Turning Forty, The Farting, Body Odors, and Odd Hair Appearances

I abhor the whole concept of celebrity writers. What do I care about the life of Hollywood movie star X or talk show host Y? Heck, they don’t even write their own books. They get people to do it for them.

To my shock, horror, and utter disdain, I resorted to reading a celebrity book this summer. I needed something light and funny to read after an exhausting two months of work.

Tina Fey’s Bossypants was my first ever celebrity book. I’m not here to review it. But I do want to refer to one chapter she wrote composed of three simple sentences:

What Turning Forty Means to Me

I need to take my pants off as soon as I get home. I didn’t use to have to do that. But now I do.

I have been laughing for the past month over that chapter. I can absolutely relate.

I’ve decided to put together my own What Turning Forty Means to Me list. Men and women out there: feel free to add to my list in the comments section!

What Turning Forty Means to Me:

  • Body odors. New and disturbing body odors in places there were no odors before.
  • I can distinctly remember watching movies in my 20s and 30s where the 40/50 year old woman looks in the mirror and feels her face and neck, disapproving skin changes she seems to be discovering. I’d always shake my head, frustratingly click my tongue, and think, “What is wrong with this woman? Did she not realize she’d get old one day? Did she not know that with age come certain changes?” After forty, I look in the mirror and I’m completely shocked by the person who looks back at me. Who is that old woman in the mirror, I ask? Why is her face falling off her skull? Why is she melting like that?? Why did no one warn me this would happen??
  • What’s the deal with the nails? Why do they become all ridgy (from the noun ridges) and stuff?
  • It’s perfectly all right to fart out loud in front of one’s children. Holding in those nasty gases is unhealthy.
  • I need much more space to sleep in. I sprawl now. A queen-sized bed barely provides enough space.
  • I’m hot then I’m cold, I’m cold then I’m hot…
  • I’m making friends with my PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). I’ve come to accept it and enjoy its company. It entertains me. Can’t say that for the rest of the world, though. Last month’s PMS resulted in me publicly yelling the following at a good friend, “Don’t you DARE sit next to me. You were a HORRIBLE diving buddy during that last dive!” He wasn’t even my buddy during that last dive. He was someone else’s.
  • Don’t talk to me. Please don’t talk to me. I can’t stand the human voice. (Why does no one talk to me?)
  • Joking inappropriately with the children is perfectly all right. Two days ago we were walking through the mall and I noticed a lingerie shop showcasing a black bra and panties with red tassels on them. “I should buy a black bra and panties with red tassels on them,” I tell my 12, 13, and 17 year old children. Twelve year old son, “You are NOT going to buy that, Mama.” “Oh yes I am,” I dare him. “Oh yes I am!”
  • Where did I put my glasses? KIDS! I NEED YOU TO LOOK FOR MY GLASSES AGAIN!
  • Why can I never hear the television at the same volume that my kids can?
  • Looking at gorgeous, thin, firm, confident 20 year old women and thinking, “That won’t last for long. SUCKER!”
  • Hair is starting to appear in odd places and to disappear from other normal places.
  • I’ll climb a mountain. But don’t ask me to bend down and get something from under the bed. My back and knees hurt too much.
  • During the 1992 Cairo earthquake, I refused to leave a shaking apartment because none of my clothes were ironed. My current motto: No one’s looking at you. Just throw on any ol’ thing.
  • I’m still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.

Now it’s your turn! What does it mean to you to be forty?


  1. Nadia,
    a long, long, time ago I turned 40. I rememeber that I came face to face with my mortality. My eye sight was growing weaker and i needed glasses. I look terrible in glasses. I stopped smoking and took up jogging. First a few miles and then a Marathon. These were some of the best years of my life. I am happy that you ae noticing yourself and not taking things for granted. Love each aspect of yourself, body oder et.al. I must now go and exercise to stave off the fat around my middle. Enjoy where you are; there is always more to come.


  2. Im still a few years away from forty, but that last point totally resonated here! Thank you for making me feel totally normal about still figuring out what i want to do wih my life! Would do love to meet and chat 🙂

  3. Twenty-seven years have passed since I turned forty, and I remember that I said to my children that I had reached the peak of my life, the best age of my life. I said that wrinkles gave personality to a face (but every morning I covered –and keep doing so–my face with antiwrinkle cream) and found people such as Jane Fonda, Catherine Deneuve, Robert Redford very attractive with wrinkles around their eyes.

    The problem starts when the “bar code” develops above your upper lip, when your “hinges” screech and do not work properly despite you “oiling” them, when you must give up physical activities that you liked very much… To sum up, when you notice that your mind is younger than your body. Then you realize how wise the French that said “si jeuneuse savait, si vieillesse pouvait” (If youth only knew, if old age only could) was.

    Enjoy your forties, Nadia. Fortunately, you already now and still can.

  4. I am the good friend Nadia yelled at,,and it was shocking to be yelled at in public by one of ur best friends if not the best ever,and u just can’t yell back cause u don’t want to lose that friend,,but she keeps pushing and asking u not to push,,and she stares at u with fierce looks,,and asks you not to look at her,,i was like, what am i supposed to do now!!!
    Love you Nadia

  5. LOL! Loved this! I’m 47 now and all I can say is that it only becomes more interesting. I’m fully post-menopausal already, so some things have evened out a bit (like my mood). I still have the 2-5 pesky dark chin hairs (darkest hairs on my entire body since I was born blonde) that arrived in my 30’s – but I can’t see them well enough to pluck them because my vision is changing! And, to top it off, my nostril and eyebrow hairs are turning white, while my pubic hair is disappearing altogether (thinning and softening). My skin texture is changing too, and I look down at my hands on the keyboard and think “those are my mother’s hands.” Which is strange, comforting and frightening all at the same time 🙂 If I had anything to say to my younger self, it would be to always wear sunscreen. Always. And appreciate being able to take your body, your health, your strength, your natural beauty for granted.

  6. Love this! And the last one is exactly how I feel, as well. Maybe we’re looking at the question incorrectly. Maybe “What do you want to be when you grow up?” isn’t best answered with a job description or title.

  7. When you consider that the noun “pants” means different things in the USA and Europe, you can see the scope for delightful misunderstanding. American pants = trousers. European pants = the scanty garment you wear under your trousers. So from a European standpoint, Tina Fey clearly feels she needs airy freedom when she gets home – but needs to take care when answering the front door.
    As for years after 40 – sprawling over a bed – yup – me too.
    The one saving grace is that my eyesight is less acute, which helps hide a multitude of other sins. (That and avoiding mirrors.)

  8. I am 60 now, so my memory of 40 is a little unclear, but that age didn’t make much of a difference for me. It wasn’t until age 45 that I began to notice that I could no longer read maps without glasses. At age 47, I began to notice some arthritis. It has been going slowly downhill since then.

  9. 40? Didn’t bother me. Being a man, maybe this is different. 50 , however, starts to creak the bones, stress the sight, and maybe slow the mind. But, to quote a country song: _Old Age and Treachery (Aways Overcomes Youth and Skill)_.

    Discovered your tweets today. (And, in turn, your blog.) Sensible woman! Have strength, help build Egypt, spread sanity. I hope you had a good dive.

    -kb, the Kent who has been at the edge of his seat these last months.

  10. When I was approaching fourty everyone was telling me that my body was going to change. I looked at them like they were crazy. In my mind I was saying not me. Well fourty came. Feeling still sexy at fourth even went to Miami to celebrate. Went at them the wrong time. Spring break what a rude awaken.went to the beach and looked around. Honey I put on my cover up. When I got back i got sick and thought I was dieing. I realize right then and there my body was changing. Can’t see fine print as good as I use to. I look in the mirror and wonder who in the hell is this person. my skin is changing, dark circles under
    my eyes. And menstration has a mind of its own. It use to come like clock work now it pops up whenever it feels like it and sometimes it pays me a visit twice a month. I got scare and called my sister she said girl that what happens when you turn 40
    I still didn’t believe her so I went to the dr. I told him Im getting old,all kind of stuff is going on. I could see he wanted to laugh but held it together and said I was fine. Well people I don’t know about you but I’m going to take on a healthy life style and try to adjust to the new me. By the way why are all these young guys trying to date me? Hey I’m no one’s sugar momma lol

  11. As I tell everyone I’m 29.95 pulse shipping and handling. ( and with today’s shipping rates that puts me at 43). The weird things my body has done. I used to laugh at my mom as she motored around the house with what sounded like a broken exhaust pipe. I thought it was because she had six kids and was just to tired to care anymore. I’m with Tina Faye, if you want me to do anything after work you need to catch me before I put my pjs on. It’s kinda hard because the pants come off at the back door! I’m looking forward to the end of this change because it will be another chapter in my life that I made it thru. I hope I just done kill anyone before I get there. Right now my theme song is crazy by gnarls Barkley. Thanks for the laugh and insight of what’s going on. And who says we have to grow up?

  12. This article made my morning. I was having a discussion with my mother who’s a retired RN last night trying to figure out if abnormal odors for a 43 year old were normal. No help was obtained from her but you surely made me laugh out loud this morning. Maybe I should call you doc.

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