Relationships

How Old Are You?

On Aging

“How old are you again?” Toby asked me the other night. “Mommy, are you old?” I’m 38, so maybe a little bit? Here’s what has surprised me about being in my late thirties…

How I know I’m getting older:

Sometimes I see a photo of myself or glance in the mirror and am surprised that I look older than I feel.

Lots of wrinkles, and gray hairs that stick in all directions. My knees are also doing something weird. Not really sure what’s going on there.

I’ve realized that I now see young guys in movies as my sons instead of my love interests. Like, if a guy dies in a WWII movie, I’m sad as if I were his mom, versus his fiancé back home.

Everyone and their brother calls me ma’am.

I don’t understand Snapchat. Technically or philosophically.

If I borrow someone’s phone, I’ll sometimes press a key by accident and need them to reopen the screen I was on.

College students look like babies to me. Like, tiny infants who should be rocked to sleep in a bassinet.

But what I like about aging:

I feel comfortable in my body. I don’t mind that my arms are a little soft. My body can take my kids on bike rides and kiss my husband and tap tap tap on the computer. I love laugh lines; they exist because of all the times you’ve laughed at funny things. And frown lines are good for freaking children out just enough at bedtime.

I still feel really young. Maybe everyone does? “I’ve never got used to the Queen being grown up,” writes Margaret Atwood in Cat’s Eye. “Whenever I see her cut-off head on the money, I think of her as fourteen years old… The Queen has had grandchildren since, discarded thousands of hats, grown a bosom and (heresy to think it) the beginning of a double chin. None of this fools me. She’s in there somewhere, that other one.”

You learn things over the years. I now know the Grand Canyon trick. How to drive a stick shift. How to nurse a baby. That hard work pays off. That I don’t look good in bangs. How to listen. The joy of a female-only articles club. Which gelato flavor to order (i.e., the yogurt flavor sounds like the worst but is actually the best).

I have mantras. I used to lie awake beating myself up at night about how I might have done some random thing (socially, work-related, parenting, etc.) better or differently. I wouldn’t be able to get over it. Now I think, “I’m learning,” and it feels productive and calming, and nine times out of ten, I’m able to put it (and myself) to bed.

My brain has “mental furniture” — poems and books and conversations that are part of me now. I understand how much older ladies can sit by the window and just remember the past. You’re all your ages within one body. It feels good.

Life goes in chapters. Sometimes you feel stuck or lost or heartbroken, but things always change. I’ve been a bookish little girl; a ballet-loving teenager; a college student in love; a brokenhearted new grad; a miserable law student; an anxious twentysomething searching for a path; an intern, an assistant, an editor, a boss; a happy friend; a blissed-out newlywed; an exhausted new mother; a late-thirtysomething woman writing this post. Hard times can feel endless, but they always always end. Who knows what lies ahead?

What about you? How old are you? Do you feel that age? Funnily enough, I’m actually looking forward to turning 40. :)

P.S. Wise words, and Frances McDormand on aging.

(Photo from Instagram.)

  1. Marissa says...

    I love this so much. Thank you.

  2. You think it feels good now, wait another 10 years and it feels even more awesome. My sister who is 10 years older says that it’s even better 10 years after that. 40’s were awesome. Can’t wait to begin my 50s.

  3. Frances says...

    I’m reading these posts from women in their 20’s and 30’s and it makes me chuckle a little bit. I turned 50 last week and I’m starting to struggle with some new and uncomfortable emotions. I’m forging full steam ahead, baby…because there is no alternative! I hope this doesn’t sound too vain but for many years I was that woman who turned heads almost everywhere I went. I was always aware that men were noticing me, although I like to think I never fully “identified” with my looks in the way some women do. Men used to follow me on the street, and tables full of them turned around when I walked into a nightclub or restaurant. I even went on a cruise once and some women actually complained to the captain that I received too much attention from male passengers and that it ruined their vacation!!! I think the discontinuation of that is one of the hardest things because it represents a loss of control and power. Now men pass by and look right through me. Sometimes they glance and then quickly look away. It all feels so sudden–how the hell did this happen overnight? But it wasn’t overnight, was it? Life unfolds one page at a time and soon those pages become chapters. I’m trying to stay positive but I’m not going to lie–it’s pretty challenging. Getting old is not for sissies. I never wanted children and never dreamed of the white wedding dress so I never felt that time pressure to meet “the one” and settle down. My 30th birthday was not even on my richter scale. 40 was fun. Now gravity is tapping on my door and things are getting real. One more little diddy, I just started menopause which is handing me a whole new set of challenges. You don’t own your body, you RENT it. Whenever I start going down the dark rabbit hole of self pity I remember two women I once knew and it puts everything in perspective. The first was a childhood friend who drowned when we were 18. We used to ride the bus together and she was a physically beautiful girl. The second was the most charismatic, funny and vivacious women I’ve ever known who died of brain cancer at 45. How they both would have LOVED to have made it to menopause. Thinking about them humbles me a little, even through my own tears.

  4. docsuzieq says...

    I adore this post and identify with it. I am 46 but think of myself as celebrating my 29th birthday 17 times. I am so grateful for my journey and who/how/where I am today.

    Thank you for Cup of Jo. Your blog is one of the few I read.

    • Tara says...

      I just turned 50 on February 6th. Two things: A friend got me a wine glass that said “Turning 29 AGAIN” and our server asked me which 29th birthday it was and I said quickly “My 31st!”. She didn’t bat an eyelash but after she walked away, my friend dryly noted “You realize you just told her you were 60, right?” I was never great at math! Also, I spent my ACTUAL birthday in Costa Rica with four of my dearest friends, taking surfing lessons. We went to college together and travel as a group at least once a year and decided to go big for our milestone 50th. It was extraordinary. I loved coming back to my husband and two sons but I wouldn’t trade that week with my friends for anything!

  5. carmen says...

    I loved this article and also the comments – very uplifting. You also look gorgeous in your photo Joanna.

    BUT. Am I the only one not enjoying getting older? I’m 46, and seriously wish I could be 21 again. My eldest is off to uni (college) this year – I would *love* to be in her shoes. I miss all the fun, endless socialising, late nights, last minute adventures, freedom, youth, everything! I honestly don’t think there’s anything good about being older – maybe security? That said, I’m physically much fitter and healthier than I was when younger. Life is good, I know I’m one of the lucky ones and take nothing for granted because it could change in a second, but the routine is so dull and boring. I would love a do-over! Anyone else? I’m shocked and delighted so many are ‘happy’ being older.

    • Katie says...

      I’m 42 and feel the same way!

  6. Laura Gallagher says...

    I’m 71 and absolutely love your blog – can’t start my work(yes I’m still working) day without you! I am so blessed to have a small circle of ladies (oldest in her 80’s and youngest in her 50’s). We meet every week to eat, take field trips, etc. and laugh our way through life. We support each other through sickness, death, births, etc and take joy in each other. Sure I’d like to be young again and do things I wish I did, make different decisions, etc. but I’m so happy to still be kicking and its better than the alternative!

    • Kim says...

      This!! Thank you for posting! As I’ve watched my mother allow her entire life to be defined by everything she didn’t have instead of valuing the things she did have, I’ve intentionally sought out older women who are choosing to live the way you do. These women are my example of how to thrive in later seasons of life rather than spend all that time lamenting loss of youth. I can look at it as “Omg, I’ve already lived close to half my life” or “Wow, I’ve only been an adult for 30 years and still have (based on my family’s history) at least 45-50 YEARS ahead of me.” Older women are leading the way for their daughters. Inspire them by showing them what to do, not what NOT to do.

  7. Recently turned 40. I feel like it’s my best age yet and I’m going through a divorce. I have ups and downs but I have the perspective to see the light even in the murkiest moments. Also, feeling comfortable in my own skin and finally finally feeling beautiful is such a blessing. Took a lifetime of self-loathing to truly appreciate it.

  8. Val says...

    Age is a matter of mind; if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.

    • Gogogramma says...

      Love this! Thanks!
      from a “turning 65 next week, but loving life more now than in my 40s and 50s, wife for 45 years, mother of two, gramma to two, retiree, gardener, learning how to box for exercise, excited for what my future holds” woman.

  9. Michelle says...

    This is in fact a beautiful post. And I have become addicted to your blog. But, I’m shallow today, and what I really want to know more than anything right now is what color lipstick you’re wearing in this picture. Gorgeous

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you are so sweet, michelle! it’s actually a $6 color from amazon:) http://amzn.to/2gHvXN9

  10. Liz O says...

    My sister is 66, I’m 65. We make each other pause, and then laugh, when we recall something from the past as happening “20” years ago, or “15” years ago and then realize the event was actually 40 or even 50 years ago!! Let me tell you, that’s when we feel old!

  11. Hello Joanna.
    I don’t think age is a matter
    Just keep a younger heart and live happier
    That I believe you’ll be always 18S forever :))

    Annielewis

  12. I’m turning 64 in two days time and I still feel as if I’m in my 40’s. But the thing is, I like being 64. I like who I am now. I love looking back on my life so far and marvel at how lucky I have been.
    Age has a funny way of catching up with all of us, there is no way to escape. When I look in the mirror, I see a slightly older version than the person I really feel like and my body sometimes tell me I’m no longer that 40 year old woman I imagine myself being. But hey, that’s OK, I have a library of wonderful memories and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.

    • Harriet says...

      From one Harriet to another, my heart always skips a beat whenever I see our name. It’s so so beautiful.

      Harriet, 35

  13. Preeti says...

    ‘You’re all your ages within one body’ – what a beautiful line! I never really thought about aging until quite recently when all my friends started making life changing decisions like getting married and moving to another country. This makes me look forward to aging gracefully.

  14. I’m glad you linked this for the holiday break. I had my 29th a couple of weeks ago, and even though I know I’m not old, I still can’t believe how fast the time went by! I like to say that the only thing that makes me feel older than my birthday is 6 days later when my “baby” cousin turns the age I feel like I am (this year? 24).

  15. gwenda says...

    Lovely words. As I approach 60 in 2018 – I am so grateful for LIFE – my wonderful husband of 36 years, my sons who are living happy and productive lives, my sweet daughter in laws who love my boys, and oh my darling little granddaughters who have given me the chance to be a little girl again to play baby dolls, Barbie’s, and play dough “cooking”.
    I am so lucky.

    • I love this “I am so lucky.” You are indeed

  16. What a beautiful post. Pen x

  17. ‘You are all your ages within one body.’ That is just about the most perfect way to put it. And it does feel good. I turn thirty this year though I think I skipped 29 entirely because I’ve been referring to myself as ‘being 30 now’ since I was 29 + 1 day. But I know I’m lying. After all, I know I’m, in fact, just 18…

    • Emilie Cox says...

      I just turned 30 last week and I feel the exact same way! Pretending to be a grown-up, playing house :) sometimes when I am stressed or feeling low, I actively think of that 10, 12, 14-year-old girl who is still very much a part of me. I am so grateful for the life I have lived in the years since she ran this body, but connecting with her always makes me feel calm and like I have come home.

  18. Lorena A says...

    Same age and feeling grateful for each year!

  19. I’m only 26 but since I have my son I’m always thinking I’m already 30 something. Being mom somehow makes me old (my eyes area start wrinkling and all I talk about is my child)… but in a good way! I only have couple years in my 20s, and honestly looking forward for 30. It will be even greater hope so (:

  20. This is such a delightful post. I can totally relate.

    I am 35 years old & have been thinking about my age so much lately. I find 35 to be the first age where I’ve really asked myself: “what have you accomplished in life”? But, in an effort not to be too hard on myself, I’ve recently decided to jot down the 35 lessons that I’ve learnt in 35 years… http://azestylife.co.za/2017/05/03/35-things-ive-learnt-in-35-years/
    x

  21. kelli winter says...

    I am 47. I am stuck at 25.
    I feel like I have never really grown up. It is hard to describe.
    I never had children and I think that is a big part of why I don’t feel like a grown up. The other reason is, due to many life circumstances, my Mom and I live together.
    When I see myself in the mirror, I don’t recognize who I see. This past year people have stopped telling me I look younger than I am. My body is filled with several chronic diseases and it is visibly taking control. Plus pre menopause has begun. I wish I could go back and do a lot of things differently.
    However, I am very happy in my daily life, my work and what I have accomplished.
    It’s a mixed feeling kind of place.

  22. Marie says...

    Just lovely. This made me feel both teary and incredibly peaceful, thank you for sharing these words!

  23. Carolina says...

    LOVE IT

  24. dionne says...

    Ditto! I couldn’t love this more. I feel stuck at times, but mostly hopeful. x

  25. Laura says...

    :) same feeling.

  26. Winter Blue says...

    I love this… I feel like have been reading you forever. We are growing old together! :)

  27. Sara says...

    I could read this over and over. So beautifully written and all so true. You will love your 40’s. I have let go of so many things that used to rattle me, and embraced who I really am. Each year is more liberating than the last.

  28. Kate says...

    “I don’t understand Snapchat. Technically or philosophically”

    THANK YOU. Me neither. I’m 27 so most of my peers are into it, but even my 40+ co-workers use it. So now I don’t think I must be ‘too old’ to get it; I’ve realized that the premise of having my life interrupted for even a few seconds to watch someone else stir soup or be at a blurry concert simply and truly does not appeal to me. And that’s okay!

  29. Claire says...

    I’m apparently 42…I’m still trying to figure out how that happened as in my head I’m still only 19! But I am also sooooooo glad to be 42! I have friends that are 27, so full of angst and worry about what people think…I long ago gave up having any effs about those kind of worries. I always like to say that it’s only numbers and you’re only as old as you feel…just wish those pesky grey hairs would stop though…my hairdresser owns me! ☺️

    • C says...

      Apparently 42. That says it all.

  30. Ashley says...

    I loved this. I thought it one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever written, and that’s really saying something.

  31. Nerissa Nuqui says...

    You write about aging so beautifully. I’m 38 but in my head I feel a lot younger some days and a lot older on other days.

  32. Megan says...

    I just turned 38 and have been having the same thoughts…a lot. Thanks Joanna.

  33. I am 25 but have been married for 6 years and have three kids, so I feel like I’m in some wacky in between place. This is what I wanted for my life, and I am so grateful for it. Especially in NYC, most of my friends are 5-15 years older than me….mostly 15 years! But we feel like peers and are at the same stage in life with small children. They just have different childhoods and memories and whole careers and lives before this motherhood stage. I always felt older as a child and couldn’t wait to grow up. I always wanted to learn from people older than me. And wanted to get married young, which happened! The funny thing is that I think my unique circumstances have made me HORRIBLE at judging ages!! I have no idea how old people are who are younger – they either seem like middle schoolers to me, or my age. I just can’t fathom that someone is in college or whatever. Likewise with those in my life stage….I am getting used to the fact that most of my friends are in their mid/late thirties, but it was such a shock to me when I first found out how old everyone was. And I always feel ‘outed’ when someone finds out my age. I am so grateful for the awesome older friends who don’t let it cloud their relationship to me. I think the weight I have kept on after baby #3 is making me feel and look older, and I am so over it. I don’t feel like myself and it makes me feel more invisible. I had a moment the other day though (after getting frustrated with how my shirt was behaving under the baby carrier) that all the other standards don’t apply to me anymore. How on earth would my clothes look perfect when I am wearing a baby?! How did I even think that was a thing? I’m obviously toting around three little kids, why would someone look at me and think I look young/old or not stylish enough, or a tiny bit fluffy or whatever? They aren’t thinking that at all. It doesn’t apply to me. It’s a teeny bit humbling but mostly really freeing. That definitely is from my season and not age though. I do worry now how unrelatable the next generation already feels to me, and how much harder that could get.

  34. I’ll turn 36 in July and I feel great and young at heart. Sure, I can’t eat a lot of things anymore and I squint like crazy but I love how much I’ve learned in the past few years- I feel so much wiser and I’ve learned to let a lot of s$$t go! It feels great. Also, I don’t get Snapchat At. All. And, when I go to buy liquor and I don’t get carded, I die a little…

  35. Andi says...

    I think I’m a little late to the party, but WOW! I loved this post.
    I just turned 27 in April and its weird that I feel both old and really young.

    Everyone says that I’m still “a baby” and I can’t say they’re wrong. Sometimes I feel like a mischievous 4 year old. But within me, I feel there is also a really tired, cynical fifty something year old. And I never understood how I could be both those things in one space. I’m thinking now, that its because I have already lived so much “life” in terms of sheer volume of experience, and all those experiences are what make me feel older.
    P.S. I too have been a miserable law student, so we have that in common ;-)

  36. On Friday, I drove to a farm I love to pick up some steaks. When I arrived at the little shop, an older man started talking to me. I wasn’t really in the mood to chat, so I said very little but was polite. I picked up my steak, and when I said goodbye, he said, “Have a Happy Mother’s Day.” I hadn’t said a thing about my children, but it seems I’m wearing them on my face :) I’m turning 36 this year—trying to embrace it! Loved this post so much.

  37. Liza says...

    this is my favorite post written. By anyone.

  38. Holly says...

    I love how your write! (just re-read your ‘6 words’ post). As always….Thank you!

  39. Carrie says...

    What a beautiful post. I’m turning 31 in August and I am the happiest I’ve ever been! I’ve made so many mistakes in my past, I feel I a compendium of knowledge on the subject of what not to do. I have a very firm resolve, and I know my values inside and out now. I know what is most important in life and how to protect it at all costs.

    Life has never been better. And within the next year or two, I’m hoping I will become a mother and then let’s talk about how I said today that life has never been better.

    :)

  40. This was such an inspiring and reassuring post! I am 24, but whenever someone asks my age I almost say 22 so I guess I will always feel 22 at heart. When I am around anyone 21 or younger I feel ancient which is so weird. I think it’s something to do with changing technology and pop culture/music that leaves me always feeling like “the mom” when I am around youths (!) because I’m at the point where I identify less and less with what they say and do, and it’s all just confusing. Like, fidget spinners? I see older-teens with these and I’m like, what is this? Is this a thing? More importantly, why???

  41. Stacey says...

    I’m 32. I live in LA which is relevant because it truly is a city where aesthetics matter. My dermatologist recently recommended botox. I’m not opposed to extra help, but not at this age. I have a problem with the vanity involved in getting toxins injected in my face to prevent fine lines. I worried that it would set me up to have an unhealthy perspective on aging.

    I’m happily married, but I’m battling infertility. Birthdays are a little scary because I feel like I’m racing against the clock.

    I’m far more confident in my 30’s than my 20’s. I’m proud of my accomplishments, but I still experience feelings of inadequacy and overwhelming self-doubt. This is in part because I haven’t fully matured into the self-confident and assertive woman I’m working toward. I fear the effect social media has on my (and others) self-image. I’m guilty of comparing myself to friends, co-workers, and beautiful strangers even though I know I’m only seeing the filtered, filmed, and formulated versions of people’s lives.

  42. Megan says...

    This article really spoke to me. I’m 31 year old mother of 2 (boys ages 2 and 5). I’m the only one of my best friends to have kids and it definitely ages you. However, my mom died suddenly at 49 of cancer. She always told me if she could go back in time she would “stay 35 with my babies forever.” It brings tears to my eyes for a few reasons. First because I love to imagine my beautiful mother that age and happy somewhere… and second because I am almost that age and I don’t want to take it for granted.

    • Lucy says...

      Your comment out of everyone else’s immediately brought me to tears – Such a beautiful thought and reminisce of your Mother. It’s always those times that you learn to now not take them for granted.

    • Megan – thank you for sharing. Lovely sentiments, X

      I turn 40 soon. I’m going to embrace it – because we all know what the alternative to growing older is.

      Each day I’m gonna try to live better. Just a little. We’re only human after all X

  43. Kristen says...

    “You’re all of your ages within one body.”

    I never thought of it like that before, yet I love that so much. I am 29 now, yet I’m still a gymnastics-obsessed 8 year-old, 16 in the passenger seat of my high school sweetheart’s truck, figuring out how to pay my own bills and “Cheers!”-ing with my friends at 21, and climbing the corporate ladder and falling in love with my husband at 25. Now, on the cusp of 30 and 9 weeks pregnant with our first child, I am older and younger than I have ever been. I am wide-eyed at the wonder of it all and how this one little body can contain so many versions of me. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  44. Liana says...

    Love this post. Thank you for your honesty always!

  45. Gayle says...

    I’m 62 (had to do the math in my head). I still go to the gym, handle the yoga classes, hate ‘old’ looking clothes. I’ve always looked younger than my age and it turns out mom was right, that becomes a good thing later. But although I’m often told I look much younger I still look in the mirror and wonder why I just don’t Look as young as I Feel. Stay active, move it or lose it we say. Staying healthy continues to equal quality of life. And laugh. A lot.

  46. Mariam Gomaa says...

    I’m 24 (turning 25 in two weeks!) but I often feel 45. In my quarter century of life I’ve been married and divorced, lost a pregnancy, discovered I have endometriosis, fallen in and out of love, cared for a family member with lifelong disabilities, worked harder than I have ever worked toward earning my MD… so much has happened that I often feel so much older than I am. I guess I’m surprised to see how young I look in the mirror when so much of me often feels so old (especially compared to my peers).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you sounds like an incredible person, mariam!

    • Gayle says...

      I have never felt as old as I did in my 20s. It’s a tough time for many of us!

  47. Clara says...

    I’ve been reading you for years and I think this is my favourite post ever. Lighthearted but meaningful, relatable but aspirational, honest but kind. You’ve put this early-forties mama at ease. Thank you.

  48. JMB says...

    I’m writing a book about this (and other stuff). I think you’ll like it. I’ll send you one when I’m done with it in a million years. <3 I am almost 33. And life DOES go by in chapters. The best part about getting older is forgiving yourself. It's a real blessing. I am now harder and easier on myself. I count my joys and try to overcome my sorrows. The first part of this really made me laugh.

  49. Ana says...

    Such amazing comments here.

    I actually love getting older (I am 38 now) but I can’t get used to the post-pregnancy body I got. I am more assertive, more confident, more happy and undoubtedly more outspoken, too. I don’t feel the urge to be polite and proper all the time. I am not a rude person, but now I can tell people to “bugger off” when they are upsetting me. I really appreciate it. But I can’t face a mirror nor check a photo without thinking “wow, what is my Mom doing here?”

  50. Decade birthdays are tremendously inspiring! I loved 40. You’re the best you’ve ever been before–you can see and feel the depths of beauty, love, friends and family. This definitely shows in your blog!

  51. jcasey says...

    I’m a newly-ish thirty seven year old. And I loved reading this article. Myself, I’ve always embraced ageing… possibly because I often remind myself that I love my life and am happy to have experienced everything that has come thus far as I’ve gotten older. The good stuff has been joyful, the bad stuff now, I seem to be able to have the understanding that it led me to where I am now.

    Three kids (under six) and a wonderful husband later, I still find that aside from the odd crick in the back that I may get (again…three kids under six) I barely feel a day out of high school. My forehead wrinkles have finally appeared and though I don’t have laugh lines yet, I think I’ll welcome them when they do because I view them in the same way – that they a memories of smiles and laughter. I find myself more comfortable in my own skin than ever before and more able to handle with perspective whatever life throws our way. It’s taken a long time and a lot of self-work, but I’m definitely more myself now than I would have allowed myself be when I was younger as I simply don’t have time for negative thoughts and worrying about what other will think (Ok… I still sometimes fall into that trap, but I am just SO much better at generally not going that route). I would say that the biggest concern that I find growing as I age isn’t necessarily for myself, but for the health of my parents. We see friends around us losing them to cancer, heart disease and other things now at this age. It’s the natural course of time, though.

    As for forty, I’d have to say that I can’t wait to see what it brings me. Hopefully some really good laugh lines.

  52. I love hearing other people’s thoughts on aging. When I was about to turn 30, it seemed like all the people in my life who are older than me told me how much better 30s are than 20s. A few years later, I feel the same way and say so to my late 20s friends! I wouldn’t go back for anything.

  53. Jess. says...

    You have stated this so perfectly. I have never understood people who wished to turn back time. Getting older is so great for me. I know what I like. I know what I am like. I understand my limits and understand, more and more, that I don’t really have any. Thank you for putting it into words and being such a great virtual and intellectual friend. (I’m 41 and so happy to be 41!) xox

  54. Hannah says...

    Hi Joanna, this is the best thing I’ve read in a little while.
    Thank you for this. It touched me and made me laugh and look forward to the years we gain. XO

  55. I’ll be celebrating my 31st birthday this month, and I love the last paragraph of this post so much. I think I’ll write a list for myself as an encouragement about the many iterations we have to look forward to in the future. Thank you for sharing.

  56. I’m 30. When I was 29, everyone kept asking and expecting me to freak out. But it just happened. I turned 30. Just like I had turned 29 the year before and just like I’ll turn 40 and 50 and 60 and hopefully 70 and 80 someday. I’m with you. I still feel like me. Some days a more put-together me, some days I feel like I’m flailing just as much as I did when I was 13 or 22. Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to feel comfortable or complete, but I think that being alive is a constant lessing in change. We’re always going through it, sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes voluntarily. Every time I go through something that feels too hard, I remember that I’ve been through hard things before. And I survived. And I’ll survive this, too. (Loved this post, thank you.)

  57. Min L says...

    This is a beautiful post! I especially love the last paragraph. You are so right when you say that we are all these things all at once. Its a great way to look at things.

  58. Wow, I just wrote something on my blog about this recently.
    I am 46 and getting older and while traveling I feel I am around people and interacting with people half my age. Age is something that is in your spirit and is completely relative. To an 80 year old, I’m a baby. To a 20 year old, I’m a grandpa.

    I truly believe that your age isn’t the issue. Love life and continue to enjoy the simple things and marvel at life just as the kids do and your age doesn’t matter.
    Hope it’s ok, but here’s the post I was referring to. http://www.theindefinitejourney.com/?p=1706

  59. Diana Willard says...

    I love this so much! When people feel uncomfortable about turning one year older, it makes me so sad — getting to get older is an amazing gift and I would love for us to keep celebrating getting one year older with one year more of experiences and skills the way we did when we were kids!

  60. Lori H says...

    I am 53, but people tell me that I don’t look it (probably due to my slightly chubby face – fewer wrinkles). I love my birthday and the number doesn’t matter to me. I am more confident and comfortable with myself than I ever was when I was younger. My youngest just graduated from college and we will soon be empty nesters (again). Looking forward to being more of a “couple” with my husband like in the pre-kids days.

  61. I am also 38 and like you I am anxiously awaiting 40. Most of the women I know that are there and beyond have a sense of self and carefree attitude that I can’t wait to possess. I am slowly getting there. I have set a major life goal for myself that I am determined to see to fruition at 40. I can’t wait!!

  62. Anna H. says...

    I’m 19 years old, and my friends and I looked at each other after recently coming back home from college and FREAKED OUT about how technically “old” we are. Someone made the observation that most of us will be 20 by the end of this year, and we couldn’t stop laughing at how absurd it is that we, still toddlers in mindset, will be in our TWENTIES. I know that makes us seem even younger, but it’s crazy how old you can think you are at 10, 15, 20, and so on. I used to feel more mature and accomplished as I passed each birthday, but now that I’m an adult, I feel like I’m becoming younger and less experienced with each year I tally up. I imagine that will flip within the next decade, but these waves of feeling too young and too old are crazy.

  63. Gemma Turró says...

    Well, I’m 37, I have two kids. I fell good with me, my body, … But I think that there’s a moment that you look better dressed than naked!! Ups!! at this time do you fell that are older than you think!! Do you know what I’m saying?

    Thank you from Catalonia for Cup of Jo! I love it!! (And sorry for my english)

    Gemma

  64. Joanie says...

    I turned 66 on Friday. Birthdays have never bothered me and neither does this one. I am happy with myself and what it took to get here, yet I feel much younger inside than I appear outside. I want to do a cartwheel, but can’t. My body has shifted into a slower gear. Friends are starting to pass on. I have my first granddaughter and realize that I won’t see her grow old. I am hoping to at least hang around along long enough to see her to thirty. It is a weird feeling. I don’t feel sorry for myself, actually I feel grateful, but it is a different awareness that the edge of life’s time is close and it colors the days. I also know I am certainly not the first person to deal with it and that gives comfort. What I need to work this out will be provided.

    • joe says...

      so beautiful
      thank you

    • M says...

      Absolutely love your comment. This line made me tear up a little …
      ‘the edge of life’s time is close and it colors the days’.

    • Gayle says...

      I get it. I never thought my early 60s would put me in that place where you start losing people around you. Especially ones younger than you.

  65. Courtney says...

    This was a lovely post! I am 1 year older with 3 boys who keep getting bigger! I love your insightful commentary about getting older. I feel both grown up sometimes and other times like someone pretending to feel older, distinguished and grown up but feeling completely unprepared. The journey continues…

  66. Steph says...

    Gosh, do you read all this comments? SO many great ones!! I want to reply to every other one.

    I’m 48. I don’t look it (so everyone says), I don’t feel it and I honestly don’t act it either. :) #nevergrowup

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, reading comments is one of my #1 favorite parts of this job! so many smart and incredible women, i love it :)

    • Anna says...

      I do love reading all the comments on your posts, Joanna! So many of your posts are more like conversation starters than content-heavy articles; it turns out that most of the content is in the comments! I wonder if there’s a way for the site designers to make the comments more easily navigable or at least more easily scanned? Lots of scrolling and clicking back back back…

  67. Peggy says...

    “If I borrow someone’s phone, I’ll sometimes press a key by accident and need them to reopen the screen I was on.”

    Thank you for this. You made a 63 year old feel better.

  68. sadie says...

    My son and I have the same birthday–this was strangely useful in the leadup to 40. I remembered that his first birthday came at the end of his first year–thus turning 40 was actually the end of my 40th year. That ship had already sailed. What a relief.

  69. Margaret says...

    I’ll be 49 next month and have 16,13, and 10 year old daughters. I remember at 40 thinking…. hey I’ve got this aging thing all under control. But as I round the corner to 50 I see that there is heartbreak. It is a blessing to have the opportunity to grow older, better than the alternative. Yet I’m just now realizing that yes it’s not easy, the body fails you. Time marches on no matter what and you want all the good stuff to slow down. There can be an urgency to wanting to figure out the things that still perplex you…”what is the roll of work in my life”. Yet I also feel pressure to not be afraid of change and the progress of time. In the end I want to stop time and have more of it with my precious children and keep myself younger…. but I must show them that change is ok. So for them I try to embrace it.

  70. Jenny says...

    I’m 31 ( it feels really weird to write that… I feel much younger!). I’ve been going through a transition since becoming a mother two years ago, but I think I’d be going through a similar transition even if I didn’t have a baby. I used to spend my days worried about what others thought of me, rather than how I felt, what I wanted, and how I was making those closest to me feel. It’s so freeing. I just saw this quote hung on a store wall and thought it was lovely:

    “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.
    But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
    ― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit

    Is there an age I’d go back to? Absolutely not. I’ve worked hard to get where I am!

    Oh, and this is the only blog I frequent ( it’s been at least five years…) Thank you for providing such an inspiring, fun place to visit. xoxo

    • Carrie says...

      I agree so hard about not going back to any age! Getting to 30 years old has been like climbing a mountain, I’d never want to lose all my progress!

  71. Pam Kasinski says...

    So sorry for being a bit negative but I can’t help feeling that these types of posts are pure gold for marketeers and businesses in getting to know so well their potential target audience. I applaud you because your blog is fantastic and you have created, through personal and engaging content, a real community where women feel so comfortable sharing their personal stories… It’s for this reason that I feel a bit hesitant in sharing my experiences. Your site is a media platform in addition to being a great blog and a place where women find comfort, advise, laughs etc, I can’t help thinking that their answers and point of views could end up on a power point slide for your next sponsorship meeting titled “Who reads cup of jo” and that feels wrong. Maybe it’s just because your questions have been so direct.. how old are you, where do you live, tell me about you etc etc they spark great conversations but also make perfect marketing research.

    • Pam, I thought the same thing I will admit. Truly, that was my first thought just reading the title of the post. However, I enjoyed Joanna’s piece and found it interesting and reflective. All of the sponsored posts do make me slightly wary but I have been following the blog for years and I don’t think Joanna or the team would do anything intentional like that, but I completely get where you are coming from.

  72. I think I’m the youngest in this comment section! I’m 17 (turning 18 in a few months). I’m looking forward to living life. Going to university next year which is a huge step, getting married one day, having children etc. Scary to think about sometimes but as a whole, pretty exciting.

    chellebelle2016.blogspot.com

  73. Katie. H says...

    32… yesterday, a nurse told me I looked “so young” for my age. On one hand, it was flattering (I’m trying to stave off those wrinkles). On the other, I already struggle with the perception that I’m too young for my job. I manage a team of people who are all older than me. It’s an interesting dynamic.

    • Carrie says...

      I am a young woman who manages 25 male construction workers. I feel ya girl. It’s weird!

  74. anne says...

    This post and these comments mean so much to me! I’ve been thinking about this subject nonstop lately and I’ve been ravenously searching the library for women’s voices on aging and all that goes with it but I cant find anything. Please! If any of you know of any good writers that have written on this subject I’d love to know about them! I’m 36 and starting to notice my age and myself changing. I feel good about it! but also have many of the same struggles I’ve read in the comments from all of you. I just need so badly to hear from other women about all these feelings I’m trying to put into words. Thank you so much for this.

  75. Sarah says...

    Beautiful post – currently in the anxious twenty something phase, and this was just what I need to hear (read :)). Thank you <3

  76. Yesterday I turned 41, an age I’ve dreaded not because it’s old but because I am now older than my big brother will I ever be. He died by suicide just after his 41st seven years ago. There is something about outgrowing him in this numerical way that makes me feel heavy and lonely. As a little sister I always compared myself to my older siblings’ markers, and being behind them made me feel young.
    This new age for me also challenges me to commit myself more heartily to living well, with tremendous self-care and gratitude for life. I wish he could have chosen this; I get to make of 41 and beyond what I choose, free of his example, and that is bittersweet, challenging, and inspiring to me.
    I love being in my forties. I just became a (foster) mother for the first time, and adore my girl while getting to live my dream of running my own private counseling practice. My 32 year old husband has twice the grey hair I have but I have plenty, and I love the way it bolsters my sense of being wise enough to sit with my clients. I have more to offer others at this age than ever, and I’m in a career that I hope to keep at for another 30 years–I love to imagine the experience and groundedness I will have by then!

    • Moira says...

      Gwen this is beautifully put….I too compare my age to the age of my mother. She died when she was 55. I just got married last year and turned 32, the age she was where she became a mother. It’s crazy to think that (if I’m lucky enough to live a long life) I will likely be older than my mom ever was. I’m sorry about your brother…it sounds like you have dedicated your life to helping others and living life to it’s fullest. What a great way to honor him :)

  77. Gorgeous you – feels old?!

    Thanks for opening up on this issue. I’m 31 and even at this age, and as a tutor with years long students if mine now between the ages of 14-18, I see that I’m no longer young enough to be seen as the hip, young confidante that I used to be with them when I was in my twenties. Now they see and respect me too much as an adult.

  78. I’m with you on SnapChat.
    I have always looked younger than my age. When I was 30 and very pregnant with my 1st child, my midwife saw that I was 30 and said with surprise, I thought you were a teeny-bopper, like 14. I had never felt more like a real woman in my whole life with swollen breast and stomach and luscious hair. I had never been more beautiful. And here I was being told I looked like a 14-year-old. My husband was a bit offended too weirdly enough. But now, I have a 14-year-old and no one calls me a teeny bopper anymore. Kids age you..and time ages you. Here is my trick: Whenever I feel like I look old, I imagine myself as a 60-year-old looking back to when I was 44 and thinking that I was so young and beautiful then. And then I’m sure when I am 60 I will think of how when I am 80 I will remember how young and beautiful I was at 60. So I plan on always feeling young and beautiful no matter what age I am.

  79. Stacy says...

    Have you read “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros? It’s a perfect short story to illustrate your point that you’re all ages and stages at once.

    • Michelle says...

      This is EXACTLY what I thought of. I’m a teacher and we read and discuss this in class often.

    • N says...

      That’s he first thing I thought of too. I read that story with my students every year, and it never fails to move me. I’m 30, but I definitely have been feeling moments of my shy and nervous 9-year-old self a lot lately.

    • L says...

      Me, too! Such a moving story and exactly what I thought of reading this post.

  80. brittany says...

    this is my favorite post by you. loved this.

  81. Katharina says...

    I so so so much enjoyed this post, dear Joanna! Your words reach right into my soul. So lovely and inspiring and motivating and empowering and and and. Big hug!

  82. Robin says...

    I’m 38 too! Amen to all of this, especially snapchat. Honestly, wtf? I’ve been so lucky in my life but man I don’t envy my teenage self at all! My knees aren’t what they were but I have so much more security in my self now.

  83. Resi says...

    I’m 30 and I feel like every age has its right to be ‘you’. I love any birthday to hang out with those dear to me and I honestly don’t care about the number. Many of my friends have been turning 30 this past year and there are more parties to come this & next year. It’s a funny concept to me why there should be a “bigger” party for a birthday when you turn 30 than for example when you turn 29. I believe everyone should celebrate just the way they want, any age. I had my birthday while being on vacation in Mallorca, so it was just my parents, my sister & her family and my uncle – just a small family gathering. It was such a relaxed day and I splurged on a photo session with a great photographer as a gift for myself. Can’t wait to see what else this new year of life has in store since already so much has happened this year!

    It’s fascinating to read all your readers’ comments, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Joanna. It’s so good to come here on your blog and start thinking about these kinds of things and see what other people are thinking.

  84. Tamara says...

    I’m 31, and happy, although, like you, I feel younger than that. One funny thing I’ve noticed- I remember being 25 and I had some girl friends that I met though paddling canoes in Hawaii, who were 24. And that one year made a difference (I had also been married for 3 years, and they were still single or in new relationships). Now I have a 2.5 and 5 year old, and am friends with other parents (we live in Arlington, VA, where people tend to wait to have children), who are between 34-47, and I feel like they are my peers.
    I think mid to late 20’s are hard b/c you’re not young-young anymore, but you also don’t have the benefit of being in your 30’s.

  85. I’m 42, with 2 teen boys, whom I (joke!) are prematurly aging me by the day…. Whenever I moan to my friend in her 70’s about my greying hair and aging skin she always says “you will never look or be as young as you are today- in 10 years time you will wish you were in your 40’s again.”
    I am trying to live by this thought…

  86. MJay says...

    I just turned 42. I don’t feel old but 2 things remind me of the passage of time: photos where all of the sudden I have eye wrinkles (when did that happen?!) and talking to 20 somethings (how can it have been so long since I graduated from college?!).

    My advice? Wear more sunscreen and enjoy your 20’s when life seems full of endless possibilities!

  87. Simone Hope says...

    Whilst I love this post, the comments are so so comforting! I’m about to turn 26 and for the last year have been so lost. I had finished a major 5 year goal of living overseas for a year and once that was done I decided to change careers (easier said than done). All everybody else wanted to know was when my boyfriend and I were getting engaged whilst behind closed doors I was struggling deeply with not having my career figured out and lacking a sense of direction. I’m now returning to uni online to complete a diploma in HR and finally (FINALLY) feeling like I’m getting things together again.

    All in all – 25 can be summed up with the Coldplay lyrics – “Under this pressure, under this weight, we are diamonds taking shape.”

  88. This is fabulous, Joanna. I actually feel really positive about getting older, and I make sure that my teenage girls hear me talking this way: ‘I may be getting older – but what a privilege! Consider the alternative!’. Funnily enough, one of my daughters showed a boy in class my photo online, and he said ‘That’s your MUM?’ She looks so young. She looks as though she’s in her 20s!’ I must admit, that was kind of cool (considering I’m 45). Oprah always did say that hair colour has changed women’s lives!

  89. Allison says...

    I noticed that I stopped mentally aging myself once I had kids. So in my head I still think I’m 31 and I have to think for a moment to remember I’m 37 when someone asks. I think part of it is that my specific age ceased to matter so much because my life became more focused outward than inward withave becoming a mother and also that playing with children makes you feel young. You get to delight in all the small wonderful things that dazzle them like chasing bubbles or stomping in puddles or squishing playdough between your fingers just for the feel of it, not because you need to make anything.

  90. Theresa says...

    I’m going to be 45 this year and for the first time feeling it. It could be I have a year old and just had a huge life move. I’m not sure, but my husband and I talk about aging more and more. It also could be I’m a medical social worker for seniors and am now more anxious about getting older. Even more so, watching my parents get older. It really scares me.

    • Theresa says...

      A three year old it should say. I can’t even type at 44! Lol

  91. Laura C. says...

    I’m 39 but people use to think that I’m much younger. Anyway, I feel like I’ve missed all my thirties. I’ve been jobless too many time and I feel very annoyed about that. Anyway I found myself dressing like I used to do 15 years ago and I feel a little stuck.
    Girls you rock, I love your comments. Happy birthday to you all.

  92. Anna says...

    I just wanted to hit a “like” button on this post, which kind of made me feel young. Or maybe that should make me feel old because I use Facebook and no one under a certain age (40? 30?) uses Facebook. I’m so old I don’t even know anymore!

    But I really loved this post.

  93. Steele says...

    Love this, thank you, one of your best ever posts!

  94. “If I borrow someone’s phone, I’ll sometimes press a key by accident and need them to reopen the screen I was on.” <— me tonight trying to take a selfie with my girlfriend(friend). We were then blinded for a solid 30 seconds by the flash.

    And the movie thing totally! My little boy is 14 months old and I see everything from a mom's eyes now.

    I remember waiting for college, a career, my husband to propose, wedding, planning, even having a baby. Everything seems like forever ago but I still feel like a kid – except when I see actual kids (college kids) and think they are babies!

  95. i am 57 and getting better everyday. I’ve been a wayward teen, crazy world-traveling 20-something, step mom (unsuccessfully) and mom (successfully) in my 30’s and 40’s, and now in my 50’s embracing my art, travel, and adventure again. I’m not tech savvy (looking at you Snapchat) and I could care less. Life is an roller coaster and the dips can be debilitating but when you are at the top…oh my!

  96. JP says...

    I just turned 30. No kids, no partner. And (up until a couple of days ago) no job. The last 10 years since college ended have been a real struggle. A really bad break up, and a few I thought were bad but then when I had the bad one I realized those were nothing. A cumulative 18 months of unemployment (yay recession and layoffs!) which means I don’t have all the Things my other friends have acquired – cars, houses, vacations, job titles. Even with my new age bracket, the people in my life still treat me like I’m 20. Maybe it’s my unattached, studio apartment, city living life – but those are all circumstantial. I need to be in a city to get a job, I can’t afford anything but a studio because of said city, and, well, bad break up. So, I feel like how old you feel is also how old others make you feel. I’ll feel young until people stop treating me like I’m young!

  97. Angela says...

    Loved hearing your voice in this; somehow it was different, good.

    I’m about to be 29, and I feel mentally and emotionally older. I’ve always been that way, and I’ve always gravitated toward older friends. Physically, well…I’m pregnant with my third child, so maybe ask another time. ;)

    • Angela says...

      Also, I can’t wait to be 40…I don’t know. Everyone I know who is 40+ says it’s pretty rad.

  98. Lisa says...

    Totally needed this today Joanna. Thank you! I’m an almost 36 year old who is really feeling time pass me by lately. I watch my toddler continue to grow so fast and I’ve been feeling so desperate to have that second babe. We’ve had some major setbacks in that department and I often dwell on timing. I need to remind myself that growing older (me and my boy) isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I can still have a baby in my late 30s and age difference isnt that important!

  99. Peg says...

    I’m 44, and I feel everything you said here. I love my age.. and my kids are so little.. 1 and 4! This is my motivator to get active and stay healthy. My husband too. They keep us young! And sooooooo tired ahhhh

  100. You’re a mind reader, Joanna. I don’t know how you do it!
    I turned 39 a couple of weeks ago and I definitely still feel about 19. I have two children, so I know I am a grown-up, but it doesn’t feel like it.
    For a long time, I looked young for my age, but I don’t think that’s the case now. Young children have taken their toll. I love your thoughts on all you have learned, including that you’re still learning. A beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing x

  101. Adrien says...

    This is so on point with my year so far! I’m 27 and have really been struggling with the balance between appreciating all that I have worked to build for myself so far, and trying to evaluate where I am and what my next steps are. It feels very much like the weight of the decisions I make now determine the “next chapter” which is both exciting/freeing and crushing sometimes. Some days I feel so grateful for the fact that I have so much independence that I have created for myself and others I feel like I have missed so much of the free-ness of my 20s by pushing myself and being responsible.

    Everything changes, and time goes on. The comments in this thread are soothing and inspiring to me in all of this. Thank you for this post! <3

    • Me too! 27, and feeling exactly the same. I’m married, have a stable job, moved across the country and yet I yearn for “freedom” and to be the effortless 20-something at the coffee shop who whips up cappuccinos, whisks away to the coast for weekends without a care in the world, and lives with my best friend. I guess I can still do those things, but it’s the “NEXT” that is crushing. What if I don’t make the right choice? What if this job that I’m not happy in becomes the one I’m still in in 5 years? What if I’m actually failing and don’t realize it? What if?

      Glass of wine? ;)

    • Im 27 too, but have a total different experience. I am single, have a cat, and am working random jobs. At 27, I feel like I’m running out of time to “figure things out” like it is only acceptable to be a bit of a mess in your 20’s… But I feel so far from being figured out! I love hearing women speak about (anything and everything really) the different phases of life! Part of me wants to stay young forever.

    • shannon says...

      What?! Emily – you are my long-lost twin. I turn 27 in August and also am married with a stable job and have just moved across the country. I feel the pull of being the carefree, fun 20-something and having “missed” it by not leading that lifestyle (which is a terrible fit for my personality anyway). Then I also somehow manage to feel like I am behind – shouldn’t I be further ahead in my career by now? I don’t feel ready to have babies at ALL but kind of expected that I would by now so I feel “behind” there too. As Ellis says – I am “should-ing” all over myself!

      It’s so affirming to hear these same questions coming from others my age.

  102. Jenny says...

    I thought this post was beautiful. I’m 35, back in school getting a masters and now contemplating a doctorate. I changed careers after a rewarding 10 years in science. Everyone said 35 was the year their body started going downhill. I didn’t want to believe them. Then this year I looked in the mirror and was aghast when I realized my wrinkles setting in. I feel older but also wiser and happier. I don’t have kids yet and I’m crossing my fingers it will come when it is meant to be. There have been many chapters: loss, heartache, pain, confusion but also renewal, amazement, resilience, warmth, love and exploration. Thanks for sharing your inner self with us. It is comforting to know we are not alone in our existential thoughts.

  103. Lindsay says...

    I turn 30 in a few months, but age has always been just a number for me. Honestly! When someone asks how old I am it usually goes something like this “28… I think… or 29…. {then I literally think about the year I was born and do the math}…. yep 29.” I am excited to grow old! I hope so always forget how old I am. I feel so fortunate to live.

  104. Denise says...

    I’m 30, and feeling mostly ok about it. I feel like I’ve accomplished many of the things I hoped to, but am also feeling like I need to take the next steps in growing my career (and don’t know what that looks like yet).

    When I was younger, I had an idea that 27-28 would be the perfect age, because it sounded like it would offer the best combination of stability and growth/hope. But it turned out that I had awful anxiety and mild depression during those years. The silver lining is, that really helped to loosen my expectations about what a “good age” is.

  105. Athena Kaplan says...

    I just turned 50! My husband and I hosted a party at Beauty & Essex to celebrate. Who would have thought a bunch of 50 year olds could have such a great time! Haha! I always say that the alternative to not getting older is that your dead (to be blunt). So I will happily keep celebrating more birthdays!

  106. Christina says...

    40 and I love (and agree) with all of this!

  107. Caroline says...

    I love this post Joanna, I absolutely understand what you mean on both sides. And PREACH re Snapchat. What on earth is that about?!

  108. JJ says...

    I’m not one to comment but I’ve been a faithful reader over the years and I have to say this is such a sweet and heartfelt post. I too am 38 and am struck by the same things. One moment I feel 25 and the next it’s like “oh whoops, when did that happen?”. Thank you Joanna!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, JJ, that means so much :)

  109. Tyler says...

    Lovely post. I’m turning 31 in a few weeks, and I too have loved the wisdom and calm that comes with age. The best thing has been learning that YES, everyone else is just as insecure and unsure as you are, and NO, other people are not obsessing over that embarassing thing you said or did. They’re obsessing over some dumb thing THEY did. Also, like you said, theres true freedom in owning your likes and dislikes. I HATE music festivals, and that’s ok :)

  110. Jessica says...

    My husband’s family has some weird obsession with age and talking about getting older. I think it bothers them that getting older doesn’t bother me. For one, there is nothing I can do about it and two, I love my life and have done many amazing things that so many my age haven’t, so I am content getting older.

  111. Kirstin says...

    My best friend committed suicide in his late twenties. At the time I could understand, he was so troubled. For a decade I just missed him. But now, in my mid-forties I am heart broken, and angry. He never got to meet my son, or see how life changes. What mattered to us in our youth, isn’t so important as we age. That fancy job he lost, he might have had the chance to find a better job, he might have fallen in love and seen that love is better than sex/beauty. As a young man he was like a peacock. I will always wonder if he could have found some sort of happiness had he outgrown that stage. Aging is tough – there are so many goodbyes. But they are tough because of all the joy and love bound up in those lives and so that is our bittersweet life. On a more frivolous note – I am prepared for wrinkles but it the slow downward slide that takes me by surprise….

    • Emilie W. says...

      Kristin I am so sorry for your loss, your comment brought tears to my eyes!

    • Ms Worth says...

      Kristin, goodness… your post so resonates with me… my cousin, who was always the life of the party, great brother, uncle, dad committed sucide at age 48. He had so much to live for and his youngest hadn’t even graduated from high school yet. I, too, wish he could have held on to feel the full joy of love and life. What a great loss of those precious to us! Our pleasure is that we get to remember them in good times. Let me tell you the wrinkles do come…I am 56 (and where did the years go…) but I also look in the mirror and find all kinds of pleasure in my life lines, at least most of the time! My dad used to tell tales about the lines through our palms as children and now I fondly think of my wrinkles the same way…Lol! Somehow I missed 37 hahaha and now I am so old I have to subtract my birth year from the current year!!! What will happen when I don’t know what the current year is!!!!! Who knows but I will go on living and enjoying life! Thank you so much for your post.

    • Emily says...

      beautiful comment, thank you for sharing.

  112. Emily says...

    I’m 24, and ironically, I cannot wait to be in my thirties or forties. I think a lot of floundering 20-somethings can resonate, since it’s truly more about wanting to feel stable than wanting to be “older.” There’s a lot I worry about now (landing the right career, paying back student loans, coming to terms with the fact that I may never own a house or fully retire, etc.) that I hope will ease over the years.

    I also cannot wait for people in my age bracket to grow beyond aggressive networking. (I live in DC.) Although, I do joke with my colleagues that my favorite part of being a young person in the city is happy hour, not because of the booze and socializing, but because I can get a half price meal with a small group of friends and be in bed by 10 pm.

    Full transparency, it is hard not to compare myself to the brilliant, bright young folks in DC who have accomplished SO MUCH by age 30. I am still a midwesterner at heart, and I love that I have so much time left to learn and grow. It’ll work out. It always has.

    • Stacy says...

      My mother always told me that her 30s and 40s were so much better than her 20s, and it helped me tremendously, like when I had those panicked thoughts on the eve of my 30th birthday: “I’m not married yet! What did I do with the last decade? Will I ever be in as good shape as I was last year?” All silliness compared to the wisdom and assuredness that the 30s bring. Also, those friends in my 20s who were a bit competitive and always chasing the next thing have fallen by the wayside and I mostly have steady, genuinely kind friends now. :)

    • Christine says...

      Love your thoughts and can completely relate as a 25 year old – up against uncertainty and much ‘future-tripping’ — trying to slow down my mind and live day to day! Agree with the happy hour :) for me, NYC! Love visiting my friends in D.C. Happy Spring!

    • Lizzie says...

      Totally agree! 26 here and ever since graduating college I cannot wait until I am in my 30s and have stability and more comfort in myself and hopefully be more in the same place as my peers, right now it feels like we are all over.

      Also, yes on the happy hour! Cheap meal and in bed early is the best :)

  113. Christie says...

    33 here! I spent most of the past year thinking I was actually 32 and had a rude shock when I worked out I was actually 33 – I think that’s how you know you’re getting older, when you stop obsessing over the specific age you are.

    I just love being in my 30’s. I spent my entire 20’s feeling insecure because I wasn’t as ‘cool’ as I wanted to be, or not as skinny, or not as smart or whatever. Imposter syndrome is real, people.

    Now, I am much more mellow. Instead of obsessing over what I can’t do, I remind myself there’s nothing I can’t learn. Instead of feeling insecure about work, I remind myself that my success isn’t an accident but the product of hard work. Instead of feeling sad I can’t have more children, I remind myself that my daughter will grow up strong and independent.

    Looking on the bright side of life is so important.

    • Laurel Cyr says...

      That totally happened to me too. A few months ago I was having a conversation with my husband and mentioned my age, 33. He got this confused look and said “babe, you’re 34.” 10 minutes of back and forth later, I finally conceded. Shockingly, I am indeed 34. Where is that mystery year?

  114. Jennifer C. says...

    I’ll turn 46 next month. I love the freedom that aging affords you like not worrying about the small stuff and also the realization that most stuff is small.

  115. Madeleine says...

    Hello there, what is the lipstick you are wearing in this picture. I love the color. It’s really pretty.

    Bisous from France

    By the way, I’ve been reading your blog for like 6 years now on a regular basis.

  116. Allie says...

    I turn 24 tomorrow, so this was a very timely post! I feel much more secure at 24 than I did at 22, but still feel like so much is in flux. I often find myself wishing I could predict the future, even though I know that would take all the fun and learning out of the journey.

    There are a lot of things I really like about this stage of life: I’m more financially secure than I was in college, I feel like I know my values and don’t feel the need to defend them anymore, and my relationships with my parents and grandparents are even more special to me now. But there are also a lot of downsides to this age: friendships are harder to maintain and often become difficult because we are at different life stages, and that ever-burning question of will I find the right person??

    I guess I still need to learn to just enjoy life as it comes rather than trying to have it all figured out :)

    • Maria says...

      Happy Birthday, Allie!
      I turned 24 last week and feel sooo like you. To me, it looks like I will walk a path (or a few paths) that I can’t even see yet, and it makes me a liiittle anxious that I don’t know where it will take me, or when. But at the same time, the feeling that I have a world plenty of options and choices makes me feel so fortunate. After all, is there anything better in life than having options? And now we have them all!

  117. Katherine says...

    My favorite thing you’ve ever written. At 32, with 2 young kids, I’ve been struggling with time passing, knowing I’ll look back at this with such nostalgia, feeling this kind of pressure that life for me is “peaking” and will only go “downhill.” Which is so sad. I want to look forward to getting older. I want to be okay when my kids leave the nest. I don’t want this to be it. I want to continue loving life and feeling loved back.

    • Sasha says...

      When I was 25-27, we were living in university graduate housing, tiny little houses, identical, with a bunch of other families. I had a toddler and a baby and grad school, busy, but so happy. One day the mom of one of my friend/neighbors was visiting and it was warm spring, bunches of kids all playing outside, moms all chatting. This grandma teared up and said to me, “this was the best time for me, when I was in your place right now, it went so quickly and I didn’t realize then. ” It hit me so deeply. THE BEST TIME. I stopped and realized it a lot more after that. The pain that it would end made me really feel the happiness more.
      But, but. She was wrong too. At least for me. Now, at 44, with grown and flown children, this is a really happy time. My husband and I have so much time for each other. We are in love in a way that we didn’t have time for before. I have time for me. And I love my grown kids, for who they are now. I feel so blessed to have been a mom and have that sweet magical time when they were little, but a part of me wonders if the best might still be to come?

    • Em says...

      I am 33 with a one year old, and I feel the same way. I wasn’t expecting to feel such sadness at times knowing that these golden years are so short. The other day my son, who just started to walk, was toddling behind the neighbor dog and babbling..he was so excited! And I thought, this is IT. THIS is the moment, how can it get better?!? Long story short, I feel ya.

    • Chea says...

      Katherine,
      I’m in the same boat. I am trying so hard to be mindful of my time with babies and remember every second. Last week, my husband and I took our first family vacation with children. As we walked down the beach, he dreamily said “I can’t wait to be retired.” At first, I was struck at how he had just wished our lives away… can’t he see that we will always wish ourselves back to this place? But at second thought, how sweet… we still have much to look forward to.

  118. Feliciana says...

    It’s funny that I just came across this post. The other day, I was just thinking how 2007 feels like yesterday! I was a mere 29 then, yet it’s hard for me to conceive that it was a decade ago. I am still wearing the same rain coat that I purchased from Zara in January 2007 at the Barcelona airport when I was just about to begin a new life in grad school in France. Today, at lunch, I was talking to a friend who is a 11 years younger than me and telling him how in my 20s, I was constantly on the go, never in my apartment, always running from one activity to the other. Whereas, since my early 30s, I have been perfectly content to just relax and veg out at home. I also still feel young, and 28 still feels like yesterday. The only way I know that time has passed is by looking at how much my 3 year old niece has grown and being so fascinated by it. I wonder if 10 years from now, I will feel that time is even more compressed (in terms of thinking that I was 32 just yesterday; I’m now 39), and if that Zara coat will miraculously last 10 more years!

    • Ann says...

      So perfectly stated! I feel the exact same things!!

    • Hita says...

      So true! (we are the same age, Feliciana- and 2007 absolutely feels like yesterday, except my nephew miraculously turned 13!) I found myself thinking that about a dress/where I bought it the other day and being stunned that it was a decade ago. Wish you another decade of adventures with the Zara coat!

    • Corinne says...

      Your comment about the Zara jacket really got me – funny how we can measure time by the clothes we wore or are still wearing! My 16 year old daughter is wearing my favourite little black dress I used to go clubbing in. Short, satin, empire line. Seeing her in it really stopped me in my tracks. I still love dancing but I have to say she owns the floor now! Which is really OK, I feel happy seeing the arc of my life from a 22-year old living a mad year in London to being the mom of 3 beautiful children and married to the boyfriend who I went clubbing with :)

  119. Jean says...

    omg I too have been having knee problems, aged 35, BUT I started seeing a physical therapist and it’s really helpful. I used to think that physical therapy was just for people who were suffering from serious injuries, but it turns out it can help with mild knee problems as well. :)

  120. Jessie says...

    I’ll be 40 next week. I said to my mom, “But I still *feel* like I’m 20!” “And *that’s* the key to a long, fulfulling life” she replied.
    30 freaked me out more than 40. I am comfortable in my skin, my choices. I can cut through the b.s. I love my body for being a competitive martial artist in my 20s, pregnant & a new mom in my 30s. I can’t wait to see what my 40s bring.

  121. I’m 29 and this January I married my love of 11 years and recently started to feel a little bit older bacause of it. But whenewer I forget to put a ring on students flirt with me and I feel like a girl again))

    • And my dad dyed at 32, my brother 2 years ago at 24. Aging is a privilege! But it feels so weird that some day I will be older then my dad, will become an old lady and will have only his young photos to remember him and to show to my children and granchildren!

  122. K says...

    I’m 28. I found 27 really hard, so much anxiety and confusion. I promised myself 28 would be different but I still struggle to have confidence in myself. I really hope I can start believing in myself soon.

    • A. idris says...

      Same here. Although I am 18 but it feels weird. People tell me you think like an older person and you tend to complicate things. I dont know but it seems like no one understands me. They find it hard to accept that an 18 year old perfers staying at home than hanging out with friends. Or having a cup of tea rather than smoothie. Or the fact that i write poetry.I dont want them to understand me I just want them to leave me alone and accpet the fact that I am different than other 18 year old.

  123. Dinomama says...

    OH MY GOSH so true about the yogurt gelato! My husband and I were just in Amsterdam and I tried the “Thai Basil Greek Yogurt” and DIED. I made him schlep back to the little gelato shop located in the Jordaan every single day after that (sadly, two of those times it was closed and the third time they didn’t have it. My life is so hard).

    I loved this post. Amen to aging and still feeling like a winsome 20 year-old-girl instead of the sometimes-crotchety 50 year-old who looks back at me in the mirror.

  124. Amy in Pittsburgh says...

    I’ll be 45 in a few months and, although I consider myself young-ish, something happened the other night that really made me feel my age. My teenage daughter and I were watching The Breakfast Club, and during my younger years, I found John Bender, played by Judd Nelson, to be sooooo edgy, defiant, and cool, and now I just can’t stand that character. I actually said “he’s so disrespectful!”, like in a full-on scolding voice! What have I become?!? Lol! Thanks for another great piece, Joanna!

    • Sasha says...

      And you really wouldn’t want your daughter dating him!!!

    • KylieO says...

      This made me laugh out loud because I thought the same thing watching the Little Mermaid with my kids and Ariel yells at her father, “I’m 16 years old! I’m not a child!” Ummm, yes you are young lady, sit yourself down.

    • Erika says...

      Haha re: Breakfast Club. I feel the same way about that little shit, Ferris Bueller :)

  125. Laura says...

    I’m 30. Generally I am very very content with my life. I own a house with my boyfriend, we’ve been together 6 years. We have a very sweet rescue dog who is just thrilled to live with us. Our time together after work or on weekends feels this private beautiful time. I also love my job (it’s not high-powered, or super accomplished, but it’s rewarding, to me, and takes just enough mental power but not too much). But the downsides of this time of my life- very few friends. My two best friends live in Portland and NYC, go figure (I’m still in the Midwest). I’m very introverted and as I’ve gotten older I’ve become an extreme homebody. It’s so difficult for me to reach outside of my routine of work, home, work, home.
    I also get nostalgic about past times of my life, like back in my late teens/early 20s when I was a dancer, I was one of the main dancers at my studio. It was such a unique time that I didn’t fully appreciate then. I haven’t danced in ages, and I know I could join a class again, but it would never be the same as that period of my life (also my friend who lives in Portland danced with me at that studio, to bring that nostalgia full circle.) Also when I was a teenager and had a group of friends. We had a standing date every Wednesday to meet uptown after school. Just remembering how social I used to be is odd. Also the brief moment I was single before I met my boyfriend. Believe me he is perfect but those few months before we got together I felt so free and happy (I had just gotten out of a 4 year abusive relationship so I was just SO HAPPY.) Of course that feeling is probably what drew him to me. It reminds me of the Zac Brown song Free: “Just as free….Free as we’ll ever be…” I actually remember thinking of that song when we got together. Not because he makes me feel tied down. Just because I knew it felt solid and like it would be long term and that those were the end of my single days.

    • Laura says...

      Looking at the lyrics for “Free” again I realized it’s a love song…
      “No we don’t have a lot of money
      No we don’t have a lot of money
      All we need is love”
      which is probably also why I thought of that song when we got together. We were definitely both broke but it didn’t matter.

  126. Lauren says...

    I turned 34 several weeks ago, and I feel in most ways that I’m the most ‘me’ that I have ever been. Multiple factors have gone into this- growing up and being raised in a dysfunctional, unhealthy family (parents finally separating in my later teens, with a mentally unstable mother that was emotionally abusive); my own depression and horrible teenage years/early twenties; floundering for much of my mid-to later twenties; and all of that culminating with the unexpected death of my younger, 26 year old sister, two years ago.

    Aging has made me feel more comfortable in my own skin, even if there are some lines around my eyes, and pesky stark-white hairs of a rough texture popping up throughout my almost-black hair. It’s made me more comfortable in my beliefs, and opinions, and having the strength to stand up for myself – and my ideals. Aging and experience have together made me who I am right now, today. There is so much I would never have chosen to go through, given the chance, but I am learning (as you mentioned!) to put things in their proper place, to make the effort and care to see it in the context of my life as a whole, and in my own becoming. I get anxious- my biggest worry is financial security, as I don’t have a very good income, and I’m on my own. I wonder- will I ever be in a lifelong committed, happy, healthy relationship?

    But I’m becoming MORE open as I age, not less. I’ll try things I hadn’t considered before, even when every urge in me is resisting it at full strength. I’ll tell myself- at the very least, this will make a funny/crazy/interesting story. I’m making healthier choices. I’m doing alright. And I am not yet who I will eventually be, and I’m excited to find out who that woman is, too. I’ll live my way to her.

    I’ve read the quote many times, and know how true it is: “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” My sister died at 26. So much has happened and changed in my own life since I was that age myself, that it will always break my heart that she didn’t get to live out different ages and all the experiences and moments that come with them. That I won’t know her as a 30 year old, or a 50 year old.

    On a happier note, the guy I’ve been dating a few months (after trying dating again last year after almost NINE YEARS of not dating) turns 36 this weekend. I’m so looking forward to celebrating that with him!

    • Sasha says...

      This comment makes me want to reach out and hug you. I don’t have a sister, but two daughters and it’s unimaginable that they could lose each other. Sending love to you through my tears.

  127. Ib says...

    turning 4O on Friday and feeling more than ok about it.

  128. Jane says...

    More than ever, you feel like a kindred spirit and Amen to your Snapchat comment.

  129. Abbie says...

    I’m 38 too! Until next month, that is. It is surreal to me. I still feel like I’m 25. People tell me that I look a lot younger than my age, but I look old to myself. :( Everytime someone calls me “ma’am”, I get depressed. I still think of myself as a girl. I still feel like a kid who doesn’t really have her shit together…but have wrinkles and a different body (it totally changed after my 2nd baby…I actually looked BETTER after my 1st, which makes it even harder!) and most days I feel like it pretty much sucks. I know some day I will be 60-something and think back to now and wish I was still “that young”…but it’s hard! I feel like so much of my life I’ve been wanting to be something else/a different age. When I was a kid, I just wanted to be a teenager or a grown-up. Then when I was a teen, I wanted to be in my 20’s. By the time I was 25, I was already wishing I could go back a few years. Maybe it’s living in our youth-obsessed culture…I’m sure I would feel better (about everything) if I exercised more! I’m hoping to be able to work out regularly again once BOTH of my kids are in school all day. See? There I go wishing I was in a different phase of life again! By the time I reach that point (in about 2.5 years) I’m sure I will just wish I could go back in time. Ah, life! :)

  130. Mathilde says...

    It was so good to read your thoughts! I am turning 40 in a couple of weeks and it is not so easy to accept, sometimes. Should start writing about it as you did, about ageing. It would probably help!! By the way, I really enjoy your blog and I have been reading it for years now!
    Best wishes from France

  131. Nina says...

    I will turn 35 next week. What I miss, or feel nostalgia about my mid-twenties to age 30 is the camaraderie I had with my female girlfriends. We were at an age where we were all unmarried, living together or close by, seeing each other all the time – dropping in unannounced and spending hours talking. Those days are long gone, and I miss them. Our friendships are still there, but husbands and babies have taken the place and time we once occupied for each other. I was the last to marry and do not have children yet, so I’ve felt a little replaced/left behind.

    • M says...

      This!! I turned 34 this year and the thing that I miss most about my younger years is my female friendships. I often find myself looking back on those days of friendships and wine and traveling and talking (so much talking!) with so much fondness. My friendships have made so many of the best parts of my life that much better and so many of the hard times that much easier. People often ask me when/if my boyfriend and I will get married/have a family. He is hands-down one of the best things that has ever happened to me but I sometimes wish I could slow it all down and go back to those years when it was just us girls. Nothing ever replaces those times with your girlfriends before life gets bogged down with the other roles so many of us ladies play in our lives – partner, mom, daughter to aging parents, sister to a sibling going through divorce etc.

    • Lani says...

      I completely relate to your post! I miss this girlfriend time so much and this is definitely what I am most nostalgic about in my late 30’s.

  132. Cara says...

    Today I turned 35, and my husband gave me a pogo stick (much to our kids’ delight), so I guess I can’t claim to feel old! I totally agree that college kids look SO young now, I rarely get carded, and I have legit wrinkles. But I swear, I love this time of my life. Motherhood has made me appreciate my body in ways I never did before. I feel beautiful and confident. My kids are young and love me (almost) all the time. These are very happy years and on my birthday I feel especially grateful for them.

  133. I am 40! I thought it was no big deal turning 40, until life gets you! I am learning and, to my surprise, am happier. Everything​ ends, and I try to make every change for the better!

    http://www.StylingFun.blogspot.com

  134. Pamela says...

    I just turned 37. My 2 year old daughter’s birthday wishes came with a sting in the tail…’Happy birthday Mommy, you are an old, old woman now, not a lady anymore!’…Harsh! ?

  135. I’m 34 and it’s not like I don’t feel 34 — I definitely feel different from when I did in my twenties (more confidence, less giving craps about things that don’t matter) — it’s that 34 no longer sounds at all old to me, even though “30” sounded old to me at one point. I am starting to stress a bit about aging — I have these lines around my mouth that don’t go away when I stop smiling (at some point I’d love an honest, informative post here about botox and fillers — I’m on the fence!), and I just don’t feel as pretty as I used to. I know “pretty” is not the be all and end all of my identity but when I was young it gave me a lot of confidence. So I guess I’m struggling a bit with feeling less attractive. I’m also starting to panic about having kids — I *still* don’t feel ready but I know I don’t have unlimited amounts of time now. I also struggle with feelings of inadequacy, like I should be further along in my career by now, I should have a house by now, I should have published my novel by now … so I guess my 30s are just as complicated as my 20s, but in different ways! Great question!

    • Lauren says...

      Ditto on so much of this! I’m not married, not in a long-term relationship, no kid, no house, and I don’t know that I’d call my job a career (I enjoy it, it just does not pay well). I’m starting to accept that on some level, I’ll always be in the process of ‘figuring it out’ :-)

    • Emilie W. says...

      Mary Kate and Lauren, I feel the exact same way. Comparing myself to my friends and people my age keeps me awake at night and causes so much anxiety, though I’m only 27 I also freak out constantly about not being a home-owner, not being engaged or married, not being in a stable career just yet, etc etc… it’s so tough to deal with!
      Joanna – a post on this topic would be much appreciated!! ❤❤

    • Joycd says...

      I’m completely on the same page!

  136. Sharon in Scotland says...

    I am 53, I was APPALLED to turn 50, I completely ignored it, I didn’t have a celebration of any kind and stayed at home by myself.
    Now I’ve got used to it!
    I am childless by choice and circumstances, single by inclination and eligible men being thin on the ground.
    I’ve been a late starter for so many things in my life and now I don’t have the luxury of putting stuff off……..but it’s hard to change my mindset. I do like being older, feeling grown up, (even if I wing it most of the time), but it does pull me up short when I think that I’m over the hill and clattering down the other side!

    • Jeanne says...

      I live on the opposite side of the coin. A bit younger but checked off all those life boxes. I thought you might like to know that now that we are hitting mid-life, my friends and I have been wondering somewhat wistfully what life would’ve been like had we made the choices you did!

  137. Cat says...

    I’ve never written a comment here before, but something about your honest and heartfelt post compelled me.

    I’m 24, but don’t feel any age. Sometimes I roll around on the floor on my own, giggling like a small child with joy over the growth of my cucumber plant, and sometimes I feel like all humans are my grandchildren. I know how to pay my taxes and console a friend who is hurting, but I don’t know what is the right decision. I know who I want my friends to be, but I don’t know how to build a life-long relationship. I feel like I belong in the same category as you now, while I didn’t when I started reading your blog 3 years ago. I suppose that was the thing that made me realise I was an adult. I started realising that adults were my friends.

    The longer I am alive, the more real I feel. My outline has been drawn and re-drawn so many times, and the lines etched most deeply define me and ground me in the most humbling way. When I was younger, I was everything, and now I am becoming me. I’m finding this process both painful and liberating. I feel like every experience I have becomes a small cell somewhere on the inside of my elbow, or the outside of my ear or something.

    • Emme says...

      “The longer I am alive, the more real I feel. My outline has been drawn and re-drawn so many times, and the lines etched most deeply define me and ground me in the most humbling way. ”

      These lines really resonated with me. This is a beautiful description!

    • Lisa says...

      You should write more comments! Or you should just write. This was beautiful and wise.

  138. Andrea says...

    Many of my compatriots in their 40s have started a drumbeat of lamenting their age or refusing to state how old they are. It seems so life-denying. A coworker and friend died 6 years ago from an undiagnosed heart issue in his early 40s while coaching. His wife died two years later of cancer. I am very aware that I am at an age they will never see. When I have bad days, I try and remember that all the time we have on this side of the grave is a tremendous gift.

  139. I’m in the middle of 28 and find I’m ready to put my 20s behind me. Some part of me hopes that my 30s will provide more clarity; that I’ll be more settled; or finally figure out what I want the rest of my life to look like. What I like about 28 is the sense that I’m getting there. I’m more confident than I’ve ever been; I take better care of myself than ever; I’ve begun rediscovering my passions. Still, it’s been a decade of tumult, and I’m hoping that gives way to a decade of steadiness. Please tell me it will ;)

    • Em says...

      Oh, Joanne! Hang in there! Someone told me when I turned 30 that it would be the best decade yet, which I hated hearing while mourning the loss of my 20s, but seven years later, looking back, she was right. Some things start to distill into a better clarity in your 30s–what really matters to you, who you are, what you will or will not put up with in friends or a partner, the whole career/life balance, all that. But don’t forget to cherish the now, too. Sometimes looking back the most unsettled limbos are where you’re growing the most. Be gentle on yourself. :o)

    • Michelle says...

      I’m also 28 and could have written this myself! I have a good feeling about the next decade. :)

    • Savannah says...

      My twenties were a dumpster fire. I was so happy to leave 29 behind.

  140. Alisa says...

    This is going down as one of my favourite posts of yours ever. Such beautiful and honest thoughts. x

  141. Tanya says...

    I am exactly 3 decades of awesome and growing my first little life due in 6 weeks.
    Reading through the comment section, one of my favourite entries “when new staff is hired they feel like my peers but then I realize I’m nearly double their age!”, made me laugh. I’m in a place where I’m right in the middle, bridging the gap between the snapchat kids and the 40 something VPs – it’s so great. This stage of my life has been so exciting, married 3 years ago and now with the bumpie, I feel like this is the peak of life’s attention – so much celebration and excitement under the spotlight of these momentous events.
    I have trepidations about losing that spotlight and becoming someone who isn’t noticed, isn’t growing, isn’t learning.

    • Christine says...

      Tanya, you sound like an amazing woman. Love everything about your comment: “3 decades of awesome,” “bumpie”… I feel your excitement for life and am inspired by it!

    • Michelle says...

      Sometimes I worry about that, too, Tanya. Like, once we’re past this phase of marriage, blossoming career, and new babies, what else do we celebrate? Kind of a gloomy outlook I suppose, I’m sure there’s more, but it seems like it all becomes about your kids, your parents, etc.

  142. teresa says...

    This reminds me of a funny thing my 3 year old said to my dad. She was guessing how old he was and when he finally told her his age (65), she said, “Wow, you’re almost dead!”

    • Cara says...

      That is HILARIOUS.

    • Jasna says...

      I laughed out loud when I read this, so funny!

  143. Yes! Thank you for this. Reflecting on age and life can be the hardest!
    x. kritsida

  144. Love, love, loved reading your thoughts on this. I’m 31 and I’ve never really felt old until recently. All the Instagram models and celebrities are at least a decade younger than me, and I’m fascinated by them, but lately they’ve succeeded in making me feel “not enough.” There was a great Man Repeller article recently called something like, “Getting Older Sounded Fine Until It Happened to Me” and I so resonated. But Joanna, your post is reminding me that there are so many wonderful things about getting older, things I really do love and others I look forward to. I just know that in 10, 15, or 20 years I’ll look back at 31 and ask myself, “What did you have to be so insecure about?” So much comparison has been happening for me recently, and I know that is the root of my discontent. I’m just trying to keep that Ram Dass quote at the forefront of my mind: “We’re all just walking each other home.”

    • Meredith says...

      Can we be friends? I’m definitely in the same boat as you.

  145. Erica says...

    Joanna, I’m also 38 and I feel really accomplished. My sense of accomplishment isn’t directly or only related to my professional life, but is instead a collage of those accomplishments plus things like: saving my marriage when there was every reason to let it go, taking care of my children when they were babies, saying goodbye to a really unhealthy friendship. Things like that. None of it was easy and all of it comes back to me now has having been “worth it.” You do get back what you put it into life.

    So I love this age, but all the feelings above? I recognize that they are an old person’s feelings!

  146. Kiley says...

    I’m turning 29 and coming to terms with the fact that my body will be in a constant state of change for the rest of my life. Recently I’ve noticed that my hips are taking on a different shape than they did when I was younger (despite regular exercise), and the “thing” I didn’t like about my face isn’t going away, it’s becoming more pronounced and will probably get worse. It’s been hard for me to look at pictures of myself because it just doesn’t look like the “me” I see in my head! I’m ready to move on to this “peace and appreciation” phase of my relationship with my body, and I know that will take work!

    • Katie says...

      Okay! Me too! I’m 27 and putting on last year’s shorts this spring was a harsh realization about my body. I guess I’ve gained 10lbs but didn’t notice it happening. I don’t dislike how I look, but it’s different. The weight doesn’t come off as easily, and, like you, I think my hips are just wider now?? I do feel curvier, which is sort of sexy and grown up for me. I feel like I’ve attained a ‘woman’s body.’ Noticing a few gray hairs and a desire for a moisturizer with Retinol are other signs of growing up/older. Bodies are crazy!

    • Katie, I just tossed my jeans/shorts that didn’t fit at 27 that slid on with ease at 26. 10 lbs be damned, I’m a woman now!

    • shannon says...

      Haha, yes! I’ve been the same size since (literally) age 14. I hit my mid-20s and all of a sudden put on 5-10 pounds and have larger hips despite no changes in diet and being more active than ever. I was so upset about going pants shopping and having to get the next-bigger size. Fortunately my husband digs my curvier shape and I do feel more womanly, so I try to focus on the bright sides!

  147. Sinds says...

    Wait, you went to law school!? An article about that, please?? (baby lawyer here anxiously wondering if she made the right decision)

    • Angela says...

      I second that!!! I’m a lawyer and a mom of two littles and constantly wonder if I made the right decision. There seems to be so many other career choices where I could have achieved greater professional success and been a present mother. I work for a huge firm and had to go part-time because I just couldn’t do it all! Or maybe I’m just delusional and we as women are guilty of one thing or another regardless of our profession or lack therof… we should just dump it all in the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done at times but helps a lot with perspective!

    • Lauren says...

      She wrote some about it in this article from 2012 https://cupofjo.com/2012/08/blogging-as-a-career/

      As a full-fledged, 5-years-out (!) lawyer, I can say it’s totally what you make it. You can do a lot of things with a law degree or you can do nothing with it, but it all tends to work out so long as you pay attention to whether you’re enjoying yourself and challenging yourself.

    • sabe says...

      Hi baby lawyer! Why are you wondering if you made the right decision? One thing I’ve realized after practicing for 10 years is that you have to find the right legal fit for you – it’s not just about whether you want to be a lawyer, but whether you fit better in a solo practice, small, medium, or large firm or government; doing transactional work or litigation; having minimal or lots of client interaction; working on a particular subject area; etc. I came out of law school dead sure my career path was trial work, then I realized I hated the stress and lack of work-life balance. Turns out, I love employment law, which I hadn’t even taken a single class on in law school.

  148. bisbee says...

    I turned 66 on Wednesday. I plan on retiring at the end of the year. Just knowing I can retire at any time takes the edge off.

    I can’t lie…I don’t look my age, but I don’t look 40 either. My sons are 42 and 39. Don’t get me wrong…I wouldn’t want to be back in the days where I had to worry about kids and homework and the internet and cell phones and teen driving, etc., but I can’t deny that I can hear a song that reminds me of my youth – Adele’s “When We Were Young” can do it – and I get choked up thinking that I am so much closer to the end of my life than to the beginning…

    • Pam says...

      Yes, Bisbee! You are (as am I) closer to the end of life than to the beginning. It’s what happens. My gosh, the first time I ever woke up in bed in the morning and brought my arms up allow my hands to “comb” through my hair and saw the hanging skin and wrinkles, I about lost it. When I was younger, heads turned as I walked by — I could make traffic stop. People would follow me to my destination to ask me if they could buy me a cup of coffee or a drink. It is very difficult to let go of those days, but when heads no longer turn and there are no more unexpected taps on the shoulder, it is the stark bite of the aging process. Ever looked at your hands hovering over your keyboard? Mine look like my Mom’s hands. It’s tough to accept that they are now mine. Carrying your chin a little higher so that the skin on your neck doesn’t look so wrinkled? Yeah, I tried that for a while . . . accepting aging is not for the faint of heart (as the saying so loudly shouts). Yep, I will likely make it another 25 years because I am in relatively good health . . . walking a bit slower; moving a bit more carefully because any bump on my arms results in a huge ugly purple discoloration that takes weeks to go away; taking more time to finish a sentence because the words I used to be able to so artfully craft no longer present themselves as easily . . . but I try to talk myself into looking forward to the balance of the years I have left, and it isn’t easy. It is, however, worth the effort.

  149. Laura says...

    Wow! Loved this so much! I am pretty newly 40 and I sometimes wonder to myself “how did I get here?”. It’s crazy to think back to all the experiences that I’ve already have and excited for things to come. I can totally relate to most of what you described.