Beauty, Mummy stuff, Style

It’s tough getting older

French Cheese

Over dinner with S the other day, I discovered a shocking truth about ageing that so far had been hidden from me. Ridiculously good looking, genetically privileged body to kill for, happy relationship and great career, my friend S was bemoaning the negative correlation between getting older and getting attention of the opposite sex.

‘In fact, these days’, he said, ‘it’s mainly older women trying to flirt with me. Not only that’, he went on, ‘when I accidentally catch my own reflection in a window, I regularly jump in horror, realising how much older I look than I actually feel.’

It shocks me that S, Alpha Male Extraordinaire, seems to be concerned about ageing. S isn’t particularly vain, shallow or insecure. If anything, he might be a tiny bit too deep for the job he is in. I have always been convinced he would take age in a stride, celebrating his salt ‘n pepper stubble as a sign of maturity. Instead, he has robbed me of the comforting illusion that at least one half of the population will age gracefully and with some sort of pleasure.

Don’t get me wrong. Getting older is tough. It’s tough not to give into the current fashion of waxy foreheads and puffy lips, but to stand up and cry, ‘I am going to age gracefully!’ whilst wrinkling slowly but steadily into the texture of a raisin. A single night out on the town makes me want to check into rehab for four weeks, two glasses of wine with dinner produce a hangover that was once reserved for the aftermath of two bottles, and anything less than eight hours sleep a night will be etched into my face in the form of deep, unforgiving lines. But squishy bum and bingo wings aside, I came to like getting older.

Ten years ago, my bum might have been peachier and my arms didn’t wave on long after the boat had left the harbour. But ten years ago, I have been so insecure and self-doubting that I couldn’t appreciate any of this. On the beach, every trip away from the safety of my towel was only possibly with an extensive effort to cover up. In case ‘something wobbled’. Of course, nothing ever wobbled. Apart from small parts of my brain maybe. Today, being definitely in worse shape than I was ten years ago, I don’t give a shit.

I am happy in my own skin. And it’s age I have to thank for that. I know my flaws, but I don’t fight them as vigorously anymore. I like the way I look. I never liked the way my 25-year-old self looked. In fact, I used to be so detached from myself that I was heavily relying on others’ opinion to form an image of myself in my head. A volatile, if not dangerous position to be in.

Life is getting easier the older I get. I am much more mellow than I used to be. Medium sized catastrophes don’t phase me any more. It’s experiences that only come with age that make life more interesting and add depth to personalities – something you can’t have when you are young. Thanks to getting older, I am happier than ever. And in a naive way, I had assumed that this counts for the majority of people. Especially for men.

11 Comments

  1. I tend to think lots of men improve with age, but clearly they can fall victim to the same type of image worries as women. But I’m with you on this one – I am happy in my own skin now and it’s a great place to be. I do look back at my twenty year old self and wonder what I was worried about though! Maybe that was a wake up call to appreciate me as I am now.

  2. To turn the clock back and know then what we know now – you would have been strutting and owning that beach. A fabulous post, really enjoyed it.

  3. There’s a certain confidence with getting older isn’t there. Although I look at Jen Anniston and others and think hats off you are redefining age and having a 95 year old beautiful, touch wood healthy grandma makes me feel there is no real concept of age anymore. You are truly as young as you feel and I intend on feeling young men till old age!

  4. I guess it’s all about perspective, isn’t it? I like your outlook 🙂

  5. Ha, love your post! It’s so true… what did we have to worry about in our twenties yet that’s when I worried the most and was the most insecure about my looks. I’m trying to tell this to my youngest sister the whole time but not sure she believes me! 🙂

    (www.blogbymissm.com)

  6. That’s interesting, I’d have thought men were fine getting older but apparently they feel the same. I’ve always liked older men so that’s not a problem for me but the other day I had quite impure thoughts about someone who came for an interview who was say 6 years younger than me and I felt embarassed about it- but a man wouldn’t!

    I think what is interesting is that you get more confident you perhaps also get a bit less obsessed with going out every Saturday in your best dress (okay I haven’t really done this since University). So you are more confident but perhaps less ‘out there’. Though the stuff about losing weight, doing your nails, blah blah doesn’t get better.

    The other thing is the long terms couples who tell me they have less sex/ are less interested because they’re old when they are clearly in their early 30s prime and I don’t any single men or women of that age who are less interested- more so I think- how do some couples keep it all working and some not? I guess that’s another question- I really fear that though!

  7. Men do have it easier there is no doubt it, they look better with wrinkles and age. (Or is it all perception and cultural? ) Though I have to say my husband and other male friends are much concerned about losing their hair than I would have ever thought. I keep telling him it doesn’t matter but he does fret.

  8. I am so much more fit than I was at 25, so I can’t complain. Of course I have wrinkles now and sun spots on my face (damn Aussie life!), but as far as how I FEEL in my body – MUCH better than a decade ago 🙂

  9. In China the older generation are given more credence than the younger. Age begets wisdom and wisdom begets respect. Hmm, if only I was Chinese!

  10. I feel like I have grown into myself as I have gotten older and I am less hard on myself now than I used to be. I look back on photos of myself in my twenties and wonder what the heck I was worried about!!

  11. Oh, I so agree with you!

    It seems all upside-down. When we have great young bodies (for what body isn’t great when it’s young?), we don’t enjoy them. We think they’re sub-standard. Then when our bodies are less than pretty to look at – talking about myself here, not you – we enjoy them far more. I wish I could say to my younger self, “For Heaven’s sake, you have a FABULOUS body! Enjoy it!”, but of course she wouldn’t listen. She’d be too pre-occupied with that spare ounce of tummy, or that tiny extra bit of padding on her thighs or bottom. That weren’t even there.

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