Monday, August 10, 2009

Is 40 the new 20?

Oh yeah, I’m liking the sound of that having just turned 41, but I have to admit that turning 40 last year hit me differently than I expected. More on that later. I’ve been hearing this term more and more, and even Andy Rooney had something to say about women in their forty’s, which I’ll post below.

Then I saw a commercial for “Cougar Town”, a weekly sitcom premiering this fall on ABC starring Courtney Cox. She’s a recently divorced, forty-year-old woman wondering what the hell has happened to her body. Noticing how her forty something hot, male neighbor is running hot, younger women through his door like a Kings Island turnstile, she decides to take a gander at the younger male. Anyway, Jules, played by Courtney Cox, struggles with turning forty, her body image, and dating younger men. Give me a break, at least pick an actress who we could believe would struggle with her body image.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to be twenty. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have the really tight butt again, and I wish there wasn’t loose jiggle under my arms when I held them out, but does it bother me enough to change it – which I could with exercise – no. I still eat my nutty bars, Dairy Queen Blizzards on occasion and sit my pretty nice, but not so tight, butt on the couch most nights and write or read or watch television.

I like being forty, okay for forty-one. But last year, the night before my fortieth birthday, I was sitting on my couch next to my husband and burst into tears. I’d felt it building for a couple days, but didn’t quite understand why. I’m not a crier, nor has age ever bothered me, so it came as a shock to me, and my husband, that I was getting so emotional. I still can’t explain it. I guess I thought the wrinkle ferry was going to strike at midnight of my birthday or something. But I woke up the next day with no changes to my appearance and the thought of being forty never bothered me again, neither did turning forty-one.

I like the confidence I have now, which I lacked in my twenty’s. Recently, I’ve even gotten good at confrontation, something I avoided short of jumping off a cliff before. I don't have a problem telling people what I think or feel, and I’m okay if they don’t agree as long as they treat me with respect. I understand that happiness, strength, peace and beauty come from within and nothing outside of our being can give that to us. Everything outside of ourselves that adds to what is within is just icing on the cake. I think these realizations take years of building and isn’t the result of turning forty, but of all the years leading up to forty. It’s just a good place to be.

AC Associated Content put out the top 10 things women resolve to do when they turn forty.

1. Schedule a mammogram and Pap smear – no thanks, I seriously doubt they’d be able to grab enough to reach the machine and then I’m afraid the skin would never go back to its original shape.
2. Get your financial house in order – I recommend you do this before forty.
3. Lose weight – happy to say I did this one and have lost 22 pounds since March.
4. Stop smoking – better advice, don’t ever start.
5. Get clutter under control – done.
6. Eat dinner together – I assume they mean the family, but I’d like to add eating dinner with my female friends goes a long way in my forty something happiness.
7. Learn something new – Blogging is pretty new to me.
8. Learn to say no – I learned that when I was two and still do it pretty well.
9. Give back – this one I could use to work on.
10. Become a “glass-full” person – yeah, got that one taken care of.

And now for Andy Rooney’s take on women in their forty’s:

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting. Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

Tell me what you think, is forty the new twenty?


Keri Stevens said...

If 40 is the new 20, then I'm 19, which would be great. I remember 19. Beer and dancing. That was 19. Me and mini-skirts and New Order and a desperate passion for a guy named Paul (whom, I now suspect, was gay--and that's not just sour grapes).

I'd go back--dump Paul, switch to wine and dance more.

Hey, wait! Paul's gone. I drink wine. Gotta go--music's calling me.

Tonya Kappes said...

Since I am rapidly approaching 40, I will say 40 is the new 20's. (Even though I am smaller by 10 lbs now!!)
Now I have clearer goals and I love differently. I love with passion, feelings, true love-not just what FEELS good!
I will grow old gracefully!

Rosie Murphy said...

Hello my beautiful gorgeous writing buddies! Tina, I LOVE this blog!

At 46, I'm thinking there are so many things I will do just because I'm over 40. I would never have contemplated doing the things I am now, at 20!

As Tonya says, it's different. Do I still feel like that 20YO little girl who thought she knew everything? Yep, but now, I don't think--I know. ;-)

I do it with confidence, with grace (attempt) and most importantly because I want to, damn it!

Christine said...

Great post! I remember that Andy post so well. And I agree! Ask my DH and he'll agree as well.

On the saggy side of life... well... blah...

I wouldn't trade the lessons learned for the bod... ok.. can i have the body of a 20 yr old? Not? ok, I have the confidence you write about... and you are amazing! What great eloquence.


Christina Wolfer said...

Keri, with your energy you'll always be 19. Keep dancing, girl.

And Tonya, I like the way you said, "I will grow old gracefully." I want that to be me as well, to be classy about getting older.

Christina Wolfer said...

Right back at you, beautiful Rosie. The knowing instead of thinking we know must be where the confidence factors in. I have this great habit of forgetting I'm not 20 and I hope I always feel at least 20 years younger at any age.

Christina Wolfer said...

Christine - I'm glad you liked this. While the lessons learned may have meant some hard knocks along the way it's all a part of who we are now. Like you, I wouldn't trade it for a 20 yr old bod. I'd take both, but wouldn't trade.

Tonya Kappes said...

I wouldn't trade either. I love the fact I am comfortable in my body now. It is true that you aren't REALLY mature until your 40's. Even though I am a couple...err...year away, I already have gotten that calm people always tell you about.