak out thinking I have made a quantum jump in to 30’s club.
    But in a sense some possibilities are limited .

  3. Happy Birthday! 
    I also don’t find it so surprising to look forward to 40 — I am looking forward always to getting older.  Being 20 was a drag, I know so much more now and am a lot clearer about who I want to be and whatever sort of Oprah self-actualized stuff you want to fill in here.

  4. Perks at 40?  Well, it’s better than not turning 40.  And the AARP membership applications don’t start showing up in your junk mail until you get closer to fifty.  Happy birthday.  Don’t foget to ask for the 40-something blog ring secret handshake.

  5. You know, I sat here trying to think of all the good things about turning 40….only 15 years until the “golden age discount”……oh, crap, I can’t think of anything else!…my memory must be going….old age you know…RYC:  The smiling guy isn’t me.  He’s my stunt double.   He has better teeth than I do but he isn’t that bright…..

  6. Happy Birthday! I turned 30 this year. Everyone expects you to wring your hands and wail when you hit a milestone birthday. I just shrug my shoulders. I don’t feel any older today than I did yesterday and tomorrow I’ll be older still. Plus, birthdays are an excellent excuse to go shopping for the perfect outfit to wear when you go out and celebrate!

  7. I take you seriously!  Although I can afford to do that since I am a mere 37 (almost).   HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! 
    on the tween thing, my son is just turning 8 next month and he seems to have shifted into tween gear.  I have NO idea where it’s coming from!  He suddenly likes his own music, is asking for CD’s for his birthday (what, no Legos?!?! – oh yeah, he wants those, too – whew), and he watches all of these silly TEEN shows on Nick like Drake & Josh and the Amanda Show.  I in no way “get” how this can appeal to him!  Except that he thinks he is a pre-teen.   

  8. Happy birthday! And yes, I take you seriously. Just promise me you won’t take ME seriously
    Ryc: They will be reading them. . .I was really just trying to be funny about it and am not actually traumatized, seriously.

  9. Welcome to the club indeed.  At the age of 45, I feel more important and relevant than ever before.  I have greater responsibilities–and I care for them, I maintain the health and welfare of two teenaged children, I can say with pride that I’ve been married to the same great man for 23 years, I’ve traveled, earned 20 years’ experience in a stressful and vital job, I’ve read more books, earned more money, listened to more music, voted for more presidents, and reached more epiphanies than ever before.  You were important at 20–but 40 is nothing to sneeze at. . .especially if you’ve developed stress incontinence.  (The only thing I’d gladly take back from my 20’s is my body)  Happy birthday, and enjoy!
    ps . . .I’ve been lax in making comments lately, but  your recent posts have been great.  I especially liked the Queen of Tween. . .

  10. Happy birthday (belatedly).  I will take you extra-seriously now that you’re in a 40-something blogring.  You have arrived, baby.
    I felt the same way in my 20’s, about not being taken seriously.  I thought I’d be taken more seriously once I was in my 30’s, but I don’t think it’s happened.  I actually doubt it will happen when I’m 40, either.  I’m probably the type of person people will never take seriously.  Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise.

  11. And 58 is best of all.  You get the discounts at Denny’s, are still young enough that you don’t qualify for other senior discounts, and you have enough facial hair that you can grow a good beard.  Well, I can, anyway.

  12. Is it on purpose that you try to confuse me? Are you paying any attention at all to my stories… my antics… my life? I feel so misunderstood. I try to be here for you. I try to keep tabs on how Little bit is doing in Calculus and how Tigger’s college thesis is coming along. But you… you stop by and think I failed to mention that I was planning a huge bar mitzvah bash (It was my best friend’ son) and don’t notice that the new job is one that can be done in my pajamas (It’s basically data entry), not in Galena, hours from home, (Which is where the band performed last night).Is there something I can do to make my blog easier for you to understand? I could buy a braille program or write it our phonetically, if that would help. Pay attention woman, else I’m gonna have to write it off to the fact that you’re 40!!!(I wish I could use a larger font for “40!!!”) 😉

  13. Belated happy birthday.  40…  three years ago (when I turned 40) I’d never have thought I’d be “starting over” during this decade of life!  I ended up having a baby at 41… !  At forty, one doesn’t have all the delightful energy of youth, but at the same time, I must admit, experience is a good part of age.  Welcome to the beginning of the middle.

  14. At forty, you are a younger woman to me. I’d make a pass at you, but I don’t want your hubby showing up on my doorstep with an attitude and a baseball bat. So if he goes out of town, I’ll be ready with that pass.

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