Signs you might be turning forty-something-or-other

Eileen Gault Burmeister
3 min readJul 29, 2023


As I write this, I am quickly approaching my forty-something-or-other birthday. The more I think about what I want for my birthday, the more I have to be honest and say I’d really just love a nap. That, my friends, is a sure sign you have reached the top of the proverbial “hill” and are rapidly beginning your descent on the other side.

I know I should care, but frankly I’m just too tired.

And where would caring get me anyways? No matter how much I kick and scream, it’s really no use. Age catches up to me whether I like it or not. As the ever-philosophical Dolly Parton once said in “Steel Magnolias:” “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.”

Preach it sister.

Sure, there are the physical signs that give away the fact that I’m aging, but they don’t bother me half as much as the other signs.

The following are grim realities that attest to the fact that I am forty-something-or-other:

• I can’t hear anything my kids say from the back seat of the car anymore. When did this happen? What?

• My favorite songs from the ’80s are now being played on “oldies” stations. These are songs that encapsulated the angst of my teenage years, songs that I played at decibels that only teenagers and dogs could hear. (Now that I think about it, there may be a link between this bullet point and the one preceding it.)

• I can’t see anything more than one foot from me. My friends told me, “Oh, wait until you hit 43 … overnight you’ll lose the ability to focus on anything.” Stupid friends. I need some new friends. The problem is that in a room full of people, I can’t make out if these people are my old friends or potentially new friends because I can’t see them from across the room.

• When deciding between going to a matinee and taking a nap, it’s really no contest.

• I don’t understand Lady Gaga. At all. In fact, she scares me a little bit.

• I find myself needing to reign myself in before blurting out the following phrases at kids these days: (1) Get out of my yard! (2) Pull up your pants! (3) Slow down! (4) Take those things out of your ears!

• I use phrases like “kids these days” (see above).

I have to admit, it’s refreshing to see folks my parents’ age reach a place where they don’t reign themselves in anymore — they just let it fly. My personal theory is that they simply don’t care, which must be freeing to those of us “youngsters” who still put a lot of stock in how we appear to those around us.

Here’s one of my favorite stories that illustrates this point. My friend’s son was flying to Oregon to visit his parents. An older gentleman was sitting next to him on the plane. Her son put his ear buds in and settled back to listen to music for the trip. The older gentleman had questions, however, such as “How do I tilt this chair back?” So instead of tapping the young man on the shoulder, he reached up, yanked the ear buds out and shouted the question at him.

I think it’s safe to say this gentleman’s reigning-himself-in train has left the station.

Okay, so I’m not quite there yet, but I can tell I’m getting closer. Sure, this year’s birthday is sure to include eye exams, hearing tests and a new package of ear plugs, but it also will include (fingers crossed) many blissful naps.



Eileen Gault Burmeister

Storyteller, writer, editor, photographer, fascinated by words, forever reading the room.