We are pleased to be hosting guest contributor humor author Jenna McCarthy shares her valuable– and USEFUL — advice for women approaching the big 4-0 Put down your coffee, lest you spit it all over laptop.

518Q0qUt5mL._SL250_Remember when the words “middle age” conjured images of pot bellies and sensible shoes and floral-print blouses? Not anymore! Forty is the new thirty! Or is fifty the new forty? I’m pretty sure chard is the new kale. Anyway, whatever the saying is, ours is definitely not our mother’s midlife. (Imagine never having to envy your friends’ frozen foreheads or wonder if you’re too old to wear skinny jeans. We could just chain-smoke unfiltered Camels all day and watch soaps in our big old polyester Mrs. Roper dresses! How awesome would that be?) Still, the far side of forty be a confusing minefield of mixes messages and mystifying rules. Here are five things you should know before you hit the midlife milestone:

It’s time to start “dressing your age.” According to the internet*, this means anyone over forty should avoid shorts, cowboy boots, crop tops, miniskirts, ripped jeans, sweats, sequins, lace, fringe, ruffles, zebra stripes, patent leather, low-cut necklines, anything tight, anything baggy and absolutely everything from Forever 21. (*I can only assume the internet means all together because what the hell is left?)

Magnifying mirrors are no longer your friend. Remember when a magnifies-eleventeen-times mirror used to be nothing more than a handy grooming tool? God is starting to take away your close-up vision for a reason, honey. Do not thwart Her efforts with this Instrument of the Devil. Everything looks better now from a fuzzy distance, ideally softly-lit by candlelight and a slight buzz. You might want to trust me on this.

Hair is a full-time job. Just a decade ago, highlights were a quarterly luxury. Now, unless you plan to embrace your gray or fancy a nice white stripe down the center of your head, you can plan on visiting your stylist every three weeks, or investing in some rubber gloves and a vat of dye and becoming a DIY queen. (Note: You may need to get a second job to support your hair habit. That stuff is not cheap.)

You can sleep when you’re dead. I know, you’re tired. Maybe it’s hormones or your thyroid or not enough exercise/water/vegetables or too much stress/caffeine/alcohol. Who knows? Who cares? The point is we’re all tired—and frankly, all this bitching about it is exhausting for everyone. Embrace it. Tired is the new black!

The Big Chill was bull. That whole happy-dancing-kitchen-cleanup-crew scene? Please. Your social life is now one long blur of soccer tournaments and violin recitals and potluck picnics and whatever other activities your kids engage in. Someday they’ll grow up and move out of the house and when they do you can have your own life again. That is, if you’re not too tired.

************************

Enter to Win

Dawn raved about how much Jenna McCarthy’s book made her laugh (and how she probably read at least half the book aloud to her husband!) in her review of I’ve Still Got It, I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put It. Now it’s your chance to win a copy for your own entertainment! Leave a comment here to be entered– have you reached that banner birthday yet? Any advice of your own to share? (Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.)

 

Jenna McCarthy is an internationally published writer, TED speaker, former radio personality and the author of several books including the brand new I’ve Still Got It, I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put It: Awkwardly True Tales from the Far Side of Forty. Her work has appeared in more than sixty magazines, on dozens of web sites and in several anthologies including the popular Chicken Soup series. (She doesn’t like to brag, but her TED talk on marriage currently has more than two million views.) Jenna likes it when you like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You can read about the time she was escorted out of her office by a cop and see her in the bathtub by visiting www.jennamccarthy.com.

 

Email Author    |    Website About Guest Contributor

View all articles by


                               

This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you support this site. Thank you!
See our Disclosure Policy for details.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty {Books on Screen}

Last winter, I was intrigued by the ads for the upcoming film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, not only for my love of most things Ben Stiller touches, but also because I had a vague memory of the short story penned by James Thurber that I knew I had read way back in my school days. I recently watched the film, now out on DVD, with my husband and our 13-year-old son, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much all three of us enjoyed it. Thurber’s 1939 short story (only $0.99 on Kindle, at the time of this writing!) just so happened to be included in one of my son’s 8th-grade language arts books, so I read it again all these years later, and was
Read the full article →
 


                                       

All I Love and Know

Rife with emotions like grief and sorrow, All I Love and Know by Judith Frank (William Morrow, July 2014) takes readers to dark places in the telling of an evocative story of loss, identity, and love. No doubt about it, this novel starts right in the middle of a terrible tragedy, and the aftermath of the cafe bombing that killed Daniel Rosen’s twin brother and his wife seems capable of upturning the lives of everyone in the family. Daniel and his partner Matthew live together in Northhampton, Massachussetts, a town with a supportive gay community. Matthew left behind the NYC scene to settle down with Daniel in this small town, and their days have a comfortable routine. When Matthew receives the call informing him of the bombing in
Read the full article →
 


                                       

You Knew Me When

Katherine Hill is happy with her life in New York City as an executive for a cosmetics company when she receives a letter, addressed to Kitty Hill, informing her that her old friend and neighbor has passed away, and she has been named in the will.  Katherine has long left Kitty behind and while sad to hear of Luella’s passing, she’s not thrilled to return to her small home town in Vermont. Laney Martin’s life didn’t turn out as planned — she was the one with dreams of New York — but she loves her husband and daughter, and would love her job at the local spa if it wasn’t for her unreasonably demanding boss.  She too is saddened when she learns of Luella’s death
Read the full article →
 


                                       

The Revealed

Read the full article →
 


                                       

What’s on Your Nightstand, July 22

It’s one of those early 4th Tuesdays again, so here we are. It’s hard to believe July is winding down to a close. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised, but I hadn’t felt as if summer was flying by, but here we are. How has your reading been? Have you had long relaxing vacations or days by the pool to read? Or maybe you are busy with activities and out of town guests. We’d love to hear about your reading plans and/or accomplishments for this month. Just write a post on your blog and link it up below. Be sure to visit the others to get some great recommendations as well. Check out our current giveaways. Subscribe to our feed. Follow us @5M4B on Twitter or
Read the full article →
 


                                       

The Queen of the Tearling #Giveaway

Given the chance to start over, would humanity actually change or would our societies still be plagued by the same problems we face now–corruption, exploitation, violence, poverty and disease? Author Erika Johansen imagines a world in which humanity attempted to begin anew in a sort of utopia, only to find themselves within a few hundred years living in a sort of medieval world, with horses as transportation and swords and arrows for weapons, and feudalism and sex-trafficking and slavery all functioning as well. But the story opens with a bookish and isolated girl hiding in a tree, watching the horsemen come and knowing this is the day her life irrevocably changes. The Queen of the Tearling is a great read–just a really enjoyable story that’s
Read the full article →
 


                                       

The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession

Peter Byerly is a single-minded man with two obsessions–his wife, Amanda, and old books. 9 months after Amanda’s sudden, unexpected death, he relocates to the English countryside and one day, he manages to get out of the house and visit an antique bookseller in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. There, tucked between the pages of a Victorian-era book, he finds a watercolour of Amanda’s face staring out at him. Of course it can’t be her–the portrait is unmistakeably Victorian, painted by someone with the initials B.B.–but the resemblance is uncanny. Peter buys another book, slips the portrait inside, and begins trying to track down the artist, thereby beginning a quest that will take him much further than he ever dreamed. The Bookman’s Tale is a really fun book.
Read the full article →
 


                                       

Identity: A Fina Ludlow Novel

Fina Ludlow is back. It’s been several months since she had to (major spoiler alert on the last book!!) accuse her own brother in Loyalty, and she has reached a wary sort of peace with her parents. Fina is a private investigator who works for the family firm of ambulance-chasing lawyers who’ve done very well for themselves, but she’s as hard-boiled and hard-working as they come. Renata Sanchez is a single mother by choice, conceiving and bearing two children with the help of an anonymous sperm donor. Her oldest child is now mostly grown, and Renata has decided that in spite of a confidentiality statement that she signed years earlier, and in spite of her daughter Rosie’s reluctance, she needs to find out who that
Read the full article →
 


                                       

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Choose Your Path Book #Giveaway

Recently I received Greek Mythology’s Twelve Labors of Hercules: A Choose Your Path Book (Can You Survive?), which I read and reviewed over on 5 Minutes for Mom. The publisher was kind enough to send the rest of the set, and while deciding between “Dracula,” “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” and “Sherlock Holmes,” pretty much everyone in my family said I should read Bram Stoker’s Dracula as the next one to review. I’ve always been a fan of vampire stories, but have never read this classic novel, so it didn’t take much for me to agree. Like the other Choose Your Path books, “Dracula” starts out with you as the main character, beckoned by a classic book. You’re then suddenly in the story as the
Read the full article →
 


                                       

5 Perfect Pride & Prejudice Projects {Friday’s Five}

The story of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet has moved beyond just a classic novel into a part of culture. You don’t have to dig too deep to Look at Darcy’s pride/shyness/love! See how sweet Jane looks and how confident (proud?) Elizabeth is. This miniseries brought the story to life for me, and Colin Firth will always be Darcy. I just noticed they are available on on amazon prime to stream. I own the DVDs, and I’ve been wanting to watch it again. I’m glad to know that the six one-hour episodes are just a click away. Yes, this is a book as well as a movie. I read the book ages ago, but it’s the movie that remains a favorite of mine. It’s a
Read the full article →
 


                                       

Mr. Mercedes

Almost every time I review a Stephen King book, I feel like I need disclaimers — most of his recent books are not the horror, blood, and gore that most people associate with his work. The same can be said for Mr. Mercedes. This is not the King many people avoid, in fact it’s a new genre for him — a hard-boiled detective novel. And his first attempt is a good one. Detective Bill Hodges, retired, left only a handful of unsolved cases when he left the police force after 40 years. One of those cases comes back to haunt him when he receives a letter from a man claiming to be the one who stole Olivia Trelawney’s Mercedes and mowed down a crowd of job-seekers. This contact is the
Read the full article →