“Aging is really hard, and it’s tough,” said actress Bo Derek (58 and still pretty damn stunning, by the way) in a candid interview with CBS News Sunday Morning recently. “Bette Davis was right; it’s not for sissies, it really isn’t.”
OK, plucking stray grays, letting out an earth-shattering groan when you get out of bed in the morning, or opening up an envelop and finding an AARP card staring you flat in the face (seriously—WTF?) is nobody’s idea of fun. But the next time you find yourself bemoaning the DOB on your driver’s license, know this: There is some great stuff that comes with growing old (really). No, really.
Here, 10 celebs—39 years of age and counting—offer up valid reasons to embrace the age you’re at, and look forward to the things to come. (Smokin’ sex? Hey, thanks for the heads-up, Lauren Hutton!)
Bottom line: If you think that life is good now, honey, just wait until you get a load of tomorrow.
You've (finally) got it all figured out…
"I've had more fun post-40 than I can remember. From a work point of view, a physical point of view, a psychotherapeutic point of view."
—Jennifer Aniston, 46, Harper’s Bazaar
“It's an old cliche, but you really do get better as you age. I wish I had the body and the face of that twenty-year-old. I'm so glad I don't have her brain. I feel, not necessarily smarter, but more settled and informed than when I was that age. Everything was about "What do people think of me?" Now I'm calmer. Hopefully, I've gotten a little more grace.”
—Valerie Bertinelli, 55, Prevention
You're alive—and most definitely kicking…
“I realize I'm blessed to even be in the position to age. To age is a privilege, not a birthright, even though most of us in the civilized world seem to forget this.”
—Paulinka Porizkova, 50, Huffington Post
“I’m very f*cking grateful to be alive. I have so many friends who are sick or gone, and I’m here. Are you kidding? No complaints!”
—Meryl Streep, 65, Vanity Fair
You can ditch the WonderBra…
“Losing your sex appeal is no bad thing. People look at me in a way that is not as immediately sexual as they did when I was young. I find that liberating. You can operate on a different level, without having to contend with that dynamic all the time.”
—Elizabeth McGovern, 53, The London Times
You’re even more of a babe (if that's possible)…
“As you get older, you get better at so many things. My friends who are older than me—which is most of them—are a lot more caustic than they used to be. But a lot of them only became great when they turned 40. Everything is a little bit sexier when you're older. You're sexier. You're more confident. You can do what you want.”
—Chelsea Handler, 40, Harper’s Bazaar
You've got confidence is spades...
“I feel better now than I’ve ever felt. I look at pictures of myself when I was younger and I think, 'God, I was so gorgeous there, but I didn’t feel it.’ Or, 'Wow, I look so much better now.’ I was such a dork and I can see insecurity written all over my face, trying to be something I wasn’t – even though at the time I thought I was cool.”
—Elle Macpherson, 51, The Telegraph
You get better compliments…
"The overriding, positive thing about turning 50 is that you go from 'You don't look your age' to 'You look pretty darn good for your age.' There's this tremendous pressure off—you deserve to have a wrinkle, you deserve to have a little pooch on your tummy."
—Michelle Pfeiffer, 57, InStyle
You can be as, um, eccentric as you want...
"People can get crazier as they get older. I can just be weird whenever I want, and there's the freedom of not caring what people think."
—Candice Bergen, 69, AARP
You can throw around the F-word, with authority...
"I don’t often wish that I’m younger because I think that it’s pretty cool to be older. What I love the most about being older is that lovely I don’t give a f--kness kind of thing."
—Helen Mirren, 69, 2014 pre-Oscar party speech
You and your snobby high school prom queen now have something in common..
"I take comfort that aging happens to everybody. It's part of life. Yes, it bothers me when I have lines or puffiness or droops. But it connects me with the human race. Just like the weather is the great equalizer, so is aging."
—Diane Lane, 50, More
You’re a survivor, and you've got the scars (and a lot of great stories) to prove it…
"My 40s were pretty great, but now, in my 50s…there comes this wonderful self-knowledge. You're not trying to be somebody else, or do something else with your life. You think: Here I am. I've gone through this, I've survived that, and I know who I am now."
—Kim Cattrall, 58, Good Houskeeping
You can stop apologizing…
“Getting older. It's like, ‘Yeah, this is who I am, f--- off.’ As opposed to, ‘This is who I am, I'm sorry.’ You know, there's something about getting older and owning who you are that is a good thing."
—Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 54, Health
You can finally (aaah) relax...
"I was always in a rush. I felt like time was going to run out. Now that I’m older, I know I’m not missing out on anything. Now, I go home, and that feels really good. When I hit 30, I realized I didn’t have to please everybody. I could actually enjoy life, which is not a bad thing at all."
—Charlize Theron, 39, W Magazine
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You’re more resilient…
"When I was in my 20s I wasn't sure of myself. Now I can really stretch. I don't have to stay in the box. At this point I can say to myself, So what if I fall, so what? I'm going to get back up."
—Jennifer Lopez, 45, InStyle
Now you can really rock a swimsuit. And if you can't? Who cares?
“I feel more in proportion now than I was when I was 20, so I feel better in a bathing suit now than I did before I had kids. But I think one of the most beautiful things about growing up is this self-acceptance that starts to happen.”
—Gwyneth Paltrow, 42, People
Did we mention the hotter sex thing?
"I actually have better sex — which is the bottom line, is it not? … Because you learn how to, you know, work the vehicle better.”
—Lauren Hutton, 71, Artisan News