I’m 41, and I will admit to being the type of person who does worry a bit about getting older. Not obsessively. Just a bit. Now I’m well aware that the age range of my blog readership is quite wide, and there will be people reading this who are 20 years older than me saying “41? You have NO idea what getting older is all about yet”, and there will be people reading this who are 20 years younger than me saying “41? Yeah, I can’t imagine how it feels to be THAT old!”. But whatever your perception of 41 is, we can all agree at least that I am older than I was when I was 21. And you know what? It’s not so bad. Like most women, sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and think “Hey, you’re not looking so bad for 41 girl!” and other times I look in the mirror and wonder who the hideous wrinkly is looking back at me.
Every time you roll over to a new decade it feels like quite a big deal. When you turn 20 and leave your teenage years behind, you realise that you’re now a grown-up. It’s quite a shock. When you turn 30 you realise that you weren’t as much of a grown-up at 20 as you thought you were, but now you’re REALLY a grown-up and had better start acting like one. Then when you turn 40 you give up worrying about being a grown-up. I was actually quite depressed about turning 30, it really felt like I was done being young. I was living in Las Vegas at the time and chose to go jet-skiing on Lake Mead for my 30th birthday. I had never jet-skied before, and it was the best choice I could have made. Just being out on that vast expanse of water, with the beautiful scenery around and blue sky and sunshine above, put everything into perspective and made me feel fantastic. Here I am on that day (don’t worry, I didn’t actually take my daughter out jet-skiing with me, that was just for the photo!) –
I was less worried about turning 40, I had done a better job of resigning myself to it leading up to the day. For my 40th I went for a weekend in London with my lovely partner Neil. We live less than two hours from London but we never get to go away just the two of us, so it was a real treat and that’s what I chose to do rather than having a party or anything (I’m really not a party person). Here we are enjoying our time away together…both on our phones; the picture is actually a reflection of ourselves that we are photographing in a strange mirror sculpture thingy they had there (Do you see? No? Never mind) –
People often say that some of the good things about getting older are that you lose a lot of your insecurities, you become more confident in yourself, and you care less what other people think about you. All that is true, but what really made me write this post was a realisation I had yesterday. I went to an audition for a little part in a TV advert. The other people auditioning were all around my age, and whilst in the waiting room we smiled and said hello and goodbye to each other as people arrived and left, we exchanged a couple of compliments about clothing or hair, wished each other good luck, commented on the weather etc. Nothing major, but it was all quite relaxed. I have only just got back into acting over the last 6 months or so. The last time I properly attended auditions and castings of this type was in my late 20s, and attending auditions with people in their 20s was very different – the girls eyed each other up and down passing harsh judgments (or if they didn’t, then you felt that they were which was as bad!), girls were bitching amongst themselves about others, any pleasantries that were exchanged felt false, it was a brutal and scary place to be in an audition waiting room at that age.
Of course I’m not saying that every person in their 20s is bitchy and insecure, and every person in their 40s is kind and confident, of course not, there are all types of people in all the age groups. But my personal experience and perception is that generally, when you get to our age, you realise that life is much better if you’re warm and pleasant to others, and just accept yourself for who you are, warts and all. So for those of you who are still in your teens, 20s and 30s, don’t worry about reaching 40, it’s really not so bad. As for 50+, well come back and ask me in 10 years time.
P.S. The photo of me with the mirror at the top was taken last weekend at my friends Gretchen and John’s house. I shouldn’t just use a picture of their house without at least posting a link to their website which is all about the beautiful and unusual music they perform together: http://www.worldtreemusic.com/