Four Reasons to Look Forward to 40

Earlier this week marked officially 30 days and counting to the big 3-0. Over the course of the week there have been several great articles about the big 4-0, which seem to market it as the best decade of your life. Turning 30, means one leap closer to the “best decade of your life,” according to the New Yorker. Here are my four reasons to look forward to 40 or four reasons that the 30’s rock.

1) Yale Younger Poets and The New Yorker consider 40 the cut-off age for youth “star search” prizes, unlike American Idol, which won’t let you audition past 28 because you are no longer marketable (not that I was ever interested in auditioning for American Idol- my audition would conjure memories of William Hung). The arts seem to allow a more extended youth, why else can trentagenarians still get youth discounted tickets to the Manhattan Theatre Club and the 92nd Street Y?

2) Conversely you are too old to be profiled on MTV’s Sixteen and Pregnant or to star in MTV’s Teen Mom! Some things do get better with age. Congratulate yourself for passing on that role and collect $200.

3) Although amusing, Hannah on HBO’s GIRLS is probably neither the voice of her generation or the voice of a generation, but her creator Lena Dunham just might be and either way, it’s fantastic to not be of the same overprivileged, entitled, incapacitated generation as the Hannah’s of the world. Now if I could be Lena Dunham…that’s a different story, but the majority of us are not Lena Dunham. We professionally pique, or if not pique, at least arrive, at 40, thus allowing us not to burn out or wind up on on Celebrity Rehab for our second act.

4) According Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town”, the forties are the Golden Decade. We are always nostalgic for the life of those who lives forty years in our past and culturally forty is the decade of power. Moreover according to Mirowsky and Ross at the University of Chicago, depression reaches its lowest level at age 45. Everything leading up to 45 is a series of exhausting mental negotiations. Therefore whatever your successes might be, you are more inclined to enjoy them at 40-something. Everything after 45 levels off and depression does not pique, again, until the end of life, usually before the loss of memory. If you’re lucky enough to make it to that point, the good news is that you won’t remember why you’re depressed for very long!

Only a month or so until the Coast to Coast. There’s still so much to organize logistically, but philosophically things are going so well.

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About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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