40 is not the new 30.

10 Dec 12

(Published by Times of India Crest)

In a few months I will be 40, and the reason that I am thrilled about it is I can finally tell all those annoying pests who say ‘40 is the new 30’ to shove right off.

40 is not the new 30. I am 40. I have been here for 40 years.  Not 39 not 38 and certainly not 30. I get what they are trying to say – in the old days a 40-year-old was an auntyji who had back fat, and wore mom-jeans, but today things have changed and a 40 year old is different right?


The only thing that has changed is that instead of spending all our time worrying about how we look and seem to other people until we are 30, now we get to keep going for another bloody decade. All that we have done is increase the number of years that we are obliged to stay YOUNG.  Because, let’s be honest, in the youth obsessed culture we now subscribe to, that is all that counts.

And who even comes up with this shit? I’ll tell you who. The same turnip who came up with ‘inside every skinny girl is a fat girl waiting to get out’.  This is not true. I have been patiently waiting for the fat girl to come crawling out of Christy Turlington. I have waiting for this to happen since the early 1990’s, since that annoying George Michael video with all the super-models. Not going to happen. Because inside every skinny girl is another skinny girl, and inside her is another skinnier girl and so on. They are like those Russian nesting dolls.  There is no fat girl inside a skinny girl and being 40 is not the new 30.

And until I heard this nonsense I thought getting older was normal. Actually I thought it was fabulous. When I was a kid my dad was allowed to smoke what he wanted, drink what he wanted, eat whatever the hell he wanted to, he could stay up late and not bathe if he felt like it, all because he was OLD.  So naturally I couldn’t wait.  Also, when I was growing up in India, asking a woman her age wasn’t a problem. It wasn’t a rude question; it was just a question like ‘Madam how tall are you?’

But now the foolishness has spread and even in my Motherland asking a woman her age is a rude question. And the reason it’s rude is because the whole problem with being older is that you look older and looking your age is now an insult.  The word ‘old’ is now an abuse. It’s an affront. We have managed to take a natural stage of life and make it insulting. Old is the new fat.

I recently got in to a conversation about age with an acquaintance of mine (she was a friend who got downgraded immediately after this interaction) and I said ‘I know I look 40 and I am ok with it’ and she lost it!

‘NONONONONONO you don’t look 40, are you crazy! You are so fit! You don’t look 40, not you’.

I know she was trying to make me feel better but all she managed to do was irritate the crap out of me.

Of course the part that bugs me most is that this is a woman problem, because while our male counterparts dissolve in to a sagging, drooping mass of 40-year-old bitchtits, they are called distinguished and sexy and we are called cougars! Ladies, a word was made up to describe us! Men get to enjoy their 40’s with a beer, a pile of pancakes and no hair, but I get no rest. I am still supposed to have the face, body, and enthusiasm I had 10 years ago.  And I can’t keep up! Because being 40 is nothing like being 30.

30 can mix dark rum and vodka shots with wild abandon, vomit it all up and then bounce back to life only to repeat the whole process again the next night.  At 40 if I mix rum and vodka shots it is entirely possible that I will die. If I survive, I will not look like I have a hangover; I will look like a hangover, like the flakey, beige balls of a very old, sick basset hound.

Look, we all want to appear to be ‘aging gracefully’ which used to mean that you were graceful about aging, you didn’t bitch, you didn’t moan, and you didn’t believe stupid little sayings, you just got on with your life, but now ‘aging gracefully’ basically means not aging at all.  Not physically, not mentally, not emotionally, not spiritually.  So we have a bunch of 40 years olds who look like 30 year olds with the emotionally intelligence of a 20 year old.

There are many things about aging that suck but there are some wonderful things too. Experience, patience, introspection – are all glorious things that typically come with age, and to deny this is denying our own development. 40 isn’t the new 30, but if we carry on like this 40 will soon be the new stupid.




10 Responses

  • Soudamini Nayak 11 Dec 12 @ 5:14 PM Reply

    Eagerly waiting for the next piece.

  • Ruch 12 Dec 12 @ 4:29 AM Reply

    You’ve said it babe. I’ve been thinking this for a while and you’ve said it so well. Yes we don’t look as old as our mothers and grandmothers when they were 40, but I bloody well hope we’re as wise as they were then.

  • Sue 23 Jan 13 @ 6:01 AM Reply

    It’s funny but I responded to turning 30 with very similar feelings. It’s not the same as being 20, but it’s fantastic and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have no idea why other 30 year olds are feeling weird about turning 30.

    Also, fervent agreement with Ruch’s hope that we are as wise as our grandmothers.

  • kbpm 23 Jan 13 @ 6:19 AM Reply

    I think thats why its insulting. I sort of hate all 20-somethings and to be put in a bucket with those creatures. Ugh. I do tend to over-compensate and talk about how old I am (nearing 40) ALL THE TIME which must be annoying as well. But what the hell. Cougar sounds good. I want. Thanks for this, loved it!

    • Radhika Vaz 24 Jan 13 @ 4:20 PM Reply

      Thanks for reading. I actually like 20 year olds (channing tatum?) I just don;t want to be that again…at least not what I was at 20. Other people may have been sorted. I had a bad haircut and was v stupid.

  • jhoomur 23 Jan 13 @ 6:40 PM Reply

    “30 can mix dark rum and vodka shots with wild abandon…”. Groan. Your 30 sounds like my 21. I was already looking forward to my hot water bottle at 30 (now am 34) and apparently “not looking it”. :/

    • Radhika Vaz 24 Jan 13 @ 4:19 PM Reply

      Some of this drinking ability may have been genetic. But its all gone now. That said I actually get to see daylight on a weekend – not a bad exchange!

  • Susheel Chandradhas 24 Jan 13 @ 8:41 AM Reply

    Wow! I’m a guy, and going to be 30 in a month. Thank you for writing this.

    • Radhika Vaz 24 Jan 13 @ 4:17 PM Reply

      Thank you for reading this. I think things may be changing for men too…i have a lot of male friends who are freaking out about getting old! But at 30 it’s a long way away!

  • Joe 24 Jan 13 @ 8:42 AM Reply

    You certainly rant into your blog like a 30 year old.

    Also, I love how you objectify men, vis a vis “a sagging, drooping mass of 40-year-old bitchtits.” Post some pictures and let’s see how much you sag, honey.

Leave a Reply