You Know You're Over 40 If You Love These Things
Seriously, why doesn't anyone leave voicemails anymore?
One of the biggest clichés about growing older is that you'll apparently start to hate everything. Once you hit 40, they tell us, you'll hate loud music, spicy food, unfamiliar pop culture, and all those kids who just won't get off your lawn. Well, not unlike most clichés, not much of that is true. Yes, we change as we age—it's just not always in a negative way. As we reach middle age, the things that we once had only mild enthusiasm for are now some of our favorite things on the planet.
Here are 25 things that you may not have thought twice about in your 20s or 30s, but, by the time you reach 40, just the thought of them makes you positively giddy. Read on and smile, friend.
Staying in on weekends
Sure, you could put on some fancy clothes and go out all night, dining and dancing and seeing live music and socializing with friends. Or, you could put on your coziest PJs and binge Netflix shows until you fall asleep before 8:00 p.m. We'll give you one guess which choice we opt for.
When you're over 40, you realize how easy it is to survive without your GPS. So what if you take a wrong turn and end up somewhere unfamiliar? This isn't the jungle, and you're not going to be eaten by a tiger if you venture off the beaten path. Give yourself the freedom to wander, with no idea exactly how to find your way home. Trust us, you'll get there eventually.
When did this become a lost art? All communication doesn't need to happen in a text or email (or Instagram message). Sometimes, the sound of another person's voice can be comforting, even if you didn't want to have an actual conversation with them. And if you prefer the analog era, here are 20 Genius Ways to Kill Time without a Smartphone.
Is it so much to ask? Are we being totally unreasonable? If somebody says they're going to meet us at a certain hour, it just feels like common courtesy to show up at least in the ballpark of when they promised. People who treat appointments like an afterthought, or as if our time doesn't matter, make us unreasonably angry. When we ask somebody to meet us at 3:00 p.m. and they show up exactly at 3:00 p.m., it's almost like we've met a soul mate.
Writing in cursive
When we were kids, being able to write the perfect lowercase G or a capital E was a point of pride. Now, it's a skill that nobody appreciates anymore, and one that kids aren't even being taught in school. But the ability to write an uppercase L in cursive with a loop that's aesthetically perfect is still something that makes us our hearts sing.
Eight full hours of sleep
It's not decadent to sleep a full eight hours when you're over 40. For us, it's a matter of survival. It's not hard to miss someone in our age range who's gotten the doctor-recommended amount of sleep. They're the ones who don't look like walking, talking zombies.
In your 40s, liquor isn't just something that makes you act silly. Your palate has become more refined, and you appreciate sipping on a $80 wine in ways you never did guzzling on the cheap stuff. The same goes for the brown liquors, like scotch and bourbon. You now have bottles that you're saving for a special occasion.
Songs from back in the day
There are few things as exciting as listening to the car radio and, suddenly, a song comes on that you can't remember hearing since you still lived with your parents, had school as a full-time job, and suffered just one major anxiety: wondering if you'll get a chance to slow dance with your crush (to the very song that triggered your melancholy, of course).
Early bird specials
There was a time when having dinner at 5:00 p.m. sounded like medieval torture. But now, it just makes more sense. The entrees are less expensive, the restaurants are less crowded, and, if you play your cards right, you can beat the traffic and be home when everyone in their 20s is still waiting for a table.
Remembering something you thought you'd forgotten
Most of us over 40 live in fear that every detail that slips our minds is a symptom of something more serious. It doesn't matter how small or insignificant, if we can't remember it, that can only mean we're on the road to dementia. But, on the flip side, remembering a forgotten thing feels like stepping on the scale and realizing you've lost 30 pounds.
Ignoring emails on the weekend
Many of us older than 40 can still remember when you weren't obligated to talk to anybody in the outside world on a Saturday or Sunday. That was the time we could be with our families and friends, and disconnect from the pressures and stress of our working lives. When we don't respond to an email, or better still don't even check our inbox, it's like taking a time machine back to a simpler age.
Technology from childhood
If you want to see a 40-year-old person smile from ear-to-ear, hand them a Walkman. They'll practically lose their mind holding that familiar gadget in their hands, and remembering the euphoric feeling of slipping a cassette in and pressing play. Yes, technology has made the world so much easier, but it hasn't necessarily made it better.
Getting compliments from the doctor about blood work
There is no more beautiful sentence in the English language than a doctor saying, "I'm really happy about your cholesterol levels." It's seriously better than winning the lottery.
What's that, you say? Everybody, regardless of their age, craves coffee? We realize that the magical properties of caffeine aren't exclusive to people over 40, but we will say this: we need it more. If you don't have your morning cup of joe, are you constantly fighting back the urge to put a fist through your computer's monitor and then curl up on the floor and fall asleep around the shattered glass? Well then no, you don't need coffee like we need coffee.
Finding a parking spot near the exit
People in their 20s and 30s may understand the excitement of finding a parking spot, but it isn't until 40 that you realize how life-affirming it can be to find a parking spot that's conveniently located near the exit. That means when the concert or show you're attending is over, you'll be one of the first to make it out of the parking lot and on your way back home. Beating traffic jams is one of those simple pleasures of life that you don't really appreciate until middle age.
Hopefully you've been using sunscreen long before you reached 40. But by middle-age, sunscreen has become less an obligation and more like a religion. Skin cancer has gone from something ominous you want to avoid in the future to a very real danger that seems more possible than ever. We'd rather wear three thick sweaters on a 90-degree day then walk outside without sunscreen.
The only people who still take part in this weekly online tradition—sharing hilariously silly photos past from their past—are people in their 40s and older. The rest of the world has moved on to other social media distractions. But for us, nostalgia is a serious business.
We know it's not a real accomplishment, especially in this day and age when almost everything is done with debit or credit cards. We haven't become delusional. But there's something about making a purchase with exact change that feels like a victory. That's one less nickel or penny in our pockets that we have to worry about.
Having conversations about the weather
We're not talking about the awkward conversation when you have nothing else to say to someone. After 40, the weather becomes legitimately fascinating. Is it light coat weather, or is a sweater enough? When exactly is the rain supposed to start, and who has a weather app with the most reliable forecasts? At our age, we start talking about the weather like we used to talk about rock bands during our 20s.
If flushing cholesterol and harmful carcinogens out of our body and making sure our digestive system is a mean, clean nutrient absorbent machine means that we're old, then fine, pass the fruits and veggies and call us old.
Not making a fuss about birthdays
We're not eight anymore. Birthdays don't necessarily mean presents and cake. It means everybody in our world reminding us that we're a year older. Hey, we knew already! You don't need to keep bringing it up! You want to buy us a round to celebrate? By all means, let's do it. Just don't make a big speech in which you reiterate exactly how many years we've been on this planet.
Calling mom and dad for no reason
When you're young and the center of your own universe, it still feels like a chore to call home and talk to Mom and Pop. Not so much when you reach your 40s, and you realize the clock is ticking faster than ever. You don't need to wait until a birthday or holiday to pick up the phone and say hello. You won't have this luxury forever, so don't wait too long to realize how lucky you really are.
It's two meals in one! But it's so much more than just a meal. Brunch is a state of mind, a relaxed dining experience that can't decide what it is, and the only point is to talk a little longer with friends, linger over pastries, and order another mimosa. It's brunch, baby! Anything goes!
You can get information faster online, but nothing competes with the feel of a newspaper in your hands, the ink running off of your fingers and the lack of anything resembling a "link" or "pop-up ad."
Everybody loves a good nap, but it isn't until you reach 40 that you truly appreciate how even the shortest of naps can completely change everything. Even if your day was off to a lousy start and you were feeling like absolute garbage, 15 minutes in a dark room with a soft couch and something resembling a blanket can make you feel like an entirely different person. And for more ways to make the most of your best decade, Here Are the 40 Items You Need to Get Rid of Immediately After 40.
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