I’ve lied about my age for as long as I can remember.
When I was 13 I pretended to be 14 and 8 months so I could get a job and at 15 I was driving my parents car. I remember being down at Rosebud carnival one year, telling a group of boys that my fiends and I were 18. We weren’t! We were just approaching 15 and acting oh so grown up.
At 16 I pretended to be 18 and went clubbing with my Aunties and this upscaling of my age continued well into my twenties. I’ve photocopied friends licences and used high tech equipment such has liquid paper and a laminator to created fake ID, all in a quest to be older... (thanks Evelyn K). And, let it be told that being older opened so many doors for me... mainly nightclub doors.
I pushed the nightclub and pub scene pretty hard as a 17 year old (sorry Mum and Dad). Moved out of home by 20 having already graduated from a Bachelor of Commerce Degree. And, by the age of 24 I was managing people 30 years my senior.
I lied to be taken seriously
This fast forward lifestyle, saw me lying about my age again. But this time I was not lying to party. I lied to be taken seriously. I felt my age let me down. I held way too much responsibility for a 24 year old in a Strategic Marketing and Change Management role.
Seriously... who was going to listen and change their behaviour because of the programs I launched? Seriously, what would my 24 year old self even know? I doubted myself whilst managing millions of $$$ other people’s money. Feeling like a fraud, I thought if I was older I would hold more authority. And it worked.
At 28 I had my first child and I felt super OLD
Fast forward a few more years and at 28 I had my first child. Life in the fast lane came at a cost. For the first time in my life I felt OLD. Tired and burnt out. The lies began again, but this this time in reverse, by the time I was thirty if you met me I would tell you I was 26... why? I actually don’t know. It was a good year though. At 36 I was 30. And at 40... well let’s not even talk about that. I’ve been 36 for about 6 years now. Even my son was fooled up until recently.
I'd get anxiety when people would ask me how old I was
And when people would ask my age I would get a hot flush... anxiety would take over and I’d be disappointed and embarrassed by the truth. I’d either lie or dodge the question. Sometimes, I would joke that I was not good with numbers and for some time there I actually did forget how old I was.
This morning something happened. I went for my usual morning run. And literally got struck by lightening. Well, not really but it felt that way. In a week from now we will be celebrating my sons 14th birthday!! Uh-mazing... then (lightening strikes) Holly shit balls that means that I am going to be FORTY ducking THREE in less than 4 weeks.
Um....how do I feel about that...?
For the first time ever, I didn’t cringe at these numerals. If anything I felt kind of proud of myself and thought you know what... you're doing ok!
My legs can still run the distance and I'm grateful for that. Even If I have to wear a pad, just in case I pee myself now, I figure that’s just mechanics and I have two beautiful children to thank for that. Ouch!
Strangely I feel happier about turning 43 than I did 40
Then I took a selfie, to check my almost 43 self out and saw a sweaty me who was so happy to be out for a run and active. Me, complete with laugh lines, crows feet and I noticed that I’m starting to get that dint in between my brows. But, for the first time in a long time I really liked what I saw - and I’m not saying that because I’m vain... quite the opposite - but more so that this 43 year old body tells a story and I’m more than happy to accept that.
So, strangely, I feel happier about turning 43 than I did 40.. and I’m still trying to work out why....
I think it’s because I don’t feel as invincible anymore, I’ve grieved the loss of more people that I've loved and I’ve had a few health scares myself. I truly understand the impermanence of life now and I don't wish it away.
In a way, I’ve also defied age. I got married for the first time at 40 and had my second child at 41 (my ten year old self is still trying to get her head around that). Some will think I was too old, some applaud and others indifferent. It was not planned this way, It’s just how things have turned out for me and my heart is the fullest it has every been.
I now realise that age is irrelevant...
And...it seems the older I get the less I care about what people think of me. I don’t need to be serious or older to earn respect I can be me.
Of course I want to look my best and I want to feel strong and vibrant and I work my but off to make this happen. But I also know now that the pathway to your best life isn’t the route of denial. It’s about owning every moment. Staking a claim in right now. It’s getting rid of beliefs like...oh I’m too old to make new friends or dance on the table.. it’s about loving your tribe hard, making your children smile and with gratitude embracing the age you are.
So for now...
I think forty three suits me.
Perhaps I’ll stay here for a few years. Lol!