That is what 59 seems like — That’s Not My Age

Photographs: Claire Pepper

On the finish of final yr, I turned 59. This yr I’ll be 60. One in all my associates gave me a card with ‘ Pop stars for individuals our age’ on the entrance, together with: Frankie Goes to Morrisons and Mariah Care Residence. Humorous, ha ha. We chatted within the pub with one among her 18-year-old daughters, who is worked up about going to college in September, and realised that if we reside to 82.6 (the average life expectancy for a girl within the UK) we’re virtually three-quarters of the way in which there. That’s my age and I’m snug with it. As you possibly can see from the photograph above, I don’t do Botox or have tweakments. I’m extra assured now than after I was youthful; self-acceptance at nearly-60. Convey on the bus go!

Whereas large birthdays are seen as an opportunity to mirror – totally on what we’re informed we should always have achieved by sure factors – actual life isn’t like that. As I discovered after I turned 40. Though I had a superb job and loads of associates, I spent my total thirty ninth yr feeling depressing about my lack of accomplishment ( no husband, no children, no home). Then when the clock reached 40, nothing modified and I felt superb. In the present day, I nonetheless don’t have a husband (Mr TNMA and I aren’t married), a home or children (however my associates’ youngsters are my prolonged household). I’m busy working – no likelihood of early retirement with my garbage, cobbled-together pension, I want the cash and the psychological stimulation. I wish to keep on working. Sure, I’m lucky sufficient to do my very own factor, to work for myself and luxuriate in what I do. I began That’s Not My Age 15-years-ago, after leaving journal publishing and am immensely proud to have constructed up a loyal on-line following; the superb conversations girls of all ages have on this area drive me ahead.


Photograph: Claire Pepper


Once I launched That’s Not My Age, I wished to relax towards stereotypes. To share suggestions and recommendation and hopefully empower different girls to face up towards the invisibility factor and name out the ageism and sexism. Undoubtedly, over the past decade, issues have moved on. But, regardless that now we have an ageing inhabitants (in 10 years, 1 / 4 of the UK population will be over-65) and there are extra midlife girls on social media than corrupt politicians in parliament, the truth is we’re nonetheless handled unequally and unfairly. Anticipated to defy the ageing course of with a view to hold our jobs/seem in public/no matter. There was a specific amount of progress – gray hair is seen as cool, we will speak concerning the menopause (simply don’t anticipate any time off work) –  however the strain to age in a sure method, nonetheless persists.

Ageing is okay so long as you don’t look previous, and have cash and good well being. However actual life isn’t like Goop. And we’re greater than what we appear like. Advertisers and the media proceed to perpetuate the parable that younger is gorgeous, previous is the alternative  – however they’re simply attempting to promote us stuff. We don’t have to purchase into this or buy the merchandise. With our knowledge and expertise, we all know we will stand our floor.

Michelle Yeoh spoke of her 40 years in Hollywood, at the Golden Globes last month, ‘ Whew! OK. I’m simply gonna stand right here and take this all in. Forty years, not letting go of this. It’s been a tremendous journey and unbelievable struggle to be right here at present, however I feel it’s value it…’ Occurring to say ageism,  she added, ‘As time glided by – I turned 60 final yr – and I feel all of you girls perceive this as the times, years, numbers get larger, the alternatives get smaller as effectively.’


Photograph: Claire Pepper


Not too long ago, I went to my first sixtieth celebration. Surrounded by associates and acquaintances I hadn’t seen for fairly a while, all of us appeared older and couldn’t bear in mind one another’s names however our attitudes have stayed the identical. And, identical to the olden days I used to be leaping round to The Clash after a few beers. With out desirous to sound like a type of cringy platitudes/ Instagram hashtags: having amusing, dancing and spending time with associates is sweet for you. Notably after the pandemic.

Within the Jon Snow programme on Channel 4, the 76-year-old, ex-news anchor visits communities world wide the place persons are dwelling glad, wholesome, lengthy lives. The inhabitants in Japan lives longer than wherever else, and the older individuals interviewed are nonetheless working  – one girl began making dumplings full-time at 70-years-old – and type an built-in a part of the neighborhood, all exercising collectively and being sociable. The identical occurs on a small island in Greece, the place inhabitants reside a easy life, with out a lot cash or materials issues and the aged are supported by households and associates of all ages. The presenter discovers that these locations have a couple of issues in frequent, particularly, a nutritious diet, a robust sense of neighborhood and goal. We might actually do with this sort of system within the UK. The place older persons are valued and brought care of, as a substitute of being written off and seen as a burden.

One factor I have to do as I head in the direction of my seventh decade is discover a higher work-life stability and take a bit extra care of myself. The previous few years have concerned far too many hours on the laptop and my again retains seizing up – how I laughed at the Voltarol advert in the midst of the Jon Snow programme ( and sure, I can extremely advocate this product for ache reduction). Partly, that is all the way down to not getting out to as many work occasions, post-pandemic and spending extra time sitting at a desk, but in addition as a result of I’m not as limber as I as soon as was. I’m getting older and have to hold transferring. This yr, I’ll be listening to my physique, reviewing the way in which I work on That’s Not My Age and taking advantage of my spare time. Because the creator Margareta Magnusson says we have to discover a technique to flip ageing into an artwork and be inventive about how we method every single day.  ‘It’s by no means too late to do something. The second you begin considering it’s too late, then you definately start to die’.


Photograph: Claire Pepper



For those who’ve loved studying this characteristic, please take into account turning into a That’s Not My Age subscriber. Those that have signed-up are supporting That’s Not My Age in its entirety. Each subscription is efficacious for the way forward for this website and can go in the direction of creating participating content material to encourage and empower girls of all ages. Extra particulars HERE.

Thanks a lot. Your contribution is essential.



First outfit: denim shirt on mortgage from White Stuff. Silk scarf by Toast.

Second outfit: All garments loaned from Plumo. Mule loafers from Dune London, related HERE (this was taken a few years in the past so precise merchandise are not obtainable).

Third outfit: my khaki jumpsuit is kind of a couple of years previous from Bliss & Mischief (not obtainable however related HERE and HERE and check out Etsy for military surplus). Footwear are an previous pair from Chie Mihara. Sailor prime still available from Seasalt (a part of a latest collaboration). Leather-based belt is one other previous factor from Cos.

Fourth outfit: VINTAGE sweatshirt from the TNMA Edit.