Care and Feeding of a 40 year-old

hWhether you’ve stumbled upon one, or had one forced upon you, you may come in contact with a 40 year-old. The 40 year-old might actually be you. Being a forty *mumble* year-old myself, I’m in a unique position to help you through this trying time.


Feeding a 40 year-old requires less patience than feeding a baby, but more composure than feeding a 20 year-old.  If 20 year-old calls out for food, you can grab a bag of something crunchy, throw it in their general direction, and then look away so as not to be disgusted by the carnage.

40 year-olds read The Bottom Line and pour through articles on the Internet to find cures for whatever ails them. For this reason, their food requests grow increasingly erratic. One week, they’ll want coffee and fish oil. The next week, when you try to serve them those same items, they’ll scream in horror and ask you if you’re insane or trying to kill them.  Luckily for you, they’ll spend the next two hours trying to find the article that says those items are bad for them, giving you some much needed personal time.

You may also notice your 40 year-old starting to drink more wine. Let them. They’ve earned it. I once read an article that said red wine is good for my heart, and it is the one article I’ll cling to no matter what I read to the contrary in the future. That and the one that says chocolate is good for me. I had that one framed.


If your 40 year-0ld goes missing, try the bathroom. He or she might be in there, pressed against a mirror, peering at the strange freckles and oddly-shaped spots appearing on his or her face. Hire a contractor and build a spare room specifically for the 4700 fading creams they’ll test in the upcoming months. After about a year of creams, they’ll go to a professional to have their whole face peeled off. You’ll know they’ve reached this point when you hear: “Ooooh, my face! Why did I do this? I am never doing this again!” echoing down the hall. This will happen once or twice a year.

Once a 40 year-old starts going to the spa for face peels, it is safe to turn the spare room you built for housing fading creams into an office. You’ll need the office for the spare job you took to pay for the nips and tucks that follow.  (You didn’t really think a skin care professional could mumble something about how chemical peels don’t help sagging jowls without her partner, the plastic surgeon, coming in for a quick (and free!) consult, did you?)


Keep a little extra space in that spare room for the prescription cholesterol and blood pressure medicines that will start appearing after each yearly doctor’s appointment. Get to know the caller I.D. number of the pharmacy’s recorded voice, since it will call15 times a day to tell you your prescriptions are ready. Give the pharmacy voice a name. We like to call him “Bob, Harbinger of Death.”

You’ll find that your 40 year-old is unable to stand up from a sofa without making noises like “Uuhng” or “Oof.” Do not be alarmed. This is totally normal.

Did you ever play “Hot Potato” as a kid? It’s a game where you pass an object back and forth as if it burns your hands to hold it for too long. If you’re 40+ and living with another 40+, you’ll remember this game as you hand pill bottles back and forth saying “Can you read this?”

It’s true; there is a good chance your eyesight will start to go in your 40s. After the aching joints and age spots, farsightedness will feel like a bit of a kick in the teeth, and you’ll probably storm around the house for a month or two screaming things like “Seriously??” and making jokes with each other about how the next thing you know, you’ll be walking around with reading glasses hanging from a chain around your neck like an old person. Then you’ll laugh and laugh, knowing in your hearts that could never happen.

A few weeks later, you’ll spend the day browsing for attractive eyeglass chains. You’ll be sneaky about it; jumpy as a teenager looking at online porn.  Don’t feel ashamed. Go ahead and buy an eyeglass chain. Maybe get one with some beads on it.  While you’re at it, buy about 22 pairs of spare reading glasses and leave them all over the house. No matter how many you buy, they’ll never be there when you need them. The universe is hilarious that way. You’ll spend countless hours looking for a pair of reading glasses, only to find they’ve been hanging from your neck or propped up on your head the whole time.

My mother tells me eventually your eyes get so bad that you can’t see the instrument board of your car while driving. At this point, you have to buy bifocal glasses so you can read the speed while looking down, and still see the road when you look up.


Thank goodness that will never happen to me.


First seen: Skirt Magazine.


Amy Vansant
Latest posts by Amy Vansant (see all)

13 Responses

  1. Abby

    Is 40 really that bad? I thought 40 was the new 30 and that 60 was the new 40? I’m so confused…and I’m only 31.


  2. winopants

    The bathroom and couch thing we have covered. I guess because we like to be prepared? The sight and hearing are going too, but my theory on this is that I’m developing “selective senses,” you know, to be able to better focus on what matters


  3. Tammy R

    Oh, so true! We are both 40 and just a wee bit over. There are at least one pair of reading glasses in every room. He has even started saving his old glasses for when I need them. Eeks!

    Very funny and appreciated, Amy.


  4. Beduwen

    This is awesome. I also cling to the studies I intend to quote until I die. Yessss…red wine is GOOD for you! And DARK chocolate….really GOOD dark chocolate (Swiss or Belgian). And go ahead and eat ANYTHING you want, as long as it’s in moderation. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


  5. Nina Potts

    My favourite thing, I handed my computer to my girlfriend to read the “Health” part of this. She’s 40, just got put on high blood pressure meds yesterday. I looked away for just a second, when I looked back she had nodded off. I said “seriously?” and took my computer back, which scared her awake.


  6. mrs. bacon

    GREAT post…and so true! (44- and yes I make a noise when getting up!)
    Take out the ” teenager looking at online porn” and the post will be totally awesome and totally shareable!
    Thanks for the funny reads. 🙂


  7. Damien is on my pin tabs, as is a site called and I eat oranges, drink wine, employ Dr. Scholls and could buy stock in stool softeners. I fully commiserate with your thesis young lady.


  8. Jill

    I recently made the “oof” sound when getting out of a chair. (it was more of a oouuugghhooff sound, really.) My twenty-something colleague, who is young enough to be my son, *shudder*, heard this, and started laughing so hard that he fell out of his own chair. I told him he had to take a time out. Then he laughed even harder. I walked away.


    • Amy Vansant

      Ah, well, that’s the beauty. People who call people fat may never get fat, rich people may never get broke, but young people always get old!



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