I’m 41. I’m in the ‘messy middle’ part of my life and I’ve had it just about up to here with my contemporaries telling me how damn great middle age is. It’s not. It sucks. There are some ancillary benefits, I suppose, amidst all this suck, but they aren’t the primary reality. Know what I mean?
Allow me to lay it out for you. By the way, I wrote this immediately upon coming up with the title. All 40 of these elements of suck were within reach the second I went looking for them.
1. 50’s Next I won’ t tell you what comes after that.
2. No One ‘Gets’ You What, you have no idea who ‘Potsy’ is? What about ‘the San Francisco treat’?
3. Old Photos They are of my vibrant youth and look like they belong in an American history book.
4. Morning Sucks Worse.
5. Squishy Everything is squishy.
6. Food It used to slide off you. I always thought my elders were exaggerating to make a point when they’d say such silly things as, “I bloat if I eat pizza, Cheez-Its and Ice Cream for dinner.” They weren’t. Worse, the bar for bad is low for me. Toast and cheese.
7. Hangovers If I tie one on now I have to start reading through my benefit package to see if I have enough time to heal.
8. Money What the f*ck. In my 20s, if I thought I’d be making this much money ever, I thought I’d be rich. Instead I’m 4/30ths of my way to owning a matchbox-size home that will never be as valuable as when I bought it. Still living paycheck to paycheck as well.
9. Nudity Not that I need to worry about it.
10. The Dawning Understanding that my Dreams Were Just That: Dreams I was gonna be somebody.
11. Kids We’ve been kicked off the stage. Our time in the spotlight is done. I love the show, but I miss the adulation.
12. Injuries They aren’t temporary anymore.
13. Retirement Savings I’ll never see any of it. My kids will be in college when I should be in my golden years.
14. Movies What do you mean you haven’t seen Breakfast Club? *Pops collar on trench coat, turns and raises fist as I walk away, leaving actual cool people wondering what the holy hell was that?*
15. Gym Really.
16. Commercials They are all reminders of my mortality. Watch what I watch and it’s a steady stream of car companies tempting you to midlife crisis and drug companies reminding you of your failing body.
17. Your Failing Body Not only does it not generally look good naked, but it’s also falling to pieces. Lower back pain is so constant that it’s no longer even noted; it’s like physical white noise.
18. Doctor Visits They always remind you it’s all downhill from here. Not ‘Doctor Visits.’ Doctors. They actually say this.
19. Hair A coworker nearly lost an eye, it popping nearly all the way out of its socket when she saw a picture of me when I was her age. She exclaimed, “You had black hair!” I still do! Sure, you have to REALLY look for it, but what the hell? Did you think I was salt and pepper in my teens!
20. Hair You used to exercise vanity in having it cut regularly. Now you need a regimen just to keep up with the various places it pops out. You wouldn’t believe.
21. Young People I love my kids, but the rest of ’em can go to hell. Straight to hell.
22. Technology I’m the modern day equivalent of the teachers I used to mock who looked so silly as they tried to figure out the VCR. Yeah, VCR, that’s right. Blow it out your ass, young person.
23. Slang What the fuck is ‘on fleek’? I’m sure I misspelled it. I don’t care, my shit’s still dope.
24. Misplaced Confidence …of the formerly attractive.
25. Clothes I can work or sleep. That is really all my wardrobe will accommodate. Which in your 40s is fine.
26. Wellness This is no longer your resting, default place. It is a goal, with strategies. You have endless admiration for your contemporaries who have captured this elusive state of being. You eat a doughnut to feel better about yourself.
27. Senior Citizens I love many of them. But my God, must your mere visage be such a stark reminder of my inevitable end?
28. Sex It’s still fun, as long as both of you have been sticking to your wellness plan, maintained your hair removal regimen and gotten enough rest to not just stop before the end due to exhaustion. It happens.
29. More on Sex It’s still fun, but you see yourself in the mirror. It sure as shit ain’t what it used to be.
30. Music You’re pretty convinced that society collectively gave up making music about 20 years ago. You are occasionally busted singing, “This is how we do it…”
31. Sports They hurt to play and you find yourself enjoying watching baseball as it feels like a day at one of those living museums or something.
32. Social Media You are drawn to it as a means to remain current and you are repeatedly embarrassed by silly things, like thinking that LOL is a real word, not an acronym, and dropping it into conversation — pronounced “lol” — before doing so became ironic and cool.
33. More on Social Media What the fuck do you mean, “Facebook is old. Nobody uses it anymore”?
34. Winter I never loved it; now I hate it with a passion.
35. Teenagers They. Are. Terrifying. Seriously scary.
36. Urinating You now must allow for the same amount of time you used to dedicate to defecating to the process. I’m counting the time you used to waste reading magazines. This might just be us men.
37. Confidence When I was 26 I knew everything. Sure, now I know I was an idiot when I was 26, but it felt great having all the answers regardless.
38. Physical Examinations Are so much more invasive than they were 20 years ago.
39. Sleep Who in God’s name forgets how to sleep? Me in my 40s. That’s the answer.
40. Crying Really?! Now I cry? I’m a fucking crier now? What the actual fuck, 40? All this and now I’m ‘hormonal.’ I’m a man.
There it is. Keep it in mind the next time someone tries to tell you 40 is anything other than 40.