December 2, 2023


Science Of Woman

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

6 min read

Photographs: Claire Pepper

On the finish of final yr, I turned 59. This yr I’ll be 60. Considered one of my mates gave me a card with ‘ Pop stars for individuals our age’ on the entrance, together with: Frankie Goes to Morrisons and Mariah Care Dwelling. Humorous, ha ha. We chatted within the pub with one in all her 18-year-old daughters, who is worked up 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 nearly three-quarters of the way in which there. That’s my age and I’m snug with it. As you’ll be able to see from the photograph 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 move!

Whereas massive birthdays are seen as an opportunity to replicate – totally on what we’re instructed we should always have achieved by sure factors – actual life isn’t like that. As I discovered once I turned 40. Though I had job and loads of mates, I spent my whole thirty ninth yr feeling depressing about my lack of accomplishment ( no husband, no youngsters, no home). Then when the clock reached 40, nothing modified and I felt fantastic. Right this moment, I nonetheless don’t have a husband (Mr TNMA and I aren’t married), a home or youngsters (however my mates’ youngsters are my prolonged household). I’m busy working – no likelihood of early retirement with my garbage, cobbled-together pension, I would like the cash and the psychological stimulation. I wish to stick with it 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 ladies of all ages have on this house drive me ahead.


Picture: Claire Pepper


Once I launched That’s Not My Age, I needed to sit back towards stereotypes. To share ideas and recommendation and hopefully empower different ladies to face up towards the invisibility factor and name out the ageism and sexism. Undoubtedly, during the last decade, issues have moved on. But, although we now 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 to be able to maintain our jobs/seem in public/no matter. There was a certain quantity of progress – gray hair is seen as cool, we will discuss concerning the menopause (simply don’t anticipate any time off work) –  however the stress to age in a sure manner, nonetheless persists.

Ageing is ok 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 seem like. Advertisers and the media proceed to perpetuate the parable that younger is gorgeous, previous 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 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 unimaginable battle to be right here right this moment, however I believe it’s price it…’ Occurring to say ageism,  she added, ‘As time glided by – I turned 60 final yr – and I believe all of you ladies perceive this as the times, years, numbers get greater, the alternatives get smaller as properly.’


Picture: Claire Pepper


Lately, I went to my first sixtieth celebration. Surrounded by mates 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 kind of cringy platitudes/ Instagram hashtags: having amusing, dancing and spending time with mates is sweet for you. Significantly 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 individuals are residing glad, wholesome, lengthy lives. The inhabitants in Japan lives longer than wherever 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 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 mates of all ages. The presenter discovers that these locations have just a few issues in frequent, particularly, a nutritious diet, a powerful sense of group and goal. We might actually do with this type of system within the UK. The place older individuals are valued and brought care of, as an alternative of being written off and seen as a burden.

One factor I must 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 couple of 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 suggest 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 must maintain transferring. This yr, I’ll be listening to my physique, reviewing the way in which I work on That’s Not My Age and profiting from my spare time. Because the writer Margareta Magnusson says we have to discover a option to flip ageing into an artwork and be artistic about how we strategy on a regular basis.  ‘It’s by no means too late to do something. The second you begin pondering it’s too late, then you definitely start to die’.


Picture: 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, related HERE (this was taken a few years in the past so precise merchandise are now not accessible).

Third outfit: my khaki jumpsuit is kind of just a few years previous from Bliss & Mischief (now not accessible however related HERE and HERE and check out Etsy for military surplus). Footwear are an previous pair from Chie Mihara. Sailor high 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.




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