Friday, April 1, 2011

20 vs. 40: Top Ten Reasons It's Awesome to Be Old

Kate recently realized that being almost 40 really isn't that bad because being 20 (aside from the hotness) really wasn't that great.  Technically, neither of us is 40 yet.  Not for a long time.  Not for months.   But we don't have to be 40 to know that, in the eyes of any 20 year old in the world, we're already old as dirt.  But we don't even care.  Here's ten reasons why...

10. Victoria's Secret
At 20, you think "Even though I don't have enough money in my checking account to pay my rent, purchasing this $50 padded monstrosity of a push-up bra to adorn my perfect jugs is an excellent use of limited resources. Ooooohhhh!!! Matching panties!" 

At 40, you recognize Victoria's Secret for what it is: another vestige of institutional sexism designed to make you and your boobs feel as if they are wrong.  MY BOOBS ARE NOT WRONG.  My boobs just shop at Macy's now.

9. Booze
At 20, you can get arrested for drinking. If someone asks you for your ID you get all clammy and scared and side-glancey.  And you drink total crap because you have no money and you probably think Pabst's Blue Ribbon is awesome.

At 40, you're not only legal but you're armed with both the knowledge and the checking account to be able to buy the good stuff.  Like T-boxes.  And if someone cards you, you get all happy and dance-y and side-glance-y and say really loudly (so that everyone can hear):  "YOU WANT TO SEE MY ID? TO BUY THIS BOX OF WINE? TEE HEEE! WHY OF COURSE!"

8.  Friends
At 20, you probably still have this stupid idea that you want to be cool. Therefore, you make an ass of yourself trying to seem like you're awesome instead of awkward and stupid and you usually do it around girls who are total jelly-fishing, self-esteem zappers only you're too awed by their coolness to see that. 

At 40, you're like: "I AM BOOBSTAIN! HERE ME RAWR!" and all your friends are like: "We love you Boobstain!" or "Suck it, Fancy!" and then you get a Starbucks.

7. Dudes
At 20, you probably still have this stupid idea that you want to go out with Jake Ryan or some other standard of male perfection (which is of course ridiculous because most dudes that age are so hormone-driven that they can barely read). Therefore, you make an ass of yourself trying to seem like you're perfect and worth their stupid attention and you usually do it around guys who are total douchebags only you're too busy trying impress them and not fall down in your stilettos to notice.

At 40, you've probably figured out that while every dude has his douche-y moments, most men are so much more awesome at 40 than they were at 20.  And that the perfect dude isn't some guy you have to hide your awkward in front of and pretend to be awesome for, but someone who tells you:  "I love you Boobstain!" or "Suck it, Fancy!" and then you get a snuggle. And we can rock a pair of stilettos.

6. Money
At 20, you're probaby completely dependent financially on other people (and your own inability to control your whims).  You constantly complain about what you don't have and can't understand why you're always have to go without the things you want (inspite of the fact that all of your needs are being taken care of by someone else).  Now petulantly stick your bottom lip out and stare longingly at your friend's new iPhone.

At 40, you & your spouse make all the money but your finances are controlled by other people and their demands for things like food, shelter, heat and jeans from H & M.  Though you are constantly working, you hear their complaints about what they don't have and how they always have to go without the things they want.  So every once in a while you feel completely justified in getting yourself a treat and watch with satisfaction as they petulantly stick their bottom lips out and stare longingly at your new iPhone.

5. Your home
At 20, you live with three or four other people that you met in college. The refrigerator is full of leftover pizza and beer, and every month or so you worry that the lights are going to get turned off. There's far too many electronics and far too few cleaning supplies.  And your house is full of furniture that probably used to be in a fraternity house.

At 40, you live with three or four other people that you married or made. The refrigerator is full of juice boxes and leftovers from last night's pot roast, and every month or so, you turn off all the lights, light a ton of candles and throw a little cocktail party for your friends with things like brie and petit-fours. The electronics are all covered with sticky fingerprints, but that's fine because there's plenty of cleaning supplies. And your house is full of furniture that probably will one day be in a fraternity house.

4. Your body
Ummmm...well...yeah, 20 wins. Stupid 20.

3. Clothing
At 20, you go for the shortest, tightest, skimpiest things you can find. After all, you've got a 20 year old body you want to show off, though you never stop complaining how ugly you are and are completely unaware that you're beautiful with no make-up on at 8 in the morning. Every store in the mall carries everything you'd ever want. You've never heard of Mom Jeans and, that's just fine, because you'd never wear them anyway.

At 40, you go for the comfiest, roomiest, yoga pants-iest things you can find. After all, you've got a post-partum body you want to hide. No store carries anything you'd wear; fortunately, Target does. And that's just fine, because while you're there buying the latest pair of Mom Jeans, you can pick up some diapers and a hose.  And you think longingly of how pretty you were at 20 and wish you could have enjoyed that more because now before 8 am you bear a slight resemblence to the Emperor from Star Wars.

2. Career
At 20, you don't have the education that will get you a job any fancier than being a barrista at Starbucks. So you spend your time taking care of children because you can charge WAY more than minimum wage and all you have to do is hang out with some kids.

At 40, you have at least one, but maybe two -- or even three -- calligraphy lettered certificates on your wall attesting to your fancy and high priced education. After years of clawing at the corporate ladder, you decide that maybe your time is best served taking care of small children. But this time, you're doing it for free. And because you no longer pull a paycheck you can't afford to have a barrista make you the Starbucks that you so desperately need.

1. Your brain
At 20, you're probably pretty stupid.  You may just now be coming out of the haze of adolescence and becoming more self-aware and thoughtful every day.  It's probably dawning on you that you're going to have step up and stop being such a tool. The thought may occur to you that your parents aren't asshats after all.  This set of realizations are not always a pleasant experience.

At 40, you're still pretty stupid.  You may just now be coming out of The Blur related to pregnancy, childbirth and having small, adorable, screeching people running around your house and not letting you sleep.  It's probably dawning on you that even though this motherhood thing has periodic moments of soul-sucking horror, it's also the best thing that ever happened to you. And that you may just turn out to be a pretty decent person after all, one who deserves the amazing kids she was lucky enough to end up with.  And this set of realizations is a pretty awesome experience.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. Love it!
    At 20, you're probably pretty stupid.
    At 40, you're still pretty stupid.

  2. I'm so glad I checked for a new post before I headed off to bed! :-) LMAO at this: "And because you no longer pull a paycheck you can't afford to have a barrista make you the Starbucks that you so desperately need."

  3. I'm turning thirty this year, and while it's still sinking in and a little tough to believe, I'm trying to see it as an awesome thing ... rather than just getting old. Thank you for sharing this list and reminding me of what I have (and what I don't ... stupid 20 year-old body!).

  4. I don't think that I can pick a fav here ... but it sure is a good start to me morning as I sit here drinking my coffee in my yoga pants that will never evah see the inside of a yoga studio ;)

  5. This is perfect.

    And it was Boone's Farm, not Pabst. :)

  6. This fall I will turn 30. For my birthday I am giving myself a brand new baby to go with my insaney cute but possibly evil 2 year old. Part of me is sad to leave my twenties behind but he other part of me thinks, if I were turning 20 this fall instead of 30, I would still be dating a total douche bag instead of married to a wonderful man, and if I had this approaching birthday present on the way, I would be terrified instead of extremely happy and terrified. So while I had a body that stopped traffic in a good way, I am glad I am not 20 anymore, even though now I look like the Michelin man.

  7. I, too, have a long, loooong time until I turn 40. 64 days. And it is totally better than 20! I you, Boobstain, and really want you to check your birth certificate to ensure that I, as your long-lost twin, am invited to the next cookout. Woot!

  8. Agreed on the Boone's Farm!
    So I ruined my 20's with kids. I look at it this way-when I'm in my 40's, the kids will be in college and my husband and I will be (moderately) free to do as we please! No screeching little heathens still running around for us!

  9. At 44, I would break an ankle if I wore stilettos, but the same would have happened if I had attempted it at 20. Otherwise, you are right on!!! Love wearing comfy yoga pants and not doing yoga :)

  10. I'm 30 now. In the last 10 years - had 2 kids, breastfed & 6 months into the youngest. I've went from buying Victoria's Secret to not even fitting into anything they carry in store. At 20 I fell in love with Captain Morgan, followed by fancy, costly drinks. Now I love me a t-box (when baby's not drinking from the tap, of course). And nobody cards me anymore. It's depressing. And just makes me want to drink more. By now I know who my real friends are and they don't care that I've got tons of laundry in baskets around the house just waiting to be folded & put away. They know that when my Dane wants up on her couch, they better move & they say nothing about the dog hair tumble weeds rolling across the floor. I've got me a dude & he's not too shabby. Thinks I look good in a pair of yoga pants, unbrushed hair, & no make-up.
    The day that I decided to accept getting older was the day I went shopping with my sister to look for bridesmaid dresses for her wedding. I'm the oldest of the bridal party. She said she should probably find something that didn't allow our boobs to hang out. I said, "I don't care if mine hang out. I just need something to make them look more perky & less saggy."

  11. Again, hilarious! 40 isn't so bad, I'm 50 with ten year old twins, and it's sheer madness. Had my wild days and a sporadic career early on, and had my kids later in life, lots of aches and pains, but my attitude toward most things is a lot softer.
    Thanks again for the laughs.

  12. My husband and I still drink PBR sometimes. It wasn't until I read your post that I realized it may be our version of a mid-life crisis. Busted.

  13. Reading this post has made me realize something ... at two months shy of 34 - I'M FREAKING AWESOME!!!! Well ... with the exception of the awesome body. But thanks to the awesome sparky ninjas, that's coming along quite nicely!

  14. So true!!!! Although I had my first baby in my early 20s so none of the 20s applied to me anyway! lol!

  15. Oh yeah, "Suck it, Fancy!"

    I love you, all.

  16. Pabst? Pssh, please. It was totally Smirnoff Ice in Raspberry or Watermelon. Drink enough watermelon vodka in one night and fall down the stairs at your dad's house, and you will never want to see a watermelon jolly rancher again. Trust me.

    I'm 23 and I KNOW I'm pretty stupid... does that make me self aware?

  17. I'm almost 41, and I would trade my life now for what I had at 20. I've got things pretty good. And I was so dumb at 20.

  18. You posted this on my 41st birthday! I couldn't think of better timing. And, as one who has survived the dreaded fourth decade let me say this, turning 40 gave me carte blanche to tell the world to SUCK IT! I'm forty, I don't need any other excuse. I have a job I love (teaching drama to middle school students [coals to Newcastle] - I'm my own kind of crazy), a great husband and a fabulous 9 year old son. You couldn't pay me to go back to my 20s and honestly, 40 wasn't the horror I was afraid of.

  19. I sure wish that career thing applied to me. Otherwise, yeah, you're spot-on.

  20. I love your blog.

    And I love the "Kate, shuttup."

    I wish twitter wasn't down, so I could tweet this out, so others could be as happy as I am right now, having just had my good laugh of the day.

    I love you two.

  21. Loved it! Even this never-mind-how-far-beyond 40 dad learned a lot. I wish I could watch a 20-year old read this, and then fast forward to them reading it again when they are 40.

  22. 40 can absolutely kick 20's ass, and then unload the groceries!

  23. Ditto Booknerd, except my job is teaching 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders and my son is 10. Turning 41 in May and love my life!

  24. Hahahahahaha, thanks for the laughs! Can't wait to turn 40 now! (I guess....) :)

    Playing It Cooley

  25. LOVE the last paragraph. Made me tear up and giggle at the same time...

  26. I'm having this entire post tattooed on my back tonight.

  27. I don't know if it's an addition to this post or a whole separate issue, but how about "at 40 you've likely been in a stable monogamous relationship for a while and the sex is so way better than when you were 20 and didn't know anything about your body"?

  28. Yes...I LOVE getting carded and have no shame when I make a huge scene in the store when that happens.

  29. hw is it I feel this is relevant at a couple months shy of 28? hubby is 4 years shy of 40

  30. Gahhhhhh! I just accidentally deleted a comment! An amazing comment! Because I have stupid fat fingers! Am so sorry!

  31. (Again with feeling)
    The 20's are so over-rated. Thank you for validating that. I couldn't wait to escape them.

    The last two posts I've read of yours (this one and Kate's Letter) have me sobbing into my napkin as I eat lunch. You ladies are awesome.

    And now I will go put on my slippers and yoga pants.

  32. Or... not. Sorry ladies, but you don't win with this post. Bashing an entire subset of people due to age isn't a good way to justify yourself.

    Not all 20-somethings are immature, poverty stricken, self-unaware idiots. I'm 25, have two boys, a decent marriage, live in a great area, still wear nice clothes, and have a great education (and am finishing up a dual degree while raising two kids under 3). I know my body and my desires. I work hard, dress nicely, study frantically, and am going far in my 20s. By the time I'm 40, one kid will be 18 and the other 16 and a lot of my life will be just beginning.

  33. I do think it gets better with age. With age comes wisdom via personal experiences of trials and tribulations. Youth is so way overrated-my twenties completely sucked-as a matter of fact I was not even happy on my 20th birthday. I'm now in my mid 30's and man-I am healthier, much much happier, look better and and I am more mature. I cannot wait for my 40's because I know it's gonna be awesome. Life as a teacher is short-just be a student and enjoy the wild ride! :)




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