This summer I will turn 40. Fooooooour-teeeeee. And to be quite honest, I’m taking it in stride. It’s an interesting time to be turning 40. The rise of getting stickers for “adulting” (I have no problem with this, we all could use a little encouragement) and the influx of 90s nostalgia (1993 was the perfect year!) makes us late Gen Xers a little more hesitant to let go of our youth, but what’s the problem with that? Turning 40 doesn’t mean that we have to retire our Pearl Jam concert t-shirts and start listening to Lite FM, or turn in our fabulous heels that make our legs look so good (so good!) for sensible flats, nay! Age ain’t nothin’ but a number, and there is absolutely nothing forcing us to be something we feel we are not as we hit THAT age.
Perhaps it’s because growing up, I was always the youngest of my friends group, but I have watched my nearest and dearest turn 40 and, well, nothing happens. A few jokes here, a few comments there, and everyone just goes about their days as if nothing happened. Conversely, turning 40 could be, if you have faced a lot of challenges in your 30s, a triumph. Sort of a “I survived my 30s, and I am going to celebrate turning 40 like nobody’s business” attitude. I know a lot of people like that, and I embrace the turning of the calendar, and am really looking forward to what the next decade will bring.
Of course, it’s not all balloons and celebrations. I find myself feeling little pains that weren’t there before. I critique my face in the mirror and started looking for “anti-aging” on my moisturizer. I have been known to arch an eyebrow to those younger than I am and grumble “youths…” but that is just a factor of there being more people younger than you. And honestly, doesn’t a little holier than thou attitude towards 20 somethings feel good? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to say “Honey, I did it before you, I did it better than you, and I didn’t get caught.” Just as long as you don’t say it out loud. That would be rude. Just say it in your heart.
There are also things about being a member of Gen X that are hilarious now. Before, we wore thrift store ripped jeans and flannels. Now, they sell them pre-ripped at Macy’s. I know some pre-teens that are getting into Nirvana right now, and I think that’s fabulous. Why not share the wealth of our formative years with the kidlets? We sure had a great time, and there’s nothing saying they shouldn’t have a great time too. As long as they remember that we did it first.
So I raise a glass to my fellow 1977 babies. Let us never forget our roots, but run headlong into our 40s with no fear, no reservations, and taking no prisoners.