I’ve entered it, my fourth decade. And guess what? There are definitely some challenges, a fair amount of “what the heck?” moments and also some pretty fabulous bright spots. It is a decade unlike any I’ve experienced so far and it does seem to have a few significant marks. So for those of you also in your fourth decade (or dangerously close), here are some ways to know.
You May be 40 (ish) if …
Your metabolism laughs at you.
Remember when you could cut out soda and sweets for a few days and feel a difference in your waistline? Yeah, those were the good ‘ole days. Now it takes a LOT more work to trim down. It’s possible, it just takes longer to see results. And I swear, there are times you can literally hear a sinister snicker when dealing with this conundrum.
Your eyes begin to fail you.
If you’ve never worn glasses before, you will start to pick up readers at the drug store and be amazed at how they help you see clearly. Or you’ll take yourself to the eye doctor and receive a prescription pair. If you’ve already been a glasses-wearer, you may now graduate to a stronger prescription or (gasp!) bi-focals. As a 40-something, you will undoubtedly find yourself making the font on your phone larger or asking your children to read recipe instructions to you because who decided to print them so small all of a sudden?
Your ears are more sensitive.
At church, your daughter’s orchestra concert, or even the movies, you’ll begin looking for earplugs or tissue to provide a temporary relief from All The Loudness. This is often a new phenomenon – noises like this did not bother you in the past. But now, it’s excruciating.
You’re more likely to go with comfort over fashion.
You like heels. You like the way you look in heels. You just have to contemplate if wearing them for today’s occasion is worth the 2-3 days of back pain you’ll suffer afterwards. Sometimes it is and sometimes it just isn’t. And that’s OK.
Laughing might cause a leak.
Yep, you’ve birthed children and things have gotten, shall we say, loose. You begin to have some real empathy when your elementary aged child worries that they won’t make it to the potty on time. You totally get it because sometimes for you, a laugh or a sudden move just may cause a leak.
You feel comfortable in your own skin.
While you don’t love the fact that your body seems to be betraying you, you are pretty dang comfortable just being you. You know your strengths, you know your weaknesses, you know who you can count on, and you know who and what you care about. Those insecurities that plagued you in earlier decades seem to fade away and you wonder why you couldn’t have arrived at this level of self-acceptance earlier. But you don’t worry about it too long, because you are too busy appreciating the fact that you’re there now, and that in itself feels like a huge sigh of relief.
Raise your hand with me if that makes you glad you’re 40-ish.