Forty is the New Forty

sign-speed limit

When you’re twenty, you listen to popular music. When you’re thirty, you discover different kinds of music. When you’re forty, you listen to the music you grew up with. – Galanty Miller

When a friend turned forty, she posted photos of herself of Facebook. She looked great, for her age— a euphemism for women with flabby Brazilian butts and men sporting four-and-a-half packs, which in our youth-obsessed culture, is a compliment women and men alike covet. The photo, which garnered many likes and complimentary comments was captioned, forty is the new twenty. Is it?

My twenties were a time of finishing school, getting my first job and navigating the workspace, getting married and raising a family, and defining and redefining who I was according to the roles I played. In retrospect, I was finding myself, although I did not then know it; did not know there were still plenty heartbreaks and joys to experience. In my twenties, mortality was far, invincibility near. This is as it should be, I think. Life is a series of experimentation, and my twenties was peak season.

Done right, the experimentation of the twenties lead to consolidation around the forties where finally one accepts that just because it is fashionable does not mean that it is right for me. Twenty is a marketer’s dream, the landscape fluid and accommodating undergirded by credit cards. Forty is like marrying a man who squeezes toothpaste from the middle of the tube. If his hands slip to the end, more often than not, they find their way back to the middle. He has come to know, there are no prizes for pressing the tube, only clean teeth.

I understand that when we say forty is the new twenty we mean that the person in question does not look forty. But what does forty look like? Old? What is old? Grey hair, wrinkled skin, poor sight, and an abbreviated gait? The fountain of youth begins in our minds not our bodies. Forty is confidence, and confidence is attractive. Forty is finding the balance you sought for in your thirties. For me, forty is peace brought on by my faith.

My twenties were great; I will not pass that road, littered with people pleasing and tangled apron strings, again. I do not want to. Older is not automatically wiser, but in my forties I see the link between the choices I made in my twenties and the fall out in the years since. Making the connection enables me make informed choices for the years ahead.

Experience is not the best teacher. It can be a good teacher, but an expensive one. If forty were to be the new twenty, then it should be twenty with experience and then the real twenty somethings can learn from the future, from those who have gone ahead of them.

The only thing I want from my twenties? My super fast metabolism, and that only on days I feel vain. The view from my forties is great. I hear it gets better in the fifties, until then, I am wearing my forties like a badge.


©Timi Yeseibo 2016

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54 thoughts on “Forty is the New Forty

  1. Hello Timi,

    How’ve you been?

    As far as age is concerned, I’ve observed that ‘The Decades’ are used as milestones for gauging financial/career achievements, personal achievements and even emotional ones (finding one’s self etc).

    @ “I am wearing my forties like a badge” sounds great. I hope I do so too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “He has come to know, there are no prizes for pressing the tube, only clean teeth.”

    That made me smile. There’s priceless treasure in every age. As far as one ages gracefully, it’s a beautiful thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, there’s treasure to be found in every age.

      I’m glad you smiled. 🙂

      I think that in our forties we know what we want and can become somewhat set in our ways… there’s room for flexibility (his hands slip to the end of the tube), but more often than not, in our forties, we listen to the music we grew up with ….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am still far from 40. Edging closer to 30 and have cycled away from 20.
    Marked my birthday few days ago and I felt younger. This is totally different from what last year where I unconciously added 2 years to mine and a friend had to correct me. It was really weird then.
    What has life taught me about age and number? Many things and nothing.
    There is still much to learn,there is still much to do. But at the same time, I have learnt much and I have done much also.
    Cheers Timi and may forty and beyond be more fruitful for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy birthday in arrears! I hope you had fun celebrating.

      You’ve got so much future ahead of you. Kudos for learning and doing much already.
      Yeah, weird that you wanted to be two years older last year 🙂

      In my mind, I don’t feel ‘older’ as such. My responsibilities and my body remind me I’m older. So age and numbers aren’t always good indicators of how ‘old’ one is. We are as ‘young’ as we want to be. But with the passage of time, we gain experience, confidence, wisdom … added benefits. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that I’m in my forties. I no longer give a hoot about what anyone says or thinks about me. I’m more confident now and have a grace and poise I didn’t possess in my twenties or thirties. Well done Timi!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I still care about my reputation, but not as much as before and it really depends on who is saying or thinking. Family and close friends matter.

      Confidence, grace, and poise, like never before. Forty rocks! Way to go Ihunda!


  5. Forty is confidence, and confidence is attractive. Forty is finding the balance you sought for in your thirties. For me, forty is peace brought on by my faith’

    Perfectly stated and I agree completely!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t miss my twenties either. I echo your sentiments. I just look back and think about how insecure I was about everything, including who I was and the way I looked. If I could go back, I’d appreciate me – more. And even though many bloggers fill this younger age bracket, I have to admit, I’m not envious. I love the time that I grew up in and I’m grateful for journey. Yes, it is a bit freaky to see yourself age, but it’s inevitable, why not accept it? rather than fight what is to be. So far, I’d say forties are pretty, pretty good – I love the confidence. Love it. xxoo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Like you, I don’t find myself envious of the younger generation. I enjoy the company of younger people immensely. Perhaps we can share our stories and be there if they need help navigating their journeys- nudging them to be less insecure and to appreciate themselves more.

      Where, how does confidence come in our forties? Love it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that’s really cool!
      My friends, who are in their forties, and I, have been listing what makes the forties different from previous decades. It’s as if ‘things’ just come together ….


  7. Oh yes confidence is too darn attractive! I couldn’t have said it better. I remember my bestie and I joking around about how we finally fit in better now that we’re in our 30’s. We were never the typical rebellious, fashion crazed teenagers, nor were we marriage crazed 20 somethings with perfect hair or skin. And when the clock struck 30, we were finally at ease in our own imperfect skins! Married, with kids, love all around, happy tired aching overwhelmed bodies and minds and grateful
    to the core! And that has to be one of the most delicious feelings out there! Woohoo a few more years and 40’s here I come!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “… and grateful.” I like that. Gratitude is a force that changes everything for the better.

      “And when the clock struck 30, we were finally at ease in our own imperfect skins!”
      Kudos to you and your bestie, you achieved this earlier than some. I admire the confidence with which you look forward to the 40’s. Woohoo! 🙂


  8. “Forty is confidence, and confidence is attractive. Forty is finding the balance you sought for in your thirties. ” This is very true, at least for me. But I started to feel that around 36 yrs. onward..

    But it’s been awhile since I’ve been 40. 😉 😀

    What do I long for my 20’s? Less overthinking every physical move I make. Yes, sure fast metabolism is desired. My energy to leap into social justice volunteer work. Nowadays I just don’t want to get involved. Even my blog wants to enjoy best of life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah, the ebbs and flows of life. But you’re still quite physically active. More active than some people in their 20’s. I guess if there’s no energy to “leap” (such a vivid sentence, I like it), then there’s energy to “crawl” 🙂 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As long as one is still alive and mobile, there is always hope to become abit more physically active. Always. Even a wheelchair bound person can help themselves for the body parts that still move. I worked in a hospital for parapelgics and quadriplegics. One of our local politicians actually for my area, is wheelchair bound. He got elected into the national Parliament of Canada. He gets around to meet the electorate on his electric wheelchair.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I liked being “37” best . . . but I wouldn’t choose to return to that stage of life and re-live the intervening years. I’m happy where I am. All my choices and experiences brought me to THIS door ~> where/who I am is where/who I want to be.

    Good post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, My mid-thirties were my golden years also. However, 75 was a very good year. Started blogging and also doing stand up comedy at some funky little coffee houses. But, 2016, my 79th year has been a bummer with major health issues for both me and my husband. But so far, the things I’ve learned about grace in the hard times have brought me through better than I would have done at 65 or even 70. So, though circumstances have been rough, I am wiser and stronger. Not necessarily a bad trade off.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Everything coalesced ~ 5 nieces and nephews (under age 5 and lots of fun); great friends in close proximity, 2 sets of healthy parents (and several siblings) within driving distance; lots of energy; good salary; interesting work; slept well, nice house, 2 healthy cats; etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I can’t think of a decade that hasn’t been full of opportunities to gain experience, Timi, or hasn’t been a joy to live (although some have been more up and down than others). I now have more decades behind me than most and every day I learn something new or have a new thought. But the 40s were when I met Peggy, went on my 10,000 mile bike trek, and had some of my greatest successes. It is definitely in my plus column of great decades. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Curt, I appreciate that when you write, you are reflecting on the life you’ve lived, and you are happy with it. I should have squeezed in somewhere in my essay that to never stop learning is also a fountain of youth.

      You make the later years seem very attractive and I’m grinning because you are partial to the 40’s. Thanks Peggy! 🙂


      1. Peggy is smiling, Timi. I am a firm believer in the concept that we need to have challenges in life, things to pull us forward while at the same time living each moment. And, as you know, I enjoy laughing a lot. Your blogs, and those of your guest writers are always thought provoking. Much appreciated. –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill, if I had heard this in my 20’s I would scarcely believe it. But now in my 40’s, I find myself nodding in agreement with you! There is an obsession with youth, perhaps it is more commercially driven than I had first thought.

      Enjoy! 🙂


    1. I find it heartwarming that you’re open to different perspectives.

      More confidence comes. I think there’s a certain degree of it that comes with being older.
      You’ve got a full life ahead of you, enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. ‘Done right, the experimentation of the twenties lead to consolidation around the forties where finally one accepts that just because it is fashionable does not mean that it is right for me’

    ‘Forty is confidence, and confidence is attractive. Forty is finding the balance you sought for in your thirties. For me, forty is peace brought on by my faith’

    Two statements I can’t pass up and congratulations for attaining not just the age but the wealth of experience!

    Liked by 2 people

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