When my mother turned forty, her friends threw her a surprise party festooned with balloons stating: “You’re Old.”  I found the gesture hilarious until yesterday, when I too became “old.”  

For months, I planned to write a column celebrating my 40th birthday.  I wanted it to be bold, irreverent, and witty. Yet, this morning, when I peered in the mirror, I felt anything but. No matter what angle I chose, I was no longer a pert young woman but someone inarguably more weathered. I could see the shadows of the old woman I was to become. It was enough to prompt a quick Google search for “plastic surgeon nyc.”

Just as I was about to crawl back into bed and rest this tired old body, something far more disturbing dawned upon me. My mother may not have been “old” at her 40th birthday party, but she would only live for 14 more years.  Am I being too dark, too dramatic? Perhaps. But if I shifted the angle, the message was loud and clear: Take what you’ve learned so far, and make it count.  So here it is…In true Letterman fashion (a format I am old enough to appreciate)...Top Ten Reasons It's Awesome to be Forty.


10.  I don’t look half bad for an old broad.

9.  I am young enough to still rollerblade, but old enough that I don’t give a shit what people think when I fall down.

8.  After voting in five presidential elections, I know that change is possible…but not permanent.

7. On that note, I know a little something about something.  Finally. I no longer have to pretend.

6. When I don’t know something, I can say, “Teach me.”

5.  I can live with my mistakes.

4. As a former colleague of mine once said, “I am old and rich, and you can’t make me do anything I don’t want to.”  Two out of three ain’t bad.

3.  I know my strengths and my flaws. I prefer to focus on the strengths.

2. I have 40 years worth of friends and family.

1. The first half was just practice.

Why are you glad you are 40 (or above)?







Jeanne's Daughter


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