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Poorna Bell

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The Exact Age When Your Thirties Stop Being Total Rubbish

Posted: 05/12/2013 17:36

I've spent three years in limbo, wondering when on earth the so-called benefits of being in your thirties is supposed to kick in.

When I turned 30 - I went through all the stages: denial, as I sank the contents of our drinks cabinet refusing to acknowledge that now my hangovers take a sodding two days to clear.

Anger, as I looked back at photos of my misspent 20s wondering why I didn't love myself more or appreciate what a much better body I had.

Bargaining, as I tried to scoff a box of chocolates as a reward for going to the gym, not realising that now it was going to take me twice as long to work it off.

Depression - alright, I didn't have this, but when I clamped eyes on the 'Happy 30th Birthday' cards the following morning I promptly fed them to the shredder.

Acceptance, the final stage, however, was some while off.

I didn't want to be 30, much less 31 or 32, but everyone kept parroting the same thing: you're much more secure in your 30s, you'll find that you really 'know' yourself and you'll be a lot more confident.

"Life just evens out a bit more," one friend said.

However, things looked pretty wonky. The only thing that happened in my 30s was that I got married, but I wasn't the type of person who was bothered about whether I ended up married, let alone by a certain age. So nil points for that one. (Sorry husband).

As far as I could see, I was older and becoming more of a Nana with each passing month. I no longer enjoyed going to nightclubs, I found it very hard to stay awake beyond 1am on a night out and my Friday nights now consisted (happily, admittedly) of passing out on the couch after a heavy meal.

Friends who I thought would be around forever just weren't - in fact with some I found myself wondering why we were even mates anymore. Is this what your 30s were about?

What's worse, my body was in complete rebellion. I wasn't putting on weight per se, but I definitely needed to cut down the amount I was eating. Gone was the 'I inhaled three kebabs' boast.

It was like my body had decided to engage in some sort of anti-refurbishment by attributing fat to the places I really didn't want fat sticking to. All of which meant that my clothes didn't really fit anymore - and these were the beautiful little slinky dresses that I wasn't ready to throw away yet (which I eventually did because people have eyeballs).

The result of this inventory and rehaul meant that I couldn't shop at the same shops anymore, apart from Zara, because none of the clothes would fit my 30-something body shape. And dammit, I really didn't want to throw away those slinky dresses.

But then something changed.

After a couple of years of living like a hermit and wearing hessian sacks (okay, that last part might not be quite true), I find myself approaching 33 with a much more upbeat, happy attitude. I finally feel like the skin I'm in fits me.

I've given my dresses to my younger cousin and wish her well in having as much fun as I did. I've had my time and it's time to kiss that decade goodbye. What has helped has been buying a wardrobe that suits my new frame, and understanding that a size 10 aged 20 is not the same as a size 10 aged 30.

As for going out, I don't really care about being called a Nana, or being mocked by some of my friends for going home early because life is no longer about doing things because of other people's expectations and THAT is liberating beyond belief.

Why the change in attitude?

I couldn't quite tell you why, but perhaps it's because whenever I look back at photos of myself, I always think God, I looked great, but why didn't I appreciate that at the time? So I've made a conscious decision to enjoy the moment of what I look like without agonising about whether I actually do or not.

If you're a career woman, 33 is also a good age because you're far enough into your career that you know things and you're an authority on what you do, but you're not so jaded or dulled by work that it isn't still exciting.

I tell my sister all of this with great triumph. "Wait till you turn 35," my sister says, "that's when you'll really freak out."

 

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