Turning forty may not be much fun—but it sure is funny.
When did your real
body get switched with this flabby, middle-aged one? Who tinkered with your metabolism behind your back? Where's the rock star you were going to be? And where did your motorcycle go? How did you end up with a minivan?
We can remember when our parents turned forty; they seemed ancient, if not middle-aged. (Ancient, middle-aged—it was all the same to us then.) Forty used to be the age of grown-ups. Now it seems more like the beginning of pretending not to be a grown-up, though it can be hard to believe this as you negotiate with a six-year-old about how many bites of pasta he has to eat before dessert.
Forty is also the age of stuff. For those of us who once wanted to backpack across Europe, this can be hard to accept, but nonetheless, forty-year-olds need dozens of shoes, state-of-the-art exercise equipment, the latest skin-care products, and most of all, closet space. They also need a book about how to turn forty.
One more thing: enjoy forty because once you turn fifty, you'll wish you could do it all over again.
You could be the hippest person on the planet, but no college kid would ever think of you as a peer.
You can remember thinking your parents were really, really old when they were younger than you are now.
Golf is starting to seem sort of cool.
Getting pregnant without medical intervention seems terribly quaint.
You don't care
about mileage or pollution. You just want the damn SUV, okay?
A friend calls to invite you to lunch, and you reply, "How does November 12 two years from now sound?"
You haven't added to your thong collection in quite a while.
A kid you once babysat is now your lawyer.
It really is
too late to change your mind and go to veterinary school.
Your handwriting may still be legible to someone, but that someone is no longer you.
In two years, you've never stumbled upon an episode of Seinfeld
that you haven't seen already.
You'd just as soon have cereal for dinner.
Suddenly, you are overcome by the urge to come up with a new "look" for yourself . . . but you can't be bothered.
It's not that the romance is gone, but you've definitely reached the "his and her bathrooms" stage of life.
Watching Mystery Science Theater 3000
sounds so much more enticing than a night on the town.
You wonder if you can put off organizing your files for long enough that you'll die and someone else will have to do it.
You got all the way to work without noticing that you were wearing one loafer and one clog.
At your checkups, the doctor has begun to ask if you're sexually active.
Your college-alumni committee seems to think you should be able to make a zillion-dollar donation.
Suddenly you can see like an eighteen-year-old! Thank you, LASIK.
Someone offers you a seat on the bus. And you don't refuse.
You no longer look around, startled, when someone calls you Mommy.
Your kids are now more embarrassed by you than you are by your parents.That 70s Show
has started hitting the 80s.
You finally admit that you hate noisy restaurants and loud parties.
You carry a tube of lip balm in every pocket.
Excerpted from You Know You're 40 When... by Ann Hodgman and Patricia Marx. Copyright © 2005 by Ann Hodgman. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.