Your bladder weakens, your jowl loosens and your desire for a ‘nice night in’ increases, but there are many reasons why turning 40 is great: one of which is that you simply stop giving a shit about a lot of things. Here are 13 of them.
1. Getting a six-pack
It’s not impossible to get one, but it’s a lot harder and – really – what’s the point? What’s it going to achieve other than emotional torment every time you stare at the bowl of cheesy chips you can’t have? Even if you’re single and trying to impress, at 40 no prospective spouse/partner/date is going to expect Zac Efron’s torso to emerge from under your shirt. Carpe pizza!
2. New music
When you’re young, the latest music is something you need in your conversational arsenal, because, frankly, younger people don’t have as much to talk about. After 40 years on Earth it’s not needed, because you can talk about things like lengthening recovery times, friends’ divorces and variable interest rates.
By all means, feel free to keep your finger on the pulse and shake a tailfeather to this summer’s primo banger, but don’t feel like you have to be ‘relevant’. There’s already more music than you could ever listen to in your life – Spotify’s library alone would take more than 200 years to get through, without sleep – so why not dive into some French synthwave or sub-Saharan jazz? Sure, nobody will talk to you about it, but who are you trying to impress anyway?
3. Having a midlife crisis
When you’re in your 20s, you mock the midlife crisis.
When you’re in your 30s, you fear the midlife crisis.
When you’re in your 40s, you embrace the midlife crisis.
Because it’s not a ‘crisis’, is it? A crisis is, say, getting within a week of your country crashing out of a 40-year relationship with Europe and still having no clue whatsoever as to what’s going to happen. A ‘midlife crisis’ is just realising that there’s loads of stuff you want to do and you now (if you’ve made the relevant sacrifices to the gods) have the time, money and physical and mental capacity to do them.
4. Going grey
There are four possible hair scenarios aged 40, and each of them is ‘grey-friendly’:
1. You are not grey.
2. You are a bit grey.
3. You are completely grey.
4. You are (going) bald.
For no’s 1-3, the joy is that people expect you to be grey and therefore won’t give your pigment-free follicles a second glance. They might even admire them. For no 4, well, colour isn’t really an issue for you, is it? It’s like worrying about how many bedrooms your house on the moon will have.
5. Social media
I mean, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t use it, you just don’t need to use it or need to use it in the way other people think you should use it. If you’re in your 40s now or soon, you’ll have experienced adulthood in the pre-social media age and thus developed all the skills you need to function as a citizen of the planet without the need to share, like or angrily react to literally everything – and you will be just fine thankyouverymuch.
Though this doesn’t account for the sheer amount of gammon on Twitter.
6. Making new friends
Like pound coins on the pavement, it’s nice if they come along, but you don’t go looking for them.
7. What other people think
Ok, this isn’t strictly true: only a psychopath would be so assured of their own excellence and righteousness that other people’s opinions didn’t matter (you’ll find these people on Twitter – see 5 above – and talk radio and in parliament), but after four decades, you’ve hopefully corrected most of your character flaws, developed some kind of defendable world view, and know exactly what kind of hat suits you.
By this, I mean you won’t have to worry if you’re going to have a hangover after a night out, because you absolutely, definitely, without a single shred of doubt, 100% money back guarantee, will have a hangover.
9. Keeping up with the Joneses
When you leave school or university, you and your peers are on roughly a level playing field, assuming your peers don’t include an 18-year-old who’s recently made his debut for Real Madrid or an actor nominated for an Oscar aged 20. From this point, you all go different ways and at different speeds. These directions are hopefully all vaguely upwards, but you unless one of you is a crazed stalker you will all arrive in different places, with different lives and different bank accounts. At 40, shy of a lottery win or successful bank heist, that ain’t gonna change. So you ditch the competitiveness, stop coveting thy neighbour’s 65-inch 4k TV, and start to enjoy where you are.
10. Keeping up with the lagers
Like two heavyweight sluggers trading blows as they pummel each other towards crippling brain damage, when you’re young there’s a temptation, even an expectation, to do the same with booze: pint for pint, shot for shot, cocktail for cocktail.
By the time you turn 40, your mind and body have informed you that this is extremely stupid and that it’s ok to sit out the odd round, to take time over your drink, to have a glass of water. See ‘hangovers’ above: with actions, come consequences. Not only that, but your tastes have changed from basic cooking lager to £7 pints of triple-hopped raw milk-infused porter, so you can’t afford to get hammered.
The more life experiences you have, the more those life experiences being portrayed in films or books will resonate with you and the more you will weep at them without one smidgen of embarrassment. Also, the hangovers.
If you are over 40, you should have AT MOST one roommate because you are now so clear as to how life should be lived that you are psychologically unequipped for dealing with more than one other adult whose tiniest habits irk you. This is why bigamy is illegal.
Honestly, apart from when the first digit changes, you really can’t be arsed with them. Yeah, a card off your folks (with cash in it) is always nice and you’ll use the day as an excuse to get people down the pub for a few pints of that triple-hopped raw milk-infused porter (and hopefully you won’t have to pay) but the actual birthday bit is forgettable. That said, after 40, you forget a lot of things.
Here are three trips you should care about going on
Stir your senses in Sri Lanka
Riding rapids and abseiling a waterfall is all part of the fun.
Scoot across Spain
Little says Mediterranean cool better than pootling around on mopeds in the sunshine, wearing shades and saying ‘Hola’ to the locals.
Frolic in the Philippines
Amazing food, cold beer, tropical lagoons and camping on the beach are among the many highlights.