5 Things Nobody Told You about Turning Forty #Giveaway {Friday’s Five}

We are pleased to be hosting guest contributor humor author Jenna McCarthy who is sharing 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.



  1. anne says

    Celebrate and enjoy this wonderful milestone. Appreciate every minute of this and age is not important. What is important is your health and attitude.

  2. holdenj says

    It turns out that as with many milestones, it’s actually a great one–a good time to come into your own.

  3. says

    I haven’t reached the birthday banner yet but it is quickly approaching.My only tip is to be intentional with your goals in all areas of your life. Time is slipping away and I look back wishing I had been more intentional.

  4. Sunnymay says

    When I reached that 4 decade mark, I felt as though my kids were getting older and growing up, but I felt as though I wasn’t aging. However, my body said otherwise and the sagging started. Now that I’m in my 6th decade, I decided to change my lifestyle, lost 53 pounds and have kept it off for 3 months by following a diet mostly and exercising 4-5 times a week. You are never too old to make changes for the better especially if you think you can.

  5. Linda Kish says

    I’m turning 65 in September. If you don’t get older, you are no longer alive. Just go with it. Life doesn’t end at 40, or even 50. Just keep having fun. Smile, dance, take time for yourself.

  6. Anita Yancey says

    I am 57, and when I turned 40 I decided that I wasn’t going to worry about age and just go with the flow. Besides it’s just a number, so just think that you are young and you will be.

  7. says

    Forty was easy! The giant Mrs. Roper polyester dress sounds lovely. May I wear it to work, too? I agree with Linda- getting older is better than the alternative ,and we don’t HAVE to wear miniskirts!

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