I remember when I was 30 thinking about what it would be like when I turn 40. It seemed like a lifetime ago. At that time I was really enjoying my 30s, re-discovering who I was and discovering New York City.

I went to open-bar launch parties (on weeknights!), bottomless brunches almost every weekend, met amazing people, went to all major live sporting events and outdoor concerts. The fun never ended. The lack of sleep didn’t bother me at all. I felt like I had so much energy.

Surely I thought, when I’m 40 I will be too tired to party but happily married with a couple of toddlers and being the boss of my own business.

Well, I got one thing sort of right. It seems like you actually CAN party forever here in New York but you just need to have the energy as you get older. That was one thing I immediately noticed as the clock struck 40.

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1. No longer a “spring chicken”

Gone are the days when I could go to an open-bar party starting at 11pm on a Tuesday night and be in the office by 8am the next morning without even yawning. Nowadays I have 2 glasses of wine, get absolutely no buzz and in bed by 10pm but have a hangover from hell the next day.

Why does it hurt so much more all of a sudden?

A big part of the reason why a hangover feels worse at 40 is because our bodies don’t have that same resilience against toxins as we did when we were in our 20s or even 30s. As we get older, our bodies change and alcohol is processed less efficiently. This means our liver needs to work harder to metabolize the alcohol and therefore stays in our system longer.

Simply put, this is just biology and unfortunately, there is no magic cure to ease the pain as we get older. The best way to curb a monster hangover when you’re 40 is to:

  • not drink at all in the first place or;
  • reduce the amount of alcohol you drink while increasing the amount of water you drink in between.

2. You look more your age than your bra size

I remember when I arrived in New York and started my new job. I just turned 30 and no one knew who I was. It was great feeling fresh and new again.

I bonded more with the 1st year analysts and associates than anyone else on the floor. I got invited to all of their after-work drinks get-togethers and never felt out of place but I could tell there was at least a 5-10 year age gap from the most tenured associate there.

No one thought or knew otherwise. One summer intern even asked me which school I went to. I was easily mistaken for someone in their 20s.

Genes do play a part in the way we age but that is something I can no longer rely on. The fine lines around my eyes are no longer fine. They are noticeable.

My supple skin is also losing the battle against gravity plus a lot of summers spent on the beach in the blazing sun don’t help. My smile lines are deeper, the hair at my temples is sprouting silver hairs which I need to dye every 2 months now.

People are no longer shocked when I tell them my age or they actually guess correctly. It’s a subtle change (still shocking to me LOL) but it’s definitely not the case of having an off day.

All hope is not lost. The way I see it, there are 2 ways to address the appearance of aging;

  • accept it and do it gracefully or;
  • change it with plastic surgery.

I am definitely an advocate for the former and choose to do it gracefully. Skin, and therefore skincare at 40, is way different from skin and skincare at 30.

According to dermatologists, changing your beauty regime to include things like an increase in collagen, vitamin C and sunscreen can make a huge difference and can maintain youthful-looking skin.

3. Easier to gain weight and harder to lose it

I love food and I love to eat. My 3 all-time favorite dishes that are my biggest kryptonite are nachos, pizza and steak. I call it my holy trinity. It is not the healthiest combination but I used to eat like this 3 days out of the week.

I actually started to notice the changes to my metabolism in my 30s. That’s when I first heard the term “muffin top”. I changed my exercise regime to compensate. I took up boxing and the holy trinity became only a once-a-month treat.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been very fit and active, so I knew that weight gain was simply due to overeating of naughty stuff like the trinity, and not enough exercise.

As we age, particularly after 40, our metabolism slows down which can lead to faster weight gain. Estrogen levels drop and as a result, we lose more muscle mass, therefore, we require fewer calories if we are not as active.

This may also seem like you put on weight faster even though your eating habits are the same. As long as you maintain or increase your activity, this should help speed up the metabolism in your 40s.

Obviously there are more than 3 things that change immediately when you turn 40 but these are the ones that resonated with me. I will continue to delve deeper into the above in my next posts.

What are some instant changes you notice as you get older?

Or maybe you don’t notice any changes! Lucky you 🙂

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4 thoughts on “3 things that change immediately when you turn 40 and how to handle them

  1. Hey, I enjoy a lot while reading your article on 3 things that change immediately when we turn 40. Your guide is awesome for everyone like me. I know very well it is easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. If happened with me earlier. It is very hard to loose the weight as compared to gain the weight. You have to do more and more exercise to loss weight. Your guide is awesome. 

  2. Hi Sadie,

    This post hits home for me, as I’ve reached 40. I consider myself a light social drinker, meaning that I usually quit after a couple of drinks, but I discovered that staying out too late and having to go to work the next day takes a greater toll on me. In college, I could easily get away with 5-6 hours of sleep and be alert for class the next morning. I’m a long way from that over 40!

    I’ve noticed that I need a few more hours of sleep in recent years. I can get by on 7 hours, but anything less than that? I find that I need to sneak out to my car on my lunch break the next day to get in a quick 20 minute power nap to recharge. Is extra sleep one of those changes that comes with age?


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