40 is officially the new 30. 30 was so last year (ok…two years ago….).
Someone told me the other day that I didn’t ‘look bad’ for a 40-year-old. I think they meant it as a compliment but you never know…
It really got me thinking about being in my 40’s.
You know what?
I am SO MUCH HAPPIER than I was in my 20’s and 30’s.
I am not saying that it is all sunshine and roses as you will read below but I thought I would take a humorous look at life and all its warts when you hit the glorious age of the big 40.
(If you are reading this in your 30’s, print it out and stick it on the wall preferably BEFORE you wake up one day with chin hair….).
Fun at 40 – Facial Hair
You may or may not have facial hair already. Perhaps just on that pesky upper lip.
One day I went to the lovely people at Glow bar for an eyebrow shape and upper lip threading and she uttered the horrific words:
“Would you like me to do your chin too”?
I almost slid down the reclining chair in horror.
That day has now been named ‘chin-gate’.
My dearly beloved Chiara is officially on chin hair watch – the buggers are thick and wiry and seem to grow straight out from my chin with a sheen to them that glints in the sun.
Tip: Find a trusted friend who can be on ‘chin watch’ for you.
Fun at 40 – Periods
Something happens to periods in your 40’s.
Mine have always been a bit dodgy anyway (hormonally challenged bird).
I don’t have one for months and then without any warning whatsoever I get one. A real humdinger of an assault on my lower stomach that gives me acne and even more hot flushes as a bonus.
Mine have been a lot better on a plant-based diet but still, I could do with a warning!
Tip: If you battle with irregular/problematic periods get hormone tests done. Your significant other will thank you 😉
Fun at 40 – Gardening
Suddenly I have become fascinated by gardening. I don’t mean just dabbling with the whole window box thing. I mean full on Pinterest boards, watching gardening programmes and lusting after particular species of clematis.
There is something deeply satisfying and spiritual about watching something grow (that you haven’t managed to kill).
I am actually considering making my Christmas wish-list gardening related and ordering one of those comfy kneel down things to save my knobbly knees.
Tip: Yeah it may not be the coolest thing but get involved – do come and follow my Pinterest board and send me gardening related inspiration. I will love you forever.
Fun at 40 – New Hobbies
My dear friend Alice turned 40 and took up clay pottery. She imagined that she would go along to evening classes and be tutored from behind by an adonis like Patrick Swayze in Ghost. Unfortunately, the instructor was called Babs and had more chin hair than me. Alice is still doing pottery though and says it changed her life.
I was inspired by my lovely friends Matt and Dennis over at Boys and Bunting – they turned a hobby into a thriving business and haven’t looked back. Their crochet is incredible and they are my gay-hobby-icons.
Tip: when you turn 40 you have Carte Blanche to take up whatever hobby your heart desires. Pick one and go for it. Your winter evenings will become so much more enjoyable.
Fun at 40 – Sleep
Insomnia is a bitch. As we get older sleep can become trickier to manage. Lot’s of people tell me that they either don’t get enough sleep or sleep is interrupted.
I have found that since I turned 40, I have a window of opportunity to fall asleep. My sweet spot is between 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm. If I am not in bed by then, all hell breaks loose a.k.a. staying awake until 1:00 am reading/watching Netflix/cursing.
The BBC produced an interesting documentary on sleep, highly recommend watching it.
Tip: Buy the biggest bed you can afford and the comfiest mattress. This is my non-negotiable.
Fun at 40 – Flat arse a.k.a. Phone Book Arse
This needs some explaining.
I used to dance with a lovely guy called Richard Marcel.
One day we were arm in arm gyrating to a Salsa track and he explained ‘phone-book-arse’ to me.
I was in my 20’s at the time and laughed about it.
Now it has become ‘a real thing’.
Something happens to your arse when you turn 40. It slides down a little and becomes flat in profile view. Often it takes on a square appearance rather like a phone book.
If you are 20 and don’t know what a phone book looks like, allow me to show you….
Tip: Follow my gorgeous friend Marianne Zarbock – she is the queen of the squat and inspires me every day to go workout. She wouldn’t know what phone book arse is… hers is a peach!
Fun at 40 – Diet
Forget ‘being on a diet’. Please do me a favour.
A survey by Warburtons found that by the time we reach our 45 the average woman has tried 61 diets.
At the ripe young age of 40, you know by now that too much junk helps you put on weight and by eating sensibly and making some tweaks you will stabilise at your ideal weight and you have all that spare time (and money) to do things that make you happy.
Tip: Make enjoyable fitness a goal and find happiness through the endorphin release and fewer bingo wings. I also recommend the services of my friend Star Monroe – she has an awesome approach to women and body image.
Fun at 40 – Sex
Reading this in your 40’s you are either getting loads of it, none of it or don’t really care about it.
I have issues with my sex-drive. The hormonal therapy didn’t work for me so it’s a work in progress. I am lucky to have the most gorgeous partner in the world and she is very understanding but it still sucks. What I will say is don’t beat yourself up about any of it. Spending your 20’s and 30’s beating yourself up about shit can all stop in your 40’s when you can celebrate the uniqueness of YOU.
For casual liaisons there is always Tinder I suppose, not sure I would recommend it. Far better to take a trip to Ann Summers and start there.
Tip: Don’t believe what others tell you about their sex life and how inadequate yours is. It’s probably bullshit anyway.
Fun at 40 – Irritability
“What do you mean you are moody?? I AM NOT MOODY”.
Does this sound familiar?
I am moody quite a lot.
I quite enjoy being moody from time to time. I actually relish a bit of moody behaviour. Muttering under your breath is also wholly acceptable, ditto telling off people in a loud voice when they jump a queue.
Tip: Moodiness is probably best enjoyed away from loved ones. After a while, it can get a bit boring for them. I recommend supermarkets or rude sales assistants in shops.
Fun at 40 – Love
Love is a word that many of you know I embrace with my whole being. Without we are a shell. I am not talking lust (that old chestnut).
No, I am talking about love from family, friends, pets, the community, and the planet.
It took me until I turned 40 to really understand what it meant. Sometimes it means fighting for something and at other times it means walking away from something.
Tip: If you are single and hating it then start by looking around you for other forms of love and shower the world with your love, it will come back to you in spades. Mr or Mrs Right is just around the corner.
Fun at 40 – Noise
a) I am bothered by noise. I believe most introverts are.
b) I also believe that tolerance for noise decreases as you get older.
c) I used to sort of enjoy going to night clubs but now I can’t think of anything worse – people shouting over loud music, not for me anymore!
d) I also get easily distracted by loud conversations, repetitive humming noises, babies crying and the ice cream van going past the house at 5 pm sharp every day.
Tip: The noise cancelling headphones by BOSE are wonderful (write it down on your Christmas wish list!).
Fun at 40 – Pets
I have always loved animals and grew up with lots of them (thanks, Mum and Dad!).
Now I am planning a whole menagerie of them.
In my 40’s and without kids I want to nurture. I believe this is also common with women my age who get empty nest syndrome.
I say embrace it, it didn’t hurt Brigitte Bardot.
Tip: If you can’t get one of your own, offer to go and walk someone else’s. Spending time with animals is just so enjoyable.
Fun at 40 – Make-up
Without it, I look like a ghost.
With it, I can either look like a better version of me or a drag queen. There is no middle ground.
I have never been good at applying makeup but have learnt a few tricks from Chiara who is incredible.
If you like to go au naturel (big respect to you) then apply a light sunscreen to your face….I didn’t and now have those brown spots that were cutely called freckles in my 20’s and are now just age spots.
Tip: Go to a beauty counter and pay for a professional to give you a day look and an evening look. Take along a friend to video the essentials and buy the products that work for you. Tip the beauty person well and it will be the best present to yourself EVER.
Fun at 40 – Young people
Not long ago one of my members of staff came in dressed in a T-shirt in winter and my first response (after I had rubbed her arms) was:
“Ooooooh aren’t you cold in that?”
I had officially turned into my dearly departed Nana. She used to say it to young people all the time.
Now I am that person.
When I look at people out on a Saturday night in short skirts, no tights and no coat and shiver. I want to look after them/tell them they will get sick.
It is also now the age where the young people I mix with don’t know what a cassette desk was, how we used to record music by pressing record and play at the same time and how we only had 4 TV channels.
Tip: Surround yourself with teenagers and 20 somethings and let them guide you in stuff. In return you can make sure a) they don’t get cold b) have a confident to tell important shit too. Win win.
Fun at 40 – Fashion
I have never been good with fashion. Now I am even worse. If I am not careful I will turn into an old lesbian woman with chin hair, dungarees and ugly sensible shoes.
In fairness, comfortable shoes are a must once you hit 40. It is bang on trend to buy amazing trainers and wear them as normal attire and totally rock them. Ditto any other sports clothing from Sweaty Betty or Lululemon.
Leggings that aren’t sports ones really should be binned as should anything that gives you a muffin top.
Apart from that….. go for it. Find your style and stick with it.
Tip: Read the fabulous book by Marie Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. It is a game-changer and you will end up buying it for all your friends.
Be unapologetically YOU. I cannot recommend this enough. If you don’t know who the real YOU is, find someone to help pull it out of you.
If there are any other topics that you would like added to the list, let me know in the comments.