As a child of the youth-obsessed '80s and '90s, I didn’t grow up with the most favourable view of aging.
There was nothing like the body-positive movement to help people feel more comfortable with their unique physiques, and no one was taking many stabs at racial inclusion yet.
But far worse than being too fat or too brown was being too old, especially if you were a woman.
Watch: Embrace your post baby body. Post continues below.
Once you hit 30 or so, you either lied about your age or refused to give people a straight answer when they asked. You hated birthdays.
You stressed over every wrinkle and grey hair. Taking care of yourself meant trying to seem as youthful as possible for as long as possible, and being mistaken for much younger than you were was the ultimate compliment.
And if 30 meant things were on their way south, 40 meant you were indeed over the hill, especially if you were female.
I couldn’t tell you what I thought would happen to me on my 40th birthday when I was still in my teens and 20s, but I assumed that it would suck. Imagine my surprise when it rocked.
I’ll be 45 in March, and so far, this is nothing like the desolate bath of loneliness and meaninglessness my mother always assured me it would be. These are some of the things that have pleasantly surprised me the most so far.
1. People take you seriously.
When you’re only in your 20s or early 30s, it doesn’t matter how educated, knowledgeable, or experienced you might be regarding a particular topic.
It doesn’t matter how articulately you can speak about that topic or with how much authority. The minute people find out you’re only 20-something or so, their eyes glaze over, and they stop listening.
It’s simply taken as a given that you have no idea what you’re talking about.