Like Cheryl Cole, Women Start Getting Anxious About Ageing At 29. Or Do They?

11 October 2012 by

Cheryl Cole: 29. No major concerns about bingo wings, though

As Oprah, ever the oracle, once said: ‘Girls! Your twenties are the hardest decade’ and as I hurtle towards 30 (6 months or so) I have to say I agree with Oprah. I don’t agree with her on everything – ‘I have no judgment!’  - but when it comes to the travails of ageing, I do. Because ever since I hit 20, I have been in a state of existential crisis. Not so much about how I look, more about life. As I sit here, watching my clock tick tick away, my overriding thought is that we are all hurtling towards death. We are. Soz! But it’s true. My brick wall is placed somewhere around 72, I think. We have bad hearts, our family, so that’s how I’ll go. I know that much.

So when I learned that women get anxious about ageing at 29 (according to a Superdrug survey) my first thought was, no s**t. My second thought was: that’s quite late isn’t it? As a 29 year old, I am fully aware of ageing. I think I started worrying about it at 26 or thereabouts. The age when I stopped being able to eat what I want and got really, really into Dr Hauschka.

It’s also the age where we reach that pivotal moment: you know, when we stop wanting to look older than we are, and start wanting to look younger. At 29 you’re no longer young. You can’t get away with anything. You have to talk to proper grown-ups on equal terms, buy organic where necessary and you shouldn’t really drink on a school  work night. You also tend to look like an adult at 29. So lying doesn’t work, either. At 29 you should be able to speak publically with crying, and can no longer hide between shyness which at this age, to me (a reformed shy person and stutterer) segues neatly into rudeness.

So this survey, to me, feels a bit late. A third of women are worried their bottom will head south, Note the tense here, because mine’s already somewhere around the M4 turn off to Swindon, Barrecore or no Barrecore. 29% are also worried about wrinkles. Luckily I have good genes - part Assamese - so that’s yet to hit, but as for double chins, bingo wings and thread veins, all very palpable and have been for years. (I’m also a HUGE leg crosser so the last one has been on my mind since I was about 16. And yet I can’t stop.)

As concerns go, ageing is very tangible among young women. But did these worries – aesthetic or mental - start at 29? No, they started long before. Women today grow up quickly. I know this purely from looking at women in their late teens and twenties who generally nail fashion in a way I never could. They wear proper make up, and brush their hair. Some even have straight fringes. I know! When I was that age, I dressed like a squatter in blue eyeshadow.

29 has been great so far. And to be honest, I don’t care enough about fat arms and middle-aged spread to do that much about it. But women, and Superdrug, know this: 29 is no longer as young as it once was. Trust me. I’m in the middle of it.




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