It Took Me 40 Years to Realize I Hate These 5 Things

The beauty of unapologetically opting out

Kerala Taylor


Photo by Alina555/Getty Images

Something happened when I turned 40. Essentially, I stopped giving a fuck. Or, to put it more precisely, I continued giving fucks about things that mattered and realized that everything else didn’t matter nearly as much as I’d been led to believe.

When I wrote about this a few summers ago, I realized I wasn’t the only middle-aged woman who felt liberated from this unnecessary fuckery. Readers cheered me on as I outlined all the things that were no longer on my give-a-fuck radar.

For years, society had given me the impression that upon my 40th birthday, I’d be suddenly plunged into irrelevance, my sense of self subsumed by rapidly encroaching wrinkles and varicose veins, doomed to spend the rest of my life apologizing to everyone who was forced to behold the drooping contour of my breasts through my platysmal-band-concealing turtleneck sweater.

Instead, I’ve found my 40s to be incredibly empowering. Middle age comes with its own challenges, to be sure, but I finally feel like I’m hitting my stride with this whole “being a woman” thing. I spent most of my 30s feeling insecure about being a mom and most of my 20s feeling insecure about being a young female professional. Before that, of course, were the teen and adolescent years, when I felt insecure about pretty much everything.

Of course, like all humans, I will always harbor insecurities. And even though my sense of self is stronger than ever, that self will continue to evolve, perhaps in unexpected ways. That said, on the cusp of my 43rd year of life, I’m very clear on where my strengths lie, what I suck at, what I love, and what I loathe.

I’m also amazed by how long it’s taken to finally admit to myself the things I’ve tried so hard to like and just really, truly don’t. For instance:

1. Men who think I’m cute

As a middle-aged woman who has birthed two babies, one on all fours with no drugs while literally roaring, I don’t think I should be allowed to qualify as “cute.” But even if a man never explicitly utters this word, I can tell right away which men take me seriously and which men think I’m… cute.



Kerala Taylor

Award-winning writer. Interrupting notions of what it means to be a mother, woman, worker, and wife. Subscribe: