Friday, March 10, 2006

2261 Is there life after forty?

Today's 40-somethings are sometimes having their first babies, so I don't think this is as much a worry as 60 years ago when Robert M. Yoder wrote, "Is there a life after forty," for the Saturday Evening Post (Nov. 15, 1947). However, I have come across some Thursday Thirteeners in their late 30s who mention turning 40 with some dread in their "about me" section of their blogs. My kids occasionally mention it because one will turn 40 in 2007 and the other in 2008--not too far away from 2006. So here's some words from Yoder about turning 40.

  • Forty is the real Awkward Age; you are old enough to realize that you would look silly doing things you are still young enough to wish you could do.

  • Forty is when young girls. . .start calling you "mister" . . .

  • At forty you clearly aren't twice as smart as you were at twenty, and it is certainly more like two thirds of being sixty than it is like being four times ten.

  • Forty is half of being eighty, which would suggest that forty is the adolescence of old age.

  • At twenty you would climb a sixty-foot tree to get a leaf some girl said was pretty. At forty you'd . . .buy her a single ticket to the nearest arboretum.

  • At twenty, if a friend got thrown into jail for espousing some cause, you would organize mass meetings and demand to be thrown into jail with him. At forty you would telephone the precinct captain or the judge's sweetie and get action faster.

  • At twenty, if a girl gives you a long, direct look and smiles, you look into the next mirror to see why you are so attractive. At forty you look to see who's behind you or what's unbuttoned.

  • At thirty, you notice you are putting on a little weight. . .so you play handball two nights a week, cut down desserts and alcohol, and sweat off four pounds. At forty you take another drink, order pie a la mode and make a note to get pleated trousers.

  • At twenty, if nine p.m. finds you at home, you are sore. At forty, if the phone rings after seven, you wish whoever is coming would pick a night you didn't want to [listen to the radio--obviously a reference to the 1940s].

  • At twenty you welcome a chance to dive off a bridge, rescue a drowning man and be a page one hero. At forty, if you did not get drowned trying, you would clip the man twice--once to rescue him and once for ruining your good suit.

  • At twenty you will drive ninety miles an hour for 200 miles through a snowstorm to see one particular girl. At forty you would phone any girl who's home, invite her to come over by cab, and resent it if you miss the 11 p.m. news broadcast.

  • At twenty you'd work nights for a week to avoid missing a party. At forty you wouldn't stay out after midnight for anything up to and including one of the orgies of Imperial Rome, and even there you would have heard the stories.

  • At forty you realize you are not coasting, but just skidding.

  • I remember thinking my 40s were pretty great, but then my kids turned 16 and made the rest of that decade miserable. My 50s were really good and I did lots of wonderful career related things, but the 60s and retirement are terrific.

    So, friends, don't sweat turning 40. Or 50. Or 60.


    Susan said...

    Forty is sure different for men. It dawned on me the other day that when my little girl turns 13, my dear husband will turn 60...Gosh, I hope he's not thinking about that!

    I had my little girl at 38 because that was when she came along...decent husband not available until that time. I also had my mom as a model...her young son came along at 38, so to me being 40 with a two-year old was no big deal, that's the way it was in my family home. However, my mom had a 40 year old husband to help with the little husband turns fifty right after little angel turns 3 and I'll be a ripe 41 1/2!!!! (I think this is just starting to phase my dh...I heard him tell an old friend that the baby is 2 1/2 and he will be 50 in July) Oh, Kids keep you young, right???

    By the way, I wanted to start a family right after high school, it wasn't like I intentionally put my illustrious career first!

    Just D said...

    I'm 36 and just thinking that I still have time to have another baby...or two...if I want to. But my mother had me at 30 and everyone told her how old she was to be having a child. My how things change...