20 Kickass Things About Being 40 (And Beyond)

speed-limit-40Yesterday, my brother posted this on Facebook — 40 Effed Up Things About Being 40 — and his crowd went wild. The author of the post, Amy Wruble, from Carriage Before Marriage is awesome, but in this case I’m going to disagree with her.

I thought 40 ROCKED.

As I told one of my best girlfriends, I see it like this:

  • At 20 we’re just learning how to ask questions about life.
  • At 30, we’re just starting to figure out what the important questions are.
  • At 40, we’re finally learning some of the answers.

That’s a big damn deal.

Perhaps I wasn’t a normal twenty/thirtysomething (although I believe I was) but I worried A LOT.

I worried about grades in college and about dating.
I worried about my career and about finding “the one.”
I worried about money.
I worried about my future, and how I’d do the kid thing if I didn’t find “the one.”

As I moved through my thirties, I finally learned that I was “the one” and I’d better spend more time and energy on taking care of, and improving, my own self. I finally learned that I deserved to be loved and cared for.

I’d met my soulmate at 35 and by the time I turned 40, I’d married him. I’ll give him some credit for this list because he brought me a lot of peace, but a lot of it just comes with age.

20 Kickass Things About Being 40:

1. Better coping skills.

If you’re paying attention at all in the years prior, you will have developed some coping skills by this time.  Here’s a Coping & Stress Management Skills test to see how you’re doing.

2. More disposable income (usually).

In the recent economy, this isn’t always a given, but it often is. At the very least, you are further along your career path and have likely developed a variety of skills that will make you money.

3. More patience with most people.

The older I get, the more understanding I am that people must learn lessons at their own pace. If they want my advice, they’ll ask for it…and they still might disregard it.

4. Less patience with stupid people.

The older I get, the more I realize good health and time are my most precious commodities. I’ve gotten much less patient with people who hinder me in either area.

5. More knowledge.

Recent studies show that most older people’s brains don’t decline with age, especially if they continue challenging themselves. The brains of the elderly are only slower because they know more. It’s like searching through a very full hard drive and sometimes you’ve got to wait longer for the answer.

6. Less fear of failure.

You’ve likely tried and failed at many things by now. People are more confident that failure is not the end of the world at this point in their lives.

7. Better parties.

Perhaps it goes with the “more disposable income part” but I’ve noticed that the parties are much more creative and engaging as the years build. Likely it goes with the next items on the list.

8. Less inhibition.

In the teens and early twenties, a lack of inhibition often comes from various substances. I think as people age, their fear of public embarrassment wanes and they just do what makes them happy (even if it’s odd).

9. Longer-term friendships.

At this point, some of your friendships are old enough to go out to the bar and have a drink. The people you’ve kept this long, you’ll likely keep your whole life. These people KNOW you, and they laugh when you let it all hang out.

10. Well-defined B.S. meters.

I sniff out bullshit much better now than I did in my earlier decades. Whether it’s a person’s direct actions or a gut feeling, if I don’t warm up to someone, a good reason comes to light at some point.

11. Gratitude.

The older you get, the more you’re grateful for simple everyday things (like waking up). Writing down “5 Great Things” about every day helps me too. 🙂

12. A sense of urgency.

Time is precious, and it slips by faster the older you get. As middle age comes, so does the urgency to get the important things done.

13. More orgasmic (at least for us females).

Many experts believe that the real reason women have more fulfilling sex in  their mid-30s and beyond is because they’re more comfortable with their bodies, so they’re  better able to relax and let go during sex, which primes them for orgasm—and in  turn, increases desire.

14. A better wine palate.

Seriously, I drank crap wine in the early years. As you age, your palate develops and you start drinking MUCH better wine.

15. Better vacations.

I tend to do less and enjoy it more in terms of vacations these days. I don’t have to “go to the party” so to speak, I make my party wherever I am, whether it’s with family or on a cruise.

16. You stop competing with twenty-somethings and start trying to better yourself.

17. Better conversation.

Y’all read these better conversations on this blog. And really, is there anything funnier than the Almost X-Rated Garage Sale? Those women were in their sixties. 🙂

18. Better insurance rates, at least for the car.

19. Better credit (usually).

I’ve always wished the college campuses didn’t flood with banks and credit card companies swarming the young people before they’re earning (and understanding) money. I plan on teaching Babykins early so she doesn’t get into early credit trouble.

20. Better understanding of the world.

My lil’ sis is fifteen years younger than me, so she’s gotten to reap the benefits of her older siblings’ life experiences. She told me once that the best piece of advice I ever passed on was, “Make sure you have at least a thousand dollars in reserve. For some reason, when things go wrong, they usually cost at least a grand.”

* * * * *

Sure, there’s downsides to getting older. You used to be able to work out twice a month and stay in decent shape. Now you have to do it 3-4 times a week just to keep up. Your back (and various other body part) hurt like a mother some mornings.  But I think the benefits outweigh the costs, what about you?

Do you have items to add to the “Kickass Things” list? What about on the “not so kickass” side of the fence. (Put them all down in the comments.) Enquiring minds love to chat about these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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38 Responses to 20 Kickass Things About Being 40 (And Beyond)

  1. I gotta side with Amy on this one. I say that as I adjust my new eye glasses…sigh. LOL. The comments after her post were hilarious. What a bunch of numbnuts. I agree about the college campus credit cards. What a trap. I got a $1000 limit Discover Card when I was 19 and thought i was rich!! I still have the card and a much higher limit, but I’ve paid a LOT in interest over the years.


  2. Cory Imhof says:

    Jenny you are right about back problems getting worseat 40. If you didn’t have problems in your teens and twenties due to an injury or anatomical anomaly then you start to feel the early aches if arthritis setting in. X-rays start to look a little worse at 40. Bump up your glucosamine, calcium, magnesium and add core strengthening into you regular routine.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You know, I don’t take any of those supplements, and I know I should. I’m starting back to Crossfit this weekend, so that will take care of my core. 🙂

      Thanks, Dr. Imhof!!!


  3. Well, I knew you in our twenties and yes, you did worry but we had A LOT of fun. I am enjoying the wisdom that comes with being in my 40’s. And, I’m a much better parent.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I am a much better parent now than I would have been earlier in my life for sure. I almost put that, but most ladies don’t have their first and only child at 41. It just happens that I did, and I’m delighted about it every day. 🙂


  4. About a couple items, first number 10 wait until you hit sixty and above. It’s beautiful because you hear BS, play hard of hearing (age ya know), and shut them out. For men Gratitude and Better Orgasms (for men mostly). Reblogged this gem.


  5. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    I hear ya on this one Jenny. My 40’s have rocked it and I am in better shape now than when I was in my 30’s. Steady job, better income, more insight on life, and better vacations among the other points you made! I can’t complain, plus even in my 40’s I still party like a rock star and have sex like a porn star!

    I will admit that hangover recovery time after a night out does take a lot longer now.

    Life is short. Live it to the max!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL…I agree with every single one of those points, Phil. And I’m happy for you that you’re having a great time. Some day I’m gonna pop over to New York with the hubs and give you a great big hug. 🙂


  6. Catie Rhodes says:

    I agree with stuff both you and Amy said. I have a love/hate with 40.

    I love that I have a deeper understanding of myself and others. I can think things through and arrive at reasonable conclusions. My BS meter works better than it used to. I am able to say DILLIGAF and really mean it. (Look it up if you don’t know what I mean. I won’t post that word on your blog.)

    On the other hand, ugh. Just ugh. Especially what I see in the mirror. But you know what? Even that has its upside. I went through a great deal of my life being a woman people turned to take a second look at. With it came a lot of BS (especially and oddly from other women). The invisibility is sort of nice in comparison.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I love looking at your photo so I’d STILL totally turn and take a second look at you. But I hear what you’re saying. It’s very freeing when the inside of our minds get more attention than the outside of our skin.

      And I adore DILLIGAF. It’s a fine phrase. 🙂


  7. susielindau says:

    This is a great list and I agree on all points! Off to share…


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Susie!!

      p.s. I love hearing about the adventures of Piper and Susie and be warned…one day I will attend training with Margie Lawson and spend some time visiting the coffeeshop with the two of you. Wild women! 🙂


  8. Kit Dunsmore says:

    I was getting divorced the year I was 30. By the time I was 40, I had grown up a lot, and was finding new ways to be in the world. Result: I think 40 rocks. I’m coming up on 50 in just over a year from now, and I’m looking forward to it. Sure, the vision is getting worse, and as you pointed out, it’s harder to stay in shape, but I love how much smarter I am about life stuff (even though I still make plenty of mistakes). I also have a better idea of who I am and where I want to go. I don’t know if this trend of liking each decade better will continue, but I intend to go with it while it does!


  9. Jeannene Heinrich says:

    Love the list! The only thing I could add would be no more fear of pregnancy.


  10. I agree with many of these, Jenny – but just having turned 50 I have some to add. To your # 1 Kickass thing: Yes, I would have to agree that WINE is a better coping skill than what I did when I was younger. #3 – As I get older I get LESS patient with people and I say it like it is! #12 – Definitely a higher sense of urgency to PEE! #13 – I agree completely. 🙂


  11. I agree with your list, especially number 14. I spend more on 1 bottle of wine now than I used to spend on an entire case. It’s about quality as you get older, not quantity.

    All good points my friend. Here’s to 40 and beyond.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  12. amyskennedy says:

    Jenny, I had my youngest when I turned 40. I feel as if I had the best of two worlds–knowledge and experience (plus more money) and the feeling of youthfulness, ’cause I just had a baby for cripe’s sake! He’s on the verge of turning 15 and I wouldn’t want to be any other age than what I am right now…okay, maybe 47. 😉


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Amy, I want to look like you when I’ve got teenagers…that’s all I’m saying. 🙂 And I hear you on how much more relaxing it is to have a baby a bit later in life. You run your butt off, but that’s a good thing, right?


  13. 40 was great. I think the whole decade is great (so far). Then again, I’ve never felt angsty about age. I’m just happy being who I am, which I didn’t figure out until my 30s. Wishing all the best for my fourth decade sistas. We all rock!


  14. Sue says:

    Love these-so true! I definitely loved my 40’s. Seeing as today is my very first day of my 5th decade, I have to say I’m looking forward to the next 10. The hardest part, I think, is seeing my parents age. That part does suck.


  15. Jenny, as always, you’ve got the right attitude. Someone said, “About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.” We know it’s going to happen so we better enjoy the ride!


  16. Julie Glover says:

    I love being in my 40s. Just love it! For many of the reasons you cite.

    The one thing I hate, however, is this abdominal spread. Hey, I know I’m not running marathons or teaching aerobics, but I swear I’m not doing anything that different and suddenly I have an inner tube around my gut. What’s up with that?!!! :p

    But overall, the many benefits of my age far outweigh the “more of you to love” (as my husband calls it), the three pairs of prescription eyeglasses, and the crows’ feet that look like Tippi Hedrin’s friends mutilated my face. I’m still far more comfortable and confident in my 40s. (Let’s hope the 50s are good too, since I’m edging that way…)


  17. I love your list, Jenny — inspiring! There are downsides to every age, but I tend to believe the toughest stuff hits us when we’re younger.


  18. tomwisk says:

    Reblogged this on tomwisk and commented:
    Meant to do this earlier.


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