Everyone has a different age that strikes them harshly. For some people it comes early at 25, and for others, it doesn’t hurt until 50 or 60.

For me, it was turning 30 last October.

I’ve always been the youngest. I was the youngest in school and college, always had older friends, am 5 1/2 years younger than my husband, and in general have always felt like the baby of every group.

(My friends still make fun of me being a child, especially when they have to explain how one goes about tight-rolling jeans or what exactly a Def Leppard or Loveboat is.)

So up through last year, in my head I was young. I was practically a teenager.

Those grey hairs? A fluke of genetics.

The wrinkles under my eyes? A product of poor skin care regimen.

I’m just a kid!!

Until I began to creep toward 30.

Something about having a 3 in front really, really freaked me out.

I found myself counting down the days of my 20s, trying to make the most of them.

I almost wrote a list of things to accomplish in my 20s, but realized with 6 days to go, it likely wasn’t going to get done, and then I’d have to deal with my spiral of self-disappointment on TOP of my aging angst.

And then it happened.

My birthday came, and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t fully relishing in the fact it was MY day. That it was all about ME, and everyone had to cater to my every whim.

In fact, I kind of tried to ignore it.

And in the days and weeks and months afterward, I noticed a peculiar twist in my subconscious: I didn’t want to think about my age anymore. It was better if I just didn’t acknowledge it at all than to attempt to come to grips with the painful number.

But now that I’m inching closer to 31 than 30, I figure it’s time to admit it: I’m officially in my 30s.

And that’s okay.

It’s even okay if kids in their 20s (see how I called them kids? That’s because I’m OLD) think of me as ancient and “practically their parent’s age”.

Because, really, age doesn’t mean much. It doesn’t define who I am or how I feel about myself, and it doesn’t define what I can do or where I can go with my life. There are so many things I have now that I didn’t have in my early 20s…

– I have two beautiful children who enhance my life astoundingly.

– I have a much greater sense of self – I know who I am, I am okay with who I am, and I don’t obsess (as much) about what other people think of me.

– I’ve learned to temper my perfectionism. It is okay when I mess up – I don’t have to punish myself for days, weeks or years.

(Unless I stick my foot in my mouth. In that case, I can torture myself for decades.)

– I am living my dream: staying at home with my children, teaching them, and yet still doing some work from home to maintain my need for objective goal-achievement.

– I am significantly healthier than I was in my early 20s, and have a much greater understanding of what it takes to maintain health for both me and my family.

I was downloading photos from Chris’s camera the other day, and I found a picture of the two of us right after my 30th birthday.

And I was struck at how completely and fantastically happy I looked.

And that’s because I am – no need to let a meaningless number make me think any differently.

(Please remind me of this when my 40th comes around.)

But you know what? It never hurts to pamper oneself at any age, so I’ve got a giveaway for you, provided by BlogHer and Pfizer. Pfizer just launched the new Get Old platform, which encourages people of all ages to embrace aging and use those years to live a fuller life, complete with the community that can be found through Get Old.com.

If you would like to be entered to win one of three $500 SpaFinder gift cards, leave a comment and tell me how you feel about your own journey of aging.

Entries from the participating blogs will be pooled and three winners selected.

For your convenience, here are highlights from the Official Rules for the Sweepstakes. Please note by submitting an entry you are agreeing to the full Official Rules, available here.

No duplicate comments.

Please do not mention or imply any pharmaceutical products in your posts. Posts that mention or imply a pharmaceutical product will be subject to removal.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt at the bottom of this post.*
b) Read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
*Note: if you want to comment but either (i) are not eligible or (ii) do not want to enter the giveaway, please include something similar to the following statement in your comment: “I do not wish to enter the sweepstakes.”

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Medical professionals who are licensed (or are otherwise authorized) to prescribe medications are not eligible to enter. While BlogHer encourages you to share your thoughts and experiences about getting older, comments discussing medical conditions and/or medical products are not permitted, may be deleted, and are invalid entries. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

This sweepstakes runs from 6/18 to 8/31.

Be sure to check out the BlogHer.com Get Old page to find out more about the Get Old platform and read how other bloggers feel about aging!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by BlogHer and Pfizer’s GetOld.com platform. All opinions are my own. For full disclosure of my media policies, read my About Me page.

83 thoughts on “Old. (Deep Breath) Is Okay. (And a Giveaway!)

  1. I’m getting used to aging. It was a learning process. I’m proud of those gray hairs I attempt to color and the wrinkles from years and years of laughing and sunshine.

  2. Turning 30 didn’t bother me, but 35 did make nervous I mean it was middle age and I still had so many things I wanted to do. Get married, have kids… but then I realized all the stuff I had accomplished and all the blessing I have so I like you realized it was just a number and embraced it. I still look young most people don’t believe I am 36. I am healthier than I have ever been and getting healthier everyday. The gray hairs don’t bother me and I hope the wrinkles are from smiles because of all the happiness and joy I have experienced.

    1. That’s great! I’m glad you’ve been able to work through it (as have I). Now let’s hope we can keep that perspective for the next big milestone!

  3. Your post totally hit home for me as I turned 30 YESTERDAY! I had the same problem, I was terrified of not being 20 something. I did the same as you, didn’t really want to think about it (and still don’t want to). People keep telling me your 30’s are so awesome….guess I’ll wait and see!

  4. I’ve always been the young one, too. My friends share tales of their teenage kids and I remember all too well what it was like to get my driver’s license and make college decisions. I mean, it was yesterday, wasn’t it? Women going through pregnancy and breastfeeding woes share their thoughts with me and I always have a story to compare – even though I went through that journey over 4 years ago. I wonder how my grandparents feel when they see their grandchildren enter middle age and have kids of their own. Also, at church yesterday, my husband shared that we’re about to celebrate our 10th anniversary, and the older lady said, “Oh, you can’t be old enough to have been married ten years!” To her, we’re still babies in our thirties. I prefer to think of my gray hairs as “extra blonde”. I’ve earned them, I guess, and I look forward to earning more.

  5. I’ve come to learn that getting old sure beats the alternative, and I’d much rather be smelling roses than pushing up daisies! I used to think that 30 was ancient, and now I’m quickly approaching 32, and for me, life has never been better. I’m a much happier person now than I was in my 20’s, so I guess life can only get better from here!

  6. At my sister-in-law’s 30th birthday, she said she was just happy she made it to 30. She passed away at 34 due to breast cancer, after being diagnosed at 28. Totally changed my outlook of birthdays…it’s just a number and I’m glad to make it to the next one. Every candle added is an accomplishment. {remind me of this @40}

  7. I’m 25, so I’m not really too concerned with aging yet. I have been doing things to try to help me age well (mainly, wearing sunscreen frequently. I am trying to get my boys into the habit of wearing sunscreen, also!) :) But overall, I’m fairly positive about getting older. That may change once I get that 3 in front, though. Check back with me in four years when I’m 29. I’ll let you know how I feel then! ;)

  8. I’ve actually always been the oldest of the people around me. I was one of the older ones in school and am older than my husband by a year. I think I’ve always been more mature for my age, therefore people think of me as older that way! So I guess because of that, it doesn’t really bother me to have another birthday – I am just thankful that I made it another year to celebrate with my friends and family :)

  9. You look beautiful and happy in that picture! All of the things you mentioned are things I think are so positive about aging. I’m not a fan of the wrinkles or the inability to be spontaneous now that we have kids, but the self-awareness and confidence and the happiness when I look at all the blessings in my life is something I hope just keeps getting better with age.

  10. I just ticked over to 42 today. It’s funny because I still feel like a kid. I have a job and bills like everyone else, I just don’t think I feel my age. I have relatively few wrinkles, I have more than my fair share of gray hairs, none of those things matter because I still feel half my age.

  11. Not quite 30 yet, but it won’t be long. Like you I was the youngest in my classes and for a period of time, the youngest in my workplace. I just look at age as another milestone. I reflect on what I and my family have been through in the past and look forward to what we can accomplish together in the future.

    1. That’s a great way to look at it. I need to do more goal-setting and long-term objectives at these milestones, rather than getting caught up about the number.

  12. How do I feel about aging? At 72 1/2, I say aging is better than the alternatives available! Actually, I was married to a man 13 years older than myself so I didn’t want to make him feel older by complaining that I was really getting old when I turned 27. I was, after all in love with him and wanted to make him still feel good about himself. Now, I am actually enjoying adding the years as they keep rolling on and I gather really great grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It is all a matter of choosing to be happy rather than going around grumbling about a little thing like aging. I love your blog – it is one of the things that adds joy to living.

    1. I love your outlook! And I ALWAYS enjoy your insights on my blog. You may be my only 72 year old reader – your opinion is quite weighty!!

  13. I am turning 26 this summer and don’t really see how it will make a difference to “being older”. However, I have noticed several white (not grey!) hairs and that makes me quite uncomfortable!

    1. Yeah, those really stink. I found my first one as a teenager and it scared me to death!! Luckily, the development of more has been slower.

  14. We are still in the young marrieds’ class at church. Some couples in there are only 22 years old, but the step up from our class is full of people in their late 30s and early 40s; I just don’t identify w/ them. But anyway, we are feeling like we should get out of the way of the young 20s because we are now in our LATE 20s (I’m 28). Sigh.

    1. Our Sunday School class recently got bumped from being the “Young Marrieds” to the “Young Families”. Some younger class stole our name! Oh well… I guess it’s true.

  15. All through my 20s whenever I’d make mistakes I’d think it was okay, because that’s what the 20s are for: learning how to be an adult. You aren’t a real adult until 30. I don’t know why I thought that, but I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with logic. When I turned 29 last year I realized I only had one more year to make mistakes! At some point last year I started laughing at my own silliness and was perfectly okay with 30. It might help that I hang out with seventh graders who tell me they forget that I’m not their age.

  16. I had so many friends who were “farther along in the journey” than I was who assured me that their 30’s were some of the best years of their life. So, when my turn rolled around, I was actually excited to enter this new phase. Thanks for your thoughts :)

  17. I, too, have always been the youngest in my group of friends. My husband is ten years older than me. I usually thought it was a little silly to worry about birthdays, but I admit that when mine came this year I cried. I am 37 years old and have dealt with secondary infertility. However, I hope to have grown in wisdom that only experience (and age) brings. :-)

    1. I understand. The 30’s bring about a lot of changes in our position in life. It’s weird, isn’t it?

      I also understand with infertility. We’ve been there and that is a painful place to be!! I’m so sorry.

  18. My favorite quote (at least since I turned 29) is ‘growing old is a privilege denied to many’. So true! Honestly though, my life is so much better now at 31 than it was at 19 so I’m embracing aging!

  19. Aging is interesting for me. I’m the oldest of my 3 siblings (one is 14 years younger than me). But I’m 9 years younger than my husband. Right now, I’m 26. Soon to be 27. When the time comes for me to fret about entering my 30’s, my husband will be a year away from entering his 40’s. So no matter how old I think I’m getting, my husband just waves it off as ridiculous. I don’t know. I’m dreading hitting 30 a bit, but I know those around me will just laugh. Anyway. Thanks for another chance at an awesome giveaway.

  20. Funny you should ask…
    Tomorrow is my birthday. I’m trying to ignore this fact.

    It’s funny – I was fine with 25 and 30 and 35. But for whatever reason, I just cannot accept that I’m going to be 37 tomorrow. It’s so close to 40. So grown up…

  21. I was just telling my husband that I am really not doing well with the whole aging thing. It’s all kinda confusing. I’m 38, but I don’t feel at all like I thought 38 would feel. I still feel like a 20-something in spite of the fact that I have 5 kids 10 and under. I have some serious longevity in my family (my grandmothers were 94 and 100 when they died), so I guess I assume that I can be a kid for as long as I want! :)

  22. Turning 30 was hard for me too; not only was I used to always being the youngest in the crowd it just felt like something special was ending when I left my 20’s behind. I’ll be 35 this month and I’m ok with my 30’s but I have yet to accept the gray hairs that seem to multiply overnight! I still say I am too young for gray hair lol!

  23. I am looking at 45 in just a couple of months. But I think that 30 was the worse. But 35 was great. Why .. may you ask.. I found out that was pregnant for the first time. Now – I am chasing a nine year old. It keeps me forever young.

  24. When I turned 60. I decided to never dye my hair again! I was going to keep it real and be what I was.! No false illusions , pretenses or fake presentations! A couple of weeks ago, one of my patients( Who is 92 and still dyes her hair) asked me ,” What is that white thing on your head? Are you wearing a hat??” She was aghast when I said that it was my white hair! I must admit that I have second thoughts now that I look like my patients! And I sometimes wonder if they hope their nurse isn’t senile! Such are the connotations of grey-headedness. Used to be a symbol of wisdom and honor. I’m trying to live my ‘old age’ like that !

  25. I’ll be 40 this year. 4o! How strange! And when I look in the mirror there is a woman looking back at me. There is no longer a girl trying to look like a woman. 40 is not old, really it’s not, and I’ve got a 7 year old not a child graduating from high school like many of my former classmates and other people my age. And I’ve never been cool enough to be part of the latest anything craze….so am I really truly old? Nah, not yet. There are great things that come with age. For instance, perspective…I see things so clearly now that my Nana tried to explain to me YEARS ago. I value motherhood. It’s not been easy but it’s a part of my life that I longed for throughout my 20s and not getting my sweet boy before 33 gave me time to grow up, do a lot of things, and be prepared to be his mom. And with each passing day, I see more of God’s hand at work even in the tough times. So I’ve rambled all over the place but I’m pretty okay with aging. Feel free to email this back to me on July 25 aka the big 4-0 day. :)

  26. Great picture! You guys both look so happy and sweet!

    I am totally not freaked out about 30 for some reason. Maybe 40 or 50 will get me, but I feel like I am exactly where I always wanted to be at 30 so I’m happy with my fulfilled expectations.

    I am also ALWAYS the youngest. Being a July birthday made me the youngest in my class every single year so I’ve felt 30 for about a year now since all my close friends have been having their 30ths.

  27. Age has never really bothered me and now that I am 59 I do not know how I am supposed to feel. What is 59? A number. I do not feel 59, maybe because most of my friends are younger, including my husband. If I ponder the age I feel I would say 38. I remember thinking 59, about to be 60, was old. Again, I just do not feel OLD. Maybe I have just had the most blessed life and that makes me feel young

  28. I was struck at a wedding this weekend how young the couple was. KIDS! :S I was the same age when we got married….yikes! That definitely made me think.

    I know there is much growth and age and maturity that happens from your early 20s to your 30s. Seeing that couple so in love and ready for the life ahead, made me excited for what my 30s will teach me.

    Will I look back at my 30s and think I had just begun to mature and learn? I can’t wait to meet the 40 year old self and see what I think of today’s me.

  29. It’s just a bummer that after 21 you’re just an adult. Birthdays don’t being fun new privileges anymore like getting to drive or go to R rated movies or buy drinks… I miss that! But bdays bring cake and cake is good too!

    1. Yup – the last thing I got really excited about was my car insurance going down at 25. And then it went down by less than $2. THAT was a disappointment!!

  30. Your post reminded me of something I wrote on my blog on my 34th birthday (I’m now 35.) Here is a snippet, since my blog has since gone private:

    “I turned 34 on the 27th. I was totally depressed when I realized that I missed my 33 1/3 birthday which was in January. And even more depressed when I realized that most people today would not find that number significant or amusing. (RPM’s people!)”
    “It’s one of those birthdays where you look back and wonder if you are where you ought to be in life. After all, 34 is a real grown-up number and all. Just check out these people that never made it to 34 and all that they did…Chris Farley, John Belushi, Eva Peron, Darryl Kile, Percy Blythe Shelley, Kurt Cobain, Jesus Christ…”

    “So here I am at 34, and I’ve never been on Satuday Night Live, sang with the Blues Brothers, became the first lady of Argentina, pitched for a Major League Baseball team, written romantic English poetry, recorded an album that defined generationX, or Redeemed All Mankind.”

    “Something about your 30’s seems so far away when you are a kid and it seems like your life should be what it’s going to be by then. As I get older I realize that not only do I still have TONS of time to do stuff…cool stuff!…but I also realize that life is always a work in progress. We can’t take a snapshot of our lives and say, “Yup, this is it, I’ve made it.”

    “So, on most days I’m pretty happy with the state of things. I finished school, married a great guy and have 4 great little people who I have to, I mean, get to stay at home with and help develop into cool big people. All in all, it’s a nice life.”

  31. I giggled a little as I read some of the ages listed here….. I have kids the age of some of you… but I remember the year I turned 29… for some reason that was my most depressing birthday. Maybe it was because i had just given birth to my youngest about four weeks before but i think it was actually because i suddenly realized i was not a 20-something anymore. Since then i have learned a lot about how age is perceived and how feeling young does not mean you ARE young. I have suddenly made some changes in my life and heart that are changing how i see my age and my body… this year i have been publicly writing a “true self tour” because i realized that i have spent my whole life being who other people expect. Trust me… that ages you. I began to be involved on a social media site where i met some younger men and have even had a real date and am planning more (i have been a widow for some years). In conjunction with some necessary/urgent surgery, I had a tummy tuck. And i have quit my job and will be working part time and painting full time. I am following a dream before i am truly too old.

    My heart is young… i look younger than I am… I am taking control of my life. This all flies in the face of what I EVER thought about growing old. I have decided to be like Merlin in the musical Camelot. I have decided to “youthen.”

    Seize the day…. the young day….. get older but refuse to get OLD.

  32. I turned 40 in January, a day I anticipated with great dread. But now I’m convinced that the 40’s are the best decade yet. I’m the opposite of you in that I’ve almost always been the oldest in any group. I was the firstborn among all my siblings and cousins. Now my youngest is 5, so I feel young when I hang out with the preschool moms! My kids are great ages – no teenagers or infants at the moment. Life is full and good!

  33. What a great post! I have to admit, my age isn’t really an issue for me, but I’m surrounded by family in their 80’s and 90’s who still drive, bike several kilometeres a day, and are just plain rockin’ folks, ha ha!

    (Although my old bones could do with some spa treatment, lol!)

  34. I think that my biggest concession to aging so far, has been to accept that I now am going to have to work much harder at fitness to achieve the same results that I did with no effort at all years ago.

  35. Honestly, I have never worried about aging. I still laugh when I get carded at restaurants…it’s so cute to me. I was raised to believe that each year is a blessing from God, so cherish it. So when I get older each year I am thankful to have seen it. I cannot stay up as late as I used too and tire easier now, but I don’t worry about aging and nor will I ever allow myself too.

  36. I feel like I’m either way too old at 27, like when I’m with my coworkers who are all 22 and seem even younger than that because they haven’t had kids and a divorce yet (I don’t even want to THINK about how much the past 5 years have aged me so much more than most), or I’m way too young, like when I’m with the parents of my children’s friends who are all past 40 and still see me as that stupid kid.

    So I guess my thoughts on age are that I’m never the right one. I’m too young to have lived so much life but too old mentally from living all that life to still be so young chronologically.

  37. Love it. Gorgeous photo by the way :) I turned 30 in Feb so I’ve gone through this whole journey myself as well. I figured out that I want to live a long life – 90 sounds good to me – so I’m really only 1/3 of the way there. Given that my 30 years is kind of my forever so far, I have another 2 forevers left to go before I hit 90! That sounds pretty young to me :)

    Sidebar alert! It stood out that you said that you have trouble letting yourself off the hook when you suffer from foot in mouth disease. I have a great tip I learned for dealing with the rehashing of foot in mouth syndrome (from which I also suffer). I am a clinical psychologist and I teach this technique to clients all the time. When you catch yourself rewatching your foot in mouth moment over and over in your mind, take that little movie that is playing in your mind and imagine shrinking it down and putting it on a TV screen. Then notice what kind of TV it is, eg flat screen, big boxy one etc, and imagine taking you remote control and either switching it off and walking away or changing the channel to a more helpful movie. If find that you just hear the words over and over again rather than watching it play out visually like a movie, try imagining that it is coming through your ipod headphones, then imagine either changing tracks to something more helpful or simply removing the earphones from your ears and notice what you can hear in the room you are REALLY in here and now (eg traffic sounds from the road, the clock ticking, the sound of your kids playing etc). Hoping my unsolicited advice is helpful.

    You’re great :)

  38. I stumbled across your blog a couple of days ago and have enjoyed it so much. It goes well with my morning coffee. ;)

  39. Turning 30 didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I threw myself a big party when I turned the big 3-0. However, for some reason, turning 34 bothered me a little, and I am definitely NOT looking forward to turning 35 in August. This year, I’ve noticed some signs of aging, so I wonder if that’s why the number suddenly seems significant. But, I still enjoy a good reason to celebrate, and I enjoy my life, so I’m not going to worry over turning 35 too much.

  40. Sign me up! I’m in your same boat, just a few seats back. I got married at 21 and had two kids before 25, so at the ripe old age of 26, I feel like I’ve filled my 20’s up. Most of my friends are older than me, so I’m looking forward to 30. I feel like I will have earned it!

  41. I’m mostly fine with it. :) I don’t love the wrinkles that are slowly appearing, but my husband doesn’t notice, and he’s really the only one that matters, so…I’ll get over it. The other day I was talking with a friend about how we wish we could go tell our 22-year-old-selves just exactly how beautiful we were and to stop worrying about our bodies and just enjoy life – and we both realized that our 42-year-old selves may wish the same thing some day. So we should probably take their hypothetical advice! :)

  42. So far I’m cool with getTing older (and even getting gray hairs), but I haven’t hit e big 3-0 yet, so we’ll see!

  43. I was chuckling while I read your description of “always being the youngest.”

    That’s so been me, so 30 feels really huge to me too (I hit the big 3-0 this October). I still have a lot of older friends, but then there’s all these other whipper-snappers showing up, and I am definitely not feeling like the baby anymore.

    Except when I feel like boohooing a little bit.

    So…apparently, I decided to have 5 kids before 30 so I could be really young to have that many kids…not sure it was the soundest reasoning ever, but it’s a little late to change that now, huh?

  44. My age doesn’t bother me too much.. I find that whatever I’ve learned or experienced int he past year always makes up for being one year older. Like they say, it’s better than the alternative! But I do think I try to take better care of myself as I get older, I know that I deserve some pampering and that my skin won’t always look as good, and that my back won’t always be ache free. I might feel differently when I’m looking at 45 instead of 35, but for now… my years have been wonderful and I won’t trade them for anything.

  45. I’m afraid I’m not aging very gracefully. I’m dismayed by changes that I never imagined would happen to me!
    Reading your post brought back memories for me…I think my 30s were the best decade of my life! Enjoy every moment!

  46. I turned 42 in June. I don’t always see myself as an adult, though. I graduated from college and graduate school before I had a computer or a cell phone. When I did get a cell phone, it was in a bag, looked like a regular slimline phone, and had a spiral cord. Not only do i remember when MTV played videos, but I remember the time before MTV was launched. Our TV didn’t have remote control for cable; it had this box that had a lever you had to manually move one little space at a time. Of course, it was great fun to push the lever from one end to the other for it to go ziiiiiiippppp.

    This fall, I am starting my 21st year of teaching. I could retire in 5 years, except I won’t because I’ll have a 10 year old and a 9 year old. I have a friend I graduated from high school with who became a grandmother this year! I guess I got started late. I feel old because my husband is 3 1/2 years younger than I am. My friends are either several years younger or almost 10 years older. (Are there any other 40-something’s out there? Seriously, I know so few people in their 40s. )

    But the moment when I realized that I was indeed old came last fall when I saw Nick Saban on TV and caught myself thinking, “You know, he really is handsome.” That’s it. I am OFFICIALLY old! But Roll Tide, anyway!

    1. I always thought Mike Shula was handsome, but there was something a little off about him… Nick Saban, though – he’s handsome in a REALLY SCARY kind of way.

      (Probably similar to what my husband thinks about Angelina Jolie.)

      (No, I take that back. He’s just scared of her.)

  47. I want to see my kids grow up and get married some day, getting old isn’t all bad

    Wrinkles – not so much :-P

  48. I feel uneasy about aging. However, I hope for the best and realize that I cannot sit around dwelling on growing old… although today is my birthday!

  49. i feel GREAT about it. as long as i am getting old, it means im still living, and to me ::wink: thats a good thing
    Thanks for a super giveaway!

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