Now though, I’ve got the inside scoop on the forties. Here are ten things that are coming your way:
1. Your skin gets confused and worn out. On your cheeks it vacillates between dry patches and little break outs. Solving either of these problems seem to exacerbate the other. Crows land on your face while you’re sleeping, leaving their imprints to frame your eyes and mouth. The skin on your hands starts to show what one might be tempted to disingenuously refer to as freckles. And the rest of the coat? All laced with the faintest signs of slippage; gravity is taking over.
2. Episode by episode, you come to accept that you are those people. It happened to us again just the other night at the 3 Doors Down concert. We took our seats and I looked around and said to my husband, “Holy crap, everybody here is so old.” And he said, “Yeah, so are we.” If you never looked in a mirror, your timeless brain would reject such nonsense.
3. Ain’t no way you can crack up laughing (or sneeze) without peeing in your panties. Seriously, crossing your legs at the first hint of humor becomes second nature. For the longest time I was convinced this was the fault of having given birth, but my childless best friend has assured me that she too suffers from pisseritis.
4. That beautiful mane migrates and your melanocytes* go mad. Year after year the ponytail circumference shrinks. But not all that hair is gone.... no, no, strays wander off and pop up in the most unlikely of places. Once yanked, odds are about 50/50 they will reappear again. To add insult to injury, the hairs you want—head, brows, lashes, and ladybits—come back in white, but the strays are dark as can be.
5. Woot! Woot! Women in their forties are prone to multiple orgasms! There’s a good reason for that. Turns out we’re on a monthly hormone rollercoaster that whips us through the sex-craving days in about 72 hours. For those three days e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. reminds us that we want to get it on. (Wistful wondering: is this how guys feel every day of their lives?) The rapid fire Os we log then keep us satisfied until next month’s luteinising** surge.
6. The night finally comes when you know for sure that you’ve already been there and done that because you can no longer stay awake late enough to go there and do that. The eyelids are just getting heavy right about the time you used to be putting the finishing touches on your makeup prior to going out partying. Nowadays its a big deal if you last through the Tonight Show (and with Jimmy Fallon hosting it, that’s a serious temptation). At 6:30 a.m., the piper gets paid and you’ll swear off late night again.
7. One ordinary day while you are standing in line at the grocery store, you’ll no longer have any idea who that famous person is on the cover of People magazine. Who are the Kardashians and why they are famous? Is that the boy from Which Direction? And worse yet, for the first time in your life you can’t jump on the latest fad. Bra strap seductively showing? Check. A tattoo? Check. A train track of earrings up your ears? Check. A belly or nose ring? Check. A pair of thongs poking up out the back of your jeans? Check. A selfie of you on Facebook with your mouth wide open and your tongue stretching out as far as it can possibly go? Ewwwww.
8. No, you are not a hypochondriac because it IS freaking possible that the shortness of breath you are experiencing shoveling the snow off your walkway might actually be a heart attack. You have entered the decade of “This shit could be real.” It is also the decade of, “I missed the bottom stair and now I have a back injury that’s gonna last forever.“ Yup, you just don’t bounce back like you used to.
9. You can’t see a damn thing in front of your face. Text messages, recipes, medicine bottles, the bathroom entertainment mag... you can't read any of it without those over the counter plastic reading glasses. And because you are still too vain to invest in a chain, you have a pair stashed in every room of your house, as well as your purse and the glove box.
10. You aren’t sure anymore if the guy in line is flirting with you or just being kind and deferential to the old bag next to him. And if he is flirting with you, you sort of feel skeeved out that someone young enough to be your son is thinking dirty thoughts about you.
It’s not all bad news though. While your body is busy falling apart, your mind is really coming in to it’s own. In fact, you barely give a crap about that list because you are more secure with yourself than you have been your whole life. You are rocking it.
My mom is still rocking her pretty little self, but I keep a close eye on her now. That’s right, I’m paying attention to what’s coming down the road. And one thing I can already tell you is that when you hit your 70s, you’re going to plan every minute of your day according to the freaking weather report.
(*the things responsible for developing hair pigmentation.)
(** If you google it, make sure you throw the word desire in the search box as well, otherwise you are going to learn all about late puberty or fertility.)