Recently, I saw a meme that said, “I just want to apologize to the people I called old at 40 when I was 18.” It made me laugh, of course, and made me think about whether I viewed 40-year olds as old when I was 18.
I couldn’t really think of an instance until recently; while on the treadmill, I was watching an episode of Golden Girls (ok, feeling kind of oldish now) where Blanche thought she was pregnant. I thought to myself, “Blanche is like 60, surely, she would have gone through menopause already?!” I then googled the show and learned that Blanche’s character was 47, only seven years older than me. Don’t get me wrong; of course Blanche is beautiful and amazing and fabulous in her own way, but the 40s of today have definitely taken on a “younger” form than the 40s of the 1980s and 1990s.
I don’t feel “old” by any means.
For the last couple of years, I have been working on my bachelor’s degree and sharing classes with students that were born as I graduated from high school. Aside from when we would talk about activities outside of class and they’d mention hanging out with friends while I’d mention hanging out with my kids, I never felt any different from my fellow students and would often forget that I was with people much younger than me. There was only one instance where I really felt the age difference: a fellow student referred to me as the “lady” in the class. I thought “Geez, couldn’t she have used the term woman?” She didn’t mean it in a hurtful way, but it definitely was a reminder that I am in fact getting older.
As I mentioned before, the 40s are very different from how they once were.
For example, more women in their 40s now are having babies than in the past. According to this article, in 2017, almost 29,000 women over 40 had a baby compared to 14,739 in 1997. Also, it seems that many women decide to continue their education into their 40s, whether it be to start a new career or to go onto graduate school; this includes me and a few of the other wonderful Chattanooga Moms contributors.
So, one might say, is 40 the new 20?
I just know that I am not upset about turning 40. In fact, I embrace it. I can’t wait to see what I am going to accomplish and the great things that I am going to do in the coming years!