I recently came across this post and thought it would be fun to revisit it. True story, it took me at least 15 minutes to figure out if I am 41 or 42. Sadly, it turns out I’m 42! But, you know what, I don’t even dread birthdays anymore – each year we have is a privilege and I’m more aware of that now than when I was 35. Have a read of my 35 year old reflections and see what’s changed post-40.
Birthdays. They just keep on coming around.
Remember when you were a kid and it felt like your birthday would never arrive? And that you just couldn’t wait until you were as old as your eldest sibling, who gets to do whatever they want? Birthdays are pretty exciting until you realise that they are starting to get closer and closer together. Until the candles no longer fit on the cake. Then it starts to get scary.
I celebrated my birthday last weekend and have pretty mixed feelings about it. It wasn’t a milestone birthday, and I am certainly not old by any means, but I have probably gone up a bracket on most surveys and questionnaires. Having spent the last week reflecting on my new age I thought I would celebrate by presenting some pearls of wisdom amassed over thirty, ahem, something years.
- My parents still have all the answers. They still do.
- I am a better cook than I think. I still am.
- It is always worth paying extra for quality make-up; cheap brands look cheap. This gets even more true after 40.
- There is nothing more wonderful than getting lost in a good book. Absolutely, right 35 year old me.
- After 31 years of hating winter, I moved to Sweden and loved it… Yes, this is still true. Winter is beautiful.
- …but I will never be able to skate or ski. Haha – yup. I have a few more Swedish winters behind me and can’t ski.
- Saving money is much easier when you learn the difference between want and need. Yes – although, there’s nothing wrong with a few more wants as you age.
- Following a diet is always difficult. Oh, my gosh – 35 year old me. You have NO idea how much harder it gets!
- I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. Given the career transition crisis I’m currently navigating, this one definitely still stands.
- I have very few regrets, but the ones I do all involve people no longer in my life. I don’t remember who I was referring to back then. I’ve lost a few more people since, but that led to some pretty intense self-reflection and growth. It brought incredible new people into my life as well. Do I have regrets? Absolutely. But as with the others, they’ll fade with time.
- My school days, although fun, were definitely not the best days of my life. Don’t let the fun stop at 16! Absolutely still true. Life is what you make it.
- Greek cuisine is the food of the gods. I’ve travelled a few more countries since I wrote this and Greek food is still my absolute favourite!
- The right size bra is the key to looking good. This is a timely reminder. I’m definitely wearing the wrong size again – time for another fitting. It makes you look slimmer!
- There will never be another TV show as good as FRIENDS. Am I the only one that thinks FRIENDS hasn’t aged well? I still remember it fondly, but watching it now is a bit cringe. And, let’s face it, I still had Downton Abbey, The Crown and all the great stuff that’s on Netflix to come.
- Buying a handbag or pair of shoes that costs more than your rent is insane. I still feel the same now, but I wouldn’t mind earning enough to buy a nice handbag or pair of shoes right now. Or having somewhere to wear them.
- Sunshine makes everything better. Yes. Yes. Yes. I feel like the sun is a long-lost memory. Thanks Covid.
- Fear of flying increases with age. Actually, it turned out that I just got super-stressed and anxious before flying. Who knew? Flying doesn’t scare me now.
- Having a weekly massage should be compulsory. Even more so after 40, especially now that I’m a runner who finished a marathon! I bet 35 year old me wouldn’t have seen THAT coming!
- There is absolutely nothing wrong with preferring chocolate milk to alcohol. Still agree, although I recently saw an alcoholic chocolate milkshake which could bridge the child/adult divide?
- It is impossible to function on less than 8 hours’ sleep once you pass your twenties. Oh, it gets so much worse!
- Speaking of which, nothing good ever happens after 1am once you reach your 30s. Wow! 35 year old me needs to lighten up and live a little. Thankfully, I had a life shake-up at 39 that made me grow back down again!
- Travelling is my drug – nothing beats the high of getting away somewhere new. I’m going to be backpacking at 80.
- Life is too short to give up chocolate. Or cake. Yes and yes.
- Getting into debt is a valuable learning experience, but shouldn’t happen more than once. Absolutely.
- There is still time to learn something new, no matter how old you are. I honestly don’t know how my brain has coped with all the new things I’ve been learning over the last few years.
- Texting is making teenagers illiterate. Oh, it’s getting so much worse!
- Unless something breaking is happening, news reports should not be televised every hour on every channel. Yes, I think the last few years really showed that there is definitely too much news.
- Receiving a hand-written letter is way better than receiving an email. Hand-written letter? What’s that?
- Going on a boat is always exciting. Oh, yeah. I still love a boat.
- Paradise is walking barefoot on warm sand. Yes.
- Everything tastes better with cheese. Hell, yes.
- No matter how many times I see the Northern Lights I’ll still want to see them again. 7 years later, I’m still in search of that elusive photo I want to take. I’ll never give up!
- Most of the viral shares on FB are hoaxes and people who share them without checking make themselves look stupid. Oh my, SO MUCH to say about this one. People don’t even care that they look stupid on the internet anymore – it’s a badge of honour!
- Water is the best health and beauty product there is. Yes, so why can’t I make myself drink more of it?!
- Tanned skin looks great, but skin cancer is not. Always use sunscreen—your thirty-something-year-old skin will thank you! I’m pleased 35 year old me recognised this, given the amount of time I spent in the sun back then. There’s absolutely no chance of too much (or any) sun in my immediate future though.
Despite the birthday fear, I have calmed back down enough to remember that age really is simply a number and that you are only as old as you feel. I am much happier and more confident in my thirties than I ever could have imagined in my twenties. Oh, girl – and you still have the year you turned 40 to come. If only you knew!
What would you add to my list? Feel free to leave a comment below!