My Warranty Expired When I Hit 40

When I moved into my house a year and a half ago, I got a new refrigerator. It was wonderful. It was big and roomy, it had all sorts of buttons and gadgets, it smelled fresh and clean and it didn’t have any mysterious orange substance with flakes of onion peels stuck in it coating the bottom of the crisper drawer. One year after it was installed, it broke. A couple days after the warranty expired, as Murphy’s Law would have it. That’s the life expectancy of a modern appliance – one year. After that, you will spill thousands patching it back together as one after another, the parts fail. Appliances are not the only items with warranties either. I’ve come to the conclusion that humans have warranties as well and they expire at exactly 40 years of age.

I’m writing this as a public service announcement. I feel it’s my duty to impart my expansive wisdom and share my knowledge on this enigmatic subject with you. No one warned me ahead of time and I stumbled blindly into my 40s, accepting, nay, celebrating this significant milestone only to hit a brick wall and be knocked on my butt. I don’t want anyone else staggering into middle-agedom unarmed, so here, without further ado, is the information necessary to maintaining your sanity when you reach that certain landmark that includes a birthday cake with enough candles to heat a 10,000 square foot warehouse.

  • STAMINA 1 of 13
    Remember when you could stay out all night with friends having a good ole time? You still can. It's just that "staying out all night" now means "home and in bed by 10:00".
  • HAIR 2 of 13
    My hair did change as I hit that lovely middle-age mark. It's now hopelessly dry, curly and generally unmanageable. But that's not the hair I'm talking about here. I'm talking about hair that appears in places where hair should never, NEVER, EVER be. I will not give any names away, but my friends collectively came up with this list of places they've found errant hairs. (This is not for the faint of heart.) chin, upper lip, stomach, ears, nose, and boobs. No, that's not a typo. Do not underestimate the value of a good pair of tweezers. And a razor. And depilatories. And wax.
  • DIGESTION 3 of 13
    Gone are the days of inhaling a Big Mac, bag of Doritos, and hot fudge sundae then washing it down with a couple beers. You digestive system will no longer be able to handle food that doesn't include the word "bran" in the title. Another really fun thing you'll be able to experience in middle-age is your very first colonoscopy. I highly recommend them! Not because they're ever-so-enjoyable, but because misery loves company and if I have to suffer through them, I figure you might as well too.
  • METABOLISM 4 of 13
    When you turn 40, you will suddenly be able to ingest food simply by looking at it! It's true! Once upon a time I was able to scarf down a dozen cookies, metabolize them, and be no worse for the wear. Now I merely look at a cheesecake and the fat and calories make my hips swell instantaneously. Yes, now that I'm in my 40s, I can eat with my eyes.
  • EYESIGHT 5 of 13
    Another thing that happens when you hit 40 is that your arms will shrink. This shortening of the arms makes it difficult to hold reading material far enough from your eyes to actually decipher the words on anything less than a 48 pt. font. You have two choices when this happens. Learn to hold books with your feet or get glasses. I scored a lovely pair of trifocals this year. I'm pretty sure that earns me membership in the Little Old Ladies Who Play Bingo Club.
  • HEARING 6 of 13
    You may think that you'll start to lose your hearing when you reach the ripe ole age of 40, but you'd be wrong. Quite the contrary, in fact. You'll actually acquire bionic hearing and you'll find yourself saying things like, "Turn that music down! Why is the TV so loud? I can't hear myself think!" The ‘can't hear myself think' phrase is one of those things that old people say that doesn't make any kind of sense. You'll probably start doing that a lot too.
  • CAFFEINE 7 of 13
    At one time, maybe cramming for midterms, you could drink Coke by the gallon, relishing the fact you could stay awake until 2:00 and then fall asleep the instant your head hit the pillow. Now, however, you have 3 choices. Switch to decaf, stop consuming caffeine by 4:00 in the afternoon, or stay awake for 3 days straight.
  • ACHINESS 8 of 13
    In your younger days, your body regenerated at night while you slept and you awoke feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. After 40, however, your body mysteriously deteriorates while you sleep. You awake with aches in body parts you didn't even know you had. You seriously consider getting a walker to help you to the bathroom in the morning.
  • NOISES 9 of 13
    Your body will start making strange and unusual noises. In fact, my daughter was sitting next to me on the couch as I typed this and she suddenly looked up at me, horror etched on her face as she exclaimed, "Get something to eat, Mom! Your stomach is scaring me!" The only problem was I wasn't hungry. I'd just eaten dinner. My stomach was making noises like a dying cat for no particular reason. My daughter moved away from me, afraid an alien was going to burst through my abdomen and kill her. And my knees sound like a rocking chair in need of WD-40 when I attempt to get up after sitting on the floor too. I think there's a reason for the "40" in WD-40. image:
  • TEETH 10 of 13
    If you've never had problems with your teeth, count yourself lucky. And kiss that good luck goodbye. The bad news is that your teeth will fall apart. Literally. They'll just fall right out of your head. The even worse news is that fixing them will deplete your retirement account. I have so many crowns now that I'm officially a princess.
  • SAGGING 11 of 13
    I'm not talking about the stupid fashion statement, middle-school boys like to make by wearing their pants around their ankles here. When you hit 40, the amount of gravity on your body increases causing things to shift. I used to wear cute little tops that showed off my boobs. Now I just tuck the girls into my waistband and call it a day.
  • WRINKLES 12 of 13
    You probably think this is a pictures of an elephant. Nope, it's me on my 40th birthday. Don't cringe when you look in the mirror and see wrinkles. Call them "laugh lines" and pat yourself on the back for enjoying a well-lived life full of laughter. Then call the dermatologist and ask them just how much Botox they can inject at once.
  • BLADDER CONTROL 13 of 13
    Once you've hit that 40 year marker you can kiss sleeping through the night goodbye. Now that you're middle aged, you'll awaken to use the bathroom at least twice a week. Look on the bright side though - at least you're waking up to use the bathroom. The next stop on the train to death? Adult diapers. image:

Want to read more from Dawn? Get her books Because I Said So (and other tales from a less-than-perfect parent) and You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth) here!

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