November 29th, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Lordy lordy, look who's 40

Editor's note: This article is one in a series examining how attitudes change and people relate across generations. Visit CNN Living for more on Baby Boomers, Millennials and beyond.

By Kat Kinsman, CNN

(CNN) - I was always certain that I'd have my life worked out by the time I was 40. I'd somehow magically awake on my 40th birthday filled with the wisdom of the ages: a solid financial plan, inner peace and a tastefully appointed yet attractive wardrobe that wouldn't just make me feel like I was playing dress-up at work.

As it happened, I did wake up that August morning possessed of new insight - mostly about how mortifyingly delicious birthday-cake-flavored vodka turned out to be, and how hangovers come on harder and stronger as the years pass. I shut the blinds and went back to sleep. An old lady needs her rest.

No one under 38 really considers what 40 and beyond is going to look like for them. They plot the ambitious beginning ("I'm going to become a successful ___") and the triumphant denouement ("Then I'll retire with my beloved partner and we'll spend our well-funded free time by ___"). But they gloss over the mushy middle, where all the day-to-day doing happens.

Filed under: Age • How we look • What we think • Women
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