Why I have a problem accepting my age & my Birthday

March 5, 2020 13 Comments
problem-accepting-my-age

I’ve been putting off writing this post as I couldn’t quite put my thoughts on to paper and not sound like a real Debbie downer.

But the truth is I have a problem accepting my age, my birthday and the fact I turn 39 today.

I don’t know exactly when my issue with my age or becoming older started. In younger life all you want is to be older. Old enough to drive, old enough to drink, old enough to move out and live on your own and you wish those years would hurry up and tick by so you can get on with it. But eventually there’s a tipping point. A point at which you wish the opposite, that the years would stop rolling by so fast and that your age would stop creeping up faster than you can deal with.

I never had that “OMG I’m turning 30” panic. I had mine at 28. I think it related mostly to the fact I wasn’t in a long term relationship and no prospect of one on the horizon. I wasn’t sure I’d even achieve those life goals you feel like you have to tick off; buying a house, getting married etc and that made turning 28 scary for me. By the time I turned 30 unlike most people I didn’t panic or freak out. I was happy and relaxed in the knowledge I was with an amazing guy (had now been for a year & a half) who I knew I wanted to marry and all that possibility and moving forwards and achieving life events was ahead of me. I embraced 30, threw a big party surrounded by my friends, family and my boyfriend. I felt really happy.

Was I so acutely aware of my age when I was married? I don’t know. I was certainly aware of my age when it came to children. The only childless one in my close friend group and the oldest and not that maternal tbh, I’d always been aware that as time ticked on my chances would dwindle. Over 35 you are classed as a geriatric mother! I mean if that’s not enough o make you feel ancient I don’t know what is

I started to become negative about my age in my blogging career. Back when I worked in the theatre it had been the other way around. I was made head of a department and a team of three at 24 years old. I felt really young to be given such a position of responsibility and sometimes felt I might be perceived as immature to be leading staff who were older than me. But ultimately, I proved my ability and stayed in that role for over 10 years.

In my new career - blogging and Instagram, I’d always felt surrounded by younger women. It’s an industry dominated by women in their 20’s and I started to feel more negative about my age and even a little embarrassed by it.

That did change for a while back in 2017 with the introduction of the 30 Plus collective which made me embrace my age and realise that women in the 30’s bracket do have incredible influence and an important voice in the blogging community. I stopped hiding the fact I was over 30 and tried to make it an asset rather than a negative.

 

 

birthday cake and confetti photo
fun birthday photo ideas

But when I ultimately became aware of my age and when I really started to struggle with it was when I became single in 2018.

I’ve written about that fear that came after my marriage ended and a high majority of it wasn’t just because I was starting again, but because I was having to do it at 38 years old. Of course, a lot of this does relate to children. Something I guess I might write about more in another post. My maternal switch kicking in ironically just as my marriage broke down and leaving me with a fear that I might never achieve something I now knew I wanted. But also, because I knew age wouldn’t affect him. It wouldn’t be a barrier for him and children or moving on. Not least because he was already with a younger woman but also because its just so much easier for the guy right regardless of his age? I just wished I was younger. And that feeling has only grown.

My biggest thing is I don’t mentally feel 39. I guess I’m lucky that I’m told I don’t look it it either, but biologically I am. There’s no getting away from it.

Dating apps also have brought the age thing so much into the foreground. It’s there prominent on your app profile. It’s a factor by which you filter out partners and by which you yourself may be filtered out by someone else. You set your preferences and age is one of elements you have to decide.

Its also the way it sounds. THIRTY NINE! Urgh it just sounds so much older than thirty eight ha ha. Rightly or wrongly there is an assumption about what a 39 year old woman is like. I know I have it in my mind. And I’m sure I am swiped past because of this assumption. I don’t feel like my age reflects who I am and yet I can’t seem to shake my own feelings about it. It’s one of the reasons I’m not on any dating apps at the moment. I felt like I needed to turn 39 and make my peace with it before I re-join. I went on a first date with someone earlier this year who had such a hang up about his age - and he was 36! He referred to himself a lot as old and I remember thinking what a negative combination the two of us would be. I don’t want to come across like that on a date, so that’s why I’m not dating right now.

What I do for living also make me so aware of my age, physically. Studying photos and videos of yourself you become aware of every line, every wrinkle. Even getting ready for dates I would look in the mirror as I got ready and wonder if the guy would notice my crows feet or how crepey under my eyes were. The truth is they don’t. I don’t think anyone notices our flaws more than ourselves and I certainly don’t think guys are looking at these things.

The truth is another birthday just highlights the fact it’s another year on and I’ve still not found myself in the place maybe I hoped I would. That’s not to say I haven’t achieved stuff. I have to give myself credit for surviving a divorce, a house move, the loss of my dog Eddie and managing to maintain my earnings and a home and basically not falling apart completely. I have so much to be grateful for. I have incredible friends. A loving family. A job I get to carve out and create for myself and one that has taken me to some amazing places and helped me do some incredible things.

But also, I feel guilt for feeling sad that I’m turning another year older. I lost two people in my life last year and I know for them and their families they would give anything for another year with them, so how can I be so ungrateful for the gift of even being able to grow older. Because that’s what it is right? A gift and a blessing and as they say you only get to live once so why waste it away wishing you were younger.

It’s a conflict in my mind and I’m trying my hardest to get over it.

So today is my 39th birthday and so begins that 12 months towards the big 40. And that’s an even scarier prospect ha ha. But who knows where I’ll be by then? Maybe I’ll feel about 40 the way I did about 30. I hope I do. But I’ve decided to try and embrace my birthday. I've planned fun stuff for the week and I'm focusing on spending time with friends and family and being positive about the next year ahead. I don't want to have a problem with my age and I want to be accepting of me and my life ahead.

And on that note I wanted to make the next year mean something. I’ve seen other people do these kind of lists and I decided what better way to enjoy my 39th year than to set myself some bucket list targets so I’ve created a 40 before 40 bucket list which I’m going to share in another blog post. It will be 40 things to try and tick off over the next 12 months, anything from trying something new to going to new places and I can’t wait to get started ticking them off.

 

I’d love to know what would be on your bucket list and also how you feel about birthdays and ageing?

Let me know in the comments or ping me a message on insta

I’m off now to eat birthday cake and drink Prosecco.

 

Debs

xxxx

13 Comments

  • Rosie March 5, 2020 at 10:22 am

    I think we look at age in a negative way and sometimes feel like age is concentrated on a lot in life. If we remove age from the equation I feel that a lot of us would live life without expectation. I just think if you’re healthy and happy then you have everything you need in life, the rest is a bonus. In terms of relationship and all that you desire i believe we need to change our mindsets from I don’t have anyone to when I do have someone, it’s all about believing your dreams into existence.
    Ps I follow you on Instagram @roseabouttown

  • Penny March 5, 2020 at 11:23 am

    I’m a good few years older than you and can remember feeling the same as you. Approaching my 40s seemed as if I was going to be over the hill. The truth was the absolute opposite, I LOVED my 40s! I finally learnt not to care what people thought, accept my failings, had total confidence in myself and became the fittest I’d been. I now know the adage ‘age is but a number’ is so true. Life is what you make it. A bucket list is a great idea, it will motivate you to cross things off rather than let things lapse. Have a fabulous birthday! X

  • Ana Guerra March 5, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Dear Debbie,
    First of all.. Happy Birthday!!!! Again!! You rocked ’till 39..you’re a lucky girl.. And.. You look hot as well.😉
    Let me give you my opinion just like an older sister.. Da hell with age.. It’s the way you carry yourself and life that matters..
    I’m 53, almost 54 right in my worst menopause path and let me tell you.. It’s not been easy!! It’s been hell..the struggle, my friend, the struggle..
    But, if there’s something that I try everyday is to live my life not thinking much about age.. Of course my body it’s not the same (God knows that I hate this menopot around my waist) but it’s the joy that I bring to my life and work that makes people happy around me..
    I’m a make up artist, I live among cute girls.. I can’t cope with that natural, young, fresh skin and amazing bodies.. But let me tell you…I have the brains.. And it’s much more powerful than a tone body.. So.. My words to you are.. Do you feel trapped around this instagram thing where everybody look so happy, tone bodies, amazing skin, over the top make ups.. It’s all editing.. A lot of them have miserable lives and need those thousand likes to validate their own existence.. They’re shallow.. No substance.. But, how about a young lady of 39, 45, 53 who has something to say about beauty in every stage of life? We are worth it, and fashion and beauty industry are noticing more and more. That’s why we see more adds with “mature models”. I’m not old.. I’m a “mature girl”. I get compliments all the time about my looks.. I feel like in my 30’s and look like in my 40’s. I’m childless and don’t mind.. I never felt the maternal call and I love children.. I was a teacher many years ago and my pupils still reach for me all grown up with children of their own.. And life is beautiful if you focus on what matters.. Sometimes we all need to be more selfish.. Can`t cope with younger bloggers and influencers? Neither we can.. Why not doing your amazing job for all women apart from age?? We, the “grown up girls” need some rolemodels too.. And picture all those models and actresses over their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s that are better now than when younger.. That’s what I wanted you to know.. Everything’s going to be alright.. I promise you!! Xoxo.. Ana

  • Carla Romang March 5, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    This is such an honest and relatable post, thank you Debs! I turned 43 last week and am not at all where I thought I’d be at this age. You are definitely not alone! Christmas pains me more than birthdays though, for some reason. I’ve struggled with fertility issues for the past six years with my partner and totally took my younger years for granted in that respect, although we didn’t get together until I was mid thirties. Try not to let age define you, it really is just a number. Life has a way of falling into place somehow, so hang onto that! xx

  • Raquel March 5, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Oh Deb! I could have written this myself!
    That 40’s crisis indeed exists, and I’d say starts at 39. I was feeling so much better at 38 too! and yes! even if we don’t know it conciously, all that we are feeling has to do with kids! a cross road, a now or never situation that honestly, I felt fricking sucks! I was like: why Do I have a limit in my life, that I have to decide on something I don’t even know I want? my life is great as it is, yet you “feel” weird, a sense of something is missing even though you have acomplished a lot already.
    I tell you what, I have now 41, when it was my 41 birthday, I was pregnant and did not know it yet. And I made the decition to just jump to the decition, at 41, and stop thinking, and then it happened.

    Now I know, although I was not maternal at all, or liked other people’s kids, I was constantly having a feeling of having done a lot in live, and suddenly having a sense that I needed something bigger than me, a huge change even if I could not put it into the word “motherhood”, I wanted to “give” what I have learned in life so far, something like that. And guess what? I learned this is another form of life telling me I wanted to be a mum and did not know it yet.
    Not all girls have a broody feeling and want to be mums as a dream all their lives.
    So I guess my point is: Be present as much as you can, do your 40 before 40 list, and things will come naturally as they meant to be for you.
    Because I tell you what, I was scared of the 40, but once you are there, oh my god! you are so much mature in a good way, less overthinking stuff, still have great carrer prospects and dreams to follow, sitll hot ( ;p) and a Midwife in hospital told me: you are not old to be a mum, not these days.
    So yes, it sucks that our lives were never as “linear” as someone else, but guess what? isn’t that what you enjoy the most about yours?
    lots of kisses you are not alone…at ALL!

    Raquel

  • Katie March 5, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    You don’t look 39 at all!!! And it’s not something you should be scared of. I’m 20 and I can tell you that I definitely look up to people like you and think what an inspiration you are to all the younger girls out there! Keep doing what you’re doing!

  • Kelly Glen March 6, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Happy birthday and I hope you have had a good day celebrating it. I’m 41 and being that age doesn’t bother me. I certainly haven’t achieved as much as I should have done by now but due to ill health that wasn’t possible. I think we just have to make the best of the way our lives turn out. I hope you get to achieve all of the things on your list to do before your next birthday and I shall look forward to hearing about them.
    Take care and all the best.

  • Vanessa March 6, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    I know exactly how you feel, Debs. I’ll be turning 38 in May and I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. I’ve been single for 15 years, I haven’t gone on a date in years, I haven’t had sex in years and I certainly haven’t had any children either. I come from a very traditional Italian family and I’m the only woman who’s still single and childless. I’ve lost track of how many times my grandparents, aunts and uncles have asked me why I’m still on my own and why I haven’t settled down and had kids yet. To them, my lifestyle is completely foreign because they grew up in a time when women married and had children by the time they were in their early-20s.

    I’m not angry about getting older, I’m angry knowing that I’ve disappointed my family. I’m angry because every single one of my younger cousins is either in a serious relationship, planning a wedding, married, and had children already. I’m literally the lone wolf here and I can’t help feeling absolutely miserable about it. I never meant for my life to turn out this way, but it has. I’m grateful to be alive and healthy but I’m not proud of the fact that I’ve let my loved ones down.

  • Caroline March 6, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    Debs, this is exactly what I go through every year, well at least for the last 7. I couldn’t have articulated it better myself.
    I’m definitely with you on the young looking, young minded, but biologically old sentence. I think for me a lot came about when I started blogging, but hightens every year now.. and that I’m the wrong side of 30 now.lol

    Caroline.x
    http://www.carolineelgeywhite.com

  • Sasha March 29, 2020 at 11:27 am

    This is so raw and honest for so many of us! Thank you for sharing, Debs! <3
    P.S. If I may advise you a show to watch, try "Younger", I think it's quite suitable to this issue and it is very uplifting!

  • Rita March 29, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    Dear Debs, for what it’s worth… I can’t say I know how you feel because I never had a problem with growing older. I had a huge problem with not having children. I am 67 yrs old single since early 2018 and I enjoy being alone. There is nothing on this earth I enjoy more than celebrating my birthday. Not necessarily with company. Last December I had lunch at a very posh restaurant in a castle in Germany on my own. I but on a beautiful dress, nice jewellery and my favourite perfume.
    Believe me I didn’t feel awkward. I enjoyed my lunch. People say it’s easy for me to say that I don’t have a problem with growing older because I have hardly any wrinkles, am a size 8 and am in good health. Dear Debs don’t compare yourself to others. You will always find that someone is more this, that or the other. You are beautiful and talented! Keep that in mind! Stay safe and healthy. Hug from Rita in The Netherlands

  • ratnamurti March 30, 2020 at 12:02 am

    I’m so much older than you Debs, but I can relate going back to that age. At 40 I lost my property, business, relationship, was pregnant, no job, nowhere to live, 2 changes of clothes, no money. I really felt that my life could never get better, it was drama after drama. And it can be such a shock. But you’re smart, look so amazing, and the world is still your oyster. We’re supposed to grieve when big relationships end, as it is like a death. You are still in your prime, and actually, you can still be throughout your whole life. Best wishes xxxxx

  • Honey May 24, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    “My biggest thing is I don’t mentally feel 39.” Agree. I am about to turn 40, but I don’t feel any differently than I did when I was 25.

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