That is what 59 looks 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 pals gave me a card with ‘ Pop stars for folks 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 every of her 18-year-old daughters, who is happy about going to college in September, and realised that if we stay to 82.6 (the average life expectancy for a girl within the UK) we’re nearly three-quarters of the best way 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. Carry on the bus cross!

Whereas huge 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. Regardless that I had a great job and loads of pals, I spent my whole 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 tremendous. Right this moment, I nonetheless don’t have a husband (Mr TNMA and I aren’t married), a home or children (however my pals’ 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 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 ladies of all ages have on this area drive me ahead.


Picture: Claire Pepper


After I launched That’s Not My Age, I wished to chill 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, regardless that 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 as a way to hold our jobs/seem in public/no matter. There was a certain quantity 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 approach, 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 other  – 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 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 immediately, 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 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 occasion. Surrounded by pals 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, similar to the olden days I used to be leaping round to The Clash after a few beers. With out eager to sound like a type of cringy platitudes/ Instagram hashtags: having fun, dancing and spending time with pals 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 around the globe the place individuals are dwelling blissful, 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 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 pals of all ages. The presenter discovers that these locations have a couple of issues in widespread, particularly, a nutritious diet, a powerful sense of neighborhood and function. We may actually do with this type of system within the UK. The place older individuals 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 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 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 hold transferring. 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 artistic about how we strategy each day.  ‘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, comparable HERE (this was taken a few years in the past so actual merchandise are now not out there).

Third outfit: my khaki jumpsuit is kind of a couple of years previous from Bliss & Mischief (now not out there however comparable HERE and HERE and check out Etsy for military surplus). Sneakers 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.