Morgan Deane Smith: Turning 30 – what are we so afraid of?

By Kirstin Buick
14 June 2013

Why are women so afraid of ageing? Morgan gives us insight into the age-old question.

I remember sitting on the stairs in my best friend’s house when I was young, talking to her while she was in the bathroom. “I can’t believe I turn 13 tomorrow,” I said, unable to conceive I was almost a teenager, as if the day I became a teenager my whole life would be different somehow. It wasn’t. My birthday was lovely but everything stayed exactly the same because at that age we live in a sheltered little bubble. Our parents deal with all the “admin” and we’re oblivious!

Fast forward 17 years and I’m thinking, “Jeez, I can’t believe I turn 30 tomorrow.”

For my 30th birthday my husband took me to The Ritz Hotel in London; it was stunning.

He also bought me one of the most beautiful handbags in the world, Chanel, so he sure did spoil me.

I felt like a princess ? well, a big-bellied princess because I was also seven months’ pregnant. We sat there and raised a toast with passion fruit and orange tea.

It was the opposite of cliché as far as 30th birthdays go. But there I was . . . turning 30!

It really does go in the blink of an eye. They tell you it will, but these landmark birthdays can seem so far away when you’re younger.

I met a woman a few days ago. I said to her, “I’m getting old now; I’m 30”, to which she replied, “Oh get over yourself, Morgan. I’m 52 for heaven’s sake.” I stopped and thought, “You know, she’s right; thirty is not so old”, but why are we so hung up on hitting that age?!

A lot of people approach 30 fearfully and in return others say, “Age is just a number; what are you so afraid of?” But I have learnt it’s not the number we’re afraid of. Of course not. It’s the expectations and changes that come with the number.

So our 20s are for having jobs we have no intentions of staying in for the rest of our lives and for dating guys we pray to God we don’t actually end up with. It’s for partying way too late and spending every cent we earn on stupidity, all the while having the saving grace of saying, “Ah what else are my 20s for?” My 20s were so much fun I could write a book! I made mistakes but I have no regrets; I did exactly what I wanted to do and life taught me some lessons.

But then all of a sudden, you’re not in your 20s any more, you’re 30 and so now immediately it seems a little less acceptable to be carefree and not have a plan, a career, a partner, a family. I think this transition is ultimately the cause of the fear that comes with turning 30. It’s not that immediately you need these things but you know it’s now time you have to start seriously thinking about them.

Initially I was bleak about leaving my 20s behind. So much so that even on my Facebook page for the past two years I had my date of birth as 01-05-84.That is not the case. It’s 01-05-83.Yes, I am guilty of age shame. I was trying to gain myself another year in my 20s. Sad, I know, I know. I also know I’m not the only one guilty of doing that on Facebook!

People can disagree and say it’s not true but generally we’re programmed to think we’re at our most desirable in our 20s so we shy away from admitting it when we reach our 30s. Women past age 29 hate discussing their age. It’s a tale as old as time.

The fact is though that women in their 30s are fantastic; we’re more confident than in our 20s, we’re smarter, we’re more independent, we understand men a lot more and did you know stats show we only reach our sexual peak in our 30s? Well, according to Oprah anyway! So that’s also a better sex life than in our 20s . . . See, so much to look forward to.

Going into your 30s should certainly not be a reason to stop seeing ourselves as fun and desirable, or to stop dressing fabulously or stop wearing make-up or stop being sexy . . . God no! Look, I know it’s not easy when you have kids, you’ve got a job, you’re tired every evening and you don’t have a nanny but where there’s a will there’s a way. My mother had four kids, a job and NO nanny and I’ve never seen her look less than fabulous a day in her life. She’s 57! She always makes time to look her best. Don’t give it up so easily . . . but also don’t do it for a man, or anyone else. Do it for yourself. Keep that fire burning; every woman has a youthful sex kitten in them no matter what age they are.

I firmly believe when we look good on the outside it definitely contributes to us feeling better on the inside . . .

I don't dread being in my 30s any more because it’s true, age is only a number! I’ve decided if I wanna be ridiculous and feel old in my 30s then that will be my loss and when I'm 40, 50, 60 or 70 I hope I’m not the type to lie down and say, “I’m old now; might as well be depressed about it and wait to kick the bucket.” There’s plenty of those types out there, in fact too many!

We need to embrace each year we reach because the days of our lives are so precious. If you’re happy in yourself and if your life is going in the direction you want it to be going in, then why would you ever want time to stand still and not move on to the next chapter? After all, we only learn the rest of the story by turning the page. I bet it will be exciting!

- Morgan Deane Smith

* Morgan Deane Smith is the wife of cricket star Graeme Smith

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