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Life begins at 40 from the 1940's

Posted by Word Camel on June 18, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Question & non-answer posted by Rube on June 18, 2004

: : : : HI. Thanks for your help.
: : : : I'm developing a thesis that midlife and midlife crises and the idea of a rich and meaningful middle years (35 to 60) really emerged in the U.S. only in the last 50 years. The 1900 census only considered peole in the age range 19-44!

: : : : so I am looking for when the phrase "life begins at 40" entered the culture. It seems to be a common cliche today. But when did peopel start saying it? Any help on this one?
: : : : Thanks again
: : : : Please write me directly.
: : : : Philip Belove.

: : : I think they started in January 2003 in preparation for November that year. At least that's what I noticed.

: : I'll check my references this evening and post if I find anything.

: "The 1900 census only considered peole in the age range 19-44!"

: What do you mean by this?

: As to the saying "Life begins at 40" I don't know that it is any more of a popular phrase than "at 50" or "at 60". In fact, I am sure I have heard it less than either of those two figures.

: My favorite was a sticker I saw that covered the lower half of a motorcycle's speedometer - "Life begins at 65"

It means that in the 1900 census they didn't count people over age 44 or under 19. Perhaps it has something to so with mortality rates?

Life begins at 40, according to Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Catch Phrases, "was generated in the 1940's by a much-read book so titled - and by a popular song. I'm guessing this was the original that spawned the other "life begins at..." phrases.