Today is my fortieth birthday, which is all momentous and milestoney and stuff, but what I REALLY want to talk about today is the thing that pisses me off most about 40th birthdays, which is not the aging, or the “over-the-hill” party hats, or the mid-life crisis, or the pure physical decrepitude. No. The thing that pisses me off most about 40th birthdays is how many people still think that this is the birthday where women stop telling people how old they are. Like, this isn’t my 40th birthday, it’s the second anniversary of my 39th birthday! Or, I’m not 40, I’m 18 with 22 years experience! HAHAHAHAHAHA no.
Look, I know that a lot of people in my age cohort who make these kinds of statements are doing it in a jokey way. Or maybe it’s a post-hipster-ironic way, or something, but whatever, I don’t care, I still hate it, because FOR REAL, it’s 2011 and I’m STILL supposed to be ASHAMED of my AGE????!! I mean, let’s be honest, even if most of the people I know are saying it as a joke, it’s a funny-because-it’s true kind of joke, only I’m not sure what’s so funny about a culture that still sends the message that at a certain age you are less valuable/desirable/beautiful/vital/important/loveable/cool/etc. And of course when I say “you” I really mean “women,” since it’s still OK for men to get older, it’s just us ladeez whose value apparently starts dripping out of our vaginas covered in XX chromosomes once we hit the big 4-0.
So anyway, everybody’s gotta do their own thing, I get it, and if feigning shame about your age (or actually being ashamed of your age) is what helps you get through the day, then … you do that. But personally, I have earned every goddamn one of these years, and I’m not going to shortchange myself by so much as a single month. I am FORTY, motherfuckers. Happy birthday to ME.