I’d be lying if I said getting older didn’t bother me at all. I feel grateful to be 42 today because I know of many people who didn’t make it to this age. To be alive is the most precious thing yet so easy to take for granted. Still…

Some days, I look in the mirror and focus on the signs of ageing. I can do that with photos too. But you know what? I’ve done that all my life anyway in one way or another! It didn’t matter how old I was, I didn’t measure up to how I thought I should look at that time.

When I look back at pictures of myself, I remember how much I disliked (even hated) some of them. Now, when I see them, I see a girl and young woman who was beautiful just for being herself. Then, I can see that everyone is beautiful, just for being themselves too. Even pictures from a few years ago which I didn’t like, I can look at a few years later and think they are ok – nothing was wrong, they are just me.

But despite the fact that, of course, I notice ageing (a few years ago I would say it didn’t bother me at all and now I realise that wasn’t totally true), I like and accept myself more than I ever have. I define myself less by my appearance and what other people think of me. What matters is how I treat myself and other people, my character. How I can be helpful and happy.

If I choose to do my hair and put make-up on, it’s because I enjoy it. I buy clothes in colours and styles that make me feel good, not to follow fashions or impress people. Funnily enough, I seem to get more compliments. It’s lovely but I don’t feel either like I don’t deserve it or I am dependent on it.

So when I see a wrinkle, a grey hair, an unwanted wobbly bit, I try to let myself feel whatever I feel. I don’t deny it, because society pushes shaming ideas about age on women so strongly that I’m bound to have these thoughts. It’s just that I choose today to see those messages for what they are. And to like myself for exactly who I am now, instead of waiting for a few years to look back and see that I was just me all along and that’s really ok.