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 among my buddies 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 in every of her 18-year-old daughters, who is worked up about going to college in September, and realised that if we stay to 82.6 (the average life expectancy for a lady within the UK) we’re nearly three-quarters of the way in which 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. Carry on the bus move!

Whereas large birthdays are seen as an opportunity to replicate – totally on what we’re informed we should always have achieved by sure factors – actual life isn’t like that. As I discovered once I turned 40. Regardless that I had a very good job and loads of buddies, I spent my whole thirty ninth 12 months feeling depressing about my lack of feat ( no husband, no children, no home). Then when the clock reached 40, nothing modified and I felt superb. At this time, I nonetheless don’t have a husband (Mr TNMA and I aren’t married), a home or children (however my buddies’ youngsters are my prolonged household). I’m busy working – no probability of early retirement with my garbage, cobbled-together pension, I want the cash and the psychological stimulation. I need to keep it up 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 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 sit back 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, though we’ve 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 fact is we’re nonetheless handled unequally and unfairly. Anticipated to defy the ageing course of so as to maintain our jobs/seem in public/no matter. There was a certain quantity of progress – gray hair is seen as cool, we are able to speak concerning the menopause (simply don’t anticipate any time off work) –  however the strain to age in a sure approach, 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 appear like. Advertisers and the media proceed to perpetuate the parable that younger is gorgeous, outdated is the other  – 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 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 struggle to be right here at this time, however I believe it’s value it…’ Occurring to say ageism,  she added, ‘As time glided by – I turned 60 final 12 months – and I believe all of you girls perceive this as the times, years, numbers get larger, the alternatives get smaller as properly.’


Photograph: Claire Pepper


Not too long ago, I went to my first sixtieth social gathering. Surrounded by buddies and acquaintances I hadn’t seen for fairly a while, all of us regarded 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 kind of cringy platitudes/ Instagram hashtags: having fun, dancing and spending time with buddies 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 all over the world the place persons are dwelling pleased, wholesome, lengthy lives. The inhabitants in Japan lives longer than anyplace else, and the older individuals interviewed are nonetheless working  – one lady 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 stay a easy life, with out a lot cash or materials issues and the aged are supported by households and buddies of all ages. The presenter discovers that these locations have a number of issues in widespread, specifically, a nutritious diet, a robust sense of neighborhood and function. We might actually do with this sort of system within the UK. The place older persons are valued and brought care of, as an alternative of being written off and seen as a burden.

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 few 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 suggest this product for ache aid). 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 additionally as a result of I’m not as limber as I as soon as was. I’m getting older and have to maintain shifting. This 12 months, 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 writer Margareta Magnusson says we have to discover a strategy to flip ageing into an artwork and be artistic about how we method each day.  ‘It’s by no means too late to do something. The second you begin considering it’s too late, you then start to die’.


Photograph: Claire Pepper



When you’ve loved studying this function, please think about 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 effective for the way forward for this website and can go in 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 actual merchandise are now not out there).

Third outfit: my khaki jumpsuit is sort of a number of years outdated from Bliss & Mischief (now not out there however related HERE and HERE and check out Etsy for military surplus). Sneakers are an outdated pair from Chie Mihara. Sailor prime 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.