Why I’m not freaked out about getting older.

Why I’m not freaked out about getting older.
Carly Jacobs


Lady Smaggle – Age 21

On Saturday night I had a dinner date with Mr Smaggle’s bestie and he asked me a really interesting question. How is your life different now that you aren’t 21 anymore? When I actually stopped to think about it I realised I’m a different person now. Probably a better person. I also realised that getting older isn’t very scary. Here’s why…

1. You aren’t the new kid anymore.

When you are 21 you are brand new in your field. That means photocopying, researching, spending ridiculous amounts of time preparing meetings, having washed up managers develop vendettas against you for no reason and there’s this constant overlying need to prove yourself. When you get older, people listen to what you say. Your ideas and ideals are the same but the fact that you have more experience and tangible achievements to showcase them, it’s not as easy for people to dismiss or overlook you. You can finally relax a little because you’ve earned it.

2. You know what love really is.

And it’s not a summer infatuation, it’s not a movie starring Ryan Reynolds and it’s not something that hurts more than it heals. It’s more simple than that. It’s being blissfully happy eating eggs with your man on a Sunday morning, ย it’s talking to your mother on the phone for two straight hours and it’s having two or three friends on speed dial who would leave their own wedding of you said you needed them. Everything I thought was love before the age of 21 was simply a fun and dramatic distraction. Love is uncomplicated. Love is exceptional in it’s seemingly mediocre presentation. It’s not screaming out the front of a club at 2am or crying over a guy you pashed once at the uni bar.

3. You have the whole living thing under control.

When you are 21 and you move out of home it’s a huge shock to the system. Heat isn’t free. Neither is water. Food doesn’t magically appear in the fridge and dinner doesn’t cook itself. By the time you are in your late twenties you are totally down with separating your whites and darks, you know how to cook a few different dinners that include real food, you know that you can’t buy a $500 handbag with out having to call your parents to borrow money for rent. It’s a bit carefree and cute to be eating baked beans at 21 but now that you’re older it’s nice to be able to pay your bills on time… and drink wine that comes in a bottle.

4. You aren’t in a rush anymore.

When you are 21 everything is about now. You need to travel. NOW. You need to have a boyfriend. NOW. You need to be the editor of a magazine/rock star/CEO of a big company. NOW. You need a fabulous apartment. NOW. It takes a good few years to learn the subtle art of calming the frick down. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Now that you are no longer fuelled by Red Bull vodka soaked evenings, planning world domination, you have the maturity to look at your goals objectively and make plans to achieve them. Hint to current 21 year olds: If you want a head start on world domination I can tell you emphatically that it doesn’t start with smoking pot in a tree house.

5. You know your limits.

You know how much of a beating you can take from toxic people before you crack. You know how many nights a week you can work late before you lose the plot. You know how many glasses… bottles… of wine you can ingest before you start making friends with the toilet. Obviously being in your late twenties doesn’t give you immunity from making bad decisions it’s just that when you were 21 life was a big experiment. You were testing the waters of relationships, jobs, living situations and your health. Now that you are older you are armed with more information and a greater understanding of how you function mentally, emotionally and physically… and you can use this information to avoid the disasters that seemed to stalk you when you were younger.

And a little note to my 21 year old readers… enjoy being 21. You’ll never get to do it again. Make as many mistakes as you can because the world is a lot less forgiving when you’re on the other side of 25…

To the rest of my readers… care to share? What’s great about being the age you are right now? How do you feel about your younger self? How are you feeling about getting older?

Love Lady Smaggle



  1. Simon 11 years ago

    Frankly, I think i’m every bit as stupid, irresponsible and rash as i was when i was 21… only now i have more money to be rash with. I’m much less capable of going out drinking all night and then going to work the next day though… i’m also slightly fatter ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Helen 11 years ago

    30 is a bit of a poignant age. When I was 21, I was DEFINITELY going to be married and all ‘babied up’ by 30.

    I’m not, and my happiness doesn’t rely on what I haven’t done, rather than what I have done.
    I’ve travelled; I’ve made mistakes (biggies and little ones); I’ve bought a house; I’ve done some very brave (and stupid) things.

    I think I love myself more now (in a non-arrogant way, you know?) and I love what I’ve achieved.
    I love my wrinkles as they really crinkle up now when I laugh and smile. My bum isn’t where it used to be. I don’t care; I just have another bit of chocolate!

    Having written this, I’m almost looking forward to 40…. (actually, not quite!)

  3. Kerrin 11 years ago

    I may be a bit tired and emotional today, but I almost had a little cry at number 2 on your list…
    There is a lot to be said for “uncomplicated” relationships, and that is definitely one of the great things about getting older.

  4. Raquel 11 years ago

    It’s sort of funny, you’re confirming what everyone always says about me – I don’t act my age! I’m 19 but I have already learnt almost all of those lessons. I think that taking care of my domestically challenged mother and moving out of home when I was 16 most definitely contributed to that. The only thing I haven’t experienced is real love, but I don’t doubt that that will come when it’s my time =)

  5. E 11 years ago

    Ha I win!
    I’m in ma 50’s and it doesn’t feel any different apart from having a complete distain for manipulative people, the ability to deflect any marketing messages telling me I’m not young/thin/blonde/hairless enough and a growing inability to tolerate feckwittage from anyone.

    Life goes by so fast and I’m not about to waste a single minute listening to someone telling me I’m wrong/not good enough. This is as good as it gets – if it isn’t good enough then adjust your expectations because I’m not jumping any higher.

    Also, that disgusting ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ snark – shove it up your G string.


    E x

  6. Amy 11 years ago

    I know just as many 31 year olds as 21 year olds who do not have their shit together, age and maturity and two very separate things.

  7. Alex 11 years ago

    I’m not even 21 yet! Looks like I have a lot to look forward to.. ๐Ÿ˜›
    Great post though x

    • Jaymie 10 years ago

      shut up man
      we’re mourning here

  8. Nadist 11 years ago

    When I was 21 I was struggling. Struggling so hard. I knew what I had to do and I did it, but it was exhausting. I never had the fun party life. But now, I’m so relieved that I did all that training&qualifications/man&babies stuff when I did, because now I feel like I have superpowers. If I want to make anything happen, I do.

  9. LaLa 11 years ago

    As I’ve got older I’ve developed a highly attuned bullshit detector and strength to stand up for myself and what I believe in.

    I’ve learnt that I am not always right and there is still a lot to learn.

    I’ve got ability to recognise the “dead wood” friends in my life. Sadly, some are no longer my friends but I am sure we are both happier for it.

  10. Kate 11 years ago

    Oh LaLa, took the words right out of my mouth with the dead wood friends! I’m all over that since I hit my 30’s!
    And my darling Smaggle, that is a gorgeous pic of you! And I loved this post. A lot.

  11. Miss Peregrin 11 years ago

    At 21 I already feel so much older and more mature than when I was 18. I’ve got number 2. on your list down, particularly the part about love not being something that hurts more than it heals. However, I’m still enoying being young – I can still make mistakes, borrow money from my parents, and sit up until 2AM playing video games with my partner and a big bag of potato chips.

  12. Elizabeth 11 years ago

    I’m 26, and I feel like I’m running out of time! When I was 21 I felt like I had all the time in the world, but now all I want is to have babies and fall in love and not have to worry that I’m missing out anymore. Everyone keeps telling me that I’m young and I have plenty of time, but I just don’t feel it. Hmm.

  13. kathryn 11 years ago

    I think when I was 21 I rejected a lot of things for being dumb and childish. The best thing about being older is that you don’t have to worry about that crap ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. sarah von 11 years ago

    “Hint to current 21 year olds: If you want a head start on world domination I can tell you emphatically that it doesnโ€™t start with smoking pot in a tree house.” I love this!

  15. reckless daughter 11 years ago

    I can totally relate to this. I’m not scared to get older either!

  16. Na 11 years ago

    As you know, I’ve always been happy getting older since the realisation (at the ripe old age of 23) that everything got slightly less shit the more years I’d lived – and you’re right, that when you get some more perspective, even when things ARE shit, you can deal with it more easily.
    Having said that, the older I get the more seriously I consider getting Botox. Who dictated that the minute I turned 28 I started getting crow’s feet? Chuh.

  17. MsCritique 11 years ago

    Oh, you are so right. This is quite possibly your best post ever. I love no 4. I use to think that by the time I would be 25, I’d be at least running my own empire. Hilarious.

    You made my day!

  18. fat mum slim 11 years ago

    I’m 30 in a month, and I feel like I should be freaking out, and I guess part of me is…

    I need to process this a little… thanks for the food for thought. x

  19. Grant 11 years ago

    I’m not freaked out about aging at all, however…

    I was convinced I was turning 24 this year, to the point where I’m sure I would have passed a polygraph and everything. I BELIEVED that I was turning 24.

    Turns out, no, I forgot my own age, and in fact, I’m turning 25.

    I feel a little cheated, like I’ve ‘lost’ a year.

    Put on the plus side, QUARTER LIFE CRISIS !!!

    Time to order myself a Slavic man-bride ๐Ÿ˜€


  20. Lou 11 years ago

    I must be the youngest one here! I am 17 (turning 18 in three and half months!), and feel every ounce of my inexperience weighing on my shoulders. Everything is new and terrifying and pretty confusing and I’m only just really starting to really try and figure myself out.

    I look forward to getting older, mainly as the years go by, I change a little more, and I amass more beautiful and terrible and all together fantastic experiences behind me. The only thing about aging that’s worrying me is boob saggage, but hey, considering I’m a moderate size now, and the quality of bras these days, that’s not too bad of an obstacle to overcome! ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. Jamie 11 years ago

    I think this is a little condescending. I’m twenty now, and I can honest-to-God tell you the first time I fell in love — real love — was when I was thirteen. I’ve been living with my current boyfriend for two years, and our day-to-day lives consist of work, school, making dinner, playing video games, talking about politics/philosophy/the places we want to go when we get into a fiscal situation in which that’s possible… the last time I smoked pot in a tree house was never, and the last time I smoked pot at all was about a year ago. I’ve smoked probably six times in my entire life, and continue to think it’s a wonderful thing to enjoy about twice a year. I’m probably the only twenty-year-old telling her doctor that I only use marijuana biannually who’s actually telling the truth, but so it is.

    At this point in my life, I’ve also moved three times, had to deal with alcoholic familial problems, and somehow dealt with the alcoholic tendencies in my Russian/Scottish family in such a way that I drink (about as often as I smoke) and am somehow not an alcoholic. I also make my own doctor’s appointments and have gone probably five times in the past two years — why? Because I deemed it necessary after looking at the evidence of my symptoms. My favorite hobbies are baking, writing, reading blogs, playing piano. I’ve slept with a grand total of one (1) human being.

    I’m just saying, you’re making some broad generalizations here, and while I agree that MANY people my age fit your description, some of us are here that do not, and it’s that constant assumption of everyone that we all do that keeps that “new kid” syndrome happening, keeps us from being taken seriously. Don’t add to the problem! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Branka 11 years ago

    I loved this post, and i second everything in it.
    Being 31 now, i live on my own and pay my own bills, and yes the food doesn’t just magically appear and i have to cook it, but it is MY food and MY bills, and i’m happy to be able to pay them.
    I remember at age 21 i had this skinny little body, even though back then i thought i should lose a few pounds.. Now i’m way curvier than then yet i feel sexier and have more self confidence than ever.
    With age you gain self-esteem and experience that are priceless. I’m not freaked out about getting old(er) either, in fact i’m enjoying the process.

  23. Stephanie 11 years ago

    Its funny in a way. At maybe 22 I would have written a response very similar to Jamie above me. I met my husband at 21 was married by 23, a mom at 25 all by choice. I didn’t do a lot to the typical 21 stuff but now at 33 I still think the major point holds true. I enjoyed being younger. My husband and I would go out to dinner and movies on a whim (you don’t do that with 2 kids), we’d have sex when we got home from work then fall asleep and not wake up till 3am, we’d go wine tasting, and so on. So I say even if you aren’t clubbing enjoy where you are bc it will not be the same ever again. I also feel like I’ve come into my own in my 30s. Its hard to explain but I don’t feel the need to justify my life choices to others an am happy simply being my ever changing self. I also have more gray hairs and must always wear a supportive bra but I’m stronger and more confident. When I started going to mom’s groups at 26 many people were shocked bc they were still drinking and partying at my age and thought I’d go crazy at 30. Guess what I totally didn’t life just keeps getting better.

  24. reva 11 years ago

    Not sure what the G-string has to do with this post, but at 21, I THOUGHT i knew it all. Life was figured out. But it was my 30’s, when I found a sense of humility, strength and self-love. Real self-love. True beauty. Now in my mid-40’s, I am learning that I still have sooo much to learn! I am every age I’ve ever been, and unfortunately being 21 or 22 was just another notch in the growing curve. Best of Luck!

    P>S> G-strings are just butt torture. I can get tortured for free.

  25. dr stumpy 11 years ago

    why I like being 31 more than I liked being 21

    Have replaced stupid, emotionally retarded boyfriend with my gentle giant who cooks me dinner and fixes my computer.

    I can make people call me Dr

    I know my limits and that I can’t live on vodak and no sleep – and so am not sick 30 weeks a year

    I have a cat

    I know that I can do anything I put my mind to. If I want it – I can make it happen.

  26. Becca 11 years ago

    Well…..I just turned 30 yesterday. I might say that at my 21 bthday I was celebrating, going out with my friends, boyfriend, whatever. I had the will to go out and celebrate my new age. But this year I let it pass and it’s not that I feel sad or depressed, it’s just that I didn’t care.
    That fact made me wonder that a) I’m extremely bittered b)I have no friends to celebrate with c)I have other priorities c)I don’t know ๐Ÿ˜›
    Definitely now I’m more centered, more aware of my limits and aware of the resources I have around me to make the better out of my life but I do miss that back in my 21’s I didn’t care much of what people might think of me jumping like crazy at 5am in the middle of the street
    Oh damn’! It do sounds like I’m depressed and bittered jajaja
    Seriously, I have no complains about getting older….

  27. There is no such thing as an overnight success.

  28. David 3 years ago

    And 7 years later… I’m sure revisiting this subject would be different


  1. This Week | Sparkle and Glitter 11 years ago

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