It is a brave new world out there, a new Savannah the likes of which have never been seen before, and that makes it a steep learning curve for a lot of people in a lot of ways, but none more so than the experience of turning 40. It just wasn’t like it used to be, when turning 40 was just another chance to cement the fact you had achieved what every 40-year-old wanted to achieve: stability. The steady progression up the corporate ladder into a managerial position, the mortgage you have almost paid off thanks to the fact your five-bed family home only cost you $4,192, enough savings to grant you a happy retirement and children that have grown up and started out on their own journey.
But this isn’t the case anymore because, for guys turning 40 these days – guys that fall into the brackets of Generation Xers and Millennials – the same sense of stability hasn’t been granted. It is a weird and unprecedented world out there, a place where the structure of yesteryear is no more. You probably haven’t climbed the corporate ladder but jumped from job to job like a frog on a lily pad, barely improving your salary over the years, still renting a home because you haven’t managed to save a bean in this two-salary world, while you and your wife are absolutely exhausted thanks to the fact you have young kids and jobs.
This leaves us just three crucially-important question to answer: what is it like being a middle-aged bloke in 2017? What type of existence are we leading? And what kind of lessons have we managed to collect like Pokemon cards along the way?
Well, to help you get the answers and thus make sense of the life your parents are totally confused by, we have come up with a list of things we’ve noticed since crossing into the 40 years old category.
The Term Career Isn’t Straightforward
This is one that is pretty hard to get our heads around because by the time our Dad’s had turned 40 they had worked for the same company for twenty-three years, been promoted twelve times and established themselves a positively stable career. Unfortunately, this simple career ladder you were expecting didn’t come with any footholds, making it more akin to a pole, one that wasn’t cemented in the ground either. You’ve probably come to notice that, which is why every conversation you have had with your old man about your career has always seen you resort to the phrase, “well, these days, the term career is a rather fluid concept.” And you’re right, even if the face your dad pulled would suggest you have lost your marbles.
Every Athlete Is Now Half Your Age
This is something that tends to be quite hard to swallow, but your chances of making it as a professional sportsman have now pretty much completely gone. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But you probably know this anyway because you ache when you get out of bed, ache all day and then ache when you get back into bed. Which means your chances of making it in the world of competitive sport are limited to either chess, bowls or bridge, and you don’t know the rules to any of these because they are all incredibly boring. Cricket is perhaps another legitimate option (it’s an activity they play in England) but it’s hardly a sport because no sport should last four days and end in a drawer.
Your Health Actually Matters
There was a time where you could eat all the takeaway pizza you wanted, never go on a run and still be as fit as a fiddle. But nowadays, one doughnut and your tipping scales like you wouldn’t believe. Not only that but you have started to take a genuine interest in things like prostate cancer and regularly check out www.comprehensive-urology.com/prostate-cancer just to make sure you’re okay. Your diet has changed, you’re running every day and, when you pop into Starbucks, you don’t order a normal coffee anymore because of the chance it could have full-fat milk in it. Instead, you are ordering a skinny, no fat, hazelnut macchiato with that sugar-free syrup and no whip, which makes you sound like an obnoxious hipster, and that is not a good look whatsoever.
Trainers Are Almost A No-Go Option
You can just about still get away with wearing trainers, but this is becoming an area that is increasingly hard to navigate because, well, people will stare and point if you wear anything too jazzy. You can wear standard black or dark blue trainers and that is it. The rest of the time you have to wear Oxford brogues or those waterproof boating shoes that are made out of a material no one has an official name for.
Slogan T-Shirts are also out
Yeah, if you’re a forty-year-old man that’s wearing a t-shirt with a Mr. T phrase on it then you are really asking to be looked at and judged. The same goes for one of those dreadful slogan t-shirts, like the ones in this article on www.buzzfeed.com, that say FBI (Female Boob Inspector). It wasn’t funny when you were twenty, but now it is just plain creepy. Instead, you need to keep to plain tees or ones that have a respectfully middle-aged logo emblazoned on the chest, like a Polo Ralph Lauren or something.
Hairstyles Are Another No-Go Area
Unless you are Nick Wooster or David Beckham, then your hairstyle needs to be more aligned to the kind of thing a classic Lego man would rock. That means, when you walk into a barber to get your hair chopped, you need to set a timer for ten minutes, inform the person doing the cutting that you have set such a timer, and then tell them they have that long to trim your hair and get paid. None of this styling or fading or floofing or whatever. Just get in, sit in silence, get your hair trimmed short all over, pay the person and leave. You are just too 40 to be trying out a top knot or bleached tips or anything like that.
Your Parents Will Always Be More Successful
Okay, they may not have as many Instagram followers of Facebook friends as you, and they may not know who makes up the current roster of your favorite football team. But in terms of conventional measurements of success, you are not likely going to outperform your parents in terms of financial security, retirement comfort or career. In fact, you’ll likely be relying on them to leave you a nice booster cheque in their inheritance as you try and create a YouTube video that will bring you momentary fame and an unearned income. We don’t mean any offense by this, it’s just that the previous generations really capitalized on the good times and made opportunities much harder for you (except in terms of YouTube fame and fortune).
Your Sex Life Has Changed Somewhat
We’re sorry for following a piece about your parents with a piece about your parents, but hey ho. Anyway, as you will have probably noticed, your sex life has changed somewhat, and rightly so. Your 40, so as much as you may still get a kick out of tantric sessions while away on some Caribbean holiday where you and your wife dress up as your favourite film characters, this has become kind of weird, especially as your favourite film is probably Star Wars and having your lovely missus dress up as Princess Leia seems somewhat inappropriate now. That kind of thing is behind you now. It is now missionary-only and it is occasional. That’s just something you need to accept. Luckily, you will also realize just how amazing true love makes you feel, which is safe and content and perfect.
Young People Will Look To You For Advice
You are 40 now, which means you are old and wise in the eyes of the younger generation. We know how scary this must feel because in your head you still feel 19 and moronic, but your kids and their friends will look to you for guidance. What will you do? Well, you’ll silently laugh at the fact people associate age with wisdom, then silently laugh that anyone would ever ask you for guidance and then make something up, probably quoting a line from Star Wars knowing they haven’t seen any of the classic ones. As you will know all too well, you are completely confused by everything in life, it is just up to you whether you choose to disguise this or not.
People Will Not Expect A Fist Bump
It is still the go-to form of appreciation/celebration in your head, but others will not be expecting this, as you may have begun to realize thanks to the amount of times you have encountered that awkward ball and socket experience where you fist bump and they high-five. No good comes from having another person gently wrapping their hand around your fist and then seeing that look in their eye that says, “Oh, you’re still trying to be young, huh?” Instead, stick with a high-five or, better yet, just a handshake. Seriously, it isn’t worth running the risk.
We’re not trying to make you feel like 40 is the end of the road and that everything you thought was cool about you is now the least coolest thing ever. We’re just trying to help you transition by helping you give up on those unrealistic goals you set yourself and explain sophistication is now the look you may want to try rocking instead.