Life Begins at 30 40 50 Today

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I don’t remember being given my rule book.

Maybe that’s an oversight that left us all bumbling through the world blind, making up our own rules as we go. Never fear, because apparently a diet supplement company has conducted a survey and is saving us from ever making those ridiculous mistakes like wearing high heels when we’re over 34, or a crop top when we’re over 28.

I’ve just ordered a bikini for a trip to the beach, but it’s ok, because I’ve still got 13 years left to wear it, but that mini skirt in my wardrobe I should have stopped wearing 8 years ago, which is a shame because I hadn’t bought it then. I got a tattoo at 17, and never got anymore because I couldn’t afford it, but recently I’ve been pondering another one, unfortunately I’ve now found out that it’s 4 years too late for me now and that ship has sailed.

outfit

I’m not sure why this survey even exists, or how it is supposed to sell diet pills. Who actually spent their time deliberately putting together a survey about limiting people’s options, making them feel bad for their life choices, and who answered those questions with an arbitrary age at which they felt they, and other people, should stop doing certain things.

My whole life I’ve been the Queen of uncertainty, I’m loud and chatty in social situations, then I go home and the little voice in my head shouts at me about being too loud, talking too much and generally being annoying. The things I haven’t done because I didn’t think I was good enough or haven’t really tried at because I was frightened I’d fail could fill a book (probably one of those small floppy paperback ones you get in gift shops, I don’t get THAT many exciting opportunities).

It wasn’t until I became self-employed at 28 that I started to figure out what I could do and who I was. I’ve made mistakes, lots of them, some things worked out, others didn’t. Since I turned 30 I’ve dyed my hair red/blonde/lilac/pink/purple, started running and completed a Half Marathon, taken up Roller Derby, launched 8 different websites and business ideas, put some of them on standby, dropped others completely and built some of them up into money-making businesses. I’ve taken my first long haul flight, all on my own, ridden the roller coaster on top of New York New York on my own, attended events where I knew no one at all and organised events that people loved attending. I’ve been on national radio on Woman’s Hour, been paid to work as a model, taught myself how to build websites and spoken at conferences in front of LOTS of people.if i have the belief that i can do it i shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if i may not have it at the beginning copy

So today I’m 35, but every day that little voice in my head still tells me I’m ridiculous, that people hate me or I annoy them. Every day I think I’m not good enough or I think about doing something and I wonder “can I?”

We put so many barriers in front of ourselves and other people. We’re too old, too unfit, too fat, too short, too tall, not pretty enough, not confident enough, too poor or we live in the wrong city. We are all waiting for some mythical perfect point in our life when we’ll be slim, rich and at exactly the right age for people to take us seriously yet still find us cool and edgy, and all the while we are waiting for that to happen life passes us by.

The truth is it’s never too late to chase those missed opportunities down. Real life starts today.

Every day.

Whether you’re 25 or 75 as long as you’re physically and mentally capable (and I mean you don’t have a broken leg or a major physical or mental disability, not you’re a bit out of shape and walking to the shop is a challenge or feel a bit frightened in front of big crowds) then you can make those changes and do the thing!

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It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

Every day you’re a little bit older, but it’s never too late to get that tattoo, book a Glastonbury ticket, run a Marathon or go trekking through the Andes. Find out what’s involved, what it costs do your research and take the first steps, and even if you never make it, at least you’ll have tried.

Don’t let other people’s barriers get in the way of your life.

123 Responses
  • Fi Phillips
    July 9, 2014

    Well said. So what if I when I open my mouth, words just fall out without entering my thinking process first (whoops) – I know what I meant… most of the time. Great article. Completely agree with you.

  • Steph
    July 9, 2014

    I agreeee with this sooo much. I spent so much of my time overthinking everything I do, until I realised that I can only ever be myself. Whether that means wearing clothes that aren’t ‘in fashion’, dying my hair, getting a tattoo. The only person I have to please is myself. Brilliant post!

  • angelin2014
    July 9, 2014

    Thank you so much for writing this:) and putting my thougts into words. As Iยดm 56 and somewhat older I can just confirm that age is just a number, and I will continue wearing vintage clothes (sometimes sleeveless, gasp!) dye my hair black, love Heavy metal-music and dance around the living room in my undies on a Sunday morning if it pleases me!! I defy anyone who wants to stop me.

  • Vicky
    July 9, 2014

    Love it x

  • Emma
    July 9, 2014

    Amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mum
    July 9, 2014

    Love you xxx

  • thescarletbelladonna
    July 9, 2014

    Everything you have said is awesome, and mirrors my own feelings on barriers! And it seems to me that a lot of these dreadful ‘rules’ that you are supposed to live your life by, especially things like the length of skirts or the colour of your hair, apply mainly or exclusively to women. I don’t believe anyone has the right to tell you what length your skirt should be or what sort of make up to wear or anything else… regardless of age! There are enough things in the world that we have every reason to be sad and worried by, that we don’t need to go inventing stupid things to make us feel like that. I hope you carry on ignoring that horrible little voice, I know mine has got quieter the more I ignore it, even if it hasn’t gone away yet ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Louie
    July 9, 2014

    Every time I hear someone attaching limits to behavior with age, I just think of this: http://xkcd.com/150/

  • Perdita
    July 9, 2014

    Yeah! Too right.

  • Julie
    July 9, 2014

    I love you lots Gem xxx cracking post xxx

  • Erica at Real Green Dress
    July 10, 2014

    Just glanced through that other article. From what I gather if we meet on the street and you are on a skateboard I shouldn’t kiss you, especially if I am wearing a football shirt and high heels!

  • LandGirl1980
    July 10, 2014

    “but that mini skirt in my wardrobe I should have stopped wearing 8 years ago, which is a shame because I hadnโ€™t bought it then” – aaaaa ha ha ha ha ha!!

    Fab post ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Shona
      July 10, 2014

      I agree! That made me laugh too.
      Well done – brilliant post.

  • Retro Rover
    July 11, 2014

    this is a fabulous post!

    retro rover

  • ette
    July 11, 2014

    Thank you very much for these true words!
    I am always shocked hearing how people limit theirselves because they are afraid of the reactions of others or believe they just can’t do it. And before they even realized they’re living, life is already over. It is sad and it took me a while to be who I am today, but it was completely worth it.
    love, ette

  • Jeni
    July 11, 2014

    Awesome article. Thanks for reminding me what I kinda knew but pushed into one of the corners in my mind to be replaced by the too tall/old/weird/mean/unfit thoughts! My proudest moments/achievements aren’t when I held back, they’re when I dived with sharks, went to East Africa on my own, petted a cheetah, took a risk on a guy. Raaah, go us!

  • Louise Smith
    July 20, 2014

    Loved reading this, really inspiring. ๐Ÿ™‚ First time visiting your blog and I love it!