Older Life Wisdom - Middle Age and Beyond!

Hello forumers,

I am seeking all the advice from our 30+ forumers from all walks of life. There is no unasked for advice here. Let all your pent up desire to share out freely here.

Im approaching my mid-30s and am in a place in life where I’m strongly feeling my transition away from youth.

My body is changing! Weight, new lines, silvering hair, puckered skin

My social roles have shifted! I’m a parent, a family bread winner, an advisor to aging parents.

My career has plateaued! I’m treading water in middle management, without the personal bandwidth to make huge advances or life shifts (see: parent), without the desire to take huge risks (see: breadwinner.)

I know what youth held for me. First love! Exciting school milestones and graduation as i march to young adulthood! Endless time to pursue interests, hobby, leisure! New friendships! Exciting new experiences! The deep sense of endless possibilities.

Can you share with me your experience or thoughts on any or all of these questions floating around in my head? I just need some communal wisdom. A salon if you would.

Right now, i don’t know what mid-life holds for me. What are my new possibilities, no longer endless but made acute and pressing in the awareness of my mortality and those of my loved ones?

Mid-life with children is so often framed as an absence of self, where the refocus is all 100% on the development of your child. And yes that is important and full of joy and a dear stage of life i will know i miss when it’s gone. Can you share with me what you are nostalgic for about that time? What you love about it? And how you also find your self in it, not just as a backdrop for another’s growth, but as the main character in your story?

For me, as a kid, i was often motivated by the thought of mastery, even if it was almost certainly impossible. Dancing, jiu jitsu, drawing, instrument playing - i feel as a 33 year old with all this pressing stuff, there’s no way I’ll ever achieve mastery in any of those.

I’m curious about what adventures hold for me. I’ve wanted to go to japan for so long, to Korea for so long, for exciting things like night life or new love, but all those things i have opted or aged out of.

Fashion is befuddling. My body is different, what worked before doesn’t work now, i feel constrained by what my body looks like and society expects - I’m not gonna be sexy and i don’t want to be cute. Is all that’s left looking “professional” or “proper”? Boring

All advice welcome but would really like any contempt or derision left at the door. Please come from a place of understanding, life changes are hard and I know i don’t have the answers. I am asking people that know more and leaning on communal wisdom.

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I’m 67. I find this stage to be… comfortable. I just try to look neat and presentable. Simple lines, not ‘fashion’. I don’t try to climb the mountains anymore, figuratively or literally. I please myself in how I act and present, and have little patience for anyone else to tell me how I ‘ought’ to be. You are a little young to be quite in this stage, but my advice looking back is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Relax and enjoy your life. The pressure to be the best dressed, smartest talking, put together person in the room can be left to the younger ones. It is freeing to not need to be that anymore.

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45 here, no kids, so nothing to say around parenthood.

My 30s was when I decided I enjoyed going sideways and diagonal in my career rather than take the tradeoffs of trying for upwards.

My 40s is when I was able to admit mistakes and that I was not perfect all the time.

I’m starting to think and put into practice that it’s more important to always be trying to do things I’m bad at, rather than continuing practicing things I’m already good and comfortable with, less aiming for marginal improvements. I don’t want to stagnate or be afraid of the new (therefore we put in the faucet ourselves even when it was scary and unfamiliar). I used to say I wouldn’t play if I didn’t think I could win.

Fashion is impossible in new ways. I wish I had been comfortable wearing more dresses when my legs weren’t all spider and varicose veins.

There was an interesting book a couple of weeks ago about how the brain moves from being really great at agility and feats of memory, and shifts to be better at making connections.

Friends and socializing is still challenging and scary and the person I invited over to dinner like a grownup hasn’t replied to that email. The other person who I suggested we do coffee has said we should do lunch again sometime, maybe at her place or a free tech company lunch (is it ok to take a free lunch from an actively evil tech company?).

Rather than the high of adventure, I’m aiming for deepness/richness of experience. And sometimes when you go deep, there is a high there?

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I’m close to your age and resonate with a lot of your feelings about being in the middle & not sure where to look next.

My wife is nearly a decade older than I am, and I find her perspective really valuable. She came out later in life (at about the age I am now) and she enjoys the idea of aging into an “old butch” - like her best queer life is yet to come. She’s also really fond of media with realistic older characters, like cozy mysteries and theatre stageplays. She looks up to older actresses and has a lot of intergenerational friendships.

As for me, I’ve always known I will be the artistic eccentric old lady eventually. I do enjoy a formal/professional look, but always with artsy accessories and my own style added in. I like fashion subcultures that lean into the unusual, like lolita and goth and mori-kei, and I have since I was a teenager, so I have a pretty thick skin about dressing the way I want to dress. My career field has a lot of quirky fashion so unless you’re trying to climb into places or vendors where it might matter, people are pretty live & let live - which was a small factor in choosing it as my career path. I have been more ambitious in the past but I think now that I have finally made it to a management role, I’m content with learning and growing in the role vs striving upwards for awhile.

Also, I’m autistic, so the social norm has always been up for questioning for me. If I always feel like I don’t quite fit in, then why would I try to be something I’m not? I think that perspective has served me really well in life!

I’m not a parent, but I care a lot about the next generation. I strongly believe kids are best served by having parents willing to model life/work balance and passion for their own activities vs having parents who lose themselves in parenting. When kids see that adults can be playful and love their own things, it helps them realize it is okay to develop independent activities & passions of their own. It’s also a good early experience with boundaries, if Mom/Dad/Parent has a commitment once a week that can’t be scheduled over (gym time or gaming group or solo library trip or whatever) and child’s activities must respect that distribution of time. I know a lot of parents who limit their school age child’s commitments - one sport or movement activity, one artsy activity, etc. It’s both for kid (so they get downtime) and for family (so the family unit isn’t overscheduled or has transportation stress).

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I love this topic @Meowkins. I’m 38 and finding myself just settling into a career and relationship that I love but also feel like I’m starting to see the door close on motherhood and am just feeling really lost right now. So no advice but looking forward to being here with you.

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I’m your same age so I don’t have direct advice but I have lessons from my mom.

At 50 she became an empty nester and started a new career. As a postal carrier. Also she and my dad started jogging after work and whenever she has a long weekend or vacation they go to the mountains and sometimes hike up to 20-30 miles in a day. Which is more than they did in their 30s and 40s with kids. She’s approaching 60 and going strong. I don’t want to say this is possible for anyone and everyone, but I do think there’s a tendency to write oneself off as oh I’m getting older etc but also the more active you are the more active you can be. And you can always start on new or forgotten things.

If her body ever does slow her down, she’ll sketch or draw, or she’ll finally find time for her sewing projects. Or garden more extensively.

Fashion isn’t mom’s strong suit, but the change I’m noticing in my mid 30s is I care a lot less. I will dress presentable for work etc, but I’ll wear some mismatched monstrosity if we stop by the grocery store after climbing. I also was never the trendiest person but I hate today’s trends more than before. Ribbed knits why.

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I’m also your same age, and I totally understand what you are feeling! I’m feeling it too. On the career side, over the past year I have really felt a transition where instead of being one of the “young” or “new” ones on the team, I am now in a leadership position and people are coming to me asking for my advice or asking me if they can or can’t do something and it is scary! I don’t want to give the wrong answer! How did I suddenly become a person of authority?

My body is changing, I have wrinkles starting on my face and I’ve never been good at a skincare routine. If I put anything other than EltaMD sunscreen on my face I break out in acne. Now I’m supposed to put night cream and day cream and eye cream and who knows what else? I can barely remember wash my face unless I have to take makeup off. I have silver hairs starting to sprout from my head and I look around at all of my older coworkers who dye their hair and it just seems like so much work to me. I’m happy to let the grays start to pop out and shine. I like fashion and I’ve always had a body-type that’s hard to dress/style. I still find it hard to find clothes that fit me well that I feel good in, but I’m allowing myself to spend money discovering what I really like. In the past I only wore clothes that I found on the clearance racks or at goodwill. I’m letting myself buy new clothing! I honestly like professional / business casual clothing though, and I love how it makes me look and feel put together and like I’ve “made it.” I grew up so poor where having a job meant working at McDonalds or Walmart. I wasn’t exposed to many people who had white collar careers. I have always aspired to have a job where I got to wear a blazer and pencil skirt!

Before babies I worked, spent lots of time reading, played video games, did judo and weight lifting, and did art. I had a very fulfilling life with lots of projects and hobbies and free time. Now I work and take care of my children. I am lucky if I get 1.5 hours each evening to myself and I have to try and cram everything into that time: self care, reading, video games, watching tv (we don’t allow the tv on while the girls are awake unless it is their 30 minutes of screen time per day), snuggling with my husband, workouts, etc. It’s not enough time to really do anything for ME. I’m very happy that my husband strong-armed me into going back to coaching judo. I don’t have enough time right now to practice myself, but at least I get away from work and my kids 2x per week for 2 hours to do something that I love. I make it through all of this by reminding myself that it is going to get better in the future. My coworkers who have kids in high school or college or older have tons of free time to pursue their hobbies and passions. Right now there is not enough time for me (at least not if I want to sleep enough to continue excelling at my career and having energy left over to be a good parent) but this time is going to go so fast. The little baby that made me hold her all night just a few months ago (what it feels like) is about to turn 3 and start preschool in 2 weeks. It won’t be too much longer and they will be willing to play alone or read in their rooms for short periods of time so I can have me time during the day and not just after they go to sleep at night. Or at least they will be old enough that I won’t feel bad if I turn on the tv for them.

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Not only ok, but a moral good! This blockchain dumb dumb VC, Paul Graham, and what’s his name, Horowitz indirectly funded most of my meals for a five-year stretch in my 20s, and I feel nothing but joy about it.

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Most of the common anxieties about middle age don’t really apply to me because of the unique circumstances of my life. But I can speak to the many things I really enjoy about getting older and maybe that will be helpful to someone?

Summary

First, I’ve always viscerally felt the truth of the quotation, “aging is a privilege denied to many.” I know that’s a real- nod, nod, “yes, yes, BUT insert complaints here”… kind of quote, but I really feel it! I think that changes my perspective a lot. I don’t see age as an obstacle but an achievement and one that isn’t totally earned, but just…luck of the draw. I’ve never thought of age as a limitation in itself and I think part of that brings me to my next part which is:

I look up to a lot of people who are older than me! One of my best friends is 51 and she is so awesome, energetic, adventurous, all the things! Being around older people who are awesome makes it kind of hard to feel bad about aging. They make it look pretty good! I also look up to older people who I don’t now personally but who I have read about or heard about. Our society paints a picture that death begins at 30 and it’s as absurd a cultural trope as any. People start over all the time from all types of insane circumstances. People learn languages and get degrees and emigrate to other countries well past 50. So much of the fear of aging is thinking of yourself at an older age as a shell of a person, a caricature, and not just as you but older. I haven’t stopped having my passion and verve for life just because I have fine lines! And I won’t when I have grey hair, either.

As for fashion, WELL, this I could go on about forever. True style is ageless because it is a form of self-expression and the self is real at any age (The Sartorialist proved that!). I feel about fashion the way some people feel about painting or drawing. It’s an art form! There is no age to it at all. There are endless ways to adorn yourself and while I do think some looks are more adolescent looking (and I have zero desire to dress like a teen) most of the best fashion throughout history was created for middle aged and beyond adults. Just like with my role models in other areas of my life (older disabled people, older athletes, older adventurous people, older spiritual leaders, older artists) I am always looking 10 years ahead. I love to follow fashionable women who dress very interestingly and who are about 10 years older than me now. I did this when I was younger too! One of the coolest things about working in the fashion district in NYC was seeing alllll the totally awesome looking older people who were just…so fucking cool. I had the pleasure of meeting several fashionistas over 70, one of whom was the woman who invented leopard print. You read that right. And she would turn heads on the street any day because her style was just so exactly a thing. I highly recommend following older fashion icons who are comfortable in their own skin and have true style.

I also highly recommend following fashion and beauty icons who have your general look. Like if I look at nothing but tall blonde women or k-pop stars, um, I’m probably not going to feel totally fantastic? I curate boards that are gorgeous sexy and fashionable women with mediterranean/middle eastern vibes, big facial features, dark curly hair, yellow undertone skin, short curvy torsos, and I feel gorgeous and in touch with my beauty! So much of it is how you feel. Like, yes my body has changed since I was younger. I have fine lines and lots of sun spots. My thighs are bigger for sure. I have blue veins in my legs. I have cellulite now! And…I literally almost never even think about it? It’s just not a big deal to me because it’s all so minor. I think doing things that make you feel confident goes such a long way. For me that’s engaging with fashion and beauty stuff and constantly developing my personal style, for others it’s opting out, or creating a capsule wardrobe, or a uniform, or whatever! There are endless options.

Another thing I really like about aging is that life gets easier in some ways because you have more life experience and perspective. It’s easy to envy the “freedom” of a 20 year old, but you’d also have to take the shitty futon and terrible friends and long work hours and not enough money with it! I feel my life now is so much more comfortable, financially especially, but in other ways too. I think I’m still getting to know myself but I’m getting closer to that real relaxed confidence. I’m getting better at prioritizing myself in ways that really matter.

I also think having lots to look forward to is part of my view. I always have stuff on my calendar to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be big dramatic things! This weekend it was going to a nature preserve. Last weekend it was a festival and an art show. I’m working towards some fitness goals that are new for me because as I age I really want to be more muscular. And I’m doing it! Little by little, soooo slowly, but it’s happening. I’m pushing myself in areas that I never thought I’d be able to. Next week I’m going camping, which for a person like me is pretty fucking ballsy and a huge physical challenge. I can’t wait! I’m so excited. I’m doing it so that hopefully I can do camping climbing trips in the future, and explore more of the state I live in!

There are so many interests I have now that I didn’t have even 5 years ago, and that makes me excited because I wonder what interests I’ll have in another 10 years! My marriage is lightyears stronger than it was when we first got together 14 years ago. I can’t even imagine how we’ll be 5 years from now. Watching my husband grow and change has been a major gift that’s come with aging too. I look forward to being exposed to his new interests in the future. He’s a published poet now! He had his first poem published last year and has just gotten into it. Lately he’s been into birding, and now I’m seeing all these gorgeous birds! I never thought we’d do so much nature stuff together, especially when we were living in NYC for so many years, but here we are! We can become anything!

So much is unknown and I feel like that’s kind of glorious. I want to travel even if it’s all short and local trips. I want to rent a boat next summer because I love driving boats! I want to go to one of those flower farms where you pick your own flowers, and I want to get better at arranging them. I just started learning some Spanish! Maybe I’ll become fluent and maybe I’ll quit in a couple of weeks- who knows?! Either way I am enjoying the process. I’m doing photography again, which was a huge passion of mine for years, and I’m really excited about it! I’ve picked it back up after going to an art show where the youngest artist showing was in his late 40s, and who also happened to be a pretty famous paraclimber! I was talking to him about art and he was saying he went to art school but then dropped art after his accident and went to climbing because he had something to prove. He’s just coming back to it now, after decades away because he felt he’d been ignoring a piece of himself. It inspired me! I feel that way too.

I think living in the moment is so helpful for seeing all the things that are in my grasp too. I want to continue to grow in wisdom and keep building the community around me. I’ve made some really awesome friends in the last couple of years. I want to keep growing my skills in that area. I look forward to a time when I’m farther in my therapy and mental health and can reconnect with some family members without it being detrimental to me. I’m looking forward to getting to know my husband’s side of the family more (they just reconnected) and I really click with his cousin’s wife! We went to visit them, had no idea how it would go, and it was spectacular! So unexpected.

Wherever you go there you are is also a phrase that comes to mind a lot. So I think, I am a work in progress and always have been and always will be. But I’m mostly content and excitable and I think that’s something I can carry with me. What I will lose more of in the future (deference of strangers, mostly) is a superficial thing anyway. It might sting at times, I’m sure it will, but can I mourn the loss of someone being nice to me only because they find me sexually appealing? Yuck. Not such a loss when I see it in those terms. At least I’ll know that’s not why someone is being kind, haha. And I have so much more to offer than just appearance! I think it’s much easier for me also because of my husband. He makes me feel so good in that way. Also, feeling my age helps. I don’t hope that someone thinks I’m in my 20s. I don’t see that as the goal at all because I’m happy to be 35. My husband has lost his hair in the time we’ve been together, which is something he dreaded a lot when we were younger. Its not been such a big deal! He thought it would be horrible, and if he could snap his fingers and have a full head of hair I think he might, but he said it doesn’t bother him like he thought it would. I’d like to think I had something to do with that! I also believe there’s something to be said for not thinking too much about yourself, not looking in the mirror too long both literally and metaphorically. Sometimes when I start to feel that way, all navel-gazey, I just have to get myself together and do, I have to call a friend to listen to them or cook something or work out or go for a walk or listen to a hilarious podcast or play with my cat. Life is too short to stare in the mirror when it doesn’t show the important stuff anyway.

Growth in inner ways is another awesome advantage of aging that I look forward to. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote that some things are the purview of the young but some things are the purview of the old. Being more conscious about nutriments in my life has been something very new as I’ve entered this middle stage. In this area I’ve been inspired by older people around me too. A woman I worked with had the most calm energy and at her retirement party someone made a joke like “well you’re only 30, right?!” and she just smiled and shook her head and said, “I’m very comfortable at my age. It feels right for me to be old now.” I want to feel that way. And I know people who have felt that way. And I know many more who have railed against it. The choice is easy to me.

I feel more ok about setting limitations around what I will or won’t invite into my life as I get older. I expect I will improve a lot more in this area as I leave my 30s and enter my 40s. I never felt strong in that way in my 20s or teens. I never even felt that sure, or had enough presence of mind to identify such things or even my own feelings. It’s easier to prioritize now. I know that aging will bring challenges with it too, that’s very real in a physical sense for someone like me, but my hope is that the way I live my life now will prepare me to mentally handle it. Just like the way I lived in my previous decades has prepared me for handling now, which does have a lot more physical challenges for me than my teen years or twenties, although I can’t actually recall not having those types of obstacles. In that way aging is easier for me. You can’t lose what you don’t have!

So it’s not that there is nothing I’m afraid of about getting older. I don’t know anyone with disabilities who isn’t, like, pretty realistic about what aging with mobility challenges is like- especially since we already have them to some degree. But also, when I tell people what my life is like now they think it sounds horrific and often express that they’d rather not live. I don’t feel that way at all! All it makes me think when I hear that is, “wow, you don’t have much fight in you!” Sure, it’s hard sometimes, but life is so worth it. My biggest fear is losing my husband, actually, I think that will be the hardest mountain I ever face. I can only do my best work now to make myself someone who is able to bear that kind of weight. And I take that kind of preparation seriously. I think when people talk about learning and truly feeling the weight of mortality (usually in their 30s, but for me as a child) they only see the negative. Yes, you won’t go on forever, but also you don’t have to go on forever, and ALSO when you truly grasp the brevity of life it’s much easier to arrange your mind accordingly. You can start to take the things that are very serious seriously and identify the things that don’t matter and let them go. I know how short it is and how hard parts of it are and will be. But there is so so so much beauty and good in life and that is totally worth the hardship. I think of it as the price of admission. Grief is the price you pay for love, and aging is the price you pay for living. If the cost of more time on this planet with all its wonders is more fine lines, less external beauty, and an increase in some difficulty levels that seems like a great trade to me!

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That’s so cool! A friend I went to college with recently became a postal worker and she loves it! (She’s 38 fwiw).

I was thinking of cool stuff my mom has done and one thing I find inspiring is that she started yoga at age 45. She said people her own age told her it was too old to begin, why do something new at that age, we’re old now, etc. She was like, “but I just thought, if I start now I could do this for 30 years.” And she has for 25 years now! She actually taught free yoga classes in her apartment complex during the pandemic, lol.

The idea that middle age is old when it is only middle, only just not young, is so much of it I think. Like I started climbing at 33. That’s pretty old to start a sport, and even older in my body, lmao. But I did it. And now I am a person who climbs and has climbing friends. I could climb for decades if other para climbers are any indication. I mourned the loss of ballet for so long because I’d done it for 15 years, by age 20, but now I look at that and it feels like it wasn’t that long! It was one of many awesome phases in my life. Like when I was an avid cyclist for 5 years, or a professional writer, or a bartender. I intend on being many things!

I mean, I could learn piano at 50 and be someone who plays the piano for 30 years. So much possibility!

And I’ll pause my posts here now because I don’t want people to feel they can’t commiserate or process things in a more loss oriented way. I don’t want my view of things to be seen as an attempted obstruction to sharing other perspectives. I just couldn’t resist because I feel so passionately about this topic. <3

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I came here to post something similar. I have 2 different sets of friends who are in their 60s and 70s and I really admire all that they’ve done and all that they are STILL doing. One of my dearest friends is 72 and she just starting mountain biking at 70! She and her husband go camping and skiing and hiking all over the place. They certainly have limitations (chronic illness, pain from old injuries, etc) but they do what they can even if it’s much less than they used to. This same friend went to massage therapy school at 55, and started her own business. The past 4 years she’s sat on the town school board and basically had a full time job doing that, because she was really passionate about childhood education. It really inspires me! They are the friends that motivated me to go back to school and try to have the career I always wanted, but thought at 30 that I was too old to start fresh. If I become a doctor at 41, I can be a doctor for 25-30 years! I never thought about it that way until a few years ago…I mostly just thought…“well I missed out on the years in my 20s to go to school and do this…so it would be a waste to do it now”…as if when I graduate at 41 my life will be over.

I do have moments where I look in the mirror and it scares me. I’m 31 and the last 5 years of my life went by SO fast due to multiple surgeries and long periods of inactivity. 5 years ago I was competitively racing in a sport that I loved, and working a very physical job 50 hours a week, and camping and driving all over the place. My life is so much slower now, and it happened in the blink of an eye. I’d be lying to say that it doesn’t scare me. I have grey hairs that seem to double every morning, and somehow still have acne along with my new “welcome to your 30s” wrinkles haha. If I dwell on that, I definitely have my moments of fearing if I will really feel like “me” when I’m 40, or 50. I’m so used to the person that I’ve seen in the mirror for so many years, and it does scare me to think of what I will look like when I’m much older. I still feel like my life has barely gotten started, but the grey hairs tell a different story.

Mostly I look forward to feeling more and more sure of myself, the older I get. This year I learned about boundaries. It took me 30 years, but I finally learned that it is ok to say no! Who knows what I’ll learn next year…but I’m excited for it! I feel like I’m learning more about myself and what I need and don’t need, and most importantly…that it’s ok for me to have needs. I’m also learning about other people, and how to be a better friend and a better coworker. Some days I struggle with who I am outside, like my body and how I look…but I’m liking who I am inside a little more every day.

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I’m too wrapped up in some fam stuff to respond well to anyone, but just wanted to clarify that i think it is great that people share both the feeling of loss and the ways that are moving forward. It can be both a validation and a visioning for the future because i know i personally really need the latter.

I want to know I’m not alone.

I also want to know all the things people are looking forward to and happy about as they age.

(In other words thank you!)

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I like you and your viewpoints.

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I recently turned 68. It’s been a interesting journey and I can’t believe how fast the time has went. I got married at at 18 and had my first son by 19. My husband was in the military and it was difficult to be so far away from family at that age. Long distance calling was expensive so my parents called once a month. I found out he cheated so divorced him. I moved back home, got a job and it was difficult and we were poor.

A year later I met my second husband who was 9 years older. He adopted my son and we had 2 more sons in the next few years. When my kids went to school I started college. That was a busy time and I got my BA in 3 years. I got a master’s degree and was a social worker. 4 years later one of my coworkers was brutally murdered because of our work and I went back for a second MS. It was a unhappy marriage as he was controlling and verbally abusive so I divorced him after my kids grew up.

I got a job in Reno working with people with disabilities and met my third husband. I was 43 and was the happiest time with my kids grown, new hobbies such as hiking and my body physically still in good shape to be able to do physical activities.

Retired at 58 and got a opportunity to teach a online college class for 8 years. During that time my previously great marriage deteriorated with him cheating and becoming critical and angry. At 66 I divorced him when he brought home 2 stds during the pandemic before vaccines were available. During those 8 years I really noticed the physical changes and my body started to feel older. I could no longer hike and had to settle for walking daily.

I have now lived alone for 18 months which is the longest period of my life that I have done this. The longer I am alone the more I like it. I only have to take care of myself and my dogs, no one is making messes for me to clean up or criticizing me.

My friends started dying 20 years ago and that plus losing my parents has been the most difficult. I have lost 8 friends and helped many through their illnesses. I used to look much younger than my age most of my life but that ship sailed 10 years ago. I am not happy with what I see in the mirror sometimes because of wrinkles but remind myself how lucky I am to be alive and healthy. I am focusing on staying healthy with exercise and staying a healthy weight.

I have my grown kids, my stepson, good friends, love to travel and hobbies all of which I am very grateful for. It’s been a disappointment that I don’t have grandchildren but am totally supportive of my kids choices. My stepson just married and they plan on a family so looking forward to that.

Financially things have been tight after the divorce because of having my income cut in half. My second husband managed to hide 3/4ths of our money and if I think too much about that I am resentful. I have stayed friends with both of my last 2 husbands and we attend together big family events because it’s good for the kids.

Many women end up alone in retirement due to death since men tend to die younger. It’s sometimes almost surreal that I am this old and that most of my years are behind me. I definitely don’t dwell on it and am mostly happy. I felt a urgency to travel to the places I really want to see which I have done because you become very aware that your physical abilities can change very quickly. That can happen at any age but definitely more likely in your senior years.

I remember my mom saying that you become invisible once you are older and that when things go wrong people naturally assume you screwed up because of your age. She unfortunately was right. Enjoy each stage of your life because it goes quicker than you realize.

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I’m 42, and I really enjoy it.

My hair is turning grey, and I’m cultivating an interesting stripe at my right temple.

I’m at a new height in self-confidence. I know that I’ll generally succeed. I also know when I’ve screwed up, and I know when it matters and when to just shrug it off. Their are very few cringe moments anymore.

I’ve had two relationships, and I’ve weathered their ending. I’m pretty sure I’m done with romantic love, but I haven’t barred the gate.

I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m statistically too old to ever look like a hardbody. Even if I get lean, I’ll still have this skin. Exercise is not for heath instead of looks, which means I focus on what I enjoy, or want to get better at. No more exercise as punishment.

Im really good at masturbating. Though, orgasms do seem to lose their intensity. A fact which medical science has no interest in. Little fuckers.

Over all, I’m at the current pinnacle of my power, and it’s awesome.

ETA: 9 of the 12 people I consider ‘my’ family, the people who were alive when I was young, are dead.

The next generation is interesting, and I love that the family line stretches out, but they are too young to miss those I miss. They are making a new family. Grandfathers ax for sure, but with a new handle, and looking to replace that chipped blade.

As for me, I watch happily, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

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Late 60s here. Really like some of the things already mentioned. Ihave nothing to prove, no one to please except the gent I live with, and like that quite a bit.

The life-long quests Ive set myself are slowly being resolved as much as possible: PTSD and hoarding recovery. I dont seek others’ involvement or approval for that either. Sometimes Im embarrassed, but I know how I got here and you cant tell that from outside, so I get annoyed at myself when Im embarrassed!

The biggest shock for me is how tired I get and/or achy, and how little it takes to get there. I wish Id stayed in the habit of exercising more consistently, it probably would make things easier now.

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I would recommend challenging your thoughts in this area. Do you truly believe you can no longer look sexy or cute at 33 and beyond? That’s a lot of years of your life left to never be either of those things again. I’m a lot older than 33 and my body is not in any way considered the standard of sexy by society, but if I truly believed I could never look either ever again, I’d just… give up I guess. It sounds really depressing. I mean, if you truly don’t care about looking cute or sexy, that’s fine.You do you. But if you sometimes want to look that way it’s going to be hard on you if you believe you’ll never look those ways ever again in your life.

I think there are stages of life, seasons maybe is a better way to phrase it. In some seasons, you are too busy with certain things to focus on other things. And as you move into a different season, your focus/priorities/interests and just flat out time and energy to pursue any of them change. When I was in my mid-thirties, life was all about my babies. I didn’t care too much about things like my style or if I looked sexy. I was too busy! At least, that was my parenting experience. Other people can parent and prioritize looking good but I had different things I prioritized. Now that kids care is less intensive I find more time and energy to focus on those things. Jury’s out on if I have good style and ever manage to look sexy but I believe it’s still possible in my old age and so now I put more effort into than I did a decade ago.

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I’m 39 and have really enjoyed my 30s. My time and energy mostly went into work, sports, community, activism, and in the last 2 years raising a little one while not losing myself entirely. I’m still pissed at the US’s utter lack of safety net – I personally made the choice to put off kids until very late and financially secure, but that shouldn’t be such a strain on our society. Feeling lucky we still had a chance to have our kiddo, though.

I turn 40 in February. The next decade holds a lot of uncertainty but I’m looking forward to it, maybe because it doesn’t feel like I have to prove myself anymore.

Having older friends has helped a ton with my perspective. People 5-15 years older have always been around in my life between work and hobbies but a few years ago I found myself listening harder, asking more questions, seeking them out, prioritizing time with them. Hearing all their different and varied stories helped me build up a mental model that there’s no one right way to age.

Looking back on my 30s, growth hasn’t been linear at all.

Nap wakeup more later!

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Girl, I have seen you. You could look hella sexy if you wanted to. There’s a vixen under those cozy sweaters!

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Hi. I just want to say at your age you have plenty of living in you yet! I’m 63 and 35 was two health crises ago, two kids ago (now about your age), and many trips ago. Because of my health crises I have been unable to work outside the home.

Instead, after 35 I started and ran an artists guild, started a small business, learned many forms of handwork, developed as an artist, have had work juried into many shows, have been carried by galleries, travelled to South Korea, travelled North America extensively, volunteered for numerous organizations, homeschooled two kids, tutored English to immigrants, joined various organizations were I could use and develop my skills and talents… yeah… lots of stuff. Currently I’m into learning about permaculture and nature journaling, as well as doing my usual artwork. I do all kinds of frugal activities for the fun of it.

All this was done on a single middle management income.

I think life is what you make of it. People are either a work to live person, or a live to work person. I have one child of each persuasion. The difference in their life choices is noticeable. Maybe thinking on that a bit will help you sort out your thoughts a bit.

I don’t worry about fashion or makeup. The best fashion is the cheapest. When I’m in the garden I do not want to be dressed like some diva. I want practical. Micheals sells t-shirts for less than $5 when they’re on sale. Blue jeans, basic beige and black pants are fashionable for my purposes. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t work in an office environment, so I can get by with a more casual style of dress. If I were still working I’d be looking at developing a capsule wardrobe.

Makeup just makes me break out in rashes and hives. The best treatment for your face is plain old water. I can’t remember the last time I even took soap to my face. I react to everything, so only use Dove’s hyper allergenic sensitive skin soap. I’ve never worn makeup for the same reason. My skin is in excellent condition.

When I was in my 30s I was busy setting up systems in the home, so my family could do more for themselves, and I could carve out more time for myself.

I hope something here helps. Have faith in yourself and your ability to sort things out. Think about setting priorities and delegating within your family unit and at work. Time management was key to carving out time for myself.

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