That is what 59 appears 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 every of my mates 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 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 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 after I was youthful; self-acceptance at nearly-60. Convey on the bus go!

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 after I turned 40. Regardless that I had job and loads of mates, I spent my whole thirty ninth yr feeling depressing about my lack of feat ( no husband, no children, no home). Then when the clock reached 40, nothing modified and I felt wonderful. As we speak, I nonetheless don’t have a husband (Mr TNMA and I aren’t married), a home or children (however my mates’ kids are my prolonged household). I’m busy working – no probability of early retirement with my garbage, cobbled-together pension, I would like the cash and the psychological stimulation. I need to keep on working. Sure, I’m lucky sufficient to do my very own factor, to work for myself and revel 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.


Picture: Claire Pepper


Once I launched That’s Not My Age, I needed to relax towards stereotypes. To share ideas and recommendation and hopefully empower different girls 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 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 purpose to maintain our jobs/seem in public/no matter. There was a specific amount of progress – gray hair is seen as cool, we will speak in regards to the menopause (simply don’t count on any time off work) –  however the stress 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 to be. 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 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 an incredible journey and unbelievable combat to be right here immediately, however I believe it’s price it…’ Happening to say ageism,  she added, ‘As time glided by – I turned 60 final yr – and I believe all of you girls perceive this as the times, years, numbers get larger, the alternatives get smaller as effectively.’


Picture: Claire Pepper


Not too long ago, I went to my first sixtieth celebration. Surrounded by mates and acquaintances I hadn’t seen for fairly a while, all of us seemed 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 mates 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 all over the world the place persons are dwelling joyful, wholesome, lengthy lives. The inhabitants in Japan lives longer than wherever else, and the older folks 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 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 widespread, particularly, a nutritious diet, a robust sense of neighborhood and objective. We may 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 must do as I head in the direction of my seventh decade is discover a higher work-life steadiness 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 midst of the Jon Snow programme ( and sure, I can extremely suggest 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 must maintain shifting. This yr, I’ll be listening to my physique, reviewing the best way I work on That’s Not My Age and profiting from my spare time. Because the creator Margareta Magnusson says we have to discover a option to flip ageing into an artwork and be inventive about how we method on daily basis.  ‘It’s by no means too late to do something. The second you begin pondering it’s too late, then you definately 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 actual merchandise are not out there).

Third outfit: my khaki jumpsuit is kind of just a few years outdated from Bliss & Mischief (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 latest collaboration). Leather-based belt is one other outdated factor from Cos.

Fourth outfit: VINTAGE sweatshirt from the TNMA Edit.