Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

It’s Personal: What Being a Woman in Her Forties is Really Like

The other day I read somewhere that 43 is the median age in the United States. I turned 43 a couple weeks ago, so this statistic stood out to me — I’m exactly in the middle! Perfectly middle-aged! — but when I Googled the statistic to link to it in this post, all I found were some articles claiming that 38 is the median age in the United States. Had I been mistaken in what I thought I read the other day? Was there a qualifier to the statistic- maybe 43 is the median age for white people or for women or for some other descriptive category I fall into and thereby a reason I attached an “it me” meme to when I read? I don’t know – I’m 43 and my memory isn’t what it used to be.

I’m 43 and here are a few other things that aren’t what they used to be:

all the physical stuff you would imagine might be changing (and maybe are experiencing yourself because you’re also in your 40s or older. Hi!); the number of fucks I have to give on a number of tedious topics (what most people think of me, rude or nasty internet comments directed at me, celebrity gossip); my ability to tolerate — and thus, enjoy — red wine; my knowledge of current music; and my tolerance for large crowds, spicy food, and upspeak. Some of these changes have been difficult to deal with. I’d love to enjoy jerk chicken, for example, without loading up on Prilosec for a week in advance, and I’m still caught by surprise when I see a reflection of my neck in the mirror and wonder whether 68 degrees is too warm to wear a scarf.

Not every surprise about getting older has been unwelcome though. Some discoveries have been truly delightful. Like, if you’re 28, you might not realize the absolute, life-altering occasion of a really great night’s sleep. You may not yet appreciate the sheer thrill of an unscheduled afternoon, or the downright aggressive bliss of immediately saying no to something you don’t want to do instead of initially saying yes before being emotionally drained by an oppressive sense of dread followed by a raging case of guilt after canceling. Who knew the most liberating words in the English language were “No, I can’t”? Every self-respecting person over 40, that’s who.

Being a woman in her 40s is fun because if you ever miss the kind of attention you got ten or fifteen years ago, all you have to do is put on some work-out clothes and walk down the street and suddenly you realize the perks of your increasing invisibility when you aren’t wearing spandex. Sure, people — men — don’t hold the door open for you as often anymore, but then you don’t have to feel their gaze on your ass when you walk by either, and since you are perfectly capable of – and maybe prefer — opening doors yourself, this is kind of a win-win.

Listen, it’s not all fun and family game nights in your 40s though. If you managed to get through the first four decades without experiencing much loss, you won’t be as lucky when you’re forty-something. Someone you love will die, and this is a hard truth — hardest, of all, I think — of being in your 40s. It may be your last living grandparent whom you’re particularly close with, a beloved pet you’ve had since your twenties, or a parent you helped care for through an aggressive illness. It may even be an unexpected loss – someone your age, a peer, a close friend who was healthy in every way. And this loss, or losses, will make you reflect on your own mortality and the legacy you will — or want — to leave behind (all of which pairs particularly well with the red wine you can no longer tolerate).

Even if you’re in your 40s and haven’t yet experienced a big loss, you know it’s coming. You’re seeing posts on social media with increasing frequency from old high school friends announcing the deaths of their parents, or their siblings, and sometimes even their spouses or, god forbid, a child. If you’ve avoided feeling intense grief so far, the probability of it hangs heavy in the air like the proverbial shoe you know is going to drop — could drop at any moment. And when it does, there’s almost a relief. The worst has happened — you’ve lost someone you love deeply — and you’ve survived. And in surviving – in experiencing grief and getting through it — something kind of wonderful happens, too: you meet the depth of your own strength and the strength of your support. The people who have your back have your fucking back; maybe you didn’t even know they were there, but you do now. And if you’re a person worth her salt, you’ll be there for them, too. Maybe you already have been and you didn’t know the value of the support you gave until it was returned to you.

Knowing your value is a wonderful perk of getting older. It’s the scaffolding upon which the best relationships are built and from which the worst are dropped. It’s the path to more career fulfillment and better rewards (monetary and otherwise), and the lens through which once-ambiguous obstacles become clear. When you know your worth, you understand what is unworthy of your time and attention, and that’s the first step to clearing your life of these energy-sucks. Clearing these obstacles is such an important step because you need every bit of energy and time you have for new demands: monitoring your kids’ social media engagement; making sure you know your parents’ end-of-life wishes; sending out sympathy cards every other week; getting your blood pressure down; and binge-watching Fleabag.

In a decade that is full of surprises, maybe the biggest of all for me is this: I love being in my forties. It’s my favorite decade so far, despite the losses and the age spots and the acid reflux. I love feeling more confident, having stronger relationships, and not giving weight to things that just aren’t very important. I’m so inspired by other people in their forties, too: their growth, their grit, their determination. And, of course, all their incredible scarves.

54 comments… add one
  • avatar

    ktfran September 26, 2019, 2:18 pm

    I turn 40 in January and I have to tell you, I’m ready. I basically want to spend the year… all of 2020… traveling with friends and having fun while announcing to the world that I’m 40. I definitely don’t look at turning 40 as a negative. I honestly feel like life is really beginning. I’m confident. I’m happy. I’m good in my career as well as personally and financially. And for the first time in my life, I don’t give two fucks. Bring on 40!

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  • avatar

    Buzzlebee September 26, 2019, 2:56 pm

    I hope I am in that space when I hit 40. I’m 36 and have been stuck in a dead end professional position for the last 5 years. I’m working on getting out so I can learn and continue to grow but the last 5 years have been the most frustrating of my professional life.

    On the other hand I’m personally very happy while also starting to think about what more there is for me. Personally I am so much happier than I was in my 20s and I only see that continuing. The knowing your value already feels right.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 27, 2019, 6:18 am

      I wouldn’t focus on 40 as the magic age that things will be good, but I do think that – very generally – at some point in a woman’s 40s, certain things get a lot better or easier, like career stuff and finances and relationships and parenthood (if she has kids) and confidence and not caring what other people think. Some stuff gets more challenging – the physical aging, the inevitable grieving (not that this doesn’t exist in earlier decades, but it comes faster in your 40s), the feeling of not being as valued by society (I don’t really feel that but I know many women in their 40s do; I think being happily married and not in the dating pool helps with this a lot!). Overall – and, again, this is very generally speaking and there will be exceptions – I’d say the good outweighs the bad by a lot. Just don’t expect to feel the good stuff like ON your 40th birthday. It’s a process.

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  • avatar

    Taylor September 26, 2019, 5:44 pm

    Thank you for this Wendy. I’ve been struggling a bit with 41., particularly the grief. Factor in the world, and well, solidarity.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 26, 2019, 5:50 pm

      Yes.

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  • avatar

    Kate September 26, 2019, 5:49 pm

    I don’t know about 40s being better than 30s, I don’t want to mislead anyone. 40 was great professionally and personally, but then I turned 41, Trump got elected, I was part of a big layoff of people over 40 two years after my company got acquired, my mom got sick, my dog has diabetes and is blind (and not a candidate for cataract surgery), and lets see, what else… I’ve got bags under my eyes.

    You’re right about scarves though. I’m consulting at an investment company where people dress up more than any place I’ve worked. I can throw on a power scarf and a pair of heels (sneakers on the train) and feel very power lady.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 26, 2019, 6:09 pm

      I guess also, people say they stop caring about things in their 40s, but I feel like I never really cared. In fact, I was at a party the other night dancing to that song about “I crashed my car into the bridge… I DON’T CAAARRE,” and singing along, and my friend was like, “you really don’t care!” Like, I never had the fucks to give so I don’t notice the difference.

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      • avatar

        ktfran September 26, 2019, 6:42 pm

        I used to care way too much. It took some therapy and maybe getting older to get that out of my head.

        After I wrote my initial post, I thought I should have added the caveat that I’ll celebrate my 40th year with a bang until the election. After that, I can only hope I’ll finish the year with hope.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 27, 2019, 6:28 am

      I think you are a little unique though in several ways, one of which was your innate (it seems innate anyway, but maybe it was a gradual thing?) apathy to other people’s opinion of you. For a majority of people – women, especially – other people’s opinions of them takes up a lot of psychic space through their 20s and most of their 30s, and it isn’t until their 40s that it becomes a – well, “nothing burger.” And that’s a very liberating feeling – one that helps make up for some of the not-so-great stuff that comes with being in your 40s. If you aren’t getting that perk – because you always had it or you got it early – and only or mostly getting the negative stuff, then I can see why your 40s might not be your favorite.

      And, you know, I turned 40 the year Trump was elected, and to have this administration and all the drama around it as a backdrop to my 40s — hopefully just the first part of it!! — has been interesting to say the least. On one hand, I’m a lot more engaged in politics than I was 20 years ago and so, by default, am much more affected by the relentless and dramatic news cycle. On the other hand, I am embracing the responsibility I feel as a concerned citizen to do my part to steer this country into what I know it has the potential to be (and what I hope it will be for our younger generations), and I have more resources now than I did 20 years ago to do that.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 27, 2019, 9:52 am

        I think that process probably happened in my 30s. Until my mid-late 20s really, I didn’t know who I was or what I was good at or what to do with my life (which I think is pretty normal). I saw that all really shape up in my 30s and felt confident. I don’t think I ever felt that concerned with other people’s opinions of me though. Maybe I’m missing a chip somewhere. What does that feel like? And like, whose opinions in particular? Family, friends, people on the street, co-workers, all of the above? I care what my boss thinks of me, but other than that… I can’t feel it.

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  • TheLadyE

    TheLadyE September 26, 2019, 10:01 pm

    I’m a few years away from 40 but this year I lost my little girl dog, the love of my life… little girl who grew me up and made me a mom. I lost her way too soon: I definitely thought I would be 40+ before I lost her. I am feeling the weight of grief unlike any grief I’ve ever felt. It has definitely grown me up even more than I already was. I can’t imagine more grief than this. I didn’t know it was humanly possible to cry as much as I did in the month after I lost her, and sometimes even still now – it sneaks up on me. (I lost her two months ago now.)

    My boyfriend is 41 and he moved back here from Hawaii two years ago because his parents are in their 70s and their health is declining. That’s…sobering. He knows he will lose them before all that much longer. My parents are in their mid-60s and still very healthy; I can’t even imagine that yet.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 27, 2019, 9:06 am

      That’s the thing though. One day your mom’s in her late 60s and still working and she looks and feels great… and then literally the next week she’s seriously ill. One day you think you still look like you looked in high school (you don’t) and people are telling you how young you look and maybe carding you at the bar, then one day you realize you’re not getting that anymore. It happens real quick. Like as you know, you’ve got a healthy pet, and then in one day they develop a life threatening health issue. That’s what I’m not enjoying about 40s, and I don’t have that perk of no longer caring what people think, because I guess I haven’t for a long time. Even though I spent the first half of my 30s in a shit relationship, overall i felt 30s were better.

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      • avatar

        Ele4phant September 27, 2019, 2:31 pm

        Yep.

        My mother-in-law has been in ill of fragile health for decades, well before I met her son.

        I would look at her and compare her to my mom – who at the same age was regularly going on multi day back packing trips or bopping over to France annually, and be like wow. Thank god my mom is young and healthy and she will be like that for a long time.

        Then this last year she was diagnosed with colon cancer, had a rough time with treatment, and she has been struggling with anxiety or ptsd since then. She in some ways is just as frail and fragile as my mother in law, and it all happened very quickly. I think she’s slowly getting better, but she’s never getting back to who she was just even a year and a half ago.

        And our relationship changed radically, from her being a comforting authoritative presence to me, to me caring and concerned for her.

        Good health truly can disappear overnight.

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  • avatar

    Anonymous September 27, 2019, 8:32 am

    The hardest part of growing older is the death of another friend. At 70 I have lost too many and wonder who will be around to mourn me. My advice… be nice to everyone as you never know who you will grow old with.

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    • avatar

      Kim September 27, 2019, 3:08 pm

      This is so interesting to me. I always imagine having my best friend by my side when we turn 90. But having lost my brother in my 20’s, I understand only too well that things change quickly. Thank you for your wisdom.

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  • avatar

    Hazel September 27, 2019, 10:31 am

    Looking back on my 40’s from a wee distance now I’m pretty chuffed with them, I got some interesting and fun challenges work wise and didn’t turn much down even when it was daunting. If I could pick an age to be I’d not go back to being 23, or even 33, but 43 would absolutely tempt me. Hope you all get a chance to enjoy yourselves in your 40’s.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 27, 2019, 10:43 am

      From a career perspective, it is interesting. My friend turned me on to contract consulting, and I love it. You make a high hourly rate, and they don’t own you. They can’t make you work 50-60 hour weeks. It might be 30, 32. If you go over 40 it’s time and a half! And I’m not in the office all the time, but when I am, it’s a super nice office with good food, and I like sitting in meetings bc I’m hourly. And I’m using my core skills and really helping. No sales responsibility, no travel, it’s great. And on the side I am doing a startup that I have equity in. These kinds of opportunities did NOT happen in my 30s, I had to get to a certain point in my career first. That said, it gets harder to find a full time job (if that’s your thing) that you’d really love AND pays what you want. And you’re more vulnerable to layoffs because you’re expensive.

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      • TheLadyE

        TheLadyE September 27, 2019, 10:57 am

        Thanks for sharing this, Kate. This is something I need to keep on my radar for my 40s as well. I’m getting to the point where in 2-4 years I will have a lot of highly specialized skills and insight for sales teams that are growing rapidly, which are only going to increase where I live. I’m so sick of all the internal crap that comes with it, though, so the idea of consulting is really appealing. Interestingly, my boyfriend is also working to start a nonprofit for a cause we both care about and he values my insight and sales/marketing experience. Hmmmmmm, ideas.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 27, 2019, 11:01 am

        Totally, the key is your network of people you know who either can refer you for a consulting role or who could hire you for that. This is another reason it’s so important not to be a bitch to people at work, and to do as good a job for as many people as possible.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 27, 2019, 11:14 am

        Of course you need a savings cushion too… if you had a gap between assignments or you wanted to take a vacation… your hourly rate is higher to account for health benefits you may be paying out of pocket plus some vacation, but still, without all the job security and benefits and potential bonus stuff that an employee might get, you need to be financially secure before you jump off to consulting. Which you tend to be in your 40s.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy September 27, 2019, 12:04 pm

        Financial freedom to make career decisions that better support your your preferred work schedule and your specific skills and interests is a huge perk of being in your 40s (if you’re among those who’ve been lucky, worked hard, and played their cards right).

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      • TheLadyE

        TheLadyE September 27, 2019, 11:38 am

        Makes sense. It’s definitely a different mindset and thinking about it it’ll probably be closer to 45 that I’d be ready for something like that, especially considering that I’d be the primary breadwinner/supplier of health insurance in my household. It’s a lot to think about, but it’s nice to know there are options as long as I keep intentionally building my skills and network.

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  • avatar

    _s_ September 27, 2019, 12:28 pm

    I’m with Kate, for me the era of learning to give no fucks (or at least fewer fucks) was my 30s. So going into my 40s, I’m generally comfortable with myself and who I am and what I’m doing in my life. The biggest downside is, as Wendy mentioned, wondering WTF is happening with your neck, LOL.

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    • avatar

      ktfran September 27, 2019, 1:03 pm

      Ugh. I started having lower back pain a few years ago so I’ve spent the better part of my late 30s in PT and Pilates to strengthen and alleviate and manage pack issues as I get older.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 27, 2019, 1:07 pm

        Lol no, it’s the wrinkles.

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      • avatar

        ktfran September 27, 2019, 1:19 pm

        So I have about a year before I’m WTF is up with my neck?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy September 27, 2019, 2:06 pm

        Here’s a secret: my neck started wrinkling and sagging when I was 34! I was pretty self-conscious of it until like maybe this year because I thought it aged me older than my actual years. Now, at 43, I’m like, “Ok, it makes me look my age, whatever” and I don’t obsess about it as much (though I’m by no means happy about it!).

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      • avatar

        Kate September 27, 2019, 1:27 pm

        Maybe a few years. But then you ramp up the power scarves.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 27, 2019, 2:16 pm

        If you’re not already, KT, you can do a full application of moisturizer on your neck when you do your face. That’s got to help a little. The other thing that’s annoying is the radial lines you get on your chest. I don’t even have big boobs and I have them now. I hate to say I’ve only recently started putting SPF on my chest every day.

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      • avatar

        ktfran September 27, 2019, 2:16 pm

        My office is so cold, I’ve been wearing pretty scarves for years. Maybe I already look like I’m 57.

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      • avatar

        ktfran September 27, 2019, 2:22 pm

        And I’ve recently started adding my moisturizer to my neck! I need to take care of my cheat area more. Oh, and I have such small breasts it’s ridiculous. I’ll have to pay attention to these radial lines.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny September 27, 2019, 12:54 pm

    I’m in my mid 30’s (turning 35 next wednesday!) and I am foreseeing the time when I am going to have to take care of my parents / see them decline and pass. So regarding grief, I’m already steeling myself for that time. My parents are in their early 70’s and in good health, and I see them often as I live 20 miles away from them. My grandparents all passed in their 70’s but were in worse health, but I still see the next decade as the time when I could see my parents’ decline more and possibly pass away, and I realized I’m not ready for it (is anyone? Probably not!). I feel like I’m too young! That shouldn’t be happening, right?! Whew. It’s the feeling of knowing that, hypothetically, we could all pass away at any time, vs realizing it’s going to be a reality. Many of my old friends have lost a parent or both parents already, and I know it’s just a matter of time. Nowadays I spend more time worrying about them than they probably do about me!

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 27, 2019, 2:29 pm

    Eh… as a gay man, they haven’t been good at all. Far from it.

    Yep. Sadly, my 40s have easily been my worst decade. Career is in utter shambles. (I work harder than ever before. My art direction looks great! Is even on TV all the fucking time — yet I make less than I did as clueless PA back in my twenties)

    Worse — the the jarring sudden shocking onset of marked physical decline — one that I kept at bay for a nice long run — had finally hit me with a vengeance!

    This sad withering had also bern rather ruthlessly matched by that of the planet and our hopelessly fucked up nation. Everything is dying. Crumbling. Burning. Falling apart.

    Sigh… Fifty is a little over a year away and I find myself reeling and pretty much alone in as far as my lucidity about just how truly bad the world.

    Everything. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g… just feels… over. Only, somehow, it isn’t.

    Pity. Frankly, it should be.

    Yes, the sad, dreary off- broadway play that is my life should have closed long ago. The reviews were terrible. It’s a godawful awful play that carries on pointlessly night after night with no audience.

    My rage lately has no bounds.

    I hope every ache and pain or blemish is terminal cancer. Yikes. Had I known this was the future I would have saved a lot of coin fucking without condoms in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Really? I stayed alive for… THIS?!?

    PS — Glad many of you though are having a much better time, though. I dunno. Once the enjoyment of life is gone. Trust me — it’s REALLY gone.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark September 27, 2019, 2:39 pm

      Apologies for all the typos. How does one edit on here anymore?

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 27, 2019, 4:21 pm

        Sadly, no Therapy is going to rid me of my awful lucidity.

        I am old.
        I am washed up.
        I am unbelievably broke.
        I physically can’t work $225 14 hour days for much longer either. (My job is so physical — it’s insane.)

        So… the future just consists of me looking more and more worse, feeling more and more worse, and really… just being more and more worse.

        People overreact so to suicide. So fear not, I bitter, but not THAT malicious.

        Still… I am so unbelievably frustrated by how so many other people around me drop dead from natural causes. It happens constantly.

        Meanwhile, this foul universe can’t even cut me THAT grim break by mercifully sparing somebody else and instead swatting me down.

        You reach a point eventually where everything that could’ve happened — didn’t. And you realize a bitter truth. Talent is fucking worthless. (*Four decades of my bank account proves it. ).

        At any rate, Dear Wendy-iers. Don’t chase your dreams. Don’t let your kids chase theirs either. 99% of the time you just wind up catching your worst nightmares and — believe me — they maul the shit out of you.

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      • avatar

        Anon September 27, 2019, 10:03 pm

        Wow mark, now I truly know why you’re so malicious and bitter in every response you have to LW’s. Please get therapy. The way you’re feeling is not normal, you genuinely need help so you can be happy and enjoy how many more years you have left on this earth. I’m not saying it to be rude, but because I care about your mental health and it seems to me that it has almost completely deteriorated.

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    • avatar

      Josephine September 27, 2019, 2:47 pm

      Mark, Do you happen to do reality tv or something else? Used to work in reality tv production and left. What a mess.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 27, 2019, 4:31 pm

        JOSEPHINE — No. Lifetime movies. But I have dayplayed on reality sets. And my God — YES! Your assessment it 100% correct.

        I also was the headwriter on a spectacularly bad digital Sci Fi franchise series for a major studio that was utterly destroyed by bad ideas from the production company.

        I literally vomited at a screening of it.

        Sounds like sourgrape, I know. But every battle I lost resulted in something the fans (justifiably!) hated (oh, and blamed me) to the point where I got three death threats on Facebook.

        Sadly, nobody followed through.

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    • avatar

      ron September 27, 2019, 3:48 pm

      Mark — you often join the chorus in recommending therapy for troubled LWs. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but everything you write suggests you need intensive therapy yourself. So much suicidal ideation is proof of this. It’s also clear reading what you write, that if one sets the rage (which you admit to) aside, that you are intelligent, above average in analyzing problems, and write well, despite the typos. You have talent.

      We all age. That is not cause for despair. Usually that despair is fear of death. Are you going to fight that fear by embracing and welcoming death — running to that which you fear? IMHO a very bad choice.

      I’m 72, so have experienced my 60s and 70s, with the inevitable physical, sexual, and mental decline. Still relatively sharp mentally. Still enjoying life. Still finding and appreciating beauty where I find it (art, buildings, birds, flowers, people’s personalities, faces, bodies and minds). Yes, this is an awful time politically, but this too shall pass and is an opportunity to work with like-minded people to make it pass quicker.

      Perhaps my optimism results from a happy 46-year marriage. I’d likely find a return to singlehood isolating, boring, and depressing.

      There are so many new scientific, artistic, and political things to observe and try to understand; so many unfolding stories and mysteries to stay alive to witness their ending.

      My religious/philosophical belief is that we have one life and after that there is nothing. That makes a suicidal hastening of the end of life seem utterly pointless. Yes, to relieve the physical suffering of intractable disease/suffering — I’d choose that. But to eliminate depression? Nope. Work with a doctor/therapist to change that. Do things you enjoy. Give up your 30-year old’s dream of a super sexual relationship with a super-bodied partner and seek a like-minded, compatible personality with whom to share life. Someone who amuses you more out of bed than in. The in-bed part likely will follow, if you have realistic expectations.

      I don’t think you’re bitter. I think you are depressed and disappointed. I think all but the fortunate 1% hit 40 or 50 admitting that they accomplished less in their life than they had hoped/expected at 20 or 30. Truth is, most of us have unrealistic expectations at 20/30. Even with a wealth of talent, to join that lucky 1%, or even the almost as fortunate following 5%, is more a factor of luck, self-promotion, and connections than talent/hard work. I think especially true in the arts.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 27, 2019, 3:53 pm

        I don’t disagree with anything Ron said, except *I* think life is eternal and we go on being who we are. Which makes suicide pointless because you have to deal with your shit eventually. But even if Ron is right… do you really want just nothing? Or do you want to appreciate art, beauty, kindness, etc? And what if I’m right, then what?

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 27, 2019, 4:24 pm

        My response posted above these somehow.

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    • avatar

      Leon September 27, 2019, 11:44 pm

      Oh. I find myself in a similar career position as you, except I’m half your age. Too bad, hum? Hahaha. But I can tell you something: you would be twice as dreary if you wouldn’t have chosen that path. I mean. Art people needs art to keep living, is like the blood in the veins.

      I like reading you, as you sound as a really smart and funny guy. Why don’t you try another thing? Like writing a blog. I’m totally into your sarcastic and reckless style.

      Or maybe some other creative pursuits that fulfill you apart from your job. You appear to be a multipassionate person, aren’t you? Maybe you are not tired, but just bored of doing one thing. Ceramics is great, if you could give it a go, I recommend it as very healing practice. Don’t you have a healing garden near? Nature helps also to find nurture.

      You say therapy doesn’t work, but I think that maybe the traditional kind of therapy is not the right suit for you. Maybe another way of healing? Family constellations, oponopono (or whatever it is written), or anything else in that new age style.

      My point is that being fine is a choice you actively make. The job is tiresome? Maybe doing some volunteering may help to see life from others eye and help you see the fortune of having one. Being gay sucks? Why ! Being gay is awesome as being straight, or bi, or whatever. Just being is cool for the sake of being, if you think about it. Tired of anything else? Just stop whining and be proactive on finding a solution. Step by step, one by one. Complaining does nothing, and it’s exhausting to have always a black cloud above the head.

      Good luck! Hope you get ok!

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 28, 2019, 12:40 am

        No, had I chosen any other path I’d have multiple houses, money in the bank and be looking forward to retirement like everybody else in my high school class.

        Leon — LEARN from my mistakes. Get the fuck out of whatever you are going that is related to the arts. Trust me. Find something else. Find ANYTHING else…. Do it now.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 27, 2019, 2:51 pm

    Trump closing my 40s and now most likely lingering well into my midfifties has definitely clouded everything to be sure.

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    Jessica September 27, 2019, 3:33 pm

    I’ve been looking forward to these posts since I saw you first put a call out to us 40-something women about our experiences. In my 40s – I lost a grandparent, started a new job with the same company, had weight loss surgery & have gained health I never knew I had, my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (she’s in remission & turns out I don’t have the gene mutation), I started dating, I met my soulmate, I had a hysterectomy (good riddance!), got engaged, moved in with my fiance & two of his sons in my hometown, put my house on the market, quit what appeared to be a dream job so I could focus on finishing my doctorate and starting earning equity in my own company. The topic of my dissertation? Gen X at work (I’m especially interested in women). We’re now the sandwich generation AND we’re the age where we’re ascending into leadership roles. A very exciting time to be an almost-44 year old.
    Thank you for taking on this topic, Wendy!

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    Ange September 27, 2019, 9:39 pm

    I hit 40 next year and while I’m not scared of the age itself I’m terrified of my physical decline. RA is firmly entrenched and there isn’t much I can do now without some form of pain, I can’t see it getting better long term.

    Sadly also my husband’s grandfather passed away this morning so it’s a sobering reminder of what’s to come. My grandmother is in her 90s and she’s the last one I have left, my parents are charging towards 70 so there’s definitely fear there.

    The positives however are numerous. I have a good marriage, a good job and a reasonably comfortable life. I can plan things like a masters softball trip to Hawaii next year and not worry about the hit to our bank account (and I can afford it before I can’t physically play anymore). No matter what happens with my health I won’t be crippled by medical bills. Eventually we’ll get to buy that house. Overall I guess it’s a positive. My attitude to life has always been positive and I guess getting to this stage with as much serenity as I have is my reward.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark September 27, 2019, 9:59 pm

      Sorry to hear about your RA. i believe Kathleen Turner has battled that disease for years (decades!) with some good success. Look into her story if you haven’t.

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        Ange September 29, 2019, 2:02 am

        She has! Not without a lot of strong drug treatment that I think sent her down some dark paths but she’s in a good place these days. So far I’m only on twice daily medication so I’m one of the lucky ones. Thanks Mark.

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        Kate September 29, 2019, 5:22 am

        Is it steroids that help with RA? My dog has had immune-mediated arthritis for 6 or 7 years, and that disease is a bitch. Only Prednisone works, and of course it can cause its own issues. They check his organ function regularly. But before he got on pred, they tried all the normal pain drugs and nothing worked. He didn’t want to get out of bed, we thought he was dying. I can only imagine how it feels, Ange. Sorry to bring up my dog but that’s the only experience I have.

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        Ange September 29, 2019, 5:54 pm

        I take prednisone if my inflammation levels get high but for the most part I’m managed by methotrexate and a suite of NSAIDS and DMARDS (non-steroidal anti inflammatories and disease modifying meds). I also take a lot of ibuprofen in between if I get sore. Honestly it’d be worse for an animal because they can’t understand why they hurt, nor can we communicate with them. I think being able to identify the pain and understand it makes managing it so much easier.

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        Kate September 29, 2019, 6:00 pm

        Yeah, it took a while to figure it out, and I think he must have been in pain before we knew it.

        That’s a lot of drugs, but glad you don’t have to rely on a steroid!

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        Ange October 1, 2019, 3:22 am

        Lol yeah, I counted it out once and it’s like 40 tablets a week

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    Amy September 30, 2019, 9:00 pm

    Amen Sister!

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    LisforLeslie October 1, 2019, 5:40 am

    I’m also closing out my 40’s and I find myself increasingly in this weird space between regret and hope.

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