Getting Older Doesn’t Suck As Much As Everyone Says It Does

shutterstock_106472447__1394139557_142.196.167.223So my birthday is today. I’m celebrating my fortieth. Well, technically my fortieth was last year, but I was pregnant and had just moved to a new state where I had no friends – so I decided to skip it. I was going to skip it again this year because not much has changed besides a baby exiting my uterus, but I decided that would probably be ridiculous.

So, happy fortieth birthday to me, I guess. Okay – I’m forty-one. Whatever.

The numbers themselves can scare you a little, but getting older is really not that bad. You’re smarter, people tend to mess with you less, and you feel justified being a total know-it-all. Those are all good things. But I started to really think about why I was happy to be stepping firmly into my forties – not just loitering around my late thirties anymore. Pamela Druckerman inspired this train of thought. Maybe you are familiar with her; she authored the book Bringing Up Bebe, about what it was like to raise a small child in France as an expat. She wrote a poignant, wonderful essay in the New York Times this weekend about what getting older means to her. You should read it.

She started me thinking about all the reasons why I am glad to be where I am now. Sure, I would like the rock-hard butt and amazing boobs I had in my early twenties. I would also love the fearlessness and freedom I had. But I’m embracing this new decade because I’ve decided I’m kind of a bad ass. I’ve had a lot of hard times – but they have all brought me to this place I am today. And it’s not a bad place. Getting older isn’t so bad, people!

So I’ve decided to share some of my totally random ideas that may or may not be good wisdom, just to get you thinking about all the random wisdom you’ve gathered – whether you’re 22 or 52. We tend to forget that every, single day we pick up some kind of real “life hack.” Here are some of mine:

1. Never date anyone who doesn’t have names entered into their phone. This person is a liar and is hiding something.

2. Don’t rest your gum on the rim of your can of Diet Coke. It’s fucking disgusting.

3. Try to say something nice to someone who drives you a little nuts – even if it’s just in your head.

4. Call your mother.

5. When your friend calls you sobbing because she caught her boyfriend cheating, never say I knew it! 

6. Don’t buy jeans that you can’t comfortably sit down in, convincing yourself you will lose the extra 10 pounds it will take to be able to sit down in them without half of your ass spilling out the back.

7. Never agree to a second date with someone who is mean to the waitress.

8. If you have the choice between a side salad and french fries at a shitty diner – always get the fries.

9. Speaking of shitty places, don’t ever get fruit in your cocktail at a dive bar.

10. Speaking of booze, a dirty martini that isn’t made in a fancy restaurant or bar will almost always be made with the olive juice the bartender has repeatedly stuck his fingers in. Skip it.

11. If you’re having trouble sleeping, listen to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.

12. An entire lemon squeezed into a cup of hot water will cure almost anything that ails you.

13. Don’t ever take the wind out of anyone’s sails. If someone you know accomplishes something impressive – always acknowledge it.

14. Try to remember that someone else’s success will never affect your chances of being successful yourself. Jealousy is a pointless energy-drain.

15. Buy a really nice red lipstick and wear it when you’re feeling down.

16. Lie about your age if you feel like it.

17. Don’t waste your time trying to change someone’s political opinions.

18. Hide all of your friends who post bikini pics on Facebook – or whatever else that annoys you.

19. Always give people younger than you a break. It’s helpful to try to remember what you were like at that age – more often than not you’ll actually be impressed with how great they are.

20. You don’t have to be a hugger or be comfortable saying “I love you” – but think about a way that you can make people understand how much you care for them – and do it more.

(photo: iatlo/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Kay_Sue

      Can I get these in a cute Etsy-ready printable? Because I feel like this needs to be posted somewhere prominent in my home, preferably ready for my stepdaughters when they get a wee bit older…

      • Maria Guido

        I’m not very crafty. ;)

      • Kay_Sue

        *gasps*

      • Crusty Socks

        Kay’s being Judgy!!!

      • Kay_Sue

        It’s the best kind of Judgy, because I am also not crafty. So it’s the hypocritical kind!

      • Andrea

        OoooooHHH *goose bumps*

    • Crusty Socks

      #17… but but this is what the internet was invented for, no?
      :(

      • Maria Guido

        NO! It was invented for bitching and judging – not CHANGE! haha Oh, and for kitten gifs.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Happy birthday again!! I have so much respect for you in a non-old person way. :)

    • Andrea

      #2: WHO DOES THIS????? GROSS!!!!

      ETA: On a different not, you did NOT turn 40. You turned 20…twice.

    • candyvines

      Happy birthday, Maria! March 6th was my grandma’s birthday :)
      Hope someone bakes you a delicious cake . . . and that you give me a piece.

    • Kitsune

      Happy Birthday!!! The article is right that there are no grown ups. It was both really liberating and slightly scary when I realized that.

    • arrow2010

      On Okinawa, Japan the average age is something like 85. So being 40ish is considering to be a whippersnapper over there.

    • MegzWray

      I def needed this post! I turn 40 this year and am FREAKING THE FUCK OUT!!!

    • Paul White

      I dunno, I turn 30 in a few months and I still miss youth. Easier to recover from strenuous activity, more energy, more time, more money…*sigh*

      I just want my pre-kid bank account and my 21 year old energy levels back!

    • val97

      I’m 38 and wish I could lose 10 lbs in a week like I used to do when I was younger, but other than that, I’m good with being old. So many things that I used to freak out about when I was younger don’t even phase me anymore. I also have more money now.

    • Alex Lee

      Going to find a really red lipstick now.

      Because Maria.

    • LiteBrite

      Happy birthday Maria!

      I admit that I dreaded turning 40 for a year. When it actually happened, I cried. Now that I’m nearly 45, it’s not so bad.

      I agree with all of your advice, except for #11 (Because I don’t know it. I’ll give it a listen though.) My advice, is don’t think you’re “too old” to try something new.

    • Guest

      I like this a lot. Happy Birthday!

    • SA

      Happy Birthday! I love these! A really good one that I am focusing on lately is “Admit what you find enjoyable”….instead of dragging myself out to do this and that because it is what “should” be fun, find things that I truly enjoy and be ok with that.

    • Andrew Cole

      I’m sorry but this is wrong.

      “Try to remember that someone else’s success will never affect your
      chances of being successful yourself. Jealousy is a pointless
      energy-drain.”

      Jealousy is not the issue here. No, you shouldn’t be mad because your friend won an award, or is getting married while you are still single, or whatever. However, not all success in life is “earned”, some of it is taken.

      Don’t assume that people deserve their success, because most of them don’t, and what they did to get it can absolutely affect your chances of being successful. The top one percent of the one percent aren’t getting richer while we can’t even have a reasonable minimum wage argument in this country because of pointless jealousy.

    • SusannahJoy

      Happy Birthday! (sorry I’m a little late!)

      And I post pics of me in a bikini…. Sorta. More I’m in the picture of something else, and it’s pretty obvious that I had a baby recently, and I don’t really care. My stomach is all lumpy and squishy and striped and I’m gonna wear a bikini if I want to dammit!!! I hope that doesn’t bother people, but if it does, eh. I’m still gonna do it.