40 is the new 30

November 13, 2008


40 or 30

40 or 30


When I was in the midst of my 20s angst, a lot of the older women I talked to told me, “don’t worry, the 30s are so much better. Your 30th birthday will be your best birthday ever, you’ll see.”  Well, my 30th birthday was actually pretty lame- blame it on My so-called newborn baby.  And the angst?  Still around. Don’t get me wrong- there were aspects of my 20s that rocked and there are things about my 30s that I know will be highlights for a lifetime.  Most of the time life will be great.  But angst is a bitch.  So I went back to some of these women and, I kid you not, they said, “yeah, your 30s are really rough. But don’t worry, your 40s are so much better.”  Which leads me to ask, is 40 the new 30?

I went searching for confirmation.  I just didn’t want to believe that it could be true- another decade of insecurity, confusion, and frustration with myself.  I looked to a book that I have been reading, Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids, and Life in a Half-Changed World by Peggy Orenstein, to see what the  women in their 40s that she talked to said.  Same thing.  They love being in their 40s and are so glad to be out of the angst-ridden 30s.  They’re more confident professionally, sexually, socially.  So the million dollar question: were the women I talked to just selling me a bill of goods? Where’s the solidarity, sisters?

I know that things come with time and I’m supposed to be patient and all that but I’m ready to know who I am going to be when I grow up, or at least think that I know, and I would love to be easier on myself overall.  And I am not willing to put that off for another 10 years or so. So here’s my call to women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and up.  Share the wealth.  Teach us youngins all that you have learned.  

I was talking to a friend of mine about all this and she suggested that I look at it differently- that maybe  your 30s are better than your 20s and that it will just get better with each decade.  A nice, positive spin that I will work on using.  But in the meantime- I want the Cliffs Notes.


2 Responses to “40 is the new 30”

  1. Mad-Dog's Mama Says:

    Jess– I have had those *exact* conversations! When I turned 30 and said to my mom how glad I was to be done with the searching and questioning of my 20s, she actually, in a very loving way, laughed at me and said “Oh, you think that ends?” I am trying to put my own positive spin on it– like maybe it’s good to not reach a settled place now when life is long? So we can keep exploring and learning about ourselves? Hey, I’m trying.

  2. Sara Narva Says:

    Jess, I love this post, especially the call to action. I’m sure that the changing information about when we finally feel happy, settled and satisfied is based on the ever-changing sense of satisfaction. What is most inspiring to me isn’t the answer about when will it all be okay, but what can we offer each other all along the way to help us all feel more okay. Spreading the wealth, as you request, is really about spreading the support, the encouragement, the curiosity, dreams and problem solving… not the answer of when we are “done” or finally safe. Thanks for putting your thoughts out there. I think it is another way for us all (women in process) to support one another and be connected!

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