Lordy lordy, look who's 40

Story highlights

  • Kat Kinsman feared turning 40, but then got comfortable with the notion
  • Female stars in their 40s are now very much in front of the camera
  • The cultural notion of 40 has changed substantially -- it's not something to dread
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.
Our 40s aren't demographically glamorous. If one were to take all the pop culture commentary on the subject to heart, it would be downright dangerous to leave the house clad in anything more revealing than head-to-toe beekeeper garb covering our wrinkly, dorky, dowdy, dumpy selves. It's a decade, according to sitcoms and comedians, of slight but constant humiliations -- aches and spread and odd hairs and a fundamental cluelessness about anything cool.
On the other end of the temperature spectrum, haven't you heard? Forty is the new zOMG HOT -- at least in the entertainment sphere, where aging