Monday, August 22, 2016

Thoughts...on being 42

photo taken by C

This is a post I've wanted to write for a whole year (when I was 41!) but somehow I just never got around to it.

Anyway, that's why - imperfect as all my thoughts are - I want to at least start the conversation.


I used to have no issues with ageing. I honestly believe that every single year is a gift and a miracle, and one I am grateful to have, especially because we all know ladies who have died young.

There is a girl who was with me at school (class below mine) who died two years ago due to breast cancer.

That was a huge shock to me but, besides her death, I have always felt that to age is a privilege.

photo by D in the Bokaap


I also (I think) look reasonably good for my age - don't tell me if you disagree... yes, I need to lose 5 kg but don't we all... and I'd much rather K & C see a mother who is fit and healthy, than someone who eats lettuce leaves and is constantly talking about keeping those 5 kg off.

I have grey hair but I've had grey hair since I was 25 so there's that.

I do get shocked looks (genuine) when people find out my age because apparently I look younger. My optometrist was also shocked at my age because I "should have many wrinkles at my age".

My medical aid agrees as I am two years younger than I actually am :)

However, the toe thing makes me wonder if that is an age thing? Someone at work (older than I am) kindly added that a lot of things start happening from 40. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that but I do feel joints creaking a bit more. :)

There is one disturbing line on the bridge of my nose. Some would call it a wrinkle (!). I'm strangely fascinated with it - I keep pushing the skin up, letting it go and the line snaps back into place.


Obviously there'll be more of this kind of thing and I'll stop being so fascinated when that happens.
Photo by Connor, cropped by me


Here's the thing:

In my old team I was the oldest. Me - 42, there is 1 X 39-year-old, 1 X 38-year-old, boss is 32, 3 X 30-year-olds and a 29-year-old.

And that's where it started.

Things said like "well, I was only 8 when that happened"or whatever.......

My one colleague and I just give each other the look.

But it is weird - when I got married, these guys were 8 and 9 years old (Kendra and Connor are 7!). I was already working.

I've been working for nearly 22 years.

It feels like a lifetime if you stop to think (I don't!) and yet it also doesn't.

I did think when I had my birthday review that I'm not sure I can do another 18 years of this working thing (whatever this looks like) til I'm 60 (our normal retirement age at this company).

But then, these other years went so quickly too.

I do know I cannot keep working like this - with youngsters - for 18 years.

I always thought I'd be somewhere by now, more senior I guess. And yet do I really want to play the corporate politics game? No.

I need to get some coaching in this regard from someone objective because one thing is for sure - I don't trust an HR person as far as I can throw them.

I always thought I'd do "my own thing" - the coaching/ speaking/ training thing - but it turns out while I'm good at the technical side of it, I suck at marketing myself and I actually like having money.

Anyway, that's where my mind is wandering these days.

Tell me about you - do you have ageing issues? Be honest. 
And please share your thoughts on ageing in the workplace.

PS Read this great post from Design Mom on being 41.5 and the physical effects of ageing (she is about two weeks older than me)

PPS I will have to write more on the emotional stuff at a later date :)


  1. Marcia, all the feels...all the feels.

    I am in class with kids who we're in high school less than 5 years ago 0_o That measure of success in terms of job/where you are in life is something that gets me often. And I'm working hard at figuring it out. I'm going to e-mail you on this.

    1. Cassey, glad you get me. And thanks for your email :)

  2. Yes I suppose now that I am turning 40 this year I am suddenly realising how many things I could have done and just didn't. How much time I allowed to slip past without thinking about what I really want to achieve. But then life happens and we can't always control that. So that is why this year as a present to myself I am taking myself on a 2 day retreat. Just me. I already have a programme worked out and it will be about me and setting some goals that are important to me. I need it without any distractions which is why it will be away from home. And I have way more grey hair than my mum...

  3. I don't think much about it. Too be honest I often actually forget how old I am and gave to sit and work it out haha. In my twenties it used to bug me a lot...probably because I had a plan and things were not going according to my plan. Now I still have plans, but few of them have anything to do with work...that is just how I finance my other plans.

  4. I think I become more sensitive as I get older. I become more aware of the fact that any day I could get a call to inform me that one of my parents has died. I am more aware of twinges in my body. I'm not afraid of it. But I am extremely aware of things like lack of accomplishment. I compare myself to others a lot more. I am particularly vexed that absolutely nothing has gone according to plan. At the same time I'm also more accepting of who I am. I'm slowly greying. I love it and have no plans to colour. I've stopped all chemicals on my hair so will be sporting natural kink in Summer. I don't have wrinkles. I AM overweight. I work with people who are a mixture of ages, so I don't feel that bit as acutely as you do. Of course the younger staff annoy me, but I have others to entertain me. I guess I am bothered by getting old. And yet I am also relieved by it, because I feel more OK being myself as I age. Does that make sense? I have to say that I FEEL my age when I am sick. Recovery takes a lot longer. And I have to agree with design mom. Hair maintenance is costing me A LOT more. I now have to thread my face! No idea where all this hair comes from.

  5. Well you know I have a few years on you - shocking that some of the moms with kids in L's class were still littlies when I left school.

    To me the worse is my back - and used to be my shoulder before that op. When my back is sore I feel my age. I am also often told that I really do not look my age which always flatters me a lot. However as I am approaching 50 I start to feel a lot less happy about age.

  6. I can relate to this so much. I have been having this battle with my self since I turned 30. Also going to email you when I get a chance.

  7. I am super vain and yet also very grateful to have the time here that I do, so in that sense I hate aging and embrace aging. :) On the vanity side, I wonder sometimes if I'm too "old" to be wearing the clothes that I love. Fear of mutton dressed as lamb and all that. I have forehead wrinkles from lifting my eyebrows all the time, and there is now a splotch in the middle of that wrinkle patch (melasma). But I am fit, and I get told like you that I look young for my age, so there's that.

    You DO look fabulous for your age, Marcia!!!! Most definitely!

    As for aging in the workplace, I have no idea because I haven't been in a traditional workplace with colleagues and a boss since 2005. That's eleven years of self employment, consulting, freelancing, whatever you want to call the mix that I do. I also don't want to do the corporate politics, that's for sure. I value my freedom way too much. But I hear you on the "I thought I might be somewhere higher up".

    Thanks for sharing, and happy birthday.

  8. Ahhhh aging. Well am soon going to be on the wrong side of the 50's and I am seriously thinking that I would like to start working a 3 day work week and start scaling down...with the work we do we will probably never retire but we will scale down.


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