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You Know You're Over 40 If These Things Annoy You

Is it too much to ask that everyone put down their phones?!

Is there anything more ridiculous than the cliche of the cantankerous old man, waving his fist in the air and yelling, "You kids get off my lawn?!" Of course that's not an accurate reflection of aging. We don't automatically pull our pants up to our armpits the moment we reach middle age, and we're not all demanding that the neighbors "turn down that racket" when we hear anything louder than elevator music.

But in all seriousness, there are a few things that set us off. From people who call us "sir" and "ma'am" to concerts that start way too late, these are the things that will annoy anyone over 40. And if you want to feel younger, check out the 40 Things to Avoid If You Don't Want to Feel Old After 40.


big crowd

Crowds used to be something we loved back in our 20s and 30s. It meant we were in the middle of the action. But after 40, a crowd just means it's going to be too noisy, too congested, and too difficult to go to the bathroom should nature call.

Concerts that start unreasonably late

concert at night

Sure, there was a time in our lives when 9 p.m. concerts were no big deal. But these days, 9 p.m. is when we like to be in pajamas, getting ready for bed. Just once, we'd like to get tickets to a cool show that started promptly at 7 p.m.

Not getting enough sleep

woman sleeping at her desk

We're long past the days when we could get a measly few hours of sleep and still be productive the next day. After 40, if we get anything less than a full eight hours of solid rest, we are complete wrecks. No matter what's going on, we'll take a 10 p.m. bedtime any day. And to make sure you sleep soundly, check out The Best Ways to Get a Good Night's Sleep Over 40.

People staring at their phones

man on his phone

Back in our day, everyone made eye contact and had conversations that didn't involve their thumbs. If the younger folks don't want us getting all nostalgic about our youths, then maybe they could give the phones a rest for a minute.

Modern slang


If something is "salty," that means you put too much salt on it. That is it. End of story. Any other definition is gibberish, pure and simple. Listen, we get it, every generation has its own unique slang. But we'll never get used to people saying "LOL" when they mean to say something is funny. You're either laughing or you're not; describing laughter with a slang acronym is not the same thing as a genuine guffaw. And for slang words that everyone over 40 does know, check out You Know You're Over 40 If You Use These Words.

People commenting on what's "age-appropriate"

old woman with pink hair taking a selfie

Oh, so we're too old to pull off this sequined skirt? Or too serious to start a pickup ball game with our pals after work? Listen, we have to keep reminding ourselves that we're never too old to do anything. The last thing we need is unhelpful and unsolicited advice from other people about what's age-appropriate.

Gray hair

man looking at his gray hair in the mirror

Gray hair happens to everyone, especially after 40. But that doesn't mean we have to enjoy it. Gray hair just constantly reminds us how fast time is flying. Not cool, gray hairs. Some things are better left unsaid. And for more signs of the times, check out these 40 Ways Your Body Changes After 40.

Being called "ma'am" or "sir"

man shaking hands with customer service

We know people are just being polite when they use these terms, but it always rubs us the wrong way. We want to shout back, "Do I look like a ma'am? I'm old enough to be your sister! I mean, probably. Let's not do the math, okay?"

Your favorite music being called "classic rock" or "oldies"

grandchild listening to music with grandfather

No, no, there's been a misunderstanding. "Classic" rock only refers to the music our parents or grandparents listened to. The songs being incorrectly identified as "classic" and "oldies" are actually very contemporary. We should know, we remember dancing to these very songs during our high school prom, and that was only… Oh my gosh, it's been how many years? I think I need to sit down for a minute. And for more throwback jams, check out these 20 One-Hit Wonders Every '80s Kid Remembers.

Spam emails

older woman angry in front of laptop

Okay, okay, we get it. We shouldn't click on mysterious links unless we absolutely know where they're taking us. Believe me, nobody is more annoyed than we are when we fall for email phishing scams or hijacked Facebook profile scams. We know we should be more internet savvy, and it drives us nuts that we're still making the same mistakes.

Forgetting names and words

man holding head in frustration or pain

It's like our own brains are conspiring against us. Honestly, it's not that big of a deal to occasionally forget things. It happens to everyone. But when it happens to us, it feels like a betrayal, and maybe even a scary sign that we're getting older. "Could this be the beginning of the end?!" That's the kind of silly paranoia we can spiral into after forgetting something as simple as an actor's name. And for more things you'll relate to in your fifth decade, check out the 40 Truths About Turning 40 No One Ever Told You.

Being reminded of pop culture anniversaries

Warner Bros/IMDB

We didn't need to be reminded that the TV show Friends and classic movies like Pulp Fiction and Reality Bites came out a quarter of a century ago. Because 25 years is a long time, and if those things are old, then that must mean that we… no, it can't be… just stop telling us how old things are, okay?

Losing your glasses

glasses on bookshelf

Weren't our glasses just on our head a moment ago? We must have put them down somewhere, but we can't for the life of us remember where. Maybe we left them on the dryer? Or on a bookshelf for some reason? Sometimes our days can feel like an endless game of hide-and-seek with our glasses.

Potty-mouthed TV

game of thrones on TV

We're not fuddy-duddies. But we can remember when George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" bit was funny because it seemed inconceivable that anyone would ever utter those words on TV. Now it's become commonplace.

Uncomfortable shoes

woman rubbing her feet in heels

Of course we still care about our appearance. But why is it not possible to be stylish and also wear a pair of shoes that doesn't feel like it's crushing all the bones in our feet? We're not saying we want to start wearing loafers to formal events, but hey, they'd be better than stilettos.

Hair growing in places it shouldn't

Young handsome bearded man in front of a mirror with tweezers in his hands. - Image

Is there any greater indignity than realizing your ears need their own barber now? Seriously, if this is somebody's idea of a joke, we are absolutely not laughing.


Black mother and father and young daughter play Jenga-like game

Maybe this annoys us because we remember our own childhoods⁠, when parents weren't constantly hovering over us. Whatever the reason, when we watch parents today, it drives us nuts. Kids need room to breathe, to scrape their knees and make mistakes. Trust us on this, they'll turn out fine.

People who don't vote

i voted sticker

We hope the rumors are false that young people rarely vote. Nothing about this makes sense to us. Given how much people argue about politics on social media, we should all be crawling over each other for the chance to vote. All the idealism in the world means nothing if we don't actually participate in democracy.

Being constantly accessible

old man yelling at phone

Email, texting, social media, where does it end?! It used to be that you could just disappear and not immediately respond to your boss when they started clamoring for attention at ungodly hours. Today, people expect instant interactions, even if it's the weekend or late in the evening.

How fast the years go by now

days crossed out on calendar

Is it just us? When we were kids, summer felt like it lasted a lifetime. But now, years go by in a blip, so fast that it can sometimes feel dizzying. When Christmas decorations start appearing in stores again, we are genuinely confused. Wait, wasn't Christmas literally just yesterday? And for ways to live your best life after 40, check out the 40 Signs of Poor Health No One Over 40 Should Ignore.

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