Biggest Misconceptions of Turning 40

40th bday with my greatest life long friends!

40th bday with my greatest life long friends!

Remember when you were a kid and thought about becoming a grown up? We believed certain things would be true: People will be nicer. Bullies will stop bullying. Money will be easily accessible. You will become totally confident and won’t care what people think. Now that we are all adults, we know that this is all bullshit.

People don’t become nicer. Jerks stay jerks. They might even grow up to be bigger jerks. At least in school, they could only ruin your day. Now, they can destroy career, become your boss or coach your kids tee ball team. Hereby, ruining any chance your kid had at liking sports. The mean girls of the suburban moms can stop you from meeting new friends or have too much of a say in who calls your kid for a play date. They ruled the school and now they rule the community. I think they still wear pink on Wednesdays.

Grown-up bullies are the worst. The mean girl in my office once told a co-worker that she wouldn’t hang out with them anymore if they stayed friends with me. True story. Can you imagine? What’s worse is the co-worker listened and stopped hanging out with me. They even thought it totally reasonable to explain the situation to me, as if by knowing the truth behind their sudden departure, I would somehow hurt less. Needless to say, that plan didn’t quite work. Sometimes, ignorance IS bliss. I know people like to say it’s jealousy, but I don’t believe that to be true. Some people are just assholes. They don’t need a reason. In fact, maybe as parents we need to change how we teach kids to handle bullies. Maybe, we just need to prepare them for the truth. “Some people are assholes, and you will have to deal with them every day for the rest of your life.” If anybody wants to help me start that campaign…call me.

And what about that misconception of financial stability. Did my parents struggle like this? If they did, I never knew. I assumed that if you worked hard, you then lived comfortably. When does that “comfortably” part kick in? Do we all worry so much? Maybe that’s the biggest shock of adulthood: so much worry.

Also, I’m still waiting for that grown-up confidence to kick in. You know, that confidence you read about in every woman’s mag, that states women over 40 stop caring what other people think? That is such crap. Of course, we still care about what other people think. It might be less extreme, I mean I’m not succumbing to peer pressure at 40, but I sure do hate being blatantly whispered about. Or left out of an office gathering. Or seeing that my friends are all hanging out without me. Or having someone sneer at my outfit. That all sucks! Who are we kidding….it hurt at 16 and it still hurts today.

The good news is we do gain a certain power as we grow up: the power to weed out the bullshit. Learn to spot the mean ones and do your best to ignore and avoid. They do still get under your skin, and even hurt your feelings, however, we can choose to be surrounded by love and true friendship,instead of the insecurities of fake people. That’s a powerful choice. The picture above shows my best friends from kindergarten and middle school. The great ones are out there and they are to be cherished. I love these fantastic ladies with all my heart and love that we have chosen each other as forever friends!

Would it have turning 40 easier to know that the cliques and mean girls never go away; that they just become co-workers and fellow soccer moms? I’m not sure. I do think my “people are just assholes” campaign is brilliant and might be the way to prepare our kids for the future!