The 40s as the new 20s — is it wishful thinking?

By Jenny Klion

In light/spite of my upcoming HUGE birthday, I’ve decided to face the inevitable music with enthusiasm, pride (whoops — there’s one of seven sins), and a trip to Miami (a possible second sin: tackiness?). Ergo, I’ve developed a new theory about relativity, with regards to women and aging, and so far, I’ve gotten excellent responses from my personal focus group. Though made up solely of friends and family, the majority concurs — for women, the 40s are the new 20s.

The great thing about this concept is that it’s all-inclusive. Whether you’re single or otherwise, the 40s is the time to start anew. Fresh. Forget all that nonsense about youth being wasted on the young, because here is an opportunity to enter the world with a clean slate — voilà, the new 20s.

Remember them? Full of hope and promise — when you believed you could do anything?

Currently, however, you may have been married and now you’re not; you may have children, or no children at all; or you may have yet to find your favorite other. Perhaps you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career, or are just now approaching it, or still striving to figure out exactly what it is. You might be a suburbanite in your nice home, or a country woman, or a city gal, living on Park Ave., or even in a tiny but sweet quasi-studio apartment.

But regardless of societal and personal expectations/ pressures, now that you’ve entered your fourth decade, all that wisdom and maturity, ideally manifested in a confident and healthy body image, will surely give the actual 20s girls a new role model to aspire to. (I like to think about the scale of age in terms of 10s — i.e., 40 means you’ve simply turned 4, out of a possible 10. See how young that looks! A mere babe, I say.)

You’ve had lots of sex (if you wanted to), lots of love (hopefully) and a proven track record for surviving the turbulence of your inherited family. Maybe you’ve created a second family by now, or even a third, whether with animals, humans, art or whatnot, but now it’s time to celebrate the beginning of an even more promising era!

Let’s examine that long weekend in Miami coming up, consisting of four women (including me) in their 40s, along with one man, an acclaimed film auteur in his 30s, who apparently wants to keep company with a bevy of sun/fun-seeking babes. Never mind that L.A. Frannie subtracted a number of years off my actual age in order to convince her friend to hang out with us; she hasn’t experienced my new theorem yet!

“Frannie,” I say, “I thought we were supposed to be celebrating my 4th-plus birthday here!”

“Yeah, whatever,” she responds, not so quick to jump over to my relativity ship. Never one to skip a beat, though, L.A. Frannie, a divorced mama, also invited her ex-sister-in-law Maggie, a hot, single, travelin’ babe, as well as Nashville Nellie, a married woman with six kids, who apparently is going to teach us all a thing or two about creating instantaneous male/female friendships. (Nellie’s a high school principal by the way, and lucky for me, I always bring home a fine report card!)

Additionally, one of L.A. Frannie’s cohorts, Martine, a late-20s travel industry writer, recently upgraded our South Beach hotel position to V.I.P. status. Private cabana, spa treatments, etc. I mean, what else could she do? Not only does she genuinely want to help us have a good time but, apparently, she realizes that her 40s friends are about to step in right beside her, and her 20s status. I’m seeing a nice, even cyclical process here….

Anyway, maybe all this birthday rationalization is wishful thinking, but I don’t think so. I’ve always enjoyed birthdays, and this HUGE one is no exception. I’m just taking the party down to Miami, looking forward to having the transformational time of my life — or at least a nice moment on the beach. And in the back of my mind, as time passes by, I’ll be grateful for a compatible concept that reads: once I hit — gasp — 50, I’ll simply be entering my new 30s.