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

Images: Claire Pepper

On the finish of final 12 months, I turned 59. This 12 months I’ll be 60. One in all my associates gave me a card with ‘ Pop stars for folks 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 in all her 18-year-old daughters, who is happy about going to school in September, and realised that if we dwell to 82.6 (the average life expectancy for a lady within the UK) we’re virtually three-quarters of the best way there. That’s my age and I’m comfy with it. As you’ll be able to see from the picture above, I don’t do Botox or have tweakments. I’m extra assured now than once I was youthful; self-acceptance at nearly-60. Deliver on the bus cross!

Whereas massive birthdays are seen as an opportunity to mirror – totally on what we’re advised we must always have achieved by sure factors – actual life isn’t like that. As I discovered once I turned 40. Though I had a very good job and loads of associates, I spent my whole thirty ninth 12 months feeling depressing about my lack of accomplishment ( no husband, no youngsters, no home). Then when the clock reached 40, nothing modified and I felt wonderful. Immediately, I nonetheless don’t have a husband (Mr TNMA and I aren’t married), a home or youngsters (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 and 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 wonderful conversations ladies of all ages have on this area drive me ahead.


Photograph: Claire Pepper


Writing as That’s Not My Age I wished to sit back in opposition to stereotypes. To share ideas and recommendation and hopefully empower different ladies to face up in opposition to the invisibility factor and name out the ageism and sexism. Undoubtedly, over the past decade, issues have moved on. But, although now we have an ageing inhabitants (in 10 years, 1 / 4 of the UK population will be over-65) and there are extra midlife ladies on social media than corrupt politicians in parliament, the fact is we’re nonetheless handled unequally and unfairly. Anticipated to defy the ageing course of so as to preserve our jobs/seem in public/no matter. There was a specific amount of progress – gray hair is seen as cool, we are able to discuss in regards to the menopause (simply don’t count on any time off work) –  however the stress to age in a sure means, nonetheless persists.

Ageing is ok so long as you don’t look outdated, and have cash and good well being. However actual life isn’t like Goop. And we’re greater than what we seem like. Advertisers and the media proceed to perpetuate the parable that younger is gorgeous, outdated is the alternative  – however they’re simply making an attempt 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 are able to 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 an incredible journey and unimaginable battle to be right here immediately, however I believe it’s price it…’ Occurring to say ageism,  she added, ‘As time glided by – I turned 60 final 12 months – and I believe all of you ladies perceive this as the times, years, numbers get larger, the alternatives get smaller as properly.’


Photograph: Claire Pepper


Just lately, I went to my first sixtieth social gathering. 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 had stayed the identical. And, similar 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 nice 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 pleased, wholesome, lengthy lives. The inhabitants in Japan lives longer than anyplace else, and the older folks interviewed are nonetheless working  – one lady began making dumplings full-time at 70-years-old – and kind an built-in a part of the group, all exercising collectively and being sociable. The identical occurs on a small island in Greece, the place inhabitants dwell 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 number of issues in frequent, specifically, a nutritious diet, a robust sense of group and objective. 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/ dumped on the scrap heap.

One factor I have to do as I head in direction of my seventh decade is discover a higher work-life stability and take a bit extra care of myself. The previous couple of years have concerned far too many hours on the pc and my again retains seizing up – how I laughed at the Voltarol advert in the course of the Jon Snow programme ( and sure, I can extremely advocate this product for ache reduction). Partly, that is right 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 preserve shifting. This 12 months, I’ll be listening to my physique, reviewing the best way I work on That’s Not My Age and benefiting from my spare time. Because the writer Margareta Magnusson says we have to discover a strategy to flip ageing into an artwork and be inventive about how we method on a regular basis.  ‘It’s by no means too late to do something. The second you begin pondering it’s too late, you then start to die’.


Photograph: Claire Pepper



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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 (this was taken a few years in the past so precise merchandise are now not obtainable).

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

Fourth outfit: VINTAGE sweatshirt from the TNMA Edit.