Buh-bye 40

Today is my last day of 40. And I’m finding myself in that strange position I was exactly a decade ago, when 30 came to a screeching halt.

I remember having looked forward to 30 for so long, to the maturity and authority I thought it would confer, to the great milestone that is THREE-OH that I plum forgot that the birthdays didn’t stop there. When 31 somehow sneaked up on me in the cruelest, most unexpected way with hardly any warning at all (save for those 11,321 or so days that came before it) I was blindsided. Absolutely taken by surprise.

Uh…you mean it keeps going? There’s something after 30?


Evidently I don’t learn from my past mistakes, because here I am at the dawn of 41, surprised again.

And all I can think is shit, 41 sounds old. Infinitely older than 40. Because 41 is forty-something. And forty-something is more than forty-nothing.

Yet I don’t feel old. Yes, there are the knees that don’t work like they used to and the boobs that don’t say look at me! quite in the same way. I can’t eat candy bars for lunch and expect to live through it. I don’t get to giggle when a burly nightclub bouncer asks for my ID–nor do I ever actually get to go somewhere that might be in the employ of said burly bouncer. And yes, I tell Nate to turn down his music often enough that he thinks it’s cute to call me grandma.

But still? I wouldn’t trade it for 31 for even a minute.

Maybe just the boobs.

[photo credit]


63 thoughts on “Buh-bye 40”

  1. You don't look a day over 30. For real– I would have never guessed you were 39 when I met you!

    Sigh. I miss my youth's metabolism- wish I'd appreciated it more at the time.

  2. I know what you mean. I had some trouble coming to terms with 41 (and then 42). Should I keep dyeing my hair darker? Am I dressed too young? How old do I look?

    I think the key is not loosing your natural confidence just because the odometer is ticking upward.

  3. 41 wasn't so bad. Having 45 staring at ya is a little disconcerting, but the feeling of youth will remain as long as you let it. Skip the mirror and just have fun.

  4. I miss my old boobs and my super forgiving metabolism too — but I love the financial freedom (go ahead – spend on quality), the confidence to take real chances and the quiet power that age and experience brings. So, as one who has got a few (JUST A FEW) years on you – let me assure you, nothing rocks like a woman in her 40s! And I predict, you are about to enter (another) stellar year. Happy Birthday…we'll celebrate in Vegas!

  5. My senior year of high school found me surviving on Dr. Pepper, licorice, brownies, and Doritos. Yes, my mother cooked nutritious meals. No, I did not eat them. If I tried that for a year now?! I'd be 300 pounds in the blink of an eye.

  6. You could go with “thirty-eleven” Otherwise, you just have to move to “early forties”.

    Unless, of course, you are exiting those like I suppose I will be next week.

    Nevermind. Wah! We're all doomed. Going to hide under my bed, now.

  7. I was doing just fine and dandy with 40 – until last night, when I sat at my 3rd grader's (oh god, when did that happen) school orientation, and had to check the box on the form for age 40-49! I actually gasped out loud and attracted a fair amount of attention. Unfortunately, I was one of the oldest in the room so most of the other parents just gawked. Lovely experience. Very humbling.

  8. Happy happy birthday.. age is just a number, a matter of mind over matter, if you don't mind, it don't matter.

  9. What are you doing to celebrate? Whenever my head gets too dark with 9-11 remembrances, I think “Oooh! Ooooh! It's Liz's birthday today too!” and it resets my frame of mind. Have a good one.

  10. Dude. I have seen you in natural lighting. Yr beautiful and v. young looking. Yr hawt.
    But you know what? I admire you more for all of yr wisdom and character and creativity and coolness- all of the amazing things you have become with each year. That is how I am trying to start thinking about things. Happy bday to a woman who makes my online world awesome.

  11. Try 43. Every increment up to 45 sounds REALLY old. Then there's the big five-oh!

    I believe this is why people created the “something” after a milestone decade, so it doesn't sound so old.

    I'm forty-something and will be for a very, very long time.

  12. Think of it this way… this is the decade when you get to do crazy things and blame them on “your mid-life crisis” (or menopause). Either way, it's a free pass, sweetheart.

    Play it to the hilt. 😉

    (And Happy Birthday!)

  13. Turning 45 wreaked havoc with my ego. Forget the boobs (everyone else has) I just want someone to say I look too young to have kids in high school.

  14. Dear Liz,

    Happy birthday. I wouldn't trade you for all the girls gone wild, cheerleaders, porn starlets, supermodels, Megan Foxes, beach volleyball players, or celebutantes in the world.

  15. Happy Early Birthday! I hate it when people say “You don't look that old.” because it implies that the person it “that old” but I wouldn't have guessed you were older than 36 when we met. I definitely thought you were my age or younger (I just turned 37 last month)… So, you've got that going for you 🙂

  16. Happy Birthday! If it makes you feel any better, I was pregnant for most of my 41st year, so at least all the old parts still work!

  17. Happy Birthday! I'm loving the 40's, save for the boob thing. And the knee thing. And the wrinkles thing…

  18. Wow its so good to hear that there is life after 30 and even 40! And cool to hear that you were looking forward to it.

    Average Jane I totally agree with you. I am coming up on 28 here but in the last year have gotten married, bought a house and had another baby so it was like adding on 10 years. Lately I find myself questioning things too. You are right about not loosing your natural confidence. That would make 30 and 40 a much better time!

    Happy birthday Mom-101 and thanks for pointing out the great things about getting older. =)

  19. I am glad you are embracing your numerical value!!! I am 30…I looked forward to my 30th for a long time….I had a mostly awful 30th b-day, and my year has been speckled with some highlights so far, however I hope my 31st is better!

    And I miss my perky boobs too. Are you telling me that it gets worse? Mine already look like they have been put through the wringer. You may have seen them…those ones at the car wash that never work. That's because my boobs have been through them…it must have happened in my sleep!

  20. 41…what I wouldn't give to be hawt and 41.

    51…now that number will mess with your mind. And the rest of you.

  21. Well, I'm only 13 days away from 31 and I have to say it is really freaking me out. Like you, I was cool with 30 but 31, well that's my 30's and not just 30. Yikes. I'm not sure I'm going to handle 31 as well as I did 30.

    Of course, you, you look fabulous and not a day over 29. Maybe we should dye our hair blue and do beer bongs to celebrate.

    Anyway, happy happy birthday!


  22. Well, at least you still HAVE boobs. I'm knocking on 40's door and my knockers somehow high-tailed it outta here after baby #2. At least when you have big ta tas, men may not be looking at the bags under your eyes or the lines between them. Right? Sigh.

    Happy Birthday you funky ol' smokin' beeyotch! Enjoy.

  23. My friends and I got together at 40 and told each other how great we looked. We did. Then at 41 my skin got too big for my body. It was really scary, but I started eating alot of avocados and my fat puffed the skin back out.

    Happy birthday!!

  24. I thought the photo link at the end of the post was going to be a picture of your boobs, so I'm a little disappointed right now.

    But I'm working through it and while I do, let me wish you a very happy birthday.

  25. I completely understand how you feel, this coming from the same woman who, as a child, cried on her tenth birthday for leaving the “single-digits”.

    I think whether you're 30-something or 40-something, you don't look a day over 30-nothing to me 😉


  26. Happy Birthday my friend.

    I could shower you with compliments based on how gorgeous you look and you know I would mean them. I mean, I drool on your boobs every time I see you.

    Instead I'll just tell you how much I admire you and all you have accomplished and who you have become in your first 40 years and I can't wait to see what you do with your next 40.

    When I grow up, I want to be just like you.

    But blonder. And taller.


  27. Happy birthday and seeing as I'm a couple of years into 40-something, I feel it safe to say that it only gets better!

    Trust me, please, or pretend that you do, because it would make me happy and my boobs are looking sad enough, already.

  28. I still refuse to believe you are actually even a day older than I am. Because you don't LOOK any older than I am. And you don't act any older than I am. (And I mean that second sentence in the best way, of course.) And Kristen is totally right about the boobs.

    Are you sure there was not a time warp involved at some point?

  29. Happy birthday! Apparently my math skills (i.e. basic counting) have dwindled with age because I can't remember if I'm 38 or 39… possibly due to 40-phobia. It's not all that bad, is it?

  30. Happy Birthday (a little late)!!! Hope it was fun.

    Nice little birthday trick for you: Whenever you are feeling old think of the alternative. (I had a few older friends that didn't make it past 45.) It'll make you feel glad in a heart beat. Works every time for me…even this year at 47.

  31. I'm in the final stretch of thirty-something. I'll be 40 in the Spring. Actually, I can't wait for it to be here. The thirties were… hmmmm… interesting. I thought I'd be surrounded by brilliance in my thirties. Nah. Most people I've known this decade were a lot dumber than I thought they'd be.

    I'd trade the boobs, too. And the ass.

  32. Happy Birthday, Liz! I hope I look as good as you do at 41! Hell, I don't even look that good now at 30 🙂 Just remember the genes in your family…I've seen pictures of your Grandma…apparently your family gets to stay young FOREVER!

  33. This year I turn 43. I must say I will miss 42 as it meant I had the answer to life, the universe and everything.

  34. Your birthday brings me to tears each year. But now I have a reason to have happiness today too. For you give me a glimpse in each post of why I am woman and continue to roar.

    Happy Birthday Liz. Hope it had wonderfulness (or will as soon as Nate is done being culinary for the night)

  35. Happy Bday, Liz.

    I had the same naive feeling today when I referred to “thirty-something moms” in a meeting and thought to myself, ohmigod, I am thirty SOMETHING, not just thirty. Not even “early thirties”. Apparently I stopped counting five or six years ago.

  36. Happy Birthday! And haven't you seen the new ads for Courteney Cox's Cougar Town: “40 is the new 20.” So, really, you're turning 21 — cheers!

  37. Having just seen you a month ago, I can say with authority that you look a decade younger. How? Spill it!

  38. You make 40+ look good. It would give me hope, except I don't think I will ever look younger than I do right now. I swear sometimes I can feel my skin wrinkling.

  39. i don't know, i feel old and broken right there with you. and i'm ONLY 39. and clinging desperately. have fun in vegas BABY! (there, i said it so you don't have to)

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  41. Liz,

    Happy Birthday! Don't party too hard in Vegas. I crossed the 40 line as well and frankly I'm all about flaunting the boobs – it distracts people from my stomach.

    Can't wait to see what the CoolMomPicks gals discover at ABC.

  42. Happy Belated Birthday…We are '80s children…
    I just happened upon 42 and let me tell you, that I wouldn't trade it for 32 either…but, these weird pubey gray hairs are starting to bother me and I can no longer leave the house without checking for chin hairs…
    But, thank goodness for the wisdom!

  43. When I turned 41 the only reference I could use was from the movie Ben-Hur. He was slave number 41. Appropriate, no? Just kidding.

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