As you get older, something unnerving begins to happen: You start sounding more and more like your age. And if you’re a woman, it’s arguably an even worse experience for you, because you discover that you’re starting to sound more and more like one person: your mother. (The horror!)
But to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, we’ve isolated all of the sayings and phrasings—from tired clichés to common lines older women often say to put themselves down—that no woman over 40 should utter. So read on, strike these words from your vocabulary, and feel your spirits rise. And for more help in the language department, know the 40 Words People Over 40 Won’t Understand.
“When I was your age…”
The intention is clear: You’re trying to bridge the gap with a younger person. We get it. But for all those good intentions, all this saying does is alienate you from a younger person even more. And for more ways to age gracefully, read up on the 40 Ways to Feel Younger After 40.
“It’s too late”
It is not too late! Hire your best friend to promptly pinch your arm every time you say something so stupid! If you think 40 is too late in your life to do something, what are your plans for the next 40 years? And for more things you should say, know that saying this one word will boost your mood by 25 percent.
“I don’t like change”
Does anybody really like change? After all, change is scary, it’s unknown, and it’s largely out of your control, so no matter what age you are, change is never fun. But you have to change. Things change at 20, things change at 30, and they will continue to change at 40. So rather than rebuke it all, try your best to embrace it. And for more advice on aging, check out these 40 Myths About Life After 40–Busted!
“If I’m being honest…”
This is a big no-no—especially at this point in your life. By prefacing your words with a declaration of honesty, you’re basically saying that you wouldn’t necessarily have been honest otherwise.
“Does that make sense?”
It’s one of the top phrases women unknowingly use to undermine themselves and their words. You should never ask anyone if what you think makes sense. Be confident in your convictions, your thoughts, and your words. Instead, know that they make sense. You’re 40—you no longer need someone’s validation that you’re able to string together words successfully, logically, and clearly.
“Bring on the mid-life crisis”
Sure, you’re embracing life in your 40s. But don’t be so ominous. That mid-life crisis isn’t necessarily an inevitability, so why bring it up? Saying this will only make you look and feel insecure.
“I hate my body”
Your body has carried you this far and you should appreciate it—not put it down. Maybe your 20s and 30s you could be forgiven for a little self-loathing, but now that you’re in your 40s, such superficial self-hatred is beneath you. And for more on your brilliant body, check out the 40 Ways Your Body Changes After 40.
“We made love”
You are a woman and you “had sex.”
Life isn’t fair and it certainly doesn’t go as planned. But you shouldn’t ask, “Why me?” Instead ask, “Why not me?” Don’t dwelling in self-pity. Instead, accept your life, yourself, and your flaws. And for more things you should say, here are 50 relationship quotes to reignite your love.
“Life would be easier if…”
If what? If you were richer? Younger? Prettier? More athletic? More sociable? More outgoing? Remember: Complaints change nothing.
“The best years of my life have already happened”
Wrong. Sure, you’ve experienced some great times. Maybe you’ve become a parent, fallen in love, focused on your career or education or a creative project you’re proud of. Regardless of your past life and past accomplishments, you have to believe that the best is yet to come.
“My partner handles that”
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about finances, taxes, handiwork, or car trouble. Do you really want to be a woman who has to rely on anybody? It’s never to late to learn. Instead of writing things off as your partner’s territory, try your hand at learning how to budget, do tax deductions, or change the oil in your car. You won’t be sorry, especially if the day ever comes when your partner’s not around to lend a hand.
“That ‘music’ sounds like noise”
Turning 40 is never an excuse to be dismissive of things other people like.
Has this phrase ever not caused offense?
“I’ll never have a baby”
There are more medical options at women’s disposal than ever before, and women in their 40s are having babies now more than ever. You never know what could happen if you’re open-minded.
“But I’ve always…”
Sure, your way has worked for 40 years, but are you truly not willing to look at things from someone else’s perspective?
“I guess I’ll never travel to all the places I wanted to go.”
Why not? Because you didn’t travel in your 20s? Or your 30s? It sounds like your 40s are the time, now more than ever, to start visiting all of the places you’ve dreamed of.
You’re officially a cranky woman!
“If I said that to my mother…”
Chances are, you probably did (or some variation or another), and even if you didn’t, you shouldn’t use this as a catch-all to describe how you behavior was better than someone else’s. We all fall short, especially as teenagers. So why not come together over that universal human experience, rather than estrange ourselves from each other?
It’s 2017. Donald Trump is president, your phone recognizes your face, and we have self-driving electric cars. Literally nothing is impossible.
“I’m no expert”
It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about, but don’t you dare undermine yourself by saying you’re not an expert. Your opinions are valid—regardless.
You can say, “I’m sorry.” You can say, “I apologize” or “Apologies.” But please stop throwing “sorry” around like it’s the new ice-breaker. Never apologize for speaking.
“I’m too old for that”
Unless you’re talking about watching Disney Junior for your own enjoyment, there is really nothing you’re too old for. You’re not too old to drive a certain car, to wear stilettos, or to go back to school.
“You’ll understand when you’re older”
This is a bogus, throw-away line and you know it! Instead, take the time to explain your and help the other person understand what you truly feel.
“Because I said so”
Again, people will appreciate it when you take the time to explain your thinking.
“Not at my age”
Imagine if Viola Davis, Julia Child, and Martha Stewart were given their opportunities and said, “Nah. Not at my age.” Strike it.
“I’m not into trying anything new”
Instead, challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone more often.
“Back in my day…”
Nothing positive ever comes after a sentence prefaced with “back in my day.” You’re simply undermining yourself. Stop!
“Yoga isn’t for me”
Never shut the door on anything, and that goes doubly for yoga. Women over 40 reap so many benefits from yoga—including improved mental health, increased flexibility, and reduced anxiety.
“Exercise isn’t for me”
Get your butt to the gym—no matter how old you are.
“Meditation? I’m no Buddhist… “
Stop what you’re doing, download the Headspace app, and commit to meditating (at first) for five minutes a day. You’ll be feeling better instantly. And no, you won’t have to travel to Tibet.
“Maybe if I was younger”
You’d what? Go sky-diving? Travel the world? Get your scuba diving certification? There’s still so much time to accomplish what you want to. Never let your age be an excuse.
“I was your age once too, you know”
Again, your intention is clear: You’re trying to connect with a younger person. But it doesn’t work. If you’re talking to a teenager, expect an immediate eye-roll.
“There’s no more time for…”
You’re 40. You’re not 96. Stop acting like your life is over.
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”
Hold a slice of fresh-off-the-frying-pan bacon in the air and tell your 15 year-old dog to spin in a circle. Congrats: You just taught an old dog a new trick.
“I just think that…”
That little “just” is the word working against you. You don’t just think… You think…
“I don’t need an iPhone”
Why are you still living in the Stone Age with a Razr?
“I could be wrong but…”
Yeah, you could be. But why point it out? Let the other people involved in the conversation make that judgment. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter, reinforcing the fact that you doubt yourself.
“Do you know what I mean?”
You’re 40 now. You don’t require anyone’s validation. If they don’t know what you mean, they’ll tell you, but asking can be construed as weak.
“When I was a kid…”
Here’s a different saying to lead with: in my experience or when this happened to me…
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