I am 41 years and 3-ish months old and I’m kind of over it, thanks.
Turning 40 was freaking amazing. I really, truly mean that 100%. There was this awesome party! People go out of their way to tell you happy birthday, you look fantastic, life is just really getting started for you…all that jazz.
Then you turn 41. Do you know what happens when you turn 41? Nothing. You just turn a year older. Congratulations.
Well, I guess that’s not entirely true…
No, of course that’s not all that happens! Let me tell you what else you can look forward to at 41.
Your back will go out. Like, bad. And God help you if you have any preexisting condition (hey there, scoliosis!) that would make it worse. Simply getting out of bed in the morning makes you feel like you’re about 85.
You will no longer be able to sneak up the stairs. Nope! Not with all the crunching, cracking, and snap-crackle-popping that your joints have started doing! Unfortunately, your very intelligent children will figure out what noises indicate that Mom is coming and the jig will be up. They’ll have ample time to change the channel or hide their phone or whatever slightly improper thing they were doing. Yay.
Hope you enjoyed good skin in your 20s and 30s because it’s a thing of the past! Now, not only do you get to deal with hormonal acne the likes of which you haven’t seen since you were 15, but you start getting wrinkles and lose every bit of elasticity there was in your face. One day you look in the mirror and see that baby jowls have formed and, holy hell, is that a real life double chin?!
Hang on tight for the hormonal roller coaster! Yep, ladies. Your period gets to be even more fun when you’re in your 40s. Even if PMS never really affected your mood when you were younger, your family will begin to notice that for 36 hours a month, they need to give you a wide berth. Evil Witch from the Pits of Hell isn’t as nice a name as Mom, but let’s just say it’s appropriate. Then, there’s the period itself. It’s like Mother Nature has decided that since you have limited time left with your monthly visitor she needs to give it all she’s got…and then kick you in the crotch while she does it.
You feel like trying to lose weight is your dang job and should it come with a 401K and a W-2. Even if you head into age 40 in a pretty comfortable spot, by the time 41 hits, you will wonder where in the bloody hell this extra weight came from. You try everything from intermittent fasting to Weight Watchers for the 17th time to 3.5 days of the Whole 30. Honestly, you try everything but keto because it feels like the only thing keeping you sane is carbs and coffee creamer. And, lean in sister for the God’s honest truth…none of it will work.
You will simultaneously be more financially comfortable than ever and cash-money broke. That’s a fun world to live in, let me tell ya! The small humans you are raising will nickel and dime you to death every time you turn around. The teenage boys will eat you out of house and home. The manager at your local grocery store will smile with delight when they see you come in yet again. And the amount of money you pay for this class and that sport and the other lessons will boggle the mind. But somehow, you know you’re fine and you’ll be able to do it because you’re smart and put in the hard work along the way to make it so.
But wait! There’s more!
Yes, friend. That was just the external stuff. Let’s not deny that there might be some fun to be had in the emotional realm, as well!
You internalize every insecurity. Here’s a secret I don’t think many people will admit to: the insecurities you have about your weight, your hair, your clothes…they don’t actually go away. Now that you’re older, though, you internalize it all. You rarely speak of it out loud like you might have when you were younger. No, you’ll leave that to the daughter you have who is either in or nearing puberty. The feelings are still there, though, niggling in the back of your mind, no matter how confident and put together you may seem on the outside.
Whatever “-trovert” you are becomes crystal clear. Introvert, extrovert, ambivert. Take your pick and get comfortable with it, friends. It’s probably not going to change at this point in your life.
Impostor Syndrome is real, y’all. How many times in the past year have I done something, written something, helped someone out only to think Oh, dear Lord, what if they realize I don’t actually know what the hell I’m doing? What if they find out I don’t deserve to be listened to? How will I fix it if the advice I gave or post I wrote or (insert accomplishment here) isn’t any good? Or worse, what if it’s actually BAD?!
You will become an Expert Level Worrier. About your kids, your parents, the state of society. You’ll worry about jobs and the stock market and school choices. If you can think of it, you can worry about it. It’ll be super fun! Pinky swear!
There are good parts, though.
Of course there are!! Why, there are times when I sit back and look around at this amazing life and realize I am truly, truly blessed. When I see the amazing man who chooses each and every day to love me more than he did the day before. Or, when I see these brilliant beautiful babies turning into kind and competent humans in front of my very eyes. Those are the days that need celebrating, don’t you think?
Being 41 can be completely awesome…sometimes. As for the rest of the times? Well, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.