It’s official. I’m four decades old. Stuff happens when you turn forty. People – often friends, sometimes enemies – photocopy your high school yearbook photo and tape forty copies of it in the hallway leading to your office. People – sometimes fun-loving yucksters, sometimes morons – rent giant plastic gorillas to put on your front lawn. People often find themselves hanging awkwardly between treating the event as an occasion for celebration or for sympathy.
But now that I’m here, I don’t think forty is such a big deal. I think the people who fear forty focus on the wrong things. I’ve only been forty for a few hours, but I can already identify forty great things about being forty. Here they are:
40. The hair in your ears is now long enough and robust enough that it’s easy to pluck.
39. It’s now appropriate to give bouncers a flamboyantly over-the-top shocked response when they ask for ID.
38. People in their fifties envy your youth.
37. People in their thirties fear your wisdom.
36. People in their twenties want you to give them jobs.
35. People in their teens ignore you.
34. The alliterative possibilities are rich … Fabulous and forty! Forty and fun! Fit and forty! Foxy and forty! Frisky and forty! Forty and flatulent!
33. You no longer have to worry about being good in bed – just being able to get an erection is impressive enough.
32. The pressure is off to achieve certain things by a certain age. No one sets goals like “Become vice-president by forty-six,” but everyone wants to be something else before they turn forty – richer, thinner, sexier, luckier, Frencher.
31. This is the last decade that you won’t be in the target demographic for organizations with words like “Senior,” “Retired” and “Grey” in their names.
30. You no longer get unjustified suspicious looks from people when you tell them you’re thirty-nine.
29. You can stay up to whatever time you want, it’s just harder to get up in the morning.
28. You are now entitled to put your name on the waiting list for the 4:00 pm sitting at Swiss Chalet.
27. You are no longer part of the target demographic for any movie starring Zac Ephron.
26. You can no longer hear high-pitched sounds … like your own farts.
25. This is the last year that you have to ponder that immortal question, “Is this the year I have to start getting my annual rectal exam?”
24. Hats with the names of American battleships on them are now an acceptable fashion accessory.
23. Elastic just became a big part of your wardrobe.
22. If you haven’t had your mid-life crisis yet, good news … looks like you’re going to live to be at least eighty.
21. Everyone playing professional sports is younger than you except for guys nicknamed “Gramps.”
20. If you put on a business suit and stand near a BMW, people will assume you own it.
19. You no longer have to worry about being jobbed out of a spot on the list of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 by political shenanigans.
18. Forty is the new black.
17. You’re only 62.5% of the way to living the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four.”
16. It’s now socially acceptable to know a lot of things about the Queen.
15. Any time you don’t want to do anything that involves moving your body, you can just say, “Sorry, but I can’t. I threw my back out” and everyone will believe you.
14. You can gather up all your younger friends and relatives and tell them what the Sixties were like.
13. You’re about to develop a much closer relationship with your doctor … and with the webmaster of webmd.com.
12. Whole new aisles of Shoppers Drug Mart just became interesting.
11. If you can pee and poop without discomfort, you probably consider that a good day.
10. You don’t feel quite so stupid for ordering the first three seasons of “Matlock” on DVD from amazon.com.
9. When you were a child, you could do something pretty commonplace like go to the toilet or write your name and people would say, “You do that really well for someone your age.” Now, if you can run without injuring yourself or lift something heavy without needing medical attention, you get the same reaction.
8. You can have conversations about wallpaper and not feel ridiculous.
7. If you shuffle a little and stoop when you walk and wear a fedora and polyester pants, you can probably get into your next movie for the senior rate.
6. You’re almost six in dog years.
5. Everything on the outside of your body gets softer.
4. Everything on the inside of your body gets harder.
3. Gout isn’t nearly as common as it used to be.
2. If you like eating Oreos and bologna, good news, you just went from being childish to being childlike.
1. You have ten years to come up with fifty good things about being fifty.