Is 40 still old? Do kids age you more than passing years?

I distinctly remember my father’s 40th birthday.

My mom invited the whole neighborhood to surprise him. They had a rocking chair set up in the backyard and they gave him a cane. They had all these maudlin, black over-the-hill balloons and gifts. He was officially old.

Almost 30 years later, I am turning 40 this weekend, and I definitely don’t feel old. In fact I feel better about myself than I have in years. I’ve lost a bunch of weight. I have several interesting jobs, and I will finally have all three kids in school next year. I feel like in my 40s I will be able to focus more on me, my career and my time with Michael.

I think having kids ages you more than just the passing of years. First off the obvious changes to your body ages you. Boobs that used to be perky are droopy after pregnancy whether you’re in your 20s or 30s. Tummies and butts that used to be tight are fleshy. Even your hair can change from having a baby.

Your priorities obviously change when you bring home your bundle of joy. You have to get serious. You can’t go out as much. You have to focus on someone other than yourself. All of these things age you.

Even though I don’t feel old, I am noticing 40 in a few new places:

My vision – I seriously cannot see up close any more with my glasses on. I have to take off my glasses to thread a needle or read small print.

Lines around my eyes and on my forehead – I am noticing a lot more lines around my eyes. I smile a lot so I’m not sure if they are smile lines or wrinkles. Either way it’s a little disturbing. (More cream, sunscreen and darker sunglasses!)

Freckle or age spot – I have a couple of dark spots on my “driving hand” as my mom calls it. (You know the hand you keep at 12 o’clock.) I’m going to call it a freckle but I guess I need to wear more sunscreen.

So what do you think: Do babies age you faster than the passing of years? Is 40 still considered old? Did you feel old at 40 or did you just feel like it was a new phase?

50 comments Add your comment

DB

April 5th, 2012
2:06 am

TWG: “You have to get serious. You can’t go out as much. You have to focus on someone other than yourself. All of these things age you.” I respectfully disagree — These are not the things that age you. It’s your attitude towards these things that age you. I don’t think 40 is that old — but then again, I’m 55, 40 seems a long time ago :-). Except for being a little more diligent about regular hair color appointments, and having to be a little more conscientious about making healthy choices, I really don’t feel much different, except for the fact that I find that I don’t take nearly as much s**t off people as I did when I was in my 30’s. :-) I don’t worry about spots on my hands, and a few wrinkles don’t bother me. I earned every one of them with a lifetime of laughing, enjoying watching soccer games, swim meets, walks with the dog and enjoying the sun on my face with a glass of wine at the side and a good book in my lap. :-)

Hate to break it to you, but three kids in school, with school activities and after school activities, does NOT necessarily provide more time. Between working with sports teams, driving to dance and music recitals, volunteering at school and working for myself — time is a precious commodity!

Happy birthday, T! Enjoy the milestone!

Reality

April 5th, 2012
6:32 am

Let’s use logic: is 40 old? You bet. Using statistics, the average life span of a white woman is 76 years old…. therefore you have fewer birthdays and Christmas’s ahead of you than you have already experienced. Your life is more than half over…. and what have you done with it? Tick tock…. you have fewer days on earth remaining than what you already experienced. Living in Arizona, you have always dreamed of having three children, but you have fewer days on earth left than you have already experienced. Good luck…. tick tock…. more wrinkles are to come.

shaggy

April 5th, 2012
6:57 am

Theresa,

Two examples:
One friend that first reached the summit on a true Alpine climb at 49 and has bagged a few more since 2008.
One dear friend that didn’t even start climbing until 50 and has since climbed all of the 14′ers (14, 000 feet) in continental North America. He is early 70’s and I hope to be in half the shape and half the attitude when I get to be that age. Oh, he drinks beer too…that godforsaken Guinness stuff.

fred

April 5th, 2012
7:06 am

Since I am 39, yes, 40 is old, next year my feelings may change.

JATL

April 5th, 2012
7:08 am

No, 40 isn’t old. I’ve never thought it was! I’m 42 and in three weeks I’m going to run my first half marathon. I couldn’t have done it at 25 or 30 because I was too busy nursing hangovers and chain smoking. I don’t regret those days -had lots of fun and learned a lot, but I would venture to say I’m in far better shape right now that I was then. Sure, even with the running things are saggier than they used to be, but I’m not even approaching old!

I do still like to have drinks -and we go out and love to go to music festivals and to hear bands. If you think of yourself as old -you’ll be old. It’s basically that simple. Even if I didn’t have kids, I wouldn’t go out like I used to (3 and 4 times a week). Some things just lose their luster after awhile!

I have a few age spots on my hands and lots and lots of freckles and sun damage everywhere. They make lasers now to zap that stuff off! Wear a hat and a moisturizer with sunscreen in it -that will put the brakes on a lot of that.

My grandmother will be 100 next January. SHE is old!

shaggy

April 5th, 2012
7:26 am

JATL,

We just HAD to have bumped into each other somewhere in this great city, state, plenet of ours. Too many parallels.
I am thinking it must have went something like this: “Hey, pour me another shot and pass that shaker.”
I am like you in that I have zero regrets for my checkered past…feel like it made me a better person in the end.

Jeff

April 5th, 2012
7:28 am

I don’t consider 40 to be old. I’ll be 42 in a few weeks. The only thing I notice is that I have to concentrate more when doing athletic things that I’m not used to doing. I’ve been running for 21 years, but it’s the things I don’t do regularly (volleyball, softball, waterskiing, snow skiing, tending, racquetball) that make me sore for a day or two.

I also can’t just eat anything I want to anymore, so the metabolism has dropped off.

But the grey hairs coming in are starting to piss me off.

motherjanegoose

April 5th, 2012
7:45 am

Happy Birthday TWG! 40 is not old unless you make it old. My Mother did. She could not watch the grandchildren at 52 because she was too old. HELLO…I am 52 and spending the week with children here in Savannah…all by myself and I drove my own car here alone too! I met a lady,yesterday, who works with babies in their preschool and she is 72…HOORAH for those who are young at heart. While there are certainly things you cannot control, enjoying the life you have is on your plate and I think you have lots of interesting things in store. I know I accomplished some pretty neat things after I turned 40. Take your life and RUN with it…have fun too!

@ Jeff…I have had grey hairs since I was 27…said I would go natural at 50 but changed my mind…haha!

My grandmothers lived to be nearly 90, so I still plan to get a few more miles out of this body. BUT things could change in a minute, so I try to enjoy the things along the way.

FCM

April 5th, 2012
8:15 am

42 and don’t feel more than say 35!

Augusta

April 5th, 2012
8:21 am

40 is the new 30. I understand life begins at 50, but I’m not quite there yet…close but not quite.

I agree with those about checked pasts. Mine’s not very checkered, since I’ve been married since I was 22, but I have 4 wonderful children and an extremely loving husband…..I wouldn’t trade a thing. There were mistakes along the way, but my past has made me what I am today.

I think attitude is what it’s all about. If you approach life with a smile, and have a good attitude, and not WORRY about small stuff. I don’t stress, and there’s no drama in my life at all……

Happy Birthday T. Welcome to 40. I think you’ll like it here.

FCM

April 5th, 2012
8:21 am

Jeff….I have been greying since 18.

I will say that stress is a big factor in grey….If not for a good bottle of L’Oreal I would be mortified! My grey went crazy this year due to stress. However, I did find exercise (especially yard work and Home Improvement projects) help ease the stress

Figment

April 5th, 2012
8:22 am

The closer I get to 40 the less old it seems! Hopefully by the time I’m 40 my life will be in a new chapter, marriage, possibly another child. Right now, I’m in the best time of my life. I’m in a great relationship, I have a wonderful son who is the light of my life, 40 should be fabulous!

I’ll all in your mindset, if you think 40 is old it will be old. If you think 40 is just the beginning of a wonderful new chapter of your life then it will be.

[...] change when you bring home your bundle of joy. You have to get serious. You can’t go out …Is 40 still old? Do kids age you more than passing years? – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog… This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Santorum kicks off [...]

newblogger

April 5th, 2012
8:37 am

LOVE my forties! I’m old enough to know better, but still young enough to not really care. I’ve finally realized that I can do anything I want, anytime I want and feel good about my decisions. As an only child with a mom who still thinks she gets to make choices for me (like how I wear my hair), that is liberating. I still hear things like…
Mom: You will not get a motorcycle. Me: and what makes you think I won’t. Mom: Because I’m your mother and I said so. Really? I think now that I’m 40-something, have a great marriage, two wonderful sons, a successful career and have made my own decisions for many years now, I will have a motorcycle if I want one. I agree with the mindset of “you are only as old as you feel”. Except for the few aches and pains in new places and the occasional stray gray hair, I think the 40s are great!

Me

April 5th, 2012
8:38 am

40 is only old should you allow — I’m 51, feel 30, act 25, and in the best shape of my life thus far. IF you do it right and build up the tolerance I have then there are no handovers to nurse.
All of my kids are grown and the step-son is 17 so, even though he still lives at home, we have the freedom to now enjoy our lives without the child, school, and related obligations we once had. We can afford to basically do anyhting we wish and, to the extent our jobs allow, travel together extensively.This is the first year that we haven’t provided a “family” trip which included all the kids and the son-in-law, but none of them really cared for it that much so, meh, why spend that money?
@TWG, here’s wishing you a Happy Birthday but all of those “symptoms” you describe, while perhaps accurate, should be embraced as living a life worth living.

Augusta

April 5th, 2012
8:49 am

@newblogger – I have the same conversation with my mom, but it’s about me getting a tattoo….LOL

JATL

April 5th, 2012
8:51 am

@shaggy -I agree -I’m sure our paths have crossed! In a bar, at a show, in the woods, a parking lot, a festival -SOMEWHERE!

And Happy Birthday TWG -go out and do something you would just NEVER do! Now that you’re 40, you can always blame it on a mid-life crisis ;-)

RJ

April 5th, 2012
9:02 am

Happy 40th birthday! I don’t think 40 is old at all. If 40 is old, what is 60, really, really old? My grandma lived to be 92, so I hope to live a long life as well. If not, I’m going to enjoy every day I have left. Nothing is promised. My mom is 61 and she still doesn’t seem old to me. She isn’t walking with a cane, has very few wrinkles, gets around fine. That’s exactly how I want to be. Enjoy your day!

K's Mom

April 5th, 2012
9:29 am

I honestly do not think a person is old unless they act old. 40 is certainly not old. My grandparents were 44 & 47 when my mom was born and in their early 70s when I came along and they played with me like they were 50 at the time. Both lived to be fairly elderly and I never saw them as old until just before they died when they were ill.

My husband’s brother and my mom are the same age and you would think he was 85 and my mom was 45…it is just all attitude.

Happy Birthday!

Augusta

April 5th, 2012
9:31 am

My mom is 82 next week. She plays bridge with several different groups of friends, several times a week, goes to church every Sunday, does water aerobics, knits, sews, does volunteer work at the hospital, drives her friends back and forth to doctor appointments, etc. The woman wears me out!!!! She cannot sit still. And she still puts out the most wonderful meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas, without much assistance!!!!!! I hope I’m going strong like her at that age. Her mother lived to be 90, and her Grandmother was 91 when she passed…..I hope I inherited those genes….

JOD

April 5th, 2012
9:44 am

I remember when ‘adults’ had those 40 = tombstone parties. Haven’t seen one of those in years. My mom is 60, and I have to laugh at how I always pictured 60; it certainly isn’t her! She drove a CTS-V until some twit wrecked it, and looks great for a granny.

I’ll be 34 in a week, and I think stress is definitely more aging than just a number or just kids. I just found my first grey hairs (shock!), but the other signs of aging don’t bother me so much – more sunscreen, please.

Happy Birthday, TWG!

PhotoMomof4

April 5th, 2012
10:01 am

I will be 40 in a couple of weeks. Don’t tell me it is old. I’ve been feeling better this year physically than any other year for a long time. Yes, there are signs of aging, but that is part of adding the years. We have a new grandchild and I am constantly told I’m not old enough to be a grandmother. ‘Why, thank you very much!!’ My father-in-law is almost 90 and that to me is old.

Oh, and once they are in school, life just gets busier…

FCM

April 5th, 2012
10:11 am

@ newblogger….agree I found 40 liberting…..I was no longer “young” and proving myself. I am not yet “old”……I think that may be the real reason of mid-life crises….we are finally able to be ourselves, but may not be sure just who “we” are yet. My mom still comments on my hair, my dress, or whatever..that may just be being a mom.

homeschooler

April 5th, 2012
10:23 am

I loved turning 40 (almost a year ago)but I have to admit that I was largely because my life was right where I want it. Sure I’m more stressed and busy than I want to be but, financially and (for the most part) physically I’m doing well. I did think a lot about those around me also turning 40 who are swimming in debt, struggling to pay the bills, extremely overweight, already having health problems and I thought, If I was turning 40 like them, I would really be upset about it. I just saw it as the next chapter in my life. My 30’s were WAY better than my 20’s so, hopefully the pattern will continue.

My dad died at 43. I was 15 and, although I knew he was not at the age that most people die, I never realized just how young he was. That has really hit me hard now that my husband will be 43 this year. My mom always says he was here for all the hard times and never got to experience the good stuff. (grandkids, retirement etc.) So sad. I think of that often when I think of “getting old”. That’s what we work hard for, to experience the good stuff. Personally, I’m looking forward to it.

Happy 40th, Theresa!

Kat

April 5th, 2012
11:11 am

It’s all in the attitude that you bring to the age, TWG. With an attitude of “I must lose x number of pounds before I turn 40…” or “NOW I will put myself first,” etc. Those are the things that age you. Lose weight because you want to or should – not because you think an arbitrary number is bad. Spend time with Michael because you MADE the time not because the (helicoptered) children ALLOW you the time. Do things for yourself because you know that you are important, your family thinks you are important, and because in all but the calendar’s eyes, you are the exact same person that you were the day before.

I mean, how many people go to sleep the night before their 21st birthday and wake up the next day seemingly and suddenly mature enough to handle the responsibility of alcohol intake?

missnadine

April 5th, 2012
11:26 am

I’m turning 50 this year. I think I look about 40, at least that is what people, inlcuding my doctor, tell me. The inside is not as good as the outside. Constant problems with herniated disks make me feel much older. I come from a long line of pretty athletic people. My dad continues to hike all over the world at 75, and climbs mountains, including Kilimangaro at age 65. My outward appearance is deceptive – I am slim, no deep wrinkles, and dress pretty well (not in sweats and tshirt). It is true that you can’t judge someone by their outward appearance. Inside I feel like I am 20 years older. As far as medication, up until my mid 40s, all I ever took was birth control and ambien. Five years later. the whole landscape has changed, and now take 5 pills a day to control pain (including morphine), mood, and thyroid.

I am thinking this year will be a turning point, and that I will finally get the back surgery I need. That is a scary though though. I’d like to have a healthier and more outgoing lifestyle. it’s pretty sad that my dad could outdo me in pretty much anything that requires physical movement.

April

April 5th, 2012
11:32 am

No, 40 is not old – not if you don’t want it to be. I have known some “old” 40 year olds and some really young 80 year olds. Attitude is everything!
Enjoy the great things in your life right now.

Happy birthday

motherjanegoose

April 5th, 2012
12:01 pm

Life is a funny thing! I am 52 and take vitamins only and Estroven. No prescriptions. I have some aches and pains, after a long day of work or travel. I do not follow an exercise routine and was not terribly picky about what I ate…just tried to eat a balanced diet. I have lost 20 pounds and would like to lose more but am not going to kill myself to do it. I do worry and deal with drama every day and that is one thing that bothers me. Otherwise, I feel good for my age. I have 20/20 vision for distance and wear readers for books ( I just had my eyes checked) no cavities as of last week , a clean mammogram…so currently things look good, that could change in a minute…I know. I am basically happy with my life and content. I generally embrace each day and new experience with zeal but there are some things I dread doing and these include housework and paperwork…too bad…it has to be done.

FCM

April 5th, 2012
12:50 pm

Oh and I got a beaut of a gee that is what age you are….BiFocals!!!

Augusta

April 5th, 2012
1:19 pm

@FCM – WHAT???? I can’t make sense of that last post….

FCM

April 5th, 2012
1:31 pm

Oh I got told on Saturday I get to have BiFocals! According to the doctor “that is just the age you are at” Since I rarely think of myself as in my 40s I found that a beauty of a wake-up call…..He immediately followed that with “When your 50s we will set you into tri-focals”

I told someone once I don’t feel my age until I look in a mirror….since I got rid of my mirrors I feel 20 something again! rofl!

Tonya C.

April 5th, 2012
2:20 pm

40 IS NOT the new 30. That statement is more ridiuclous every time I hear it. Your insides are still aging at the same rate so I call bunk. As far as 40 being old, I don’t believe so. I think it’s what you make it. I know old 25-year-olds and young 70+-year-olds. It’s all relative.

Augusta

April 5th, 2012
3:08 pm

FCM I just use reader’s…I don’t want to pay for bifocals…..too expensive….Readers are cheap…

FCM

April 5th, 2012
3:56 pm

Yes I got a pair of readers for when I wear my contacts.

FCM

April 5th, 2012
3:57 pm

oh and the bifocals were about $250…but I got the tranistions lenses so I wouldn’t need sunglasses

newblogger

April 5th, 2012
5:45 pm

@Augusta…I had the same tatoo conversation. :) @FCM…I think some of it is mom being mom, but I don’t think I’m that way with my own children. My oldest tells me I’m not. I don’t think I’ve ever used the “because I’m your mother” excuse at least that’s what they tell me.

fk

April 5th, 2012
6:23 pm

I don’t know why, but I felt 40 was very liberating. I acquired a flippant attitude about certain things – other things simply no longer bothered me. I can honestly say, life in my forties has been fun…it was fun in my twenties, still fun in my thirties, but in the thirties, a lot more responsibilities/worries came about, and a lot of my time revolved around others – and it’s not that I minded that. I chose it. Life gets crazy with activities – kids’ sports and other events, but those years go by fast. We enjoyed them and now we have our free time for us again. I live hundreds of miles away from my lifelong friends, and they are still close to me. In my forties, my “adult” friendships grew and deepened, mostly because we had the time to socialize. The worries are still here, but apparently I’ve matured to the point where I realize there are just some things you can change, and others that you cannot. You can plan & plan, but that’s not going to make things happen the way you expect. And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Next b’day I’m going to hit the big 5-0 and I think it’s funny – don’t ask me why. Life is good :)

Happy Birthday – Enjoy!

Reality

April 5th, 2012
9:04 pm

40 is old – just ask anyone in college. These lines I read “Oh no, I am not old” is hogwash. Denial is a wonderful addiction. Yes, you are getting older… yes, you are old… but do you buy into the baby boomer stuff about imortality, look good forever, there is no such thing as getting older, 50 is the new 40 – its a lie an everyone knows it is. If you are turning 40 you are old. You are no longer hot, you no longer look good (ask a 25 year old) and you are closer to death. Deal with it. After 40 everyone starts to look like hell – its nature – don’t fight it. You are a 40 year old Mom driving a mini van living in suburbia, living the drone life and then asking people if 40 is old…. yes it is. Back to the Phoenix suburbs where the sun does damage to your skin, while you blog for an ATL newspaper. How much do you make a year from cut/past – add a few comments?

catlady

April 5th, 2012
9:08 pm

Happy Birthday, Theresa! One thing I have learned: 40 may be old when someone else turns 40, but when it is YOU, it is not so old at all!

Here is some perspective: When I was 36 I quit my job, packed up my three kids (aged 12, 8, and 3) and moved several hundred miles away to go back full time for another master’s degree. At 38, I had the degree and got a great offer to stay on for my PhD, but an even better one to go back to Georgia, and on the day I turned 43 I carried my dissertation to the UGA graduate dean’s office. (BTW, there is no band behind the door playing music, and ____ didn’t freeze over like some folks had predicted) About the time I went back to school, Ann Landers (or Dear Abby or Miss Manners or someone) was asked the question, “I want to go back to school and become a doctor (lawyer, vet, pastor, somthing) but I will be 43 when I finish! Should I do it?” To which Ann (or Abby or Miss Manners) replied, “How old will you be if you DON’T do it?”

I will be 60 this summer, BTW. While I am sorta puzzled as to how this has happened, I am glad for it!

shaggy

April 6th, 2012
7:45 am

Reality,

Come climb with me, and let’s see who is “old”. My guess is you would be crying like a little girl on that exposed razor ridge, and probably have to clean your diaper, while whining about going down. Me, I would just laugh and lead. Yeah, that’s old, right?

Plus my honey is “hotter” than ever. Imagine, (I know you will have to imagine, as it is without a doubt unattainable for the likes of you) beautiful, intelligent eyes, on a lovely voluptuous female figure, with long thick hair…AND having an intelligent conversation with this beautiful being from the gods. That is MY reality.

Go back to your facebook page and friend somebody…solitary loser.

JATL

April 6th, 2012
8:15 am

@Reality -interesting. Either you’re a really pathetic 40-something who is deeply depressed and hasn’t really lived since high school or a 20-something whose intelligence and ideals are somewhat on the same level as the crew in “Jersey Shore” -either way, you sound like you should get out and enjoy life a little more!

And if none of us 40 year olds (or 40-somethings) are hot anymore, then why are so many 25 year olds trying to screw us?

Augusta

April 6th, 2012
8:17 am

Yea, what Shaggy said!!!

Age is only a number. Yes we are aging, but I am no closer to death than anyone else. It could happen tomorrow, it could happen in 30 years….but I’m not counting. I’m enjoying all life has to offer. I have 4 great kids, and very loving husband who I have known since I was in high school, and we have a great time.

That’s what it’s all about. Enjoying life, no matter what your number is!!!

FCM

April 6th, 2012
9:15 am

@ JATL….you go girl!

catlady

April 6th, 2012
9:23 am

And on the question about aging, my kids (and now grandchildren) have kept me young. While there have been times that aged me terribly (when my son was hurt and dying, for one) there were other events outside of children that also were tough (when my aunt was killed in an auto accident). On balance, the children have kept me going!

As to grey hair, my friends say I don’t have any, but I think it is just hidden among the red and blonde.

Me

April 6th, 2012
9:26 am

Hmmm — Perhaps @reality should change the handle to @notsoreal

Denise

April 6th, 2012
10:19 am

@JATL – dang right! I’m 39 but I don’t have nary a wrinkle except around my eyes when I smile and I’m happy to have them. They let you know I’ve smiled and laughed a lot (like every day). I get carded (kind of makes me feel good even though I KNOW I don’t look 21) and I surprise people when I tell them I”m 39. No one believes I’m even 30. I think that’s a stretch too but I guess I’ve seen this face and body for 39 years so I have seen the changes but to strangers I’m new. :-) I’m always looking to improve. I am not happy about everything in my life but I am surprised at how different things have turned out…way off from what I “planned”….some stuff WAY better than I could have ever imagined. I wouldn’t trade today’s me for the me I thought I would be.

shaggy

April 6th, 2012
11:32 am

“you’re a really pathetic 40-something who is deeply depressed and hasn’t really lived since high school”

I am voting for this one.
He sees what he can never have, and is too stupid to realize that the guy looking at him in the mirror is why he will NEVER have it.

Penguinmom

April 6th, 2012
3:29 pm

I think 40 used to be considered ‘old’ because people had kids at a younger age and were approaching the possibility of grandkids in the not distant future. Now, a lot of people have young kids still when they turn 40 and aren’t looking at grandparent years starting until 50 or 60.

I’ve always thought kids kept you young. The things you describe about having kids (putting someone else first, etc), I think of as your level of maturity, not your age. Immaturity isn’t age specific as @reality shows.

Anyway, being old is somewhat of a mindset. I know 60-year-olds who still have a ‘young’ outlook and I know 35-year-olds who are old well before their time because of their mindset.

catlady

April 7th, 2012
8:46 pm

Penguinmom: My former MIL became a grandmother at 32!

Voice of Reason

April 7th, 2012
11:05 pm

I have 6 years before I’m 40. I’ll tell you how I feel then.