The past year - of being 30 - has been really strange. I had heard of women having “quarter life crises” but I never thought it would happen to me.
I can’t tell you when, where or how it happened, but it was somewhere in between my best friend’s first jab of Botox and being told at the hair salon by the 18 year old apprentice that she “loved talking to older women about her problems”.
Hang on, what? Wasn’t I only just a tween myself with tight skin that could withstand the wrath of late night McDonalds and burning UV rays? Don’t I still laugh knowingly at this 18 year old’s stories of drama and woe, like all these ridiculous things happened to me just last week?
At which point did I become the older woman in a conversation?
Just recently, I came across a rare moment in which I was able to escape like a caged bird and bolt out of my house to do some clothes shopping on my own without having to manoeuvre my double ‘truck’ of a pram around the tiny little walkways in between racks. As I was piling my load of clothes at the register, the young woman, possibly very excited at the prospect of such a sale, started a conversation with me and it came up that I had two children at home. And then she hit me with a line I was all too familiar with - only I wasn’t used to being the recipient.
“Oh my goodness! You don’t look old enough to be a mum of two!”
Now, I know this is usually supposed be taken as a compliment. But as a retail sales veteran myself, let me tell you, we say this to everyone shopping in a groovy store, whether they’ve got kids in tow or not. We know this simple compliment just makes their day and we just know their credit card is ripe for the picking. And yes, I did just use the word ‘Groovy’.
It really didn’t feel that long ago that I was the young girl telling that oldie how great they looked for their age And here I was, now the oldie, blushing, replying with “Oh I love you. I’ll shop here all the time now!”
After having a chat with my beautiful and botoxed friend about this, she had a very similar story. She was trying on a bikini at Seafolly when the sales assistant said to her, ‘OMG. You have such a good body for your age!”
Now if you know my gym fanatic, lentil eating, gorgeous friend, you know she has a good body for any age. But the common denominator in our stories is this and its something we can’t escape: are getting older.
When I look at my friend, I see a beautiful woman that does not need Botox and when I ask her why she gets it, she says in what I like to call, perhaps unfairly, her ‘Sydney-speak’, “its preventative. Everyone is doing it”
Everyone, who? Isn’t Botox for women over 40 and isn’t it that poison you inject in your skin that leaves you expressionless for a period? Doesn’t getting Botox mean you are officially getting … old?
Wasn’t it only the other day we were saying that famous celebrity looked so puffed up she couldn’t smile anymore?
And hellooo!!? Since when were we in the Botox Target Demographic? We are young and hip, right? And yes, I did just say ‘Hip’.
Which leads me to question, at what point do we take the concern of our age and how we look too far? I am a mother of two kids. Why do I even care that I look like an ‘older’ woman?
Because of course I care. I feel better when I am the best version of myself. I like being presentable. I like getting my hair, nails and toes done, I like wearing nice clothes and perfume, I like looking my best, for me mostly, but also for my husband. I want to always be the person he married and that means I will always take pride in my appearance, adding a wrinkle or two every year of course.
Everyone has a bit of vanity in them, right?
After I left the hairdresser that day, aside from having my ego bruised a tad, I didn’t feel too shabby at 30. I felt like an experienced woman with lots of valuable things to say and I must admit, even amongst my vain realisation that I was in fact, ageing, I wouldn’t trade places with this young girl. I was happy to be where I was. The laugh lines around my face, and frown lines around my brow have developed from the most amazing and not so amazing memories that no amount of Botox can erase.
Now, just on the cusp of turning 31, I can safely say my Quarter Life Crisis is over.
Granted, I did invest in some good anti-ageing creams, but I can well and truly say that Botox is not on the horizon for this older woman - for a long while anyway.
I am extremely fortunate to have lived a very full 31 years, I have lots of funny, crazy, ridiculous, happy and sad stories to tell and I am who I am today because of them. And I look forward to the next 10 years.