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.
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.