There’s a few things that I’ve become more comfortable with over the last few years; one of them is my weight (which I’ve spoken about in my earlier blogs) and another is my age.
Getting older has always scared me, dont ask me why but I hated the idea of not being viewed as young any longer or my body and face changing. I remember turning 20 and being devastated that I wasn’t considered a teenage any more. I’ve never been someone who has embraced my age or all the things that come with it. I think a huge part of that is because of the way the world views age. As a woman you’re constantly told that getting old is a bad thing. Anything you do from drinking to eating bad food will result in you looking older than your age. Fertility is another big one, people love to remind women at 30 that their biological clock is ticking. “You’re 30, better get going with babies…you’re getting on now!” Yet men can go on having babies till they’re like 75 (eye rolling emoji!), so it’s engrained in to us that everything associated with age is pretty much negative.
Society says if you’re this age you should wear this or act like that which is just not true. Over the last week the news has been dominated with clips of Jennifer Lopez (50) and Shakira (42) performing at the Super Bowl and talk of how incredible they both looked. This got me thinking about how things have changed especially for women in recent years when it comes to age. There was a point years ago when 30 was considered middle aged (which is clearly not the case anymore) as people are generally looking younger and still living their lives to the fullest, partying at 40,50 and 60. Another thing that’s so frustrating is how women particularly get criticised for how they look as they age but men seem to get better. You hear phases like “he seems to mature like a fine wine”. Men seem to become sexier, more established some how, the older they get. Grey hair and wrinkles give men an extra sparkle but apparently do the opposite to women. I watched both their performances over and over again and it made me understand that age really is nothing but a number and it’s how you deal with getting old that really counts.
I’ve started to realise that as a woman in her 30’s, I have not just learnt a lot but I have done a lot as well which naturally makes you more confident. I know what I like, what I don’t like and what I expect from men or women in terms of relationships.
I think this hit me most recently in my most recent job where I am in charge of recruiting for all roles throughout my company. One of these roles is for a call centre sales type position which mainly sees younger people starting their career in their first job. I think working closely with them, I realised and remembered what it is to be 18. Now this is no disrespect to anyone under the age of 25, I’m just saying that as much as being young and looking youthful is great, there comes a kind confusion on who you are as a person and learning what you want and expect from other people. I realised there was lots of positives about being older.
When I first met my husband who is 8 years younger than me, I lied about my age. I told him I was a year younger than I was…(which is just ridiculous I should have at least said 5 years younger) as one; what difference does a year make and two; if he was worried about age I’m sure the other 7 years would have put him off. I made my family lie for about 3 months we all had to pretend that I was 28 when I was 29 which you can imagine was very awkward, especially as the birthday after we met was my 30th (cover eyes with hands) eventually he found out and to be honest he didn’t care he was more angry that I had lied.
In retrospect I also have been thinking a lot about the fact every year I get older is another year I’m alive. Why do we look at age and say god I’m a year older, why are we not like “yes I’m a year older, I lived another year how lucky am I!” There are so many people everyday that don’t wake up and would give anything to live one more year with the people they love. People die every day in freak accidents or with long term illnesses so the longer we get to be alive shouldn’t that be celebrated? That isn’t to say that when you look in the mirror and have another wrinkle or that tight tummy you once had is harder to maintain, that it isn’t a hard pill to swallow but that’s just what comes with ageing I suppose.
When I watch Love Island and I compare myself to Sarah from Sheffield who’s 19, I really have to take a step back. I’m not 19 anymore and although I pride myself on taking care of myself and still looking good, I can’t be jealous of that youthfulness because I had my time! I too was once 19 and would strut around spending 10 hours a day in the sun drinking vodka like it was going out of fashion and waking up looking as fresh as a daisy!
These are things I can’t do now, well I can and I sometimes do, but if I drink at the weekend or have a proper night out I’m fully prepared that I will be suffering for at least 3 days and my skin won’t recover for another 3 after that. Those young girls on Instagram will one day also have wrinkles and be thirty plus, its something non of us can avoid.
That being said I bring something else to the table now. I’m more confident than my 19 year old self, more established and probably a lot more interesting to have a conversation with.
There are lots of upside to getting older things I appreciate or I have learnt that I wish I’d known in my 20’s:
1- I don’t have to brave the cold in a crop top lining up for a club that’s over priced and overrated, I can stay at home drink wine get a take away on a Saturday night and not feel guilty about it.
2- I don’t have to wear crop tops or dress in the latest fashion because that’s what all my friends are doing. Being comfortable is so overrated and although I thought I’d never say it, is key to when I’m deciding what to wear if I’m going out.
3- I’ve learnt how to tell the difference between people who are worth your time and people who aren’t.
4- The importance of sunscreen. Wearing factor 50 doesn’t make you less tanned it just protects you from looking like an old handbag. Tanning was life when I was young, it was fashionable to be as tanned as you could. I remember on a girls holiday to Ibiza I actually wore baby oil in the sun all day. I was the colour of a red pepper for about two weeks even after we got home. I cringe at how badly I neglected my skin, I tend to lay out of the sun now.
5- Shots are never a good idea. Something that took till about the age of 30 to learn. While on the topic of alcohol never mix wine and vodka or vodka and rum or rum and anything you will be really sick.
6- Home shopping is life. Buying a new hoover is life. Cleaning is even more life. Three things I would have yawned at when I was 19.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love to have a drink, I love to go out, I take care of my appearance, you don’t need to hit 40 and let it all go. I can wear a damn crop top if I want to, I don’t care what age I am and I think that too is becoming more acceptable thanks to today society.
I’m so glad that I live in the generation I do and that being a 50, 60 or even 70 year old woman doesn’t mean your life is over and that you can’t be beautiful. You can be beautiful, powerful and confident at any age whether you’re 20 or 80. I want to live like the Jennifer Lopez’s and Jennifer Aniston’s of this world and when someone asks me my age be proud to say I’m 38 because if one thing is promised we are all going to get old that is for certain.