Getting older comes with so many surprises, sometimes good, sometimes not so great. I have always held firm to my belief that age is only a number. You are as old as you feel, blah blah blah. Then I turned forty. Here’s what I’ve learned.
1. You will most likely need reading glasses
I used to think I was impervious to these “readers” that older people were always wearing and losing and leaving at home when they went out. I have never needed glasses or strained to see small print. I could always see the bottom line of letters and numbers during eye exams. I was proud of this fact, believing my excellent eyesight was going to last for the rest of my life. I was so wrong.
I think it took about 2 weeks after turning 40, for me to start squinting when reading smaller print. My head would hurt at the end of the day after working on small crochet projects or reading a small printed book on my Kindle.
When I finally emailed my Mom and politely said “Mom, I think I need reading glasses.” She replied only with “It happens.” Great. I recommend that you get these reading glasses at the dollar store, (Dollar General or 99Cent store) depending on what you have in your area. I learned this the hard way after I bought my first pair at Wal-Mart and paid $9.99. My second pair from Dollar General was not only more comfortable but way cuter. Seriousely, cuteness matters.
2. Grey Matters
Do we all eventually get grey hair? Who knows, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it at 40! I used to be blonde. It was that pretty, highlighted blonde that was a welcome refreshment after my hair turning a dirty dishwater blonde color in my teens.
When I was 35-39 ish, I was super blonde. We’re talking platinum, kill your hair blonde. The day before I turned 40, my Mom was visiting me and I got the bright idea to dye my hair dark brown. So, we did it and it looked great! I was pleased with my decision… until I noticed some silver/grey hairs popping up around my hairline.
What in the world was that about? Did I have those grey hairs there when my hair was blonde? Had I just not noticed because my hair was so light? This, I did not expect at 40. My Mom later told me that her hair started greying at around 35. If you’re over 40 and still don’t have any grey hairs, well you’re one of the fortunate.
3. Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen
This doesn’t really need much explanation. If you’re reading this and you are not using sunscreen, go put some on now. I’ll wait…
My Mom actually did tell me to wear sunscreen, I just didn’t listen. I should have known to use it since she looks about 20 years younger than she is because she wears sunscreen every day.
I learned that wearing sunscreen was important the hard way. I had squamous cell skin cancer diagnosed on my face when I was 35 years-old. There is a 3 inch scar on the side my face to prove it. Since then, I use sunscreen everyday whether I’m staying inside or not. I apply it right after I brush my teeth which is an easy way to remember it because we always brush our teeth in the morning right?
Not only will using sunscreen help you fight off skin cancer, but it will delay sun damage which will keep you looking more youthful and who doesn’t want that?
My Dermatologist says it’s important to use sunscreen with the ingredients: Zinc OR Titanium. Chemical sunscreens make me break out, so I stick with physical sunscreens (mineral based). My good doctor also mentioned that I should use 46 SPF or higher, although in my opinion, anything over 50 SPF doesn’t really make a difference.
My favorite for my face and body is by Elta MD. I like it because it’s lightweight, doesn’t leave my skin looking white and it doesn’t make me break out. You can find it on Amazon.
4. It ain’t easy anymore
I have never been a thin person, and have struggled with my body image my entire life. My weight goes up and down like a hot air balloon and until I turned 40, I KNEW how to lose it. Whether I applied this knowledge or not in my life, is a different story.
In any event, when I did try to lose weight before turning 40, it happened rather quickly. Sometimes I saw results in just the first week. It seemed like it was always super easy if I really tried and stuck to it.
Then I turned 40 and it’s like nothing is moved. Not my scale or my pants size. It seemed like the old ways in which I used to drop the weight, size or whatever you measure by, just weren’t working anymore.
I have found that good old exercise and clean eating does work (imagine that), just not as quickly as it once did. Not cool.
5. We belong
“We belong to the light, we belong to the thunnnder”, like that Pat Benatar song… no? … anyways…
One of the great things about turning 40, is that we are officially one of the adults. We can now be in charge of things and people will refer to us as wise people. Just kidding.
Although I do feel more than ever that I belong. What I mean by that is I finally have a place in this world. I know who I am, and I am comfortable in my own skin. Sometimes I feel like “the adult in the room,” but more often I’m just at peace. I no longer worry that I need to prove anything to society or the world. I can be who I am, embrace my goals without fear of judgement or worry about disappointing someone.
All in all I think I’m a better person after turning 40. So far, this is my favorite decade.