The (delicious) truth about getting older

The (delicious) truth about getting older | SusannahConway.com


“Aging is not ‘lost youth,’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength. It’s a different stage of life, and if you are going to pretend it’s youth, you are going to miss it. You are going to miss the surprises, the possibilities, and the evolution that we are just beginning to know about because there are no role models, no guideposts, and no signs.”~ Betty Friedan

Turning thirty felt like a big deal, and it was — it was my first big age milestone. My first real taste of getting older and all that brings with it. Of course, forty smashed all of that to pieces, and I have no doubt that 50 will do the same to 40. But this is where I am. I have been alive for 41 years as of today, and I wanted to share what it’s like to be here — the good stuff, because heaven knows I could share a week-long series of posts about the less good stuff.

The fact is, I love being older. I love this feeling of wholeness that’s deepening with every new year. I feel rooted in who I am, and while I still get tossed around on hormonal tidal waves, at my core I know myself. I know what I’m capable of. I know my worth.

After 30+ years of feeling like a girl, my forties see me stepping into being a woman. I feel decidedly womanly, and what a deliciously juicy feeling that is. The changes in my body and face are not particularly welcome (understatement) — would I like to erase 10 years off my face when I look in the mirror? Yes, some days I really would. But would I actually want to be 30 again? No way, no how, absolutely not. My forties are proving to be the making of me. I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

I deeply appreciate knowing I can survive things. And it’s not just because I experienced such a life changing bereavement in the way I did. I simply have more years behind me — I have proof that time does carry on. That heartbreaks will be survived. That bad memories will fade. That forgiveness can be found.

I love the empowerment I feel in this season of my life. I care less about what other people think of me and will walk down the street like I own it. I’ll also hide in my bedroom on the days I need to, but the beauty of getting older is not having to ask anyone’s permission to do what you need. I don’t know who that permission giver was, mind you, but these days that spectre has all but evaporated. I’m my own biggest cheerleader because after 41 years it finally hits you that no one else is going to do it for you. By looking out for me I show myself love and kindness, and when I operate from that place I have so much more love and kindness for everyone else.

I’ve no doubt 41 might have looked and felt different had I had kids or a partner, but as I have neither I can only report back from the trenches as a single independent woman. I face the (un)certainty of being an older mother, and who knows what that adventure will bring. If it happens — and it’s one of my most heartfelt wishes — I do know that I’ll be a better mother now, at this point in my life, than I ever would have been in my twenties. Not that 20-somethings make bad mums, obviously — just that 20-something Susannah would have done.

So even though there are those rare days I’d give anything to have had my life turn out differently, 99.9% of the time I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m loving being a woman in my 40s, so glad to no longer be that sweet insecure girl I once was, so grateful to have my health and my family, so ready to keep evolving and growing in this life that’s all mine. And hell, if my 40s are this good, I think my 50s and beyond are going to fucking ROCK.

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Lately I’ve been a bit obsessed with my Ageing Awesomely Pinterest board, and find I’m hungry to hear more stories of how getting older is a glorious thing (as opposed to the usual media portrayal of ageing as the biggest bummer ever.) So I reached out to some of my online sisters for their take on the (delicious) truth about getting older – I’ll be adding links to their posts below as they get published.

So make yourself a hot drink and go read these posts because there is some seriously extraordinary magic being shared today… holy wow!

Denise Andrade-Kroon | Marisa Anne | Sherold Barr | Flora Bowley | Randi Buckley | Pixie Campbell | Bella Cirovic | Tracey Clark | Julie Daley | Ronna Detrick | Danielle Dowling | Elizabeth Duvivier | Ali Edwards | Marianne Elliot | Tanya Geisler | Jo Hanlon-Moores | Andrea Jenkins | Liz Lamoreux | Liv Lane | Jennifer Louden | Hannah Marcotti  | Justine Musk | Amy Oscar | Sas Petherick | Jamie Ridler | Andrea Scher | Susan Tuttle | Karen Walrond | Chris Zydel

Friends, I would love to know what you like about getting older. No matter what age you are, what’s deliciously true for you right now?

__________

The (delicious) truth about getting older | SusannahConway.com
Updated to add:
We gathered all the posts together and made an ebook! You can download it RIGHT HERE xo

Posted on 05-02-2014
57 responses
  1. Catherine (@foxglovelane)

    Well this is very inspiring. I will turn 60 this year. I have chosen Pilgrimage as my word for 2014 as it really is a journey into the third age. You know what the main thing is about getting older as a woman? I am becoming a person, not defined by my looks or gender, becoming an elder of the human race, out and proud of getting to this great age at all. x

    I am 61 and have been wondering if there were any women bloggers out there my age. Encouraged to see your post. It seems like such a short time ago that I was turning forty. Where did those years go? I am trying to find my footing in this new decade of being 60 plus.

  2. Susan Tuttle

    You truly SHINE Susannah! Your words “at my core I know myself. I know what I’m capable of. I know my worth.” are going up on my wall! Penning them on a piece of paper right now. BEAUTIFUL YOU! Happy Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!! XO

  3. shannon

    Yes! Happy birthday, you beautiful soul. I relate to your feelings completely. I’m in my 42nd year and just now beginning to understand who I am and what makes me tick. It’s powerful and scary and full of possibility. So delicious! Hope you enjoy everything about your special day. x

  4. Niki

    Well, I’ ll be turning 39 soon and I can honestly say that I am gradually reaching a place of inner peace that I hadn’t felt in a long time, if ever. That place where you know who you are, what you’re worth, what you do or do not want and have 39 years experience to back it up. Your posts are always inspiring and make me very happy to know that I have a kindred spirit in you.

  5. Jennifer Louden

    i so loved getting to reflect on this. happy birthday!!!!

  6. Beverly

    Happy birthday! I will turn 45 on Sunday, and I feel great. I fear very little at this point, and I certainly do not fear failure like I once did. What freedom! I can explore and indulge my curiosity, and if something doesn’t work out, my age has given me wisdom to understand to recognize what I have learned from failure. I love feeling confident in my skin, and I love having confidence in my intellect. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  7. Madeleine

    I’ve never commented before but wanted to say a huge thank you for expressing this. I’m turning 30 this year and experiencing very similar emotions. There’s a new sense of grounding, a rootedness in myself, that is unfamiliar on one level – but on another it feels like coming home. Happiest of birthdays :)

  8. lexi

    Today (February 5th), marks my 27th birthday and I was feeling quite bummed about being cooped up in the house with a terrible cold. Until I read this and Ali Edwards’ blog post. What a beautiful little reminder that I truly do LOVE my birthday an the process of growing older and wiser. What an incredible gift! Thank you!!! Have a very happy birthday and an incredible year.

  9. Bella

    Love you. Happy Birthday. xo

  10. Stephanie

    Congratulations and happy birthday Susannah! You are looking great and 40+ is the best ;) Hugs from Berlin, xo

  11. Susanne

    Happy Birthday Susannah! I turned 42 in January and can honestly say that life has never been better. I finally feel good (or should I say great?) about myself. I have the confidence I have been lacking for so long. I feel I can truly be myself without any guilt, fear of not being loved, you name it.. I keep telling my friends who are getting into their forties to enjoy it as it is a beautiful time of our lives.. Glad to read that so many people feel the same way!

  12. Sarah Selecky

    Happy birthday, Susannah! Wise words. I turn 40 this year, and I have been thinking a lot about everything you say here, psyching myself up for it. Thank you for this. xo Sarah

  13. jane

    Happy birthday beautiful woman…the truth for me is that I am 48 – I am beginning to come to terms with the mean looking wrinkles between my eyes that are there from years of squinting into the sun and the confusing ways of the world… I am also seeing that we as aging women are so oppressed by the ideal of youth. That the most coveted compliment for women of my age is “You haven’t aged a bit” or “You can’t be 48 you don’t look a day over 30” is something I want to rebel against. I reclaim looking my age – I am grey haired and wrinkly and alive and wild. I take back my power by owning that. ~steps off soapbox~ ;-)

    Liz

    Love that you are embracing your aliveness in all ways, Jane!

  14. Jana

    Happy Birthday Susannah – from another aquarian!

    I love how much more confident I am in myself as I approach 55 – yet I also continue to have moments of self doubt that keep me humble. I don’t know if I’ll ever lose that need for approval, but I’m really working hard on it!

    I love how my style is evolving, I’m less concerned about what’s trendy, and more interested in finding my own look as I explore thrift shops and find used treasures that help define who I am.

    I love that I feel 30 years old, and am in better shape athletically now than I was at age 30!

    I love that I’m tremendously curious about people, new creative techniques, science, everything! and am constantly wanting to learn more about how to do this or that.

    I love that I’m getting more brave about stepping forward towards things that might have scared me in the past. Taking risks and discovering they’re not nearly as frightening as I thought.

    I love how strong the relationship between my husband and daughters and myself is, and how it’s changed through time, and gotten even more wonderful!

    I love how LOVE is becoming my word to live by, and the power it holds to change everything!

  15. Kristy daum

    The happiest of birthday greetings to you today!

    I adore your post and hope that one day I’ll have the same kick-ass attitude…I’m getting there; but still stumbling along the way.

    Keep doing what you are doing, because it resonates with so many women and we need more of that.

  16. Mk

    I can actually feel my giveadamn break. And I am perfectly ok with it. I like me now.

  17. Julie Daley

    Happy, Happy Birthday, Susannah! May your year be filled with grace and truth. I loved being a part of this wild and delicious celebration of aging. Thank you.

  18. Kathryn Dyche Dechairo

    I’m 41 also and wish I had your outlook, I need to work on that. :0) Happy Birthday x

  19. lucent imagery

    Happy birthday to you! I think you are stunning by the way. I loved reading your thoughts. I’m 32 and while I don’t love the physical changes so much, the mental are just the best. I wouldn’t trade that. Just last night my husband and I were talking about how all the big stuff is so comfortable in my mind and heart. The big issues. My challenge for now is to not sweat the small stuff. I find it funny that I can face going blind with a smile, resilience etc, but yet still waste too much energy on what others might think etc. This is my current project. You are inspiring.

  20. Leigh

    Happy Birthday!

    I am 31 at the moment and found thirty to be a big deal but not scary like I thought it would be. It felt like magic to be past my twenties and heading to a more grown up still playful version of myself. Or perhaps I feel like even though I am still learning and growing, I am on the right path and I like who I am slowly more each passing day.

    I hope to head into my forties as gracefully as you are and with as much optimism and excitement. Getting older is beautiful I see that now.

    I do hope all your wishes for your lovely life come true, happy birthday xx

  21. Kathleen

    Happy birthday Susannah! You ring so true as always. May you have all of your most heartfelt wishes and much more! The older I get, the more I fall in love with myself. It is delicious. And then there’s so much more love to go around.

  22. Mary ANn

    Hi and Happy Birthday Susannah – thank you for your beautiful Ageing Awesomely Pin board. I hope you don’t mind but I just had to share this TedX talk I did with you because it’s just come out and it is so on message with your message (if you see what I mean) – it’s all about the importance of listening to the wisdom of older women http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs0N0Vr4YGg
    and how that might change our perspectives.

  23. Silvia

    Happy birthday Susannah! I already read Ali’s post on this, and can’t wait to read the others. Great idea btw (:

    I love this: ‘the beauty of getting older is not having to ask anyone’s permission to do what you need’ So true, yet some days I still can’t grasp this concept. But I’m learning, every day, to become a better cheerleader for me.

    As I’m turning 30 in a couple of months I’ve been thinking about ageing a lot lately. I welcome it. I love that I know now better who I am and what I want. I worry less (though still too much I think) and enjoy everyday life more and more. I elaborated a bit on this all in a post of my own. Your, and Ali’s, delicious truth about getting older inspired me. Will sit down with a cup of steaming hot coffee now and read the rest!

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

    Silvia

    p.s. love your pinterest board.

  24. Rhianne

    I love this post. And I love your pinterest board too – I know I’m younger than you but this year I decided to embrace my natural hair colour (which is so grey now) I’ve always been scared of it being a sign that I was ageing or actually, of other people thinking I was old. But really this is who I am – hiding it is just another way of lying to myself and I don’t want to do that anymore. So yes, I am definitely loving your board :)

    I hope you had a fab birthday :) x

  25. Steph

    You took the words right out of my mouth! Turning 40 last year, I felt a cosmic shift as if I was finally settling into who I am. It was a different feeling than any other birthday and I loved it, so I can totally relate to what you said. I realize when I can get out of my own way, it just keeps getting better.
    Great post + happy birthday!

  26. marina sorr

    a fabulous new year around the sun, Susannah! I truly hope you have a fabulous year ahead. thank you for sharing this. I am 44 and feel very similar things. and thank you for inviting so many beautiful women to share their thoughts. this is such a precious gift. xo

  27. Diane

    Happy belated Birthday, Susannah and what a great way to celebrate. I just turned 50yrs a few weeks and celebrated by going to Barbados (one of my favourite places in the world) and spent time just being still, relaxing and contemplating. I’ve never felt more together, more feminine, more me than I do right now. I had my children very young and while I’d say I was a wonderful “mother earth” Mum and in my element being a Mum, I do see that I didn’t have the same kind of wisdom and patience that I have now. I love chatting to very young Mums for that reason… there’s light at the end of the tunnel lol. I now love being a very young grandmother! Thanks for such a great post and reminder of how wonderful it is to be the age I am now! x

  28. Rachel

    I hope you had a lovely birthday Susannah. I loved this post and i have clicked though and read all the rest too and you know what? I can’t wait to be 40 and older. I just feel so grateful that there are all these amazing women out there blogging, so many real and authentic voices. It’s bloody brilliant.

  29. Patti L

    This is awesome. Happy Birthday! I also am loving getting older and look forward to it.

  30. Lisa

    Over here via Jules – happy birthday! And I hope you enjoy your 40s. I can tell you from the next decade on, the 50s are really fun. So should be all good ahead:).

  31. Sian

    Lovely to read your post. We share a birthday but l was born a year later, which means l turned 40 yesterday. l confess l was dreading it a bit but so far my 40s seem awesome (and I’m old enough now not to care whether that word’s too young for me!). Belated happy birthday to you.

  32. nikkiana

    I just turned 30 last Friday, so similar things have been on my mind as well. I was happy to see my 20s come to a close, and while I don’t feel fundamentally different today than I did last week, I do certainly feel like overall there’s a rooting taking place… Slowly as the days go by, I’m becoming more confidant in who I am and what I stand for. It’s slow progress, but it’s progress nonetheless.

  33. Eileen Weigand

    Happy Birthday, darling Susannah!

    Life seems more free, more decidedly mine than it has ever been now. I am a single woman of 44 celebrating my ability to go out and about doing exactly as I please. Lingering in the sunshine as I desire or cozying down in the sheets for another hour on Sundays- just. because. I. want. to. I never had this before- what a gift it truly is!1 Thank you for asking this question. xoxo

  34. Kathy

    I’m 52. I survived a heart attack when I was 47, and I feel stronger, more adventurous and more alive than ever. Every day is a gift. I spin more own yarn and bought a loom last fall, and I’ve embarked on making blankets. I want to gift each of my kids a hand made blanket this year, and then make a pile more to give away. Making things is a way of turning time into things that will last to remind others that I was here and I loved them.

    I plan to live to 92 like my grandma and make something every day.

  35. Susan Fox

    Well done, I’m coming out’ I’m 63 but think I am 43 when I connect with you lovelies, age doesn’t matter here in virtual space, and for me physically either… I adore the strong sisterhood here, I think it keeps us all young at heart…sharing the important things are what count!

    I love your AA Pinterest board, inspirational… thank you. x

  36. Latifa

    Dear Susannah….you have been such an inspiration for me over the past years of getting to know you thru your classes and blog…you are now truly stepping into your power as a woman! That is how I felt the journey shift for me back then at 40. I turned 60 this past fall and have had so many feelings about this and have fought against the thoughts in my head that “now I am too old to begin anything new”. But the truth is I am heading into beginning a whole new version of me this decade. Metamorphosing into my dreams of who I can be at this stage of my life. I am finding that at 60 I am needing to accept that my body will not willingly re-mold into what I think my version of it should be and that I now must begin to really love all those new lines and changes…but I am beginning to see that it is showing the world that I am a woman of wisdom now and I have many experiences and the wisdom of them to share…and hopefully the rough edges are smoothing out. I just realized that I am choosing metamorphosis as my word for 2014 as I write this…I have been hoping my word would soon come to me:D I too have been inspired playing with my Pinterest board http://www.pinterest.com/latifah2/ageing-with-beauty-grace-and-spirit/ I think I am 60 going on 45 in my mind and body….I really do think that age is just a number, and it is how we feel in our hearts and soul that will shine thru. I am inspired my this woman! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUS0mrnMG0k
    Happy BD Susannah xxoooxo

  37. Paul R

    I really haven’t considered years as milestones, but events. I think I changed quite a bit after spending 10 years in the military. Then the completion of a master’s degree in two years, I did my undergrad on the 12 year plan, so it was a challenge to myself to see if I could do the MA in a standard time. A major job/skill change. And the latest big event that really changed my life was the death of my wife. If I was to equate that with years of living, it would be 33, 36, 41, and 51. Each of those major experience milestones were more critical to my development than the changing of my age from a x9, to x0.

  38. Francisca

    You are beautiful :)

  39. Judy Griffin

    Happy Birthday Susannah, I so appreciate your post on aging awesomely & deliciously. I recently celebrated the Big 50 and found that I grew into more of me and flourished throughout my 40’s and that is a fabulous feeling to have. I am so grateful for what I learned & experienced in the last 50 years and feel so excited by all that is still ahead of me. I always say what’s important is how you feel and I feel young, vibrant and sexy.

  40. Zeinab

    I’m 25 and i didn’t look being older like you. Thanks for sharing your idea. It is useful!

  41. beachmama

    Our culture isn’t very tolerant of aging. I’ll be 60 next year and had I known how young 40 felt I wouldn’t have wasted so much time wanting to “be older”. I felt that somehow I wasn’t taken seriously because I looked so much younger than my years. I wasted so much time and youth dwelling on this issue. What I finally figured out is that age has nothing to do with how people treat you. There are many factors that come into play in how we’re treated. The people I enjoy spending the most time around now are genuine, upbeat, generous, curious, and grateful. I’m not going to fret about aging because I now know that soon enough I’ll look back at 60 and think, “I was so young!” Enjoy your 40’s, it is a magical time . . . I became a mother at 40, and remarried (a beautiful, loving, younger man) at 49 . . . life is truly a gift at any age and that will be my mindset until the day I die . . . Happy Birthday!

  42. Paula

    This post caused me to do a lot of pondering and post my own thoughts
    http://wingsopen.blogspot.com/2014/02/a-woman-at-age-61.html

  43. MILF Runner

    Lovely piece! Truly love this :) And yes, 50 fucking ROCKS!

  44. Kim

    I’M 25 SO I’VE GOT A LOT OF GROWING UP STILL TO DO. RIGHT NOW, I’D SAY THAT WHAT’S MOST TRUE FOR ME IS THAT I’M LEARNING TO ACCEPT NEW CHALLENGES I NEVER THOUGHT I’D ENCOUNTER. LIFE DIDN’T TAKE THE TURNS WE HAD EXPECTED THEM TO.

    (Not yelling, I realized my caps lock was on after typing all that! Turns out that the Name field is in auto-caps but the rest isn’t… oh tricky!)

  45. Nancy Thompson

    Lovely post. I turned 65 on my last birthday and I feel stronger, braver, healthier and more deeply in tune with myself and my place in the world. I’m getting ready to sell everything and take to adventuring around the world with my husband as roving retirees. I started a blog http://www.justabackpackandarollie to document this stage in my life. The backpack/rollie bag are the perfect metaphor for life. If it doesn’t fit, do we really need it. Sharing aging from further down the line.

  46. Emma Bloom

    Happy Birthday love, and yes you are so right, being in your forties feels brilliant doesn’t it? Well apart from boob sag and feet that look like they’ve walked a million miles! All the best for a fabulous year, can’t wait to see what your new course is, am currently Loving (with a capital L yo!) Journal Your Life and look forward to more xxx

  47. Barbara

    What a wonderful post, Susannah!! I can relate to everything!!!!
    I will be 41, too, in april. I don´t look like my age, but I see the changes in my face and body (but I´m in a better shape than 5 years ago! Slim & curvy & sexy !!). Inside although I still have so many insecurities and fears, I feel more complete. Often I regret who I was and what I have done in the past, but mostly I am fine with how my life was.
    I want to tell you a very very big thing going on in my life: I am 9 weeks pregnant with my first child!!!!
    This is my biggest dream and desire ever to come true! I have waited so many years!
    I´m going this road to motherhood alone, without a partner. Finally I decided to have an insemination with sperm of a donor (here in Spain absolutely anonymous), and I got pregnant in the first try just before Christmas! On New Year I knew I was pregnant, so it´s just such a wonderful start in the new year with the most marvellous project I can imagine.
    I really with to fall in love again and have a partner again, some day…but for the moment I am just so happy to have a child, to become a mum!
    Have you ever thought of that possibility for you?

  48. Amy Oscar

    I am savoring every gorgeous post in this collection. Thank you Susannah, for the inspiration – and the invitation. And a very happy, albeit belated, birthday.

  49. Paulette Rees-Denis

    very inspiring, and a subject that I love to write about… so shared some of you on my blog too!
    …on getting older
    http://paulettereesdenis.com/on-getting-older/

    Thanks Susannah, for all you do… you rule!

  50. Lynn

    I will be 54 this year and ten years ago I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The anniversary of the operation that saved my life is 4 March. I wasn’t going to bother with celebrating my 50th and then decided that as I am lucky to be alive I would have a party in honour of the fact that I survived, I was given a second chance. Prior to this I hadn’t thought much about aging. I remember I didn’t like the thought of being 30, and 40 passed me by. In many ways the actual number feels irrelevant. I am more aware of the phases of my life. I am more aware of the mid-life transition, and it was Jung who said we spend the first 40 years of our lives ‘doing’ and the second half ‘being’. I have experienced the truth of this and contemplating the possibility of a terminal illness at midlife certainly makes you focus on what is truly important. As I progress through my 50s I became an ’empty nester’ (I had my son age 32) and then realised that I have the freedom to do absolutely anything! How scary was that?! And it’s not just about the freedom from responsibility for others, it is the blossoming of the self, the confidence to simply be myself, to say a big YES to whatever comes my way, and the ability to say NO and mean it. In my experience I have become more peaceful and accepting of who I am as I get older.

  51. Jules Horn

    What an inspiration to sow this seed Susannah. I came to you via Flora Bowley’s post and have read through all the posts from your fellow bloggers on this topic, it’s taken me three days! I will be thinking about it for a long time. Just turned 50, am inspired and reassured. Thank you. x

  52. Alicia

    Susannah:

    I turned 34 on February 13. ::Deep Breath:: I mentioned in an e-mail to you several moments ago that I had lost my fiancé in a car accident Holiday Season 2007. What I did not add: he was physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually abusive to me. I was reduced to the ghost of my former self. I am still in the process of re-learning a lot about myself. I have my weak moments, yes, but I still have an open heart. As the years pass, I have found that strength and vulnerability are connected. To let someone see you takes great courage.

    BTW: I am assuming your birthday was in January or February. Happy Birthday!

  53. Linda

    When I was in my fifties I got a small Celtic tattoo on my ankle representing the 3 phases of a woman’s life: maiden, mother, crone. Now at 66, I am in the crone stage and loving the freedom it has given me!

  54. Lisa

    HI Susannah, this is such a wonderful, liberating post. I am currently 37 and loving it! Sometimes I lie about my age and say I’m older. Can you believe it? I feel that my age tells of the years of things I’ve survived, experiences I’ve had, people I’ve known. I’ve been around and I have some wisdom to share…and my age is a beautiful and funny way to express it. I love that I get healthier as I age. I took a yoga class recently with Master Tao Porchon Lynch who is the oldest yoga teacher in the world – 95. And she kicked this yogi’s butt with her handstands, sweetness, and compassionate power. Her body is limber and beautiful and she is a pro ballroom dancer as well, traveling the world in her red dress and high heels. Dang! I hope to be a lot like her when I grow up. Thank you for this inspiring, and beautiful post!

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