The 40 Worst Things About Turning 40

It's your best decade. But it doesn't arrive without some drawbacks.

They say your 40s are your best years. And, to be sure, they're totally right. But that doesn't mean that entering middle age isn't without some drawbacks. From those graying hairs to that terrible feeling of being left out of the cultural conversation, here are the 40 worst things about turning the big four-oh. And for some great advice on aging gracefully, don't miss our complete lists of the 50 things no man or woman should own.

"Middle-aged" now refers to you

temple facial exercise
Ollyy / Shutterstock

Welcome to "middle age!" Whether you're ready for it or not (of course you're not), that phrase now firmly applies to you.

Mid-Life crises

mid-life crisis

Unfortunately, mid-life crises are a real thing. Any day now, you could feel the need to quit your job to pursue a completely different career path, or find yourself overcome with depression. Take action and break any cycle of monotony in your life by adopting New Habits That Stick.


worst thing about turning 40

When you leave your 30s, those laugh lines, wrinkles, and crow's feet might become more noticeable. But fear not: You can reverse the appearance of lines with the 20 Best Ways to Erase Wrinkles.

That very first gray hair

getting gray hair is one of the worst parts about being 40

Some people go prematurely gray earlier in life, while others aren't affected until they are much older. If that first silver hair arrives in your 40s, it can be hard to take. And if you're a man, try to own it like silver fox Steve Carell. 


worst things about being 40

It's everyone's least favorite procedure, but it's an important key to colorectal cancer prevention. Now that you've hit 40, scheduling a regular colonoscopy (either every three or five years), is simply part of your life.

Your younger-year tanning comes back to haunt you

worst thing about turning 40

If you enjoyed laying out in the sun back in your teens, 20s, and 30s, your skin is going to start showing the damage now that you're in your 40s, usually in the form of brown blotch spots. And that's not the only way your body will remind you you're getting older. For more facts about your body, check out the 40 Ways Your Body Changes After 40.

None of the celebrities your nieces, nephews, and kids like are recognizable

not recognizing celebs anymore is a bad part about turning 40

No, Ariana Grande is not something you order at Starbucks.

Touching your toes is gets harder

worst parts about turning 40

No matter how many times a week you get your butt to yoga, it's undeniable that your flexibility is decreasing. Remember: Fitness becomes a little bit harder north of 40, but it's nothing you can't handle. Just follow the 10 Surefire Ways to Get Your Best Body in Your 40s!

You start worrying about menopause

worst part about turning 40

Between ages 45 and 55, most women begin to go through menopause, though it may occur earlier or later depending on the person. When menopause feels more like a reality, you might start freaking out about having a baby, and wondering if you're just hot or you're experiencing a hot flash symptom—and more.

Ointments become part of your shopping list

turning 40

From Bengay to hemorrhoid cream, you can't rule anything out on your next CVS run.

Your favorite bands either break up or fade from view

worst part about turning 40, classic rock

Unfortunately, we all age in the same direction.

Mammograms are now on your annual to-do list

mammograms are one of the things that suck about turning 40

According to the American Cancer Society, women over 45 should get mammogram screenings yearly, but if breast cancer runs in your family, it might be a good idea to consider going earlier than that.

In 10 years, you'll be 50

things that suck about turning 40

But don't worry. Here are 50 Ways to Look Younger in Your 50s.

The kids out there address you as "ma'am" or "sir"

single father over 40

The same goes for "miss" and "mister."

Hair sprouts up in some pretty bizarre places

hair popping up everywhere sucks once you're 40

While you might not necessarily have to shave your legs or underarms anymore, annoying little hairs can start cropping up on your chin, upper lip, or even your nipples once you enter your 40s.

You call college-aged people "kids."

college kids are kids to 40s people

A kid isn't necessarily a pre-schooler. People who are in college, people who are 21, and people who many others may consider grown-ups start to seem like "kids" in your eyes.

Drinking alcohol isn't what it once was

alcohol isn't as fun over 40

Take the amount of liquor you used to drink, divide it in half, and you'll still end up with a hangover the following morning.

You need significantly more coffee

people need more coffee over 40

While it less alcohol to catch a buzz, it takes and much, much more coffee to get you going as a 40-year-old person.

Your period becomes irregular

irregular periods happen after 40

As your body gears up for its next stage of life, you might see some funky changes in your cycle.

Hair starts thinning

hair starts thinning after 40

There's a reason there are so many commercials for shampoos and conditioners that claim to strengthen hair. As we age, our hair thins out because our bodies are producing less estrogen.

Forty means you're halfway to 80

over 40 myth

Again, you're officially in "middle age."

Bowel movements aren't the same as they used to be

stomach pain

Unfortunately, constipation is a reality for many people over 40.

If a bartender cards you, you're flattered

bartenders IDing you is good after 40

Now, this isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's a daily reminder of your newly exalted station in life.

Facebook posts are less often selfies and more often pictures of cakes

social media changes after 40

Your Facebook feed all of a sudden is filled with desserts, snapshots of the house decorated for the holidays, and photos of children in funny outfits.

Getting out of bed elicits a moan

getting out of bed is harder after 40

Yes, things start getting a little bit creaky when you cross over into your 40s.

Turning out the lights annoys you

turning lights off

You're always the one running around the house shutting off all the lights. It's like no one else cares about the electricity bill!

Seeing a young person out, without a jacket, not shivering, drives you crazy

seeing people without jackets upsets people over 40

You can't shake the urge to throw a coat over her bare shoulders—or to ask the guy incessantly, "Are you cold?!," despite his rebukes.

You constantly lose your glasses

losing your glasses happens after 40

The struggle is real. Don't know that phrase? Read here. 

Your doctor's appointments multiply

Doctors appointments become frequent after 40

From the eye appointment to the ear appointment to the colonoscopy screening to the mammogram to the visit with your GP… Do the medical appointments ever end?

You need more fiber

taking fiber is one of the worst things about being 40

And you start adding it to your glasses of water.

There's a days-of-the-week vitamin holder on the counter

vitamins are necessary after 40

With all the vitamins we have to take, it's best to be organized and cop one of those days-of-the-week holders from the local dollar store. But still, we can't believe we now have one of these things.

Thongs are out of the question

thongs are no longer a thing after 40

Give me cotton panties or give me death!

Commercials about anti-aging creams are your demographic

face cream commercials

The women on the TV screen with beautiful, flawless skin promoting anti-aging creams? Yeah, they're officially talking to you.

You regret all the times your mom told you to moisturize your neck and you didn't listen

moisturizing is necessary after 40

Mom was right. Let's just leave it at that.

Melatonin is crucial to falling asleep

melatonin becomes necessary after 40

As we get older, insomnia becomes more of an issue, so it's no wonder we keep reaching for the bottle of gummy melatonin.

Mascara is no longer a preference. It's a must

applying mascara is necessary after 40

It's not just your hair that's thinning out in your 40s. It's your eyelashes, too.

You never know if you're going to wake up cold or hot

sleeping becomes inconsistent after 40

Hot flashes and cold sweats are both a part of going through menopause, so don't be surprised if you wake up in the middle in the night, the sheets underneath you drenched. It's just a part of getting older.

The Lane Bryant, Harriet Carter, and Gold Violins magazines arrive

mail catalogs become unavoidable after 40

It's like these companies literally know when you turn 40. (They do.) So if you're in need of a portable mobility step or a step-in bath tub, these catalogs have your back. (Ugh.)

Inspecting. Every. Single. Mole.

getting moles checked out is one of the worst parts about turning 40

Yes, now that you're 40, you have to be on the lookout for signs of melanoma at all times. So if any marks on your skin get darker, change, or seem to grow, you're going to need to visit a dermatologist.

The doctor keeps warning you about blood pressure

blood pressure becomes a talking point after 40

We get it: Blood pressure is more important than ever. But does the doctor need to drive the point home into your heart and then twist the knife? And to make sure you truly conquer your 40s, be sure to read the 34 Bad Habits Everyone Should Stop by Age 40.

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Stephanie Osmanski
Stephanie Osmanski is a freelance sustainability, health, and wellness writer. Read more
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